A golden thread and a golden rule – how Peace Mala project is celebrating people’s differences

Peace Mala was featured in the Winter 2018 edition of Cymuned magazine, published by the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. We are delighted by the Diocese spreading the message of Peace Mala in this way. Below is a transcript and image of the article:

‘Peace Mala is a multi-award winning project for peace that Pam Evans began in 2001 whilst working as Head of the Department of Religious Studies in Coedcae School, Llanelli Wales. The school is a coeducational comprehensive school with around 1,000 pupils aged 11-16.

When 9/11 happened, the world changed forever. The terrible events of September the 11th, 2001 brought with it an aftermath of fear and confusion. The rise in Islamophobia in the world was to be expected, as a response to the attack. What was more shocking was the rise in fundamentalism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice that we are still faced with today.

Published in ‘Cymuned’, Winter 2018 by the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon

Pam’s immediate concern was for the minority of Muslim and Asian pupils in her school who suffered bullying in the aftermath of 9/11. She realised that something educational needed to be done. The vision and concept of the Peace Mala was her response to the bullying.

“I soon realised that our local community had not escaped the aftermath of September 11th. Islamophobia and racist taunts had become common place in our school. Members of the local Muslim community had experienced extreme abuse. The mosque suffered a racist attack and one man had died from a heart attack probably brought on by the stress suffered during this shameful incident. Within the same year, the synagogue in Swansea was desecrated. It was one of the worst attacks on a synagogue in the whole of Britain.

I was appalled. I realised that something had to be done to combat the racism, religious intolerance, ignorance and lack of respect shown to certain members of our community.

I thought of something simple but effective that would engage the minds of young people; a symbolic bracelet, loaded with messages, that would be fun to make and wear.

When creating the design for the Peace Mala bracelet I was aware that the rainbow is an important symbolic link between heaven and earth in many cultures. Rainbows are rare and magical and double rainbows even more so. I also realised that the rainbow design would appeal especially to children and young people.

The Peace Mala bracelet comprises of fourteen coloured beads with a central white or frosted white bead strung between symbolic knots. The central white bead represents the wearer. The final single bead is used as a toggle to bring the bracelet around the wearer’s wrist. This represents unity, harmony and peace.

Running through the peace mala is a simple thread which holds all the rainbow beads together. This may be called the Golden Thread of Spirituality which connects us all through the love in our hearts: acknowledging the Golden Rule and our spiritual unity opens up the pathway to peace.

Peace Mala focuses on the Golden Rule. Its intention is to educate and remind everyone that this rule is recognised by many scholars, teachers and philosophers. It is also universal to all compassionate faiths. Simply stated, it is:

‘Treat others as you would wish them to treat you.’

This is the central message of the Peace Mala bracelet. Its intention is to cut through all forms of prejudice, to confront bullying, to support human rights and to celebrate what makes us different from each other. Fourteen spiritual traditions, along with their individual versions of the Golden Rule, are represented on the bracelet.

Peace Mala reminds us that we all belong and that communities filled with colour and difference make life more interesting and exciting”.

Archbishop John has been an enthusiastic supporter of the project for many years and has joined us for several of our pilgrimages and interfaith gatherings.

“Underlying many of the world’s religions is a profound respect for the dignity and value of each individual human being, and the simple aspiration that human beings should treat others as they would wish others to treat them.

Sadly, both that dignity and value as well as that aspiration are frequently damaged and even trampled, by selfishness, prejudice, intolerance and plain disregard.

Peace Mala has, from the outset, sought to uphold human dignity and human value and has sought to promote the kind of tolerance which will ultimately lead to a world where peace and justice triumph over less attractive elements.

It gives me enormous pleasure to commend all that Peace Mala represents and all that it seeks to achieve for the good of the world and of its people”.

Peace Mala will be holding an International Interfaith Liturgy for world Peace at Brecon Cathedral next September, which will bring together schools, faith leaders and many others.

“We are very happy to share this wonderful event and warmly welcome interested schools and faith representatives to get in touch with us,” Pam said.

We’ll be bringing you more about this service – and some special guests – throughout next year.

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