Germany: Interreligious Peace Walk
By UPF Germany, Anja Brina
To mark the United Nations International Day of Peace, UPF Dusseldorf organized an “Interreligious Peace Walk”. The aim was to visit different religious groups and to pray with them for world peace.
On Saturday September 24, after a short introduction we started at 10 AM from the UPF centre, Dusseldorf. Twenty-five persons from a number of different religious backgrounds, walked to the first destination, a Catholic place of worship.
Mr. Hermann Müller the founder of the prayer and worship house “Gebetstätte zum Barmherzigen Jesus” (house of prayer for merciful Jesus) welcomed us. After an opening prayer, he shared with us about his life experience and why he had established a catholic worship house in Dusseldorf. After a spiritual experience with Jesus, he knew that his mission was to establish a worship place in Dusseldorf. Mr. Müller immediately followed this calling and without any monetary means, began this very difficult task. Only because of his faith and trust in Jesus, was he able to make it happen.
Every time he needed financial and material support, miraculously someone helped or donated the amount of money needed. On April 2013, the task was finally completed and the house of prayer for merciful Jesus was officially inaugurated by Rev. Msgr. Dr. Thomas Vollmer. The place of worship is open to the public daily from 10-22. At the end, we all sang together the Christian song “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.’’
Then we walked to the Tibetan Buddhist Rigpa Centre, Dusseldorf. Karin Linscheid warmly welcomed us.
First, we could look at the many paintings and the large Buddha shrine in the meditation room before taking a seat in circle. We remain silent for some time and had the opportunity to meditate. Then Karin took the singing bowl and produced a sound to complete the meditation. Karin read to us words of wisdom from Buddhism and Christianity. For some of our group members, it was their first contact with the Buddhist religion. It was a memorable experience for all.
After visiting the Buddhist Center, we walked through the Dusseldorf Volksgarten Park and visited the holy ground, where Herbert Bayer explained its meaning and importance.
From there we walked about half hour to get back to the UPF center for lunch before continuing on to the last destination of the day-the Moroccan mosque. Some of the mosque members welcomed our arrival joyfully. We had the opportunity to visit all the rooms and the main prayer room. We could ask questions and learn a lot about prayer and worship in the Muslim religion. The main Imam invited us to have Moroccan tea with him. It was a good experience even for those in our group for whom this visit was the first contact with Islam.
Following our peace walk, we returned to the UPF center where we enjoyed refreshments and reflected on the day. It was overall a successful day. We were able to create a link between different religions through our peace walk, and a feeling of belonging together.
We are grateful to the religious groups that gave us the opportunity to visit them on our peace walk, and hope to repeat this wonderful experience soon.