UK: Annual Interfaith Meeting
By Elizabeth Marshall, FFWPU UK
On November 19, 2017 we hold our annual Interfaith meeting and there were 13 people present who all came by invitation. We had 3 Ahlulbayt Muslims, 2 Latter Day Saint members and one Nepalese man I just invited the day before having come across his ‘phone number in my diary. 7 members from FFWPU attended.
I started the proceedings by reading a letter from Rev Brian G. Cooper from “Unite for Peace” where he is the Interfaith Secretary and editor of his quarterly magazine. He is a retired Baptist minister who is over 80 years old yet still works very hard for peace traveling down to London regularly to his meetings in the House of Lords. We are very grateful to him for his support and hope he recovers very soon.
Jeffrey Allard from FFWPU was our very experienced MC for the evening and he made a very good job, as usual, of making sure everything went smoothly.
Our first speaker was our friend, Asif Sheikh from the Scottish Ahlulbayt Society who attended with his adult son. Asif gave a wonderful talk about Muslim family values and stated that Filial Piety was very important and that we need to understand what it means. He went on to say that the Almighty commands us to behave well towards our parents. And he also said don’t expect people to be merciful to you if you are not respectful to others and that prayer is no good if you don’t care for your neighbors. As regards children he said kids want to be brought up by pious parents. If the parents have a good name and have piety, mum, dad and child will stay together forever. The mother nurses her child giving the best of her soul every day while the father is the disciplinarian although physical violence is not allowed but you just need ground rules.
Our second speaker was Andrew Patterson from the Latter Day Saints. Another very friendly person from their group also attended. Andrew said that Christ is our Lord and Saviour. He looked up filial piety which means to honor your father and mother. He said God in Heaven is our Creator of Heaven and Earth – the Holy One. We refer to him as our Father and we are his children. His parents’ example helped him although he said it is sometimes difficult to listen to your parents. God sets a good example, he continued, citing “Honor they Father and Mother” from the Bible. He said though that in today’s culture some don’t see parents as important. He said we can learn from different faiths. He affirmed that parents should always be treated with respect but if the parents are abusive to the children the children can’t function.
Our third speaker was our FFWPU member Maryann McDonald who said that through the Divine Principle from Rev Moon God can help us to grow She said: Rev Moon gave an example – If there is a singer alone on an island what use is it to sing if there is no-one to hear. Parent and child share through a giving and receiving action of subject and object. In the Bible we read of the 3 Great Blessings; Be fruitful, Multiply and have Dominion. God created us to reflect different aspects of himself so that is why we see different things in different people. Handel’s Messiah is one example of genius. He was unwell but God inspired him and he produced the best music in history in 3 weeks. He gave the proceeds to charity and was a new man after that. She said True Father told us to leave our children our books which are mainly about Peace. Culture can be sharing our values and our hearts with each other. She ended her talk by saying that seeing different cultures can melt people’s hearts.
The finale was a video recording of the Little Angels drumming. Maryann also mentioned the we had a Rally for the Peaceful Unification of North and South Korea recently in the Olympic Stadium in Korea where many faiths expressed their support for the work of FFWPU. The crowd present numbered over 30,000 and there were many other Speeches and entertainment.
We had teas and coffees and friendly chat afterwards downstairs in the foyer. Thanks to all who came.