Gramastetten, Austria—Forty-five guests representing eight religious denominations celebrated the 2018 World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The Upper Austrian branches of UPF and Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an affiliated organization, jointly held an interfaith prayer and breakfast at the Vedahof homestead in the town of Gramastetten.
Peter Haider, the president of UPF-Austria, explained the development of World Interfaith Harmony Week, which was initiated in 2010 by King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Five speakers—representing Islam, Catholicism, the New World Church of the Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Unificationism—each expressed their thoughts on the topic “On the Way Searching for God.”
The subsequent exchange among the guests made it very clear that when people of different religions enter a dialogue, what connects them is greater than what separates them.
Following the breakfast, the participants went to the nearby Prema Church, a church of five world religions, to offer a joint prayer for peace.
This was followed by an interfaith water ceremony. Each representative of a religion held up a glass of water and blessed it with the values of his or her faith, then poured the water into a common bowl.
The idea behind this ceremony is that a river never rejects the streams entering it. The streams symbolize the various religions and denominations coming from different wells, all of them seeking a common goal: an ideal, peaceful world.
With the song Irish Blessing the choir said goodbye to the guests, who brought God’s spirit into their gathering.