France: Interreligious Service
By UPF France, David Perry, January 3, 2016: For more than a year we have been trying organize an interreligious service once a month for all of the members in the Paris region and their guests. The usual format was that our national leader, Mr. Jean-François Moulinet, would invite one other religious leader and the two of them would speak on the same subject.
For our first service of 2016, he had a different idea. He invited a number of Ambassadors of Peace, including some religious leaders, but this time only he spoke on the theme” Wishing you a Happy New Year and Good Health.” This is a very commonly used expression in France as the New Year begins.
In his message he explained how good health is more than physical health. There is also our spiritual health (relation with God), emotional health (relation with oneself), relational health (relation with others), financial health (relation with money), professional/educational health and vocational health (relation with the providence).
When he finished four religious leaders were asked to say a few words and offer a prayer or benediction to begin the New Year. In the order of the religion’s providential position we heard from a Rabbi, a Buddhist Venerable, an Evangelical Pastor and an Imam. All four of them were touched by the atmosphere of our service and shared deeply about being grateful to be able to participate together with us.
We finished with a group photo of our leaders with the four religious leaders and other Ambassadors of Peace in attendance. After the group photo the Rabbi and the Imam embraced with a feeling of sincere fraternal love. Everyone felt that they had truly experienced a good beginning to this New Year.