Rio de Janeiro: report by Hiroko Atkins
On a clear, refreshing autumn day, we held our first SOPP ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. Although we had initially planned to hold the ceremony in a park in Rio’s famous Ipanema neighborhood, we ended up holding it at Paróquia Anglicana da Santíssima Trindade, an Anglican church in Méier, in the northern part of the city. This is an inland area populated primarily by working class people. The church where we held the ceremony is the home of Fr. Eduardo Costa, and was the first Anglican church built in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It is a simple yet charming building. Fr. Costa is familiar with the teachings of Masahisa Goi, and prayer for world peace is often a part of the services at his church. A peace pole dedication is planned there in the near future.
We began the ceremony with a group of five people connected with Byakko Shinko Kai performing a prayer without words combined with deep, peaceful breathing. Then, four prayer leaders led us in peace prayers—Fr. Eduardo Costa (Anglican), Mangaga of the Pataxó indigenous people, Daua of the Purí indigenous people, and Evangelino Filho from the Spiritualist movement.
Following this, we prayed for peace in each world nation, using small national flags lovingly made by Byakko members. All the participants acted as flag bearers. It was impressive to see how many participants said “Thank you” each time they were handed a flag.