Eloise Cranke and Chet Guinn stand by the rededicated Peace Garden in Nollen Plaza in Des Moines. Eloise is a former AFSC regional director who works with the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Chet Guinn is a retired Methodist pastor who has led efforts to revitalize the Peace Garden.Photo: AFSC / Jon Krieg
On a cool and drizzly September Sunday recently, over 100 people came together for an interfaith service for peace and a rededication of the Peace Garden at Nollen Plaza in downtown Des Moines. The service was organized by the Des Moines Area Ecumenical Committee for Peace and led by Chet Guinn, a retired United Methodist pastor who has spearheaded efforts to revitalize the Peace Garden.
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie joined several speakers in a call for peace in these troubled times. Cownie recalled his testimony in support of nuclear weapons abolition at the United Nations. When someone questioned why a mayor should be concerned with nuclear weapons, Cownie pointed to the person sitting next to him at the U.N. – the mayor of Hiroshima.
After the service, people walked to the Peace Garden Medallion, which was dedicated 30 years ago by Rabbi Jay Goldberg and Catholic Bishop Maurice Dingman. The plaque states, in part, “May all who experience this garden be more loving, merciful and sharing.”