USA: An ‘Electric’ World Interfaith Harmony Week in Hawaii
Prepared by UPF USA
The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Hawaii held its third annual “Ceremony of Religious Unity: in support of the United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week” on February 26. More than 60 people from 10 different faiths gathered at the University of Hawaii (UH) Kamakakuokalani Center to promote peace and harmony between all world religions.
The ceremony began with Hawaiian Kahu (priest) Loko’olu Quintero and three Hawai’I Nei Church members giving a welcoming chant and several loud blasts from a sea shell. The quiet auditorium soon erupted with energetic and enthusiastic greetings between guests and representatives. Commendations from the Governor of Hawaii and the Mayor of Honolulu were read by UH students, followed by a video summary of recent UPF events, including the World Summit 2020. Rev. Sage Chee of Ohana Family of the Living God applauded the success of the Peace Starts With Me Clergy Rally in New Jersey before performing a few beautiful songs which elevated the already electric atmosphere.
Then, representatives from the 10 different faiths; Bahai, Buddhism, Christianity, Hawaiian Religion, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Shintoism and Unificationism; took to the stage one by one for the main event: the “We Are One” water ceremony. Each representative received a cup of pure rain water, gave a prayer or reading from their own faith, and poured the water into a large crystal bowl. The mixed sacred water would later be divided and poured into three different areas; the mountains, the ocean and two peace poles at UH representing land.
“It was inspiring and uplifting to see and feel the sacred ceremony,” shared Dr. Jeff Nakama, director of UPF Hawaii. “The variety of religious scriptures and cultural clothing combined with world religions harmonizing into oneness through the mixing of the water was a beautiful sight to behold.”
The event concluded with participants signing the World Harmony Resolution, a pledge to continue fostering peace through interfaith activities, where the Bahai leader remarked, “I really believe our interfaith group is finally coming together as a family.”