“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!!!