SOPP 2020 at Fuji Sanctuary
Amidst the worldwide effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, all in-person SOPP gatherings were cancelled in 2020. This includes the grand ceremony at Fuji Sanctuary scheduled to be held on May 17, as well as all local ceremonies and gatherings around the world. Instead, SOPP participants around the world were invited to take part from home in an online SOPP program.
Watch the live-stream broadcast (originally aired May 17):
Each year, the SOPP celebrates humanity’s common wish for a world of peace and harmony, through a show of interfaith unity and with shared prayers for peace throughout the world. In recent years, the SOPP has also been the venue for a variety of global initiatives, including the inauguration of the Fuji Declaration (2015), the launch of the Soul of WoMen campaign (2016), and the introduction of the Divine Spark IN (2018).
In 2020, the SOPP continued its mission to reignite the divine spark within all human beings, for the dawning of a world where peace and human dignity are cherished above all else—where every way of life is accepted and celebrated, where all people are treated with kindness and love, and where everyone is free to live the life they wish for.
This year, because local prayer ceremonies and gatherings would not be taking place, all SOPP organizers and participants from all parts of the world were invited to join in an online Symphony of Peace Prayers, through a live stream video presentation from Fuji Sanctuary. Together, participants created a virtual field of prayer spanning the entire globe.
The program for the live stream broadcast was as follows:
Introduction of Fuji Sanctuary
Message and music video (“Prayer”) from Mr. Nimo Patel
Greeting from Byakko chairperson, vice-chairs, and directors
Welcoming remarks from Byakko President Tomohiko Naya and Chairperson Masami Saionji
Praying with the Religions of the World
Fuji Declaration presentation
Message and music video (“Ware Soku Kami Nari”) from Mr. James Twyman
Prayers for Peace in Each Country
Gratitude for All Life on Earth
Words of gratitude from Masami Saionji
Divine Spark IN
Replay of message and video from Nimo Patel
Closing remarks from the Saionji family
The following prayer leaders led participants in religious prayers at this year’s event:
Fr. Rocco Viviano (Christianity)
Mr. Mark N. Zion (Judaism)
Imam Muhammed Rasit Alas (Islam)
Mr. Daisuke Ogino (Shintoism)
Mr. Shinjo Nohara (Buddhism)
Mr. Genzo Makino (Hinduism)
A full report on the ceremony will be posted later in our Archives.
Following the event, many participants sent us their impressions and encouraging messages. We are pleased to share some of these here:
I loved the music. I loved seeing the familiar faces—it gave me a real sense of being back at Fuji Sanctuary. I had a feeling of deeper connection and focus, as there was not the distraction of leading a group or even being with others. — R.G. (Australia)
Thank you all so much for bringing the world the world together in such beautiful ways, and for giving us all a chance to really think about each other as family. I always find it so powerful when we start saying “peace” in all the difference languages and saying each country’s name—I think it’s so deeply moving to see that togetherness. — N.P. (USA)
The flag ceremony was so beautiful and powerful. I was vibrating love, pure light, and happiness. Thank you very much for this wonderful online SOPP. —A.S. (Argentina)
What a great way to start a Sunday, watching the SOPP live on the internet all the way from Japan! It was a spiritually uplifting ceremony. You have united us all by holding this ceremony, praying for the whole world and offering peace for each country by holding its national flag and praying for peace in its national language. I cannot express enough in words how beautiful the ceremony was, especially keeping in mind the present situation. — J.C. (Pakistan)
Coming together as one via the internet, speaking in all the world’s languages, praying together and proclaiming our divinity strengthens the emission of our divine spark. I was moved to tears several times, and I felt embraced by all the love and light. — G.W. (USA)
It was a very beautiful ceremony, with solemn, grace, harmony and beauty. I felt so united in our prayers, moving across the world—a very special SOPP 2020. The prayers of the religious leaders touched my heart, as well the messages of hope and wake up calls from the Fuji Declaration. I loved the music and the images and videos that accompanied all the various programs—it added so much. — N.C. (France)
If you took part in this year’s online SOPP, please send us your experience and impressions , along with a photo of yourself (if possible, taken while joining in the SOPP). Please send these by email to email@example.com.
May Peace Prevail on Earth!