Unification News for October 2003
Ambassadors for Peace Conference In LA
by Rev. Henning
Saturday, October 11, a great victory for world peace under one God and a new start for 52 newly appointed Ambassadors of Peace took place at the Downey Community Center from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. After a dynamic performance of the Unity Singersí, "Unity in the Community" song, the MC, Councilman Keith McCarthy of Downey delivered his welcoming remarks and Rev. Brown of Pasadena gave a heartfelt invocation. The event was well attended. 124 Ambassadors for Peace and guests and 67 members participated, but several members of those "members" who are lawyers, bank managers or a city council member already have joined the ranks of Ambassadors for Peace. The audience included many Christian clergy, but also Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and many leaders in education, business, media, finance, sports, and representatives of NGOís including the United Nations Association.
Mr. Antonio Betancourt, the Secretary General of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace spoke on the mission of the Ambassadors for Peace. He challenged all present to go the way of Peace unaccomplished in Adamís time and through all of history. The way pioneered by the True Parents, he said, is the true and ultimate solution to human conflict. Each couple, he emphasized, must study the Divine Principle and follow the model course of the True Parents. His very direct message was well received and the full-spectrum of IIFWP activities was covered in a 17-minute overview video which was presented directly following his presentation. Each participant received a packet at the registration desk containing "The Seeds of True Peace:
The Fruits of True Love", a CD overview of IIFWP and True Parentsí Ministry and also a copy of the book World Leaders Speak: The Messiah Has Come, and the Founderís Address at the Inaugural Assembly of the Interreligious and International Peace Council, as well as an invitation and registration form for the third Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a response form questionnaire.
Imam Haitham Bundakji, the President of the Islamic Society of Orange County testified about the tremendous power for peace of nearly five-hundred clergy including the three abramic faiths and several other religions. He spoke with great enthusiasm that this is the only way to realize peace; that Rev. Moon is the only one bringing this level of unity between the divided peoples of many religious views.
Mr. Andrew Weis shared a warm and wonderful testimony of his experience at the interfaith conference in Jerusalem. He told of triumph over concepts first around the table and later at his own family meetings here in California. The testimonies were echoed in a five minute video entitled "Peace Under One God: Pilgrimage for Reconciliation". Rev. Manly of San Diego spoke strongly about the UN demonstration and the Inaugural Assembly of the Interreligious International Peace Council. He pointed out that Jesus calls us to demonstratehis standard of love for others. Ms. Norma Foster, President of the Pacific-Los Angeles Chapter of the United Nations Association, shared her hope for peace through the unity of leaders of faith in actions for peace. The hope, she shared, is not in contemplation, but action.
The Conference proved to be a festival of song as well as soul-stirring testimony. Dr. James Gambrell, CEO of a production company and soloist for Mt. Zion Baptist, poured his heart into the lyrics of "To God Be the Glory" and received a standing ovation. Next, Ms. Blinky Williams, director of the Hollywood Choir, brought the crowd to their feet to sing "Let Their Be Peace on Earth" as one huge chorus. This simple song had an amazing effect of raising the spirit through having everyone present in full participation. Then Rev. Godwin DíSilva, the IIFWP Co-convenor in Los Angeles read aloud a selection from the Founderís Address at the Inaugural Assembly of the Interreligious and International Council for Peace as each participant followed along in their own copy.
Next, new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed in groups of ten. Each time the certificates were presented by Mr. Antonio Betancourt and Bishop Baek Joong Ku to the new Ambassadors and a commemorative photo was taken. Fifty-two Ambassadors were appointed at that time, another nine high-level leaders will be appointed in smaller ceremonies in the greater Los Angeles area in the next two weeks.
The meeting came to a conclusion with a home-cooked luncheon. Fruit and vegetable plates were brought to the tables and a buffet sandwich line provided turkey and beef sandwiches on fresh baked French bread, a whole variety of salads and potato-onion soup (a real crowd pleaser). Rev. Hart gave the blessing for the food and it was evident in his prayer that he was truly inspired. The Unity Singers and the Sadoc Christian Singers (pictured below) rocked the place during the luncheon. The spirit moved and dozens stood clapping a swaying to the sounds of the Sadoc Christian Singers.
Rev. Hart wrote in his reflection paper, "This has to be one of the greatest events in my life. I have a different opinion of unity now. Peace is greater than any of us. Thanks for the video presentation. We were able to see and hear from those who were seated at our tables. This was my first meeting [with IIFWP] and I was indeed impressed."
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