The Words of the Russell Family
Leaders in Richmond, Virginia gathered to welcome UPF's proposal for "Sustainable Peace in our Nation and World on Nov. 19, 2013." The event was co-hosted with AdvanTech, a non-profit organization working in conjunction with the Economic Department Authority of the City of Richmond to promote economic development in the Richmond area.
Mr. Dale Fickett, executive director of AdvanTech, RVA, welcomed all participants and outlined the vision and objectives of his organization for 'Social Innovation' in the City of Richmond. AdvanTech helps to provide capital, talent and resources to small businesses. He emphasized that "Job creation and economic growth for those in need" is one of the most noble aspirations of their efforts. Mr. Fickett is also active with the Social Justice Commission of the Cathedral of Sacred Heart, Richmond, of which he and others on the Executive Board of AdvanTech are members. In his remarks, he noted that, "Being situated in Richmond, the state capital of Virginia, and being in close proximity to the nation's capital, we have the great opportunity to drive the social innovation agenda." He also laid out other projects in which he is involved: impact investing and water purification for developing countries. UPF-Richmond is happy to welcome Mr. Fickett as an Ambassador for Peace.
Among those attending the program were: the current president of the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond, Ms. Rebecca Skinner (Unity Church of Bon Air, Richmond); a former president of the Interfaith Council and League of Women Voters, Ms. Lynn Johnston (Unity Church of Bon Air); three deacons from the Sacred Heart Cathedral; a lay clergy (Catholic) involved with the Prison Ministry in Richmond; two leaders of the Muslim faith (and leaders in the African Community Network, Richmond); leaders of Cambodian and Zen Buddhism in Richmond; members of Soka Gakkai International and Falun Gong; founders of the Identity Group, Mr. William Russell and Mr. Omer Kounga; students from Virginia Commonwealth University and J. Sergeant Reynolds College; several local business leaders; and the President of UPF-Jamaica, West Indies, Mr. Dennis Salmon, who was on a visit to the U.S.
To enlighten the attendees on the work of UPF with the United Nations and throughout the world, two videos were shown: "Introduction to UPF" and "Ambassadors for Peace."
After the appointment of Ambassadors for Peace all engaged in a toast for reconciliation, peace and God's blessing on families.
In the keynote address, Rev. F. George Russell, Director of UPF-Richmond, explained that a new paradigm is needed for global transformation to an era of lasting peace. He said that traditional and conventional approaches tend to be hindered by ethnocentrism and parochialism, pitting one religion against another, race against race, party against party, and nation against nation.
"The new paradigm must be rooted in a God-centered ideal," he said. It must be an understanding of a "universal God" who is the Parent of (all) humankind, and a family-centered model for all areas human endeavor. The God-centered ideal of family was the first institution, according the book of Genesis. It encompasses the most intimate relationships and is naturally ordered in love."
He said that Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, founders of UPF, have promoted a vision for lasting world peace and reaching out across barriers through intercultural marriage blessing ceremonies. "The overall effort," he said, "is to promote one family under God, a universal family in which we all live for the sake of others."
At the conclusion of the presentation, participants were told to take away what they could accept. On behalf of all, one participant responded: "We are all in agreement here!"
A lively roundtable discussion ensued, continuing after official close of the program.