“The voices of intolerance are all around us – the voice of tolerance needs to be louder”
|Peace Mala focuses on the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would wish them to treat you”. Its intention is to educate and remind everyone that this rule is necessary for all faiths to live in peace and harmony side by side.
A Peace Mala is a double rainbow symbolic bracelet that promotes friendship, respect and peace between the faiths and all people in our world. It cuts through all forms of prejudice and celebrates what makes us different from each other. Each of the fourteen major faiths are represented by a coloured bead ie. Christianity – Red, Buddhism- Orange, Sikhism- Yellow and Islam- Green.It is a vision for the future. Wearing the Peace Mala is a promise to help create a better world.
As a Manchester Church of England Primary School, at St Agnes’ we feel it is important to celebrate the diversity of faiths, cultures and lifestyles that surround our communities and our city, and so our Peace Mala journey began in May 2016.
We continue to learn about the mainly faiths across the city and compare them to our Christian ethos of the school. We are enjoying the process of becoming a Peace Mala Accredited School and have celebrated festivals such as Chinese New Year, Diwali and World Peace Day as a whole school. We are extremely proud to be working alongside Newall Green Primary School who achieved their Peace Mala accreditation in July 2013 and re-accreditation in October 2016. We believe that being part of the Peace Mala community has allowed us to help our children to become better local and global citizens. Sharing not only our faith but our understanding of the faith of others and the common hope for Peace. We look forward to continuing our work for many years to come and look forward to our accreditation and the different opportunities our continued work will help us achieve.
This year our children have been working closely with Newall Green Primary School Peace Mala Children in Wythenshawe. We were invited to the school on the 14th July 2016 to celebrate some of our children’s experience of EID. The children from our school prepared Powerpoint Presentations and shared their family’s experiences in a whole school assembly. We were excited to hear that the Lord Mayor of Manchester would be at the assembly and were extremely lucky to participate in Peace Mala workshops on the day. We signed a Peace Flag as our commitment to being better global citizens, as did the children from Newall Green. The flag was then taken back to St Agnes’ for all children within the school to sign. We promised to work closely as schools from Manchester, who share a common hope for Peace in the city that we live in.
World Peace Day September 21st 2016
- As a part of our Peace Mala Accreditation work we celebrated World Peace Day in September. The aim of the day which is celebrated globally and coordinated by the United Nations is to strengthen ideals around peace and promote unity. All Years N- Year 6 took part in the special day, making crafts and art pieces that reflected our wish for a global unified hope for Peace. From Peace Pin wheels to Peace Doves all classes had a craft to complete and we came together as a school to share what we had learnt in a special assembly.
- The school learnt to sing and sign ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’ as the focus of the day was on hope, unity and harmony. This special performance did not let us down and the teaching staff were very emotional when the children sang the song at the end of our assembly so beautifully.
Peace March Newall Green, Wythenshawe October 13th 2016
- As a part of our Peace Mala Accreditation we joined Newall Green Primary School as they celebrated their Re-Accreditation in the presence of Pam Evans, Peace Mala founder. There were special dignitaries from the Council including the Lord Mayor of Manchester. We took part in a special balloon release with six faith leaders from the Local Community and then marched around the schools surrounding area with our hope for peace flag.
- Each of the fourteen beads were represented by a special coloured banner in the procession. As our school has a high Muslim intake we joined the group holding the Green Bead Group that represents the people of Islam. We also lead the procession on the return to school with the Red Bead Group which represented the Christian Community too.
Harvest with A Difference October 21st 2016
- Our Harvest Assembly had a much more multi-cultural feel to it this academic year. As a part of our commitment to the Peace Mala, we learnt more about the different faiths that surround our communities. It was very exciting as we found out about many festivals very similar to a Christian Harvest were taking part place in many homes across Manchester. We learnt about festivals such as:
Sukkot: The Jewish festival of feasting and coming together in celebration of the food we receive. This celebration last eight days and it marks of the end of harvest time and gathering of crops. Families live in a Suka a temporary homemade structure made of natural materials that are open to the sky. It reminds Jewish people how the Jewish people felts as they left Egypt living in the desert. Daily prayers and attendance at the Synagogue takes place as the families gather together.
Eid Al Adha: The Islamic festival of sacrifice. We learnt that Muslims all over the world share out meat/ food among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share. We learnt that Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received. Its focus is on Charity and making sacrifices for others. During Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate. It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents
Moon Cake Festival: The Buddhist festival of Harvest – The Full Moon On the 15th of the lunar calendar, each month, the moon is at its roundest and brightest, symbolizing togetherness a reunion in Chinese culture. We learnt that families get together to express their familial love by eating dinner together, appreciating the moon and eating mooncakes. The harvest moon is traditionally believed to be the brightest of the year. Month 8 day 15, is traditionally the time rice is supposed to mature and be harvested. So people celebrate the harvest and worship their gods to show their gratitude.
- We celebrated the Christian Harvest at school by collecting as many food tins and dried packages for the Homeless people of Manchester. We learnt that all festivals that are celebrated at this time of year are based on the gathering of crops and being thankful for the food we eat. We wanted to share our food with those less fortunate in the city. As a Peace Mala School we are learning that there are many similarities in all faiths, including the hope for Peace. We enjoyed learning about Harvest in such a multi-faith approach. Thank you to all of the families for all your donations, they were received by …
Diwali Festival of Lights (Hindu and Sikhs) November 4th 2016
- We celebrated the Diwali or Deepavali, the ‘festival of light’ in November. This festival signifies the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. We learnt that India, being a diverse multi-cultural country, has varied interpretations of Diwali. The festival of lights is emblematic of the elimination of spiritual darkness and shares the use of darkness and light like Christianity. Diwali is the occasion to let the light of God, enter our hearts and minds while eliminating all the ignorance and unpleasantness within. We enriched our knowledge by learning some interesting facts about the ‘festival of lights’, dressing in Saris and attempting to put on a turban in Year 6. We looked at traditional foods at this time of year and had a competition for the best clay diva across the school. Our Diwali assembly was very bright and beautiful, the hall was filled with coloured lights and we made lots of links with the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah as a part of our Peace Mala work in understanding similarities, differences and tolerance.
Christian Christingle, Advent and Christmas December 1st -16th 2017
- We had some special guests join us for our Christmas Assembly, Mr Whitehouse and the Peace Pals from Newall Green Primary School. They had prepared a special assembly based on their experience of Christmas. Some of the children explained their Christian practices and other children who had no faith shared their family experiences, showing the similarities and the differences within their school. We learnt about the birth of Jesus and the special journey that Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem. We saw learnt about advent and saw advent calendars, crackers and had a competition for the most spectacular Christingle between the two schools. During the workshop time. Newall Green children shared gifts of chocolate coins, crackers and tangerines all traditional in homes at this time of year with the children of St Agnes’ C of E. We discussed the similarities at Christmas when compared to Diwali and Hanukkah as the focus on light was significant throughout this period too.
Kung Hey Fat Choi Happy Chinese New Year January 21st 2017
- As our focus was to learn far more about the festivals of others we invited in a representative from the Fung Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple. Unfortunately, Irene was unwell on the day and sent her best wishes to all of the children as they participated in their Chinese New Year Spectacular. The families from Early Years took part in workshops with their children and children in the toddler group join in with the festivities. Throughout the school the children took part in different workshops. For example; Year 5 made a delicious Chinese Stir fry and fine dined with chopsticks with their peers and all year groups took part in some meditation. The school cook served a Traditional meal of noodles for the children throughout the school to taste. It was a day of tolerance, acceptance and respect for the things that surround us as we learnt about the different traditions and then shared with all year groups the fascinating facts that we had found out. We remembered the orange bead for Buddhism and shared their peace message throughout the day.
Greater Manchester Church of England School Bolton Conference Centre April 28th 2017
- On Friday 28th April, we had the honour of running a Peace Mala Stall at the Manchester Diocesan Conference in Bolton. The conference is attended by all Church of England Schools in Manchester and the children were extremely excited at the prospect of sharing the Peace Mala’s hope for Global Peace and Tolerance. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Life in all its fullness’ with guest speakers Revd Nigel Genders, which fitted perfectly with the values and ethos of the teaching of the Peace Mala. Our Year 5 Peace Mala Ambassadors; Tawa, Zaki, Sana, Minahil, Riyad and Naseeha were asked to give a presentation about the Peace Mala and what it had taught them as children at a Christian School. Sharing their understanding that a Peace Mala is a double rainbow symbolic bracelet (representing each of the 14 faiths of the world) to promote friendship, respect and peace between the faiths and all people in our world, the children really made an impact on all who listened. The children explained their understanding of how we can cut through all forms of prejudice and celebrates what makes us different from each other by wearing and sharing the meaning of the bracelet. The children gave an amazing presentation to over 200 Headteachers and RE leaders, speaking about their hope for Global Peace in the future and interest in our stall at the event was evident as a result. Ms Rose was particularly proud of how confident the children were when they were explaining the Peace Mala and wha t their role is in the school, to the various teachers from other schools across the city.
Peace begins in Our School Assembly 6th June 2017
- The theme of the last term is changes; we will look ahead to the changes that we face this term. We will focus on how we can start our hope for peaceful world through our commitment to peace within ourselves. The Peace Ambassadors will lead this special assembly, discussing the bracelet and its very many words of peace throughout the faiths. They will share their understanding of hope for Peace for all in the school and Manchester as a city. The Peace Ambassadors will share times of conflict/difficulties that they have heard or witnessed in school and how they have dealt with this through careful words and reflective thoughts. This will be a time for reflection for all and the parents of the Peace Ambassadors will be invited to attend to see how vital the children’s role is around school.
Llandaff CathedralCardiff July 21st 2017
- As a part of our Peace Mala Accreditation work we will be representing our school at the Peace Mala International Interfaith Liturgy for World Peace at Llandaff Cathedral. The children will be attending a service which will involve a performance from some of the Peace Mala schools and a walk with the may different faith leaders attending the event. This is all work towards our Peace Mala Accreditation that we are working towards the end of this academic year. If you would like more information on the Peace Mala please click on the link below.
Symbolic Doves of Peace
- In the spring of 2015, Peace Mala introduced a new initiative with 14 Symbolic Doves of Peace and it has been a wonder and a joy to see how far these doves have already travelled with the message of hope, friendship, respect and peace for all who live on this planet we call our home. Dove 13 is the Symbolic Interfaith Dove of Peace and has a very important job to help promote greater understanding between people of all faiths and none. As a school we had the privilege of naming and sponsoring Dove Number 9 Inaaya Noor (Gift from God and light). Inaaya Noor recently visited Lahore in Pakistan with Canon Maurice Smith, the director of Education for Manchester Church of England Schools. He was presented with a Peace Mala bracelet before his trip and wore it daily spreading our message of hope whilst spending time in Lahore schools.
Inaaya Noor (Dove 9) has been to many places, such as Nairobi -Kenya, Athens and Santorini –Greece. We will be tracking her global journey on our map at school. You can also track her journey by clicking on this link http://www.peacemala.org.uk/doves.html
At St Agnes C of E Primary School, we aim for our pupils to become self-motivated and enthusiastic learners, driven by their natural curiosity about the world in which they live in. We want them to be passionate about a peace and tolerance and resilient in times of adversity, ensuring that they are equipped for the globally diverse city of Manchester that we live in.