The peace crane ministry of First Congregational Church in Santa Barbara, United Church of Christ (UCC) has been continually active since it began with a flock of 1,000 origami peace cranes received from Newtown Congregational Church in Connecticut after the Isla Vista shootings in June 2014. Because origami cranes have become an international symbol of peace, they are sent as tokens of love, strength, hope, and solidarity after fatal shooting incidents. FCC Santa Barbara has joined a growing ministry among UCC churches: sending a flock of cranes to a church in a community that has experienced the pain and sorrow of mass killings.
FCCSB sent the flock from Newtown to Everett UCC in Washington State after the October 2014 shootings at Marysville Pilchuck High School. Members began folding cranes to create a new flock. This flock was sent to Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, after the Bible study killings in June 2015. A third flock is now being readied for First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) after the October 1 shootings at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Why do Santa Barbara FCCers continue to fold and fold and fold peace cranes?
“My heart goes out to these people; I want to be a part of showing how deeply I feel.”
“It connects us to the thousands, millions of people seeking peace who have folded cranes.”
“In creating something, you’re saying no to destruction.”
“It’s very meditative work.”
“I’m totally frustrated with the world, and I need to use my whole body to deal with that frustration.”
The FCCSB Prayer Shawl Ministry blesses a shawl that is sent with each migrating flock. In addition to the shawl being sent to Roseburg, a second one will go to the UCC Pacific Northwest Conference Office.
As Rev. Allysa De Wolf states, “The cranes are a testament to our hope for peace in our world and our belief that violence does not have the last word. One day they will no longer have to migrate for peace.” Until that day comes, members and friends of First Congregational Santa Barbara will continue to fold.