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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 3:15 pm | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 
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Lompoc Church Seeks Peace Prize Nominations

For the sixth time, Lompoc is seeking nominations for the Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize which will be awarded Jan. 31.

“We feel that a good part of the Christian message is to heal division, so we are sometimes called agents of reconciliation,” said the Rev. Charles Arnold, pastor of Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ.

“We want to recognize those who, by their words and actions, promulgated reconciliation and peace during the year,” Arnold said.

The church sponsors the annual prize to highlight residents who have contributed toward peace and understanding in the community. 

For the next year, the winner takes possession of the 24-pound Peace Prize, which stands 2 feet tall and is composed of a black walnut base with a ceramic layer at its hollowed center.

Lauren Pressman, left, 2014 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize winner, poses with the trophy while sitting next another nominee, Luciana Salas Gallegos at the January 2015 ceremony. Click to view larger
Lauren Pressman, left, 2014 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize winner, poses with the trophy while sitting next another nominee, Luciana Salas Gallegos at the January 2015 ceremony. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk file photo)

Three copper loops form an ellipse 18 inches high from the base of the prize, with light flowing through the three bands of copper.

The 2014 Peace Prize was awarded to Lauren Pressman, a counselor at Cabrillo High School who advises a student group working to end bullying, and who regularly sponsors community discussions on a variety of social topics.

Other past winners include Conrad Gonzales of the Boys and Girls Club, Shannon Rose Chavez of the North County Rape Crisis & Child Protection Center, Robert Almanza of Victory Outreach and the Rev. Douglas Conley of the New Life Christian Center.

Each fall, community members and organizations make nominations of individuals who “have contributed to the peace, harmony and understanding of the Lompoc community” and a Peace Prize Committee from the church selects the recipient.

Any adult in the community may nominate a Lompoc Valley resident. People may be nominated twice, but can win the prize only once, organizers said.

The idea for the annual Peace Prize arose during a 2009 church brainstorming session and was embraced by the congregation the next year.

The Peace Prize was dedicated during a morning worship on Aug. 8, 2010, and first awarded at a ceremony in early 2011.

Nominations can be made by calling the church at 805.733.3333 or by calling Allie Kay Spaulding, the nominations chairperson, at 805.741.7000.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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