Peace Road Celebrates World Peace Day and the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights
Fairfax, Virginia – A Peace Road event with approximately 45 participants was held on Saturday, September 29, 2018 under the theme, “The Right to Peace: Connecting the World Through Peace Road.” The program was organized by UPF-Virginia in partnership with the local chapters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) and the American Clergy Leadership Conference.
The event commenced at the NOVA Family Learning Center with welcome remarks from UPF Virginia executive director, Mrs. Barbara Moseley-Marks, who expressed gratitude to all the participants for attending the inaugural event of the Peace Road in Virginia. She gave an impassioned call for the end of violence, not only in far off nations around the world, and she pointed to the child soldiers who are forced to serve in suicide missions, but also local children who are victims of drive-by shootings. Mrs. Marks also explained that the day’s Peace Road honors the International Day of Peace and the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, milestone programs of the United Nations.
Alex Cromwell, an instructor at American University shared about his work in peacebuilding with youth groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the significance of the UN International Day of Peace. He said that when young people are taught to hate others, for example in the case of Israeli and Palestinian youth, they tend to carry those values throughout their lives. He shared a moving story about a Palestinian whose perspectives changed when he attended a school with Israelis and came to have first-hand experiences. “We have a choice,” Alex said,“to repeat the cycle of violence or begin to see others with compassion and love.”
Dr. William Selig explained the initiation and history of the Peace Road, which is based on the philosophy of UPF founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. The Peace Road, which begins from South Africa, is intended to link the world’s nations together in the name of peace and to encourage people to live as one family under God.
The Interfaith Water Ceremony followed with representatives of different faiths. One by one, the clergy poured water into a large bowl and offered powerful prayers for peace and good will. Faith leaders included: Bishop John Allen, Sr., founder of the Greater Pentecostal Temple of Christ, Fairfax, VA; Mrs. Rhonda Williams, art teacher and interfaith activist; Pastor Sunday ThankGod, Senior pastor at Jesus Saves Deliverance ministry in Columbia, MD; and Rev. Werner Seubert, Pastor, NOVA Family Church.
The participants posed in front of the Learning Center for a group photo, then Mrs. Marks began the Peace Road with a “flag off.” Yoshi Takashima and Tetsuya Nomura led the marchers from the Learning Center to Gateway Regional Park. Yoshi, who recently completed a 2-year GAP program in Europe was pleased with the day’s events. He said, “Peace has to begin in the family, then it can spread to the community.” Tetsuya, a sophomore at Northern Virginia Community College, hopes more young people can recognize the importance of the Peace Road and its value to raise awareness about our global situation.”
Contributed by Dr. William Selig