Ohio Chapter of the Universal Peace Federation honors UN International Day of Peace

UN International Day of Peace

Saturday September 19, 2015

Columbus, OH – Honoring the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, The Ohio Chapter of the Universal Peace Federation united representatives from various service groups under the theme “Partners for Peace, Dignity for all.” The Columbus Family Federation for World Peace graciously offered use of their facilities and beautifully decorated the hall with national flags from all over the world.

Registration began at 10 A.M. and the 40 participants gathered around the coffeepot for fellowship and doughnuts. Master of Ceremonies Chris Fox introduced himself, warmly welcomed the participants and gave a brief overview of the day’s program. A local band featuring Scott Miller and singer Clinton Heights offered a rousing piece. We then experienced an unexpected honor as Chris Fox introduce Richard de Sena, Director of UPF America who had flown in from New York that morning. Richard shared intriguing facts about his life experiences (including an impressive photo of him together with UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon).  He then explained how UPF-USA is transforming itself from an event-driven organization to a grass-roots movement to establish peace councils in cities where UPF is organized.

Sgt. Robert B. Steele spoke on the topic: Veterans for Peace. He is a United States Marine Corps Veteran (Korea), who had been honored in Washington D.C. with the “Parents of the Year” Award by the National Parents’ Day Council. An Ambassador for Peace for many years, he supports the 5 principles of UPF in his work as board member to Greene County Council on Aging, Metropolitan Housing.

Addressing the issue of Youth and Service. Ms. Joscelyn Baez, a 4th year zoology major at The Ohio State University has been an “I Know I Can” Academic Scholarship winner. She greatly moved the audience with her story of overcoming domestic violence, addiction and attempted suicide.

Prior to lunch, Rev. Josef Schrattenecker presented a talk on Marriage and Family Unity. He highlighted one of UPF’s key principles with vivid examples on living for the sake of others in our marriages and in our lives.

Margaret Kim and Miyo Horiwaki provided a delicious lunch. Each table received a flask of sparkling cider and special glasses. Before reconvening for the afternoon program, Pastor Frank Sanchez led us all in a toast for Peace; in the world, in our families, and in ourselves.

Next on the schedule, Rev. Dr. Linda Hancock-Troxel spoke on Interreligious Harmony. Linda is the founder and president of Poetry and Praise Productions, Inc. Through hosting her own television and radio programs, she encourages other poets to share their talents and publish their work. One part of her speech that captured attention related how we must stop and listen – not just talk and talk.

Ms. Carmen Allen, our final presenter, gave a rousing talk on Empowering Communities towards Peace. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for IMPACT Community Action. After 20 years of public service, she knows the tragedies and triumphs of being poor and has dedicated her career to providing motivational and inspirational information that helps the impoverished. Keeping families together is a vital part of the fabric of our society for today and tomorrow.

After a break, each table formulated questions to ask the panel of speakers. There were good questions with lots of interaction. Suddenly, Ms. Allen received a text message from her children, that they had been in a traffic accident and she needed to leave.  We all took a moment to pray for her and the children and found out later that no one was seriously injured.

Now came a shining moment – presenting Ambassador for Peace certificates to eight well-deserving individuals. Each recipient spoke briefly on their contributions to peace. All said, “I am honored to receive this recognition.” Many in the audience and on stage were moved to tears.

Finally, we gathered for a group photo and held hands while singing, “Let there be peace on earth.” What a wonderful gathering this had been! A great opportunity to uplift one another with peace, hope and unity.

Many thanks to the band with good music, the kitchen team with good food, the video and sound men, the ladies and men who decorated the room, and all who helped to make this event a success. We anticipate keeping the ball rolling by working toward a Peace Council for Columbus.


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