Austria: Interreligious and Intercultural Breakfast
By Maria Pammer, UPF Austria
On February, 17th 2018 on the occasion of the World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018, UPF-UA and the Family Federation of Upper Austria organized an interreligious breakfast at Vedahof in Gramastetten/Upper Austria, With the theme “On the Way Searching for God – Find God in All Things, Find God in All Religions”. 45 guests, representatives of eight different religious denominations, gathered for a shared breakfast.
The president of UPF-Austria explained the development of WIHW, initiated 2010 by King Abdullah II. of Jordan. Five religious representatives, one of Islam, Catholicism, the New World Church of The Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Unification Church each, expressed their thoughts on the topic „On the Way Searching for God”.
The subsequent exchange among the guests made very clear, that the common by far prevails over the separating, when people of different religions are entering into a dialogue.
Then all participants went for a joint prayer for peace to the near Prema-Church , a church of the five world religions.
The prayers of the representatives of the respective religions were emphasized by a water ceremony.
It is the idea behind this ceremony that a river does never reject streams entering. The streams symbolize the various religions and denominations coming from different wells, but all of them seek for a common goal, for an ideal, peaceful world. After each representative of a religion had blessed his glass of water with the values of the respective religion according to his rites, he or she then poured the water into a common bowl.
With the song „Irish Blessing“ the choir said good bye to the guests, who made God noticeable in this morning together.