5 events: Faisalabad and Hasilpur, Lahore (3 events), Sialkot
Faisalabad and Hasilpur, Pakistan: report by Sr. Sabina Rifat
On the 18th of May, we joined the SOPP in prayers for peace. The children of the WAKE (Women and Kids Education) school in Faisalabad and women of WAKE in Hasilpur offered peace prayers to connect with the ceremony at Fuji Sanctuary. The children performed peace prayers and peace songs, while the young ladies performed a prayerful dance and special prayers for peace all over the world.
In our prayers, we honored all the members of the United Religions Initiative.
Lahore (3 events)
Lahore Press Club Candle Rally: report by Yuel Bhatti
On the evening of May 17th, the Lahore Multiple Cooperation Circles of the United Religions Initiative (URI) organized a peace candle rally at the Lahore Press Club as part of the 2014 Symphony of Peace Prayers. A group of local Christian and Muslim leaders—coordinators of the Lahore MCC and heads of other organizations, including the Bright Future Society, ABC4ALL School, and Heavenly Inheritors Christian Home School—lit peace candles and offered prayers for peace and harmony.
I talked about the Symphony of Peace Prayers and the related Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day, relating that the SOPP event at Fuji Sanctuary kicks off a global symphony of meditation and prayers for peace, and peace lovers from all faiths and cultures gather to meditate and pray together. Other guests agreed that there is great need for peace and harmony in the world, and that we must come forward and unite, as we are facing so many challenges, especially terrorism.
Rev. Dr. Marqus Fida said that throughout the world there is great panic regarding terrorism, and people’s frustration is peaking. Our prayers for peace, he said, are a sign of solidarity with the world. He offered a prayer for world peace and solidarity with Pakistan and its government, especially the armed forces who are facing great challenges from the Taliban, and he prayed for the victims of terrorism. Haji Muhammad Ghulam Rasool also prayed for peace in Pakistan and in the world. He expressed his appreciation for the day’s event, which was publicized in print and electronic media.
International Gospel Mission Church: report by Rev. Dr. Marqus Fida
The Global Mission Awareness Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative celebrated the Symphony of Peace Prayers at the International Gospel Mission (IGM) Church in Lahore, Pakistan, during its Sunday morning service.
As Church Pastor and Chair of Global Mission Awareness, I announced that we would be observing the SOPP and Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day at the church. I also mentioned the large ceremony taking place at Fuji Sanctuary, with thousands of people of various faiths and culture gathered to pray for peace.
I gave a special welcome to Mr. Amir Khokhar and others from Heavenly Inheritors Home/Sunday School. The congregation sang peace songs during the Sunday service, and offered prayers for peace in Pakistan and around the world. I noted that Mr. Yuel Bhatti, Executive Secretary of the URI in Pakistan, was celebrating the same event in Sialkot. I delivered the message that to build peace, it is important to develop strong relations with other faiths and to promote interdenominational unity. After the service, members of the congregation and guests gathered outside with banners from our event.
Ali Park: report by Yuel Bhatti and Amir Khokhar
On the evening of May 18th, the ABC4All (A Better Community for All) Cooperation Circle of the URI and Heavenly Inheritors Home School celebrated the 2014 Symphony of Peace Prayers in the Ali Park neighborhood of Lahore. Mr. Yuel Bhatti was welcomed as Chief Guest of the event.
Mr. Amir Khokhar, Founder of the Heavenly Inheritors Home School, introduced their two projects: Sunday school and Free Home Tuition for children. He mentioned that this was their first event regarding peace, and the children had prepared a special presentation. The children presented a wonderful peace poem, “Tabule,” along with action songs.
Mr. Yuel Bhatti talked about the SOPP and Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day. He also engaged the children in questions about peace and love. The children answered very quickly that education is best tool for learning peace, forgiveness, acceptance, and love. If we adopt these actions, they said, peace will prevail.
Miss Ruby, one of the school’s teachers, expressed her vision about peace, love, and harmony, saying that there is great need for peace within families, in our society, and throughout the world. Miss Saira Pari said that peace activities are essential, and she expressed her wish that Mr. Bhatti could visit periodically and give peace education to the children.
Mr. Bhatti expressed his admiration of all the efforts made by the staff and students of the school, and remarked how it good it was to see Christian and Muslim children studying together—a true example of religious harmony. At the end, candles were lit and prayers were offered for world peace and for solidarity and peace in Pakistan. The children were presented treats and had supper together.
Sialkot, Pakistan: report by Yuel Bhatti
On Sunday, May 18th, the Hunter Memorial Church in Sialkot held prayers for world peace during its regular Sunday service, led by Pastor Manzoor Zia. His sermon was focused on the SOPP and Global Peace Meditation and Prayer Day, and prayers were offered for peace in Pakistan and worldwide, and for the solidarity of our beloved country. Hymns and songs of peace were also part of the service.
Pastor Manzoor Zia remarked that he was thankful to be part of this international event, and to be in solidarity with the people of Japan, who are also celebrating this event at Mount Fuji. He told the congregation that we all have to do our share in the peace process, and that peace begins within us. We have to practice acceptance, forgiveness, and tolerance, and then there will be light and hope for peace.