Interfaith Prayer Breakfast Calls for Love and Understanding
Fairfax, VA—An Interfaith Prayer Breakfast was held on April 14th at the NOVA Family Church. About 35 guests and Ambassadors for Peace gathered at the invitation of the Virginia chapter of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) directed by Mrs. Barbara Moseley-Marks and co-hosted by the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) led by Mrs. Michiko Yokoyama.
A welcome prayer and blessing of the food was offered by the host pastor, Rev. Werner Seubert of the NOVA Family Church. After a delicious and hearty breakfast, the guests had a chance to introduce themselves and share their personal ministry. It was immediately apparent that an extraordinary group had gathered representing various cultures and nations, including Nepal, Pakistan, Japan, Germany, Korea, Guyana and that each person had found meaningful ways to make the world a better place.
New information and inspiring thoughts were expressed as we went around the room. The guests from Nepal explained that today (April 14) is celebrated as the New Year and more than 120 languages are spoken in their country. Naila and Yasmeen Durrani, sisters originally from Pakistan shared about Express Care, the non-profit humanitarian organization they founded to train low-income individuals, immigrants, refugees and place them into jobs.
UPF International President and UPF-USA Chairman Thomas McDevitt testified about the co-founders of the host organizations, the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, and their profound love for America. Bishop John L. Allen, Sr., founder of The Greater Pentecostal Temple of Christ of Fairfax Virginia, said: “Love must be shared and practiced. It is not something to put on a shelf; we must go out and put love into action.” His wife, Pastor Gloria Oteromartinez-Allen admonished the virtues of love in a secular society. Life can be hard at times, she said, but always strive to put God first and then everything else will fall into place.
Even though we were meeting for the first time a common theme seemed to emerge – we are all God’s children and that we must find ways to work together. After the introductions, Dr. William Selig, emcee, introduced a short video about UPF’s activities, including Africa Day, UN International Days of Peace and Family, interfaith consultations, Middle East Peace Initiatives, International Leadership Conferences, and World Assemblies.
Keynote speaker Rev. Randall Francis, ACLC District 1 Director gave an introduction followed by a video presentation about the activities of ACLC, including prayer breakfasts, ACLC Women in Ministry, programs to strengthen marriage and the family, and ACLC’s goal to bless one million couples by the year 2020.
After Rev. Francis’ presentation, three Ambassadors for Peace were appointed by Mrs. Barbara Moseley-Marks, Executive Director, UPF-Virginia. The honorees included: Mr. Ram Prasad Khanal (Nepali community leader), and Ministers Ravi & Shashi Chopra (Hindu priest couple). BRTNepal, the Nepali newsportal carried a report about the event.
Participants were invited to participate in a Blessing Toast for Marriage & Family. Led by Yuji & Michiko Yokoyama, everyone stood, faced their spouses and with grateful hearts toasted to the sanctity of marriage and the blessings of the Almighty upon our families and nation.
The closing prayer was offered by Min. Amar Nath Gupta, head priest of the Hindu Capital Temple, who blew into a sacred conch-shell and called on all the attendees “to lead a peaceful life.”
Group photos were taken with the leadership of the FFWPU Southeast Subregion, Rev. Ernest Patton, director, and Mrs. Jongsook Moon, secretary general. Participants lingered afterwards to keep talking and share about different topics with old and new friends. Organizers and guests agreed that the event successfully fulfilled its objective to bring together representatives from the local community and religious leaders in the spirit of interfaith prayer for the well-being and spiritual happiness of our community.
Contributed by: Barbara Moseley-Marks and Dr. William Selig