The Ark of Hope arrived in City Hall on Friday, Nov. 1, launching a week of activities in Rockford. The Ark of Hope is a magnificent wooden chest carved, inlaid, and painted in Vermont. Its art honors all the Creation: humanity and its cultures and religions, the beings of the air and water, and the Earth itself. It is an art object of immense value, but what it contains, a handwritten copy of the Earth Charter written on papyrusis even more valuable.
The Earth Charter is the creation of 51 countries, more than 100,000 people, and more than 10 years. It is the first such treaty in history with the whole Earth. It is a global ethic, a way to live together in a sustainable and peaceful way, with 16 principles organized around four categories:
l respect and care for the community of life
l ecological integrity
l social and economic justice
l democracy, non-violence, and peace
The Earth Charter has been endorsed by the state of Vermont, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and others, as it moves across the U.S. We want to bring this to Rockford, as it goes from town to town and makes its way to eventual passage by the United Nations.
The Ark also contains Temenos Books.
These are books created by children expressing their love of the Earth and its life, and their hopes and prayers for the whole Creation. It is full of these amazing books. Children from the Rockford schools have created beautiful books that were shown to Mayor Doug Scott at City Hall. The books will travel around the world with the Ark.
The Ark was dedicated on Sept. 9, 2001 at a large Earth conference in Vermont. Two days later, as they were still cleaning up, the world stopped as all were devastated by the terrorist attacks.
Three of the women decided they needed to bring the Ark of Hope to the United Nations in New York City. They carried it on its 8-foot poles for 6 miles, then got all kinds of help as it was walked 350 miles to New York. In August it was in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.
The Ark will be in Rockford until Sunday, Nov. 17, when it heads to New York City. To see it or to learn more about the Ark or the Earth Charter, contact Emmanuel Lutheran Church at 963-4815. Also, learn more at www.earthcharter.org or www.ark-of-hope.org.