The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 12, 2013

Peace begins on our front sidewalks

Peter Sickels

---- — The Clinton Peace Coalition is asking community members to share their thoughts on peace in anticipation of this year’s Stop the Hate / Show the Love Annual Walk for Peace on Sept. 19th. This week, Pastor Peter Sickels writes about his thoughts on peace. This year’s theme is “Peace begins with…”

Peace Begins With…

I want to make peace with my neighbors — yep, the ones on my street!!

Recently, I was training for the RAGBRAI ride across Iowa. After one afternoon jaunt to Camanche on the nice new path on the south side of Camanche Avenue, I returned to my home on Fifth Avenue South to see two young men with bicycles on the sidewalk. One had turned his upside down. So I walked over in my riding outfit and asked what was going on? One said his chain had come off and the other said, are you one of those professional cyclists? The easy answer was I’m just training for a ride across Iowa. They were suitably impressed!

Then I noticed the bike with the chain problem had no gears, unlike mine, so no easy way to get the chain back on. We fiddled with it for a while, and finally got it back on the sprockets. He said he thought the chain came off because the chain guard had rubbed against it. So we bent it out a little, and I said, that chain could also use some lubrication! It was a bit rusty and completely oil free. So I asked them to wait a second while I ran to get some oil. With that accomplished, we turned the bike right-side up, and squeezing the tires, I said, these need some air! And he said yeah, like I need some food. We laughed, and I got the pump, plus a couple trail mix bars and Gatorades.

All was ready to go, and they did! While we were working on the bike, a neighbor woman stopped and admired the fact that we were working together to get him going again. I didn’t even look up but said, “Yeah, I love helping people ride bikes.”

That was the first time in two years of living here that I had a chance to meet my neighbors, especially to do anything for them. As I entered my apartment I thought, man that felt good to do that — like I’m a part of the community now. I felt safer, warmer, happier...

The next day someone asked me to write this article and I knew exactly what to write! At best, peace begins on our front sidewalk!

The Clinton Peace Coalition invites community members to show their support for peace in our community, by participating in this year’s Stop the Hate / Show the Love Annual Walk for Peace on Thursday, Sept. 19. Pre-walk activities will begin at 4:45 p.m. at Clinton Community College, with the opening program beginning at 5:15 p.m. The walk will begin at 5:30 p.m., concluding at Ashford University with a short closing program and refreshments. All are welcome to attend this free, community event. The Peace Walk is planned by the Clinton Peace Coalition. Members of which are comprised from Clinton Community College, Sisters of St. Francis, YWCA-Clinton, Ashford University, Prince of Peace Schools, Unity Center of Clinton, and community members. For more information about the Peace Walk, please contact Mardell Mommsen at (563) 244-7006 or visit the YWCA website at