Baha'i event celebrates peace
ELIOT, Maine - Peace in our time may be a lofty goal, but members of the Green Acre Baha'i School are willing to work toward it every day.
For the 107th year, members of the faith hoisted a peace flag on the grounds of the school on Sunday afternoon. The campus is located on Route 103 in Eliot.
Presenting the flag to guests assembled for the school's first summer concert were Denize Santos, 30, of Brazil and Eugen Yazdani, 18, of Chad. Both are volunteering at the Green Acre school for the year, said Green Acre co-administrator Jim Sacco.
"The peace flag tradition goes back to July of 1894 because the visionary woman who was the founder of the Green Acre, Sarah Farmer, was inspired to have Green Acre be a place where all religious traditions came together. Her understanding was that the theme of peace was common to all religions."
The original peace flag was 36 feet long and was hung on a ship's mast that had been converted into a flag pole, according to Sacco's wife, Jeannine, also a co-administrator of the school.
"We hope that by hoisting this peace flag today, we will have this vision of a city of peace," she said.
More than 200 people were gathered to see the flag and hear the gospel singing of vocalist Lillian Buckley, the first artist to perform in Green Acre's summer concert series. Guests also enjoyed plenty of barbecued food and the Green Acre school's rolling campus along the bank of the Piscataqua River.
"It's kind of a family picnic. It brings together the Baha'i family and their friends. The important thing is the fellowship," Jim Sacco said.
Buckley, a Kittery resident and pastor of the Bow Lake Free Will Baptist Church in Strafford, has been performing throughout the Seacoast for years. On Sunday, she entertained guests along with Kent Allyn, a guitarist and keyboard player who also arranges Buckley's original compositions.
"I'm a friend of the Green Acre Baha'i. I've been singing here since I was a teen-ager," she said.
Robin Farrin, 41, of Bar Harbor, came to the event to meet other members of the Baha'i faith. She and Chris Johnston, 26, of Winthrop, discussed their travels to Africa as they ate a picnic lunch with Farrin's daughters, Zoe Kestner, 6, and Abby Kestner, 8, and niece, Crystal Clark, 14, of Waterville. Although her daughters were familiar with the Green Acre Baha'i School, Sunday's picnic was the first event Clark had attended at the center. Besides liking the food, she said she enjoyed learning new Jamaican words during the outing.
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