UDC’s Rev. Stephen Longfellow Fiske recently updated his website. He helps lead regular interfaith events in the Los Angeles area and plays music internationally at a variety of events. You can attend, follow along with what he’s up to, or check out his artistic accomplishments here.
The annual Peace Sunday, this year being called “Peace Sunday Festival”, is scheduled for September 21st, just four weeks from today. It will be held at the IMAN Cultural Center, 3376 Motor Ave., Los Angeles 90034. This year’s theme will be “Every human being has a right to peace”. Please note that the United Nations International Day of Peace is on Sunday this year, and it is the same day as our Peace Sunday Festival. The website is www.peacesunday.org For information call 424-228-2087, 310-396-8205, or 310-200-3598. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace Sunday Festival 2014 is convened by the Unity-and-Diversity World Council, and there are twenty sponsoring organizations. Sponsors are responsible to help plan the event, and this year’s Steering Committee is a most outstanding one. We also have co-sponsors, who help publicize the event. So far there are about twenty-five co-sponsors, and that number will considerably increase between now and the event.
Now is a most unstable and violent time in the world, which gives every reason for having a Peace Sunday Festival. This year’s event will not only present an outstanding program, but several new features will be part of it. First of all, we will have several different youth activities: a schools project focused on “What is Peace?”, which includes essays, poetry, and artwork, led by Diane Burton and Ron Klemp. There will be 20’x20’ booth with youth activities, led by Barbara Tebyani. Gayle Gale will have a booth to develop her “Kids for Peace”. Diane Tillman of the Brahma Kumaris will have a session during the afternoon program for youth focused on “Living Values”.
The trailer of “Beyond Right and Wrong” will be shown, which is a popular film helping to reconcile victims and perpetrators from acts of violence. Conflicts in various parts of the world could learn much about how to reconcile their difficulties from the teachings in this film.
Peace Sunday will likewise focus on action following up on this event. Three areas of action are being included: (1) Preparing for the 2015 Peace Sunday Festival celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the 50th anniversary of Unity-and-Diversity World Council. (2) Beginning a second year of the Culture of Peace Series. (3) Forming an ongoing body of organizations and individuals similar to the Security Council of the United Nations, which will take action on specific areas of need as are within our possibility of making a positive difference in our communities and/or the world.
There will be tables and booths in the IMAN Center parking lot throughout the day by various participating organizations. An interfaith service will be held from 10 a.m. till noon, ending with participation in a worldwide one-minute meditation. After lunch the program will be held from 2-5 p.m. It will feature spiritually and politically involved Marianne Williamson as a keynote speaker, songs from the International Peace Choir, musician Yuval Ron and fellow musicians, singer/songwriter Stephen L. Fiske, and the World Peace Prayer and Flag Ceremony. A second keynote speaker and a surprise element are being planned.
On Saturday, September 20th, 6-9 p.m., there will be a Recognition Celebration concluding the first Peace Convergence and the monthly Culture of Peace Series. Honored will be the sector facilitators from the Convergence, the presenters from the Culture of Peace Series, and the people who attended the majority of the monthly Series.
The evening will begin with a potluck supper at 6 p.m. in the small auditorium at the IMAN Center.
About two weeks after the Peace Sunday Festival the special meeting will be held to begin the ongoing body of organizations and individuals who choose to form a “Security Council” to take cooperative actions as needed during the coming year.
May peace prevail on earth!!!
“Yet so shall it be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”
Baha’i Faith, Science and Spirituality, page 171
June 21st was the date of the summer solstice, and for the Shift Network it was the beginning time of the Summer of Peace, which continues until the 21st of September, the International Day of Peace as well as the fall equinox. On Saturday, June 21st, the Shift Network held a sacred ceremony on a conference call which included an opening prayer by Native American leader Arvol Looking-Horse, prayers by several evolutionary leaders introduced by Shift Network CEO Stephen Dinan, and a spiritual deepening by the founder of Pathways to Peace, Avon Mattison.
Following these words of prayer and a couple of silences, Fumi Stewart of the World Peace Prayer Society led a version of the prayer ritual known as “May Peace Prevail on Earth” that mentions the countries of the world one by one in groups – Europe, Middle East, Asia, North and South America, and Africa – followed in each group by “May peace prevail on earth”.
Having experienced this deeply sacred gathering, I was most impressed with the feeling of inner and outer peace that was created. It is most reassuring to know the power of prayer and meditation that can be created on a conference call, and to be aware of the number of people who participated in this meaningful occasion. This event was held under the auspices of the Shift Network, with the special participation of Pathways to Peace and the World Peace Prayer Society. Fumi Stewart and others of the World Peace Prayer Society have taken part several times over the years in Peace Sunday and its predecessor, the International Cooperation Festival.
This year the Unity-and-Diversity World Council will convene the Peace Sunday Festival in cooperation with a large number or sponsors and co-sponsors, held with its host, the IMAN Cultural Center in West Los Angeles. This year there will be a large youth segment, including an essay/poetry/art project in various schools. In addition there will be a booth with young people’s activities. Another youth program is also being proposed.
It is especially important to be aware that next year, 2015, is the 70thanniversary of the United Nations and the 50th anniversary of the Unity-and-Diversity World Council. The plan is to hold a much larger event at that time and to invite direct participation of the United Nations. Every ten years since the founding of the U.N. in 1945 in San Francisco the U.N. has sent a delegation to San Francisco to participate in its anniversary celebration – 1955, 1965…1995, 2005, and now 2015. Each year has had some special aspect of its celebration. In 1955 a Festival of Faith was held in the Cow Palace the night before the U.N. sessions, with 16,000 people participating. In 1995 the interfaith celebration at Grace Cathedral gave birth to the United Religions Initiative (URI), which now has cooperation circles throughout the world in about sixty countries.
It is our hope that the United Nations will choose also to be represented in Los Angeles at the time of the U.N. International Day of Peace.
May peace prevail on earth!!!