Austria: Interreligious Pentecost in Vienna
By Elisabeth Cook, FFWPU Austria
On Sunday, May 20, the Christian Pentecost holyday, UPF Austria hosted a Service for Unificationists and guests from other religions.
Peter Haider, UPF president, started his sermon with a comparison to the Pentecost two thousand years ago and the Pentecost we experienced recently at True Mother’s visit to Vienna. Just as at that time, when the Holy Spirit came down to the apostles, there were many different ethnic groups present, so it was when True Mother came to Vienna, that members and guests from many different countries had gathered. Also at the UPF conference – which was held as part of overall festive occasion – participants came from 45 different countries, representing many different cultures. The additional founding of IAPD gave the participants of that conference hope, that in future there can be not only more cooperation between different religions, but also between religion and politics.
Elisabeth Brandner, who helped prepare the conference, shared some of her experiences. She had been inviting embassies and cultural associations from countries that were formerly controlled by Yugoslavia, and was happy to be able to welcome many of them at the UPF conference, as well as at the main event. One Bosnian lady called her a few days later, thanking her for the invitation, mentioned that the day after the event while she was drinking coffee with her friends and recalling events at the Stadthalle, they were crying together, because they had never experienced such a moving and beautiful event before!
Elisabeth Brandner belongs to the Croatian minority of Austria, and during the time of the Cold War she was an underground “Butterfly” missionary, serving in Croatia and Slovenia for many years.
Another person who shared his experiences was Herbert Friesacher. For him it was a pleasant surprise to meet his highest superior, the Korean ambassador to Austria, at the conference.
Herbert has been working at a Korean-Austrian trading company for the last decades.
After those testimonies Peter Haider appointed two new persons as Ambassador of Peace, which concluded the Service. The spirit of a new Pentecost could be sensed at this service. It is now up to all of us to spread the good news.