UPF Seattle Celebrates Day of Peace and Prayer
Seattle, WA – Under the theme “The Right to Peace, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70” a great group of persons interested in peace gathered in Windermere House to celebrate the UN International Day of Peace 2018 on September 27th.
The program commenced with an invocation given by AFP Mr. Norberto Caoili, followed by a brief sharing by UPF-WA Executive Director Ray McCready about the Day of Peace founded in 1981 and the relationship of the Universal Peace Federation’s works for education and action for peace to the spirit and purpose of the UN Day of Peace. We recounted the UPF core concept of “All Humankind is one family created by God”, along with information on the founding of the Ambassadors for Peace program in 1991, the Sunhak Peace Prize in 2013 and the international Association of Parliamentarians for Peace in 2016.
Appointed as a new Ambassador for Peace, Ms. Cheryl Lynn Grunenfelder of Washington state shared a short testimony of the work she has be doing over the past three years with her non-profit organization to build wells bringing clean water to the people of Agodjor village in Ghana, with the vision to expand to other villages thereafter.
Mrs. Sarah Nishioka, Director of Women’s Federation for World Peace of WA then gave a talk on “The Meaning of Peace”, using imagery of pebbles dropping into water and the ripples spreading, saying that in a sense each one of us is a pebble dropped by our Creator into this world to make a difference for goodness. Mrs. Nishioka asked us to reconsider the original goal of the Creator and our relationship to that goal. She spoke to her roots as a person of European-Jewish ancestry, now married to a person who came to the US from Japan, and reminded us of the recent Jewish holiday the Day of Atonement over September 18~19, a time to focus on reconciliation between ourselves and the Creator and also with one another.
Hon. Chad Magendanz of Issaquah, a Navy veteran who thereafter worked for Microsoft in internet security, headed his local school board, and was elected to represent the 5th legislative district at the Washington state House of Representatives for 2 terms gave an interesting presentation on “What makes for peace in my town and district?”
Mr. Magendanz, who is running as representative on the State House of Representative, referred to his upbringing in a family with one parent a Democrat and the other a Republican, in which he and his siblings were taught to respect the opinions of others. In his religious upbringing he noted the theme of seeking the truth but also in searching for common ground in all situations. Mr. Magendanz made the point that seeking for peace does not mean that conflict is absent, but that we seek to resolve differences through respectful debate and civil discourse. At the end of his talk, Mr. Magendanz challenged everyone to soon find some person with a different perspective from one’s own and engage in respectful debate and discourse, as an exercise of getting outside of one’s personal “echo chamber”.
After some discussions, AFP Mrs. Lavanya Reddy lead the group in a meditation for peace, which was a great preparation for the final activity which was offering “prayers for peace”. As a usual custom everyone went outside with candles and having both representative and individual prayers centering upon the theme of the International Day of Peace.
Contributed by: Raymond McCready, Executive Director, UPF Washington