Munich, Germany—International Day of Peace 2016 was observed by UPF-Munich with an interreligious peace prayer.
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of UPF, once said: "When you pray for the world, you may not see immediate changes around yourselves, but far away from you forces of war start to crumble. The effects of your prayers can be felt at a faraway place."
Twenty representatives of five religious communities came together in the UPF Peace Embassy in Munich on September 24 to present their requests for peace with heart and zeal. The focus of their prayers was the Middle East and in particular Syria.
The event started by watching a video of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s official statement on the 2016 International Day of Peace. Next the host and moderator, UPF-Munich Secretary General Robert Bentele, presented the Principles of Peace of UPF, which is in a consultative status to the UN and supports its endeavors for peace.
The prayer ceremony began with every speaker lighting a candle at the small altar that had been set up.
Marlene Straub, a priest of the Inayati Sufi-Order and an Ambassador for Peace, presented a prayer of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the founder of that order: "Oh, peacemaker, before you try to make peace in the world, create first peace within yourself. If a person wants to experience peace in the world, he must first create peace within himself. .... Has he once reached peace within himself, then he has enough strength to invest himself in the battle of life internally as well as externally."
Gisela Muenster, a theologian, then presented a prayer from the Roman Catholic tradition, asking God for light in the darkness of human situations: “God, we ask You: For those who live in the darkness of hate, grant them the experience of love. ... God, we ask You: For those who live in the darkness of war, grant them peace.”
Marion Tschenal from the Munich chapter of the Church of Scientology read a text and the credo of her faith. Then she lit several candles for her requests for peace and freedom.
The following speaker was Gottfried Hutter, a Roman Catholic theologian and an Ambassador for Peace. He spoke about the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, explaining how the two brothers got into a nearly lethal conflict and how they could solve it and reconcile in tears after a separation of 21 years. Dr. Hutter said he tirelessly tries to show this example of peacemaking to responsible persons in the Middle East in the hope that it may be applied on a higher level.
The program concluded with a prayer for peace from the Unificationist tradition (Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, an organization that is affiliated with UPF) that was offered by Annette Bentele. After the official end of the program, the participants had a vivid exchange and discussion over cake and coffee.