EU: Seminar on the UPF Vision and Peace Principles
By Jacques Marion, UPF UPF Europe & Middle East
UPF Europe & Middle East organized a Seminar on the UPF Vision and Peace Principles at Glory House, a beautiful hotel located on the dunes of the North Sea in the beach resort village of Bergen Aan See, in the Netherlands on July 13 – 15, 2018
25 participants – including staff – coming from 7 nations of Europe, the Middle East and Eurasia attended the two-day seminar that began on July 13 afternoon and ended on July 15 afternoon. Participants ranged from long-time Peace Ambassadors like Dr and Mrs Glaubach from Israel, to recent contacts of UPF like Pastor Sostha Muvuma and his wife, a Christian couple from Belgium. On Sunday morning six local Peace Ambassadors and guests were invited by UPF Netherlands to join the last two presentations.
The purpose of the seminar was to share the UPF Founders’ vision motivating UPF activities and engage participants to take part in the various UPF initiatives – notably the recently launched Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD).
Several faiths were represented: Judaism, Islam, the Druze religion, the Mormon religion, and some of the main traditions of Christianity.
The seminar began with a self- introduction of participants, then with welcoming remarks by UPF Europe & Middle East President Dr Otsuka and by FFWPU Europe & Middle East chairs Dr and Mrs Balcomb. In the second session, Dr Balcomb gave a presentation on the UPF Founders’ life entitled “A Determined Man, an Inspired Woman”.
Two sessions on the Principles of Creation entitled “UPF Principles of Peace” were presented by Robin Marsh, UPF UK Secretary General, followed by a presentation on the “Cause and Consequences of the Human Fall” by David Hanna, President of FFWPU Northern urope. Then UPF Europe Secretary General Jacques Marion spoke on the “Restoration of Love and the Advent of the Messiah” and concluded with a presentation entitled “Toward a world of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values” on the current need of a “third reformation”.
On Saturday evening we had a relaxing dinner at a restaurant on the beach, followed by entertainment at Glory House with Hans Campman on the piano, Derk van Dorsten (the Glory House director) on the guitar, a few passionate sing-along participants, and a great Russian dancer.
Saturday and Sunday morning, before breakfast, optional meditation time gave an opportunity to a few participants to share about their faith.
The Seminar concluded with two sessions on Sunday morning: one presentation on “Marriage and the Blessing” by David Hanna, and one final session entitled “What, So What and What Now?” guided by Dr Balcomb, who asked participants to share, before the camera, brief reflections on their experience in the seminar and their advice on developing IAPD in Europe and the Middle East.
On this high note, the seminar ended. From the few reflections already given by participants, this was obviously a positive experience. As a first regional- level seminar of this kind after the Vienna event, it will be repeated and improved, so that we can benefit more from the wealth of knowledge and experience of UPF Peace Ambassadors to fulfil our God-given responsibility.
I cannot end this report without expressing our gratitude to the Netherlands members who supported with devotion the seminar by organizing transport from and to the airport, and as staff in Glory House.