Munich, Germany—To mark the 2018 International Day of Peace, UPF-Munich organized an interreligious peace meeting, as it has done every year for the past ten years.
This year the September 21 event was held in cooperation with, and on the premises of, the Celebrity Center of the Church of Scientology, and was attended by an audience of over 30 representing different religious communities.
As moderator, Billie Wegmann, pastor of the Church of Scientology, offered introductory remarks. Then Annette Bentele, representing UPF, gave a short review of the background of this commemorative day and read the speech for the 2018 celebration given by the United Nations secretary-general.
She was followed by Robert Bentele, the Munich leader of UPF, who gave a talk, illustrated by slides, about the 2018 Peace Road bicycle tour in Munich and Regensburg.
The moderator then guided us in the art of communication as a way to realize peace in daily life through exchange and understanding and even let us practice with each other on the spot.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a video sequence giving an overview of the right to the free practice of religion and respect was shown.
Robert Bentele spoke about the significance of marriage and the family as the best school of love for a peace-loving society. He then, with his wife, offered the World Peace Blessing to all those present.
Recognition was given to the fact that the prayers for peace from different religious communities have great significance.
Gottfried Hutter, a Roman Catholic theologian, dedicated his prayer especially for peace in the Holy Land. Malik Usman Naveed, the imam of the Ahmadiyya community in the town of Neufahrn, remarked that nobody was excluded from Allah’s love, and he recited a Surah (chapter) from the Quran. Marlene Straub, a priest of the Inayati Order of Sufism, recited a prayer for unity and peace from Pir Zia Inayat Khan, the current spiritual leader of her order. Billie Wegmann recited the prayer for total peace from the Church of Scientology, and Rita Okasa, a Christian from South Sudan, recited the Lord’s Prayer in her native tongue of Arabic. In his closing prayer, Wolf Osterheld from UPF mentioned that God as Heavenly Parent has the goal of establishing a united world family.
A further highlight was prayers set to music by Lion Wegmann on the piano, along with Nenad Butic on classical guitar and his daughter Amelia providing vocals.
All the participants could be certain that their prayers not only knocked at Heaven’s door, but really were heard by Heaven.
A lively and fruitful discussion continued over lovingly prepared refreshments, coffee and cake.
(Translated from German by Catriona Valenta.)