12 events: Bayview, ID; Chicago, IL (2); Cornwall, CT; Croton Fall, NY; Gardena, CA; Iowa City, IA; New York City, NY; Oakland, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Sandpoint, ID; Seattle, WA
Bayview, Idaho, United States: report by Mary Lou Brannigan
My husband Harvey, his son and daughter-in-law, and I went down to the water’s edge to celebrate the SOPP. We live on beautiful Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho. Our prayers went out across the water for all the countries and their leaders. When we started our prayers, a rainbow appeared amidst the grey skies—it was fantastic! It was about the same time that the SOPP started in Japan. Our collected prayers came together and created a rainbow! May peace prevail on Earth!
Chicago, Illinois, United States (Peace School): report by Jennifer Kim
In Chicago, we held a global world peace meditation on Saturday night, the same time as the Fuji Sanctuary event. 17 people took part here at the Peace School, and at least ten more joined in at home. Our diverse group included people from South Korea, Germany, China and Saudi Arabia. Some of our friends and family members also joined from home, including my mother-in-law, a couple from Iowa and their son in Colorado. We used the languages of each country in our prayers for peace, which was a new experience. It was wonderful being connected to Fuji Sanctuary and all of you around the world!
Chicago, Illinois, United States: report by Gregory Garrett
I joined with the SOPP on the evening of Saturday, May 13, which was Sunday morning in Japan. On my own, I recited prayers, practiced breathing and performed wordless prayers for peace. Peace prevails on Earth!
Cornwall, Connecticut, United States: report by Pamela Beasley
Three of us gathered in Cornwall on May 14 to celebrate the SOPP. After strong winds and rain in the early morning, the sun arrived just as we began our ceremony. We prayed May Peace Prevail on Earth for each country in the world, and we also prayed for the earth and all its elements.
Although we were small in number, we all remarked that it was a very powerful prayer event and that we were elated to have joined with everyone who prayed at Fuji Sanctuary and around the world. Each person remarked what a wonderful event this is, and each said they felt so happy to unite in this prayer event. Peace will surely be realized as each person awakens to his or her divine spark within!
Croton Falls, New York, United States: report by Deborah Moldow
The Chapel at Croton Falls held a glorious Symphony of Peace Prayers on May 14. Among the many people who attended were longtime friends of the World Peace Prayer Society, including Dr. Jude Currivan, Monica and Dave Willard, Chris and Amy Farrell, Sara Niccolls, and Kristin Hoffman, many of whom were guests at recent SOPP ceremonies at Fuji Sanctuary.
To celebrate Mothers’ Day, Monica Willard began the event by distributing roses to everyone for a special acknowledgement of our mothers. Each person held a rose and called out the name of his or her mother, so that all the energy of our mothers’ love would enhance our prayers for peace. She also asked everyone to experiment in taking a “WholeWorld-View”—a term coined by Dr. Currivan—where we would see each prayer not as belonging to other people, but as part of our own great diversity. In the same way, everyone was asked to view the countries represented by their flags not as foreign, but as our own children.
We then shared prayers from different traditions, led by various guests with everyone joining in. There were prayers from the Native American tradition, Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. Then, members of Byakko Shinko Kai performed three versions of a wordless prayer for peace, to bring down the universal light and add a powerful vibration to the Chapel. One of the members also taught everyone to say, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Japanese.
Our guest speaker, Dr. Jude Currivan, spoke about shifting to a “WholeWorld-View,” based on her new book, The Cosmic Hologram. She explained that this can give us an empowering perspective on how to address the critical challenges of our world. Following Dr. Currivan’s inspiring words, all participants took part in a flag ceremony, with the flag cards forming a mandala of the world around the base of the peace pole. Two elders of the church sat up front with the UN flag and the Earth flag. Each person came forward with several flags, reading each name in turn as all present responded, “May peace prevail in (name of country).”
During the ceremony, singer/musician Miriam ‘Sita’ Zernis and drummer Fumio Taniguchi of Sita’s Light played an original Kirtan chant based on the prayer May Peace Prevail on Earth. At the close of the ceremony, the pace of the drumming increased and everyone stood to sing along joyfully.
Gardena, California, United States: report by Tatsuo Ide
At the Byakko Los Angeles dojo in Gardena, we gathered on the evening of May 13 to watch the live broadcast of the SOPP ceremony at Fuji Sanctuary. Since many of our members had gone to Japan to attend the ceremony, we had a fairly small group, but inside the dojo, it felt as if were right there at Fuji Sanctuary, praying together with 10,000 people!
Then, on June 4, we held a special peace ceremony at the dojo, joined by a group of Korean Buddhist monks. The chanted prayers of the monks were a wonderful addition to the gathering, and it felt like the entire dojo was enveloped in positive vibrations. We offered our own wordless prayer for peace, and then held a flag ceremony to pray for peace in each country and region. As everyone joined in waving the flags of the world’s nations, I saw each of them as shining beings of divine light and love.
Iowa City, Iowa, United States: report by Dawn Jones
We celebrated the SOPP in Iowa City with a flag ceremony to pray for peace in each country. Our event was combined with Conscientious Objector Day, and the testimonies of non-violence by the various conscientious objectors provided concrete illustrations of peace.
Around 45 people watched or took part in the ceremony, which also included the peace songs “Imagine,” “Down by the Riverside,” and “If I Had a Hammer.” Our theme for the event was “Peace abroad, at home, and within.”
New York City, NY, United States: report by Reiko Kamozawa
Three of us joined in the live broadcast of the SOPP at Fuji Sanctuary. Although we were all in New York, we represented Japan, Israel and Italy. For one of the participants, this was his first experience of the SOPP. After the ceremony, he wrote:
It was so exciting to see so many people coming together for the same cause, looking physically so different—everyone unique in their own way, and an important part of the greater texture called humanity. I was filled with feelings of joy and gratitude knowing there are so many who can put their personal selfishness aside and pray for the peace and future of humanity. My heart was filled with so much love, and my soul was replenished by the hope for a better future for our planet and all who inhabit it.
As the flags of each country started to come into the Prayer Field, I realized that we are all the same. The clothes we wear might be different, the colors on the flags might be different, but we all come from the same great source—one light translated into many nations. There is room for all of us to express and realize our magnificence. We can exist next to one another even though we are different. Our differences are our strengths, and if we work together we can manifest God on earth.
Oakland, California, United States: report by Kai Neptune
On a beautiful, bright Saturday afternoon, we met at a private home for the fourth SOPP in Oakland. The roses were blooming in the garden as we commenced our ceremony. I welcomed everyone and told them what a special weekend it was, with the SOPP at Fuji Sanctuary and similar ceremonies happening around the world. I gave them the link to watch the Fuji Sanctuary ceremony, which would be taking place that evening in our time zone.
We first had guests share peace prayers from their religious and spiritual traditions. There were songs and poems from the Baha’i faith, Zen Buddhism, and the Universal Fellowship of Light, among others.
Next, I led everyone in reciting a prayer of gratitude to nature and words of infinite light. It was a powerful moment of deep gratitude to the earth and environment on behalf of all humanity, invoking beautiful, positive words for a bright future. This was followed by a world peace visualization and simplified world peace prayer. Two of us held up a world map, and I led a visualization and prayer starting with our city: “May peace be in Oakland,” whereby we would pause and visualize light in Oakland. Then: “May peace be in California,” “May peace be in North America,” and we continued through all the continents, the polar regions, and all the other regions of the world. We said, “May peace prevail on Earth” three times together, and had one minute of silence, envisioning light in the world.
At the end, we had a beautiful dance performance by Lisa Mercury-Rea. She performed an angelic piece with wings that shimmer, as well as another dance with hoop and poi. She used a song by a local musician called “Rainbowlight,” which described all the colors of the rainbow as well as the chakras, with appreciation to who we are as a divine spark. It was a wonderful performance and very beautiful.
With the ceremony completed, we had some light refreshments and a birthday celebration for one of the guests. It was a beautiful afternoon with wonderful energy, and I was so grateful for everyone coming together for the purpose of world peace.
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States: report by Kunatum Prasidthrathsint
I was so happy to connect with the SOPP in Japan on May 14, 2017. I prayed on my own using flag cards, and meditated for a while after my prayers. I felt very grateful that I could participate in this ceremony. I felt happy, harmonious, and peaceful. I hope that my prayers will help to awaken all humanity and bring peace to the world.
Sandpoint, Idaho, United States: report by Cynthia Mason
On May 15, Cynthia’s Preschool and Kindergarten joined with people across the globe in praying for peace and showing our gratitude for Mother Earth by performing wordless prayers of gratitude. There were 12 children and 8 adults in attendance.
The event was held on the banks of the Clark Fork River in Idaho, USA. We were surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains, with the river flowing quickly with spring run-off as we offered prayers for fish, water, mountains, plants, and the sun. The children chose these objects of gratitude themselves. With our prayers we sent our message for peace: May Peace Prevail on Earth. May it be so!
Seattle, Washington, United States: report by Nao Valente
We had a sublime and powerful outdoor SOPP gathering on May 13th, at about the same time as the SOPP in Japan. This year, we invited the Seattle Unity Church members, and a few family members joined as well. For the event opening, we performed a wordless prayer, and then all the participants joined in the flag ceremony. All the participants read the country names, and we sent out prayers for peace in each country. As the flag ceremony was going on, one woman stopped to tell us how deeply moved she was.
For the end of the ceremony, we introduced a wordless prayer of gratitude to nature, and we all prayed together. Everyone said they felt so inspired and moved after the event. One participant noted the impact that we had on people passing by. I think we connected with each other’s divine sparks as we united to pray for humanity and for peace to prevail on Earth!