USA: UPF NJ Revives Ambassador For Peace Banquet
The Universal Peace Federation in New Jersey in cooperation with the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC)-New Jersey, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU)-New Jersey, and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP)-New Jersey revived the Ambassador for Peace Banquet on December 9, 2017 at the Clifton Family Church Multipurpose Hall and invited old and new Ambassadors for Peace (AFPs) in New Jersey. More than forty people attended the year-end program including twenty AFPs.
The idea is to gather all active AFPs and share with them updates and programs that are underway so that they can be well-informed and could support, promote or participate. Reports and testimonies were given especially on the recently concluded Interreligious Leadership Conference in Seoul, South Korea on November 10-12, 2017 where a new movement called the International Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) has been launched as a partner of the International Association of Parliamentarian for Peace (IAPP) which was earlier launched in 2016.
After the invocation by Rev. Moses Weyhe, the senior pastor of the International Pentecostal Fellowship Church, the New Jerusalem Choir offered some Christmas medley songs then Pastor Manoj Jacob, the district pastor of FFWPU District 3 led the blessing toast. All attendees including eleven guests received the holy juice as a symbolic dedication ceremony for strong marriages and peaceful families as foundations for a peaceful nation and world.
After a sumptuous buffet lunch, Mrs. Genie Kagawa, the executive director of UPF International shared the mission, vision and the work of UPF including the new initiatives such as th SunHak Peace Prize, IAPP and IAPD. She encouraged the AFP to actively support and participate in the work for peace.
Bishop Greg Agulan, the ACLC Coordinator for District 3 shared his reflections on his participation to the Interreligious Leadership Conference where his organization was the co-convenor of the conference. More than 200 clergies from the United States attended the conference. He supported one of the 12 speaking tours of some ministers to Christian churches in Korea. His team was assigned to go to FFWPU Seoul Church or locally called the “Cheon Bok Gung” together with Bishop Jesse Edwards, ACLC National Executive
Ms. Mohamed Mousa, Senior member of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey and a retired United Nations employee also shared his experience at the said conference. He confessed that the gathering of hundreds of religious leaders talking about peace and harmony is very impressive. He said that he never witnessed such kind of large meeting of high profiled leaders. Most interestingly, he shared about the Peace Rally for the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula that brought around 80,000 people at the World Cup Stadium in Seoul. A dozen of religious leaders from different faiths prayed sincerely for the unification of North and South Korea and that war could be evaded and a lasting peace can be achieved. “This is the second best event that I have attended in my entire life”, he concluded.
Mr. Emiljun Rapada, national director of Youth UPF USA briefly shared about the Ambassador for Peace project, after which, together with Mrs. Kagawa appointed three new AFPs namely: Prudencia Achuo, a social-worker helping refugees and the less fortunate children; Kirby Asunto, a Filipino-American international singer; and her mother-manager Shirley Asunto. They have committed to help promote the values and principles of the Ambassador for Peace in particular and UPF in general.
A powerful call to action was delivered by Rev. Denneze Nelson, the chairwoman of WFWP-NJ. She challenged everyone to bring 10,000 next year to attend educational program and activities of UPF but most importantly, she encouraged them to sign up as “peace builders” online at https://us.upf.org/become-a-peace-builder/. Two AFPs signed up as a response of her plea.
The mistress of ceremony, Rev. Carol Pobanz, concluded the program with a final song “Joy to the World” led by the New Jerusalem Choir and a group picture to preserve this year-end gathering of peacemakers.
The organizers announced that this will be an annual gathering and next year will be even bigger and grander occasion celebrating the advancement of peace in New Jersey.