The Peace Mosaic was created as a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Art Piece to honor the 50 years of Peace Congregation’s ministry in the San Ramon Valley. We wanted something that would be significant, beautiful and a Community-Building experience. We hoped to capture a sense of the spirit and history of Peace and convey a compelling vision of what our future could become. 2007 became the Year of the Mosaic!
People from 15 different interfaith communities participated in creating the Mosaic. Richard Caemmerer was the Design Artist. Jennifer Mitchell, Mosaic Artist guided the process. Rev. Margareta Dahlin Johansson, a Co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee coordinated various developmental aspects of the Mosaic Project. The Smalti/Byzantine tiles are produced by the Perdomo Family in Mexico who provided tiles for all the works of offDiego Rivera. 43,000 pieces of tile were used. It took 6 months to complete the Peace Mosaic – from Pentecost to Reformation. The Installation on the exterior wall of our Sanctuary took another four months.
The Mosaic was Dedicated on April 6. 2008. Funds were raised from friends of Peace, art lovers and interfaith advocates from literally all around the country. A Dedication Book contains the names of all the loved ones in whose names gifts were given by donors.
A most intriguing design aspect is that each Mandala at the center is interchangeable. When various interfaith communities are celebrating their Feast Days or Seasons, their Mandala will reside in the center of the Mosaic. Please visit the Peace Mosaic whenver you can. You will find it a stunning visual prayer and meditation.
Richard R. Caemmerer, the Peace Mosaic Design Artist offers these words:
It’s been said that there will be no peace until all faiths learn to get along. This mosaic expresses an attempt to visualize what “faiths getting along” might look like.
The mosaic is on the wall of a church. But it is not an inside wall. The mosaic faces the world. Still, some of the church’s architecture is in front of the mosaic. Hopefully it expresses the will of this particular congregation . . . to own the ministry of Peace which is to share that ministry with the world.
One more symbol. The “format” of the mosaic is a spiral. That is a form of labyrinth which is on the ground in front of it, inviting all to walk with their feet in view of the mosaic where they can walk with their eyes. Both labyrinth and spiral suggest motion, a movement from the ancients to the present, from the now to the next, from birth to forever. And that movement is done in the context of all people of all faiths.
The oldest “symbol” is the script above the dove’s head. It is a Sanskrit OM that symbolizes the divine principle of Hinduism. Moving to the right we come to the Clover Leaf, a Christian symbol of the Holy Trinity which leads to the three blue “waves” of the water of Baptism. Continuing in this direction we come to the Crescent Moon and the dome of a mosque, signs of the Moslem faith.
Next is the beautiful Buddhist symbol of Buddha’s humanity, his footprint, here simplified. There are quite a few varieties of Buddhism as there are of most religions. The next symbol is the Yin Yang motif common in Taoism and Zen Buddhism.
The Tree at the bottom of the mosaic is almost a universal symbol, representing the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, or the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha was enlightened. The Lotus is another symbol of Buddhism and you might ask why it is located on the spiral face to face with the dove and not with the other Buddhist symbols. The reason is simple. I liked it there. It seemed to be a quiet sign between the OM and the Tablets of the Law, a symbol of the Jewish faith, as is the Rainbow that refers to the story of the flood and God’s covenant relationship with God’s people
The primary symbol of this wall, the Dove and olive branch, also comes from this Jewish tradition. Finally, there is along the outside left edge of the mural a ceremonial feather. This refers to the faith of first nation peoples whose symbols are imbedded in natural motifs.
One final symbol. The medium of mosaic and the process by which it is executed must be considered a part of its meaning. Thousands and thousands of pieces of colored glass taking hundreds of hours of labor by friends and strangers symbolize in its execution the process of making peace out of pieces.
Shalom – Shanti – Salaam,
Richard R. Caemmerer, Peace Mosaic Design Artist
To view larger images, additional photographs of the
creation of the mosaic, and the finished work
visit our photo album.