International Day of Peace 2015 in Iceland
By UPF Iceland, Rohan Nandkisore: The UPF Event in Iceland was aligned with the UN Day of Peace. Preparations soon started after the event last year held in the Frikirkjan Reykjavik.
This time the Hallgrimskirkja generously opened its doors wide for this event. The priest at this church Sigurdur Árni Þórdarson had studied alongside with Dr. Walsh in the United States in his early years.
The Hallgrimskirkja is by far the biggest church in Iceland and a national symbol of Christianity.
The windows are without colors or decoration, but designed in a way, that if the sun shines and the angle are right the church is bathed in shining light. Exactly this happened on this day, whereas the days before the event the weather as so often had been bad.
The event was nicely enriched by the front singer of the international renowned music band GusGus, Daniel Águst Haraldsson and the best Icelandic soprano singer Hallveig Rúnarsdóttir. Daniel sang a song free of charge.
The speakers were besides Sigurdur, leaders of Soka Gakai, Ása Trua (Pagan faith), Islam, the free Lutheran church, Ahmaddiyya Muslims and UPF representative Rohan Nandkisore.
There were 50 participants who stayed from beginning to end, most participated in the bridge of peace ceremony as well. Especially during the songs the church filled up, so that some- times there were unknown numbers of onlookers coming and going, since the church was open, but not disturbing.
Outstanding was the speech of Hjörtur Magni who was still amazed by his participation at the world summit in Seoul. He especially was inspired by the Sunhak Peace price and that now “coincidentally” the most powerful religious lea- der and the most powerful political leader met in the United States to discuss matters of cli- mate change.
Mr. Nandkisore speech was centered on the piece making effort of our founder, mentioning the recent aid in the Pacific and Nepal. Having a lady as a co-founder of a religion in these times is surely an advantage and Mr. Nandkisore expressed his deep satisfaction about it.
Next we had a bridge of peace ceremony which was highly appreciated and elevated the already bright spirit of this day. The first persons to hug each other were real enemies of the past, Sigurdur (National Church) and Hjörtur Frikirkjan) who had been criticizing the National church for quite some years. In the beginning Sigurdur had difficulties to announce Hjörtur even as a speaker.