The Words of the Song Family
Europe has maintained Leadership Conferences consistently since 2004 but never one like this! We reached a new level with which to conclude 2009 (lunar calendar) and bring a special gift to True Parents' Birthday -- a plaque expressing the gratitude of European Ambassadors for Peace who received the World Peace Blessing.
This 36th Conference had as its theme 'The Significance of Marriage and Family for Peace in the 21st century' and provided a path through which to unite Ambassadors for Peace from 17 nations and four major religious traditions in the World Peace Blessing held in San Marino's little jewel of a national theater.
By the time Saturday afternoon arrived the 120 participants in the Leadership Conference, which included former Government ministers, Members of Parliament, global leaders in Interfaith, a General of Police, leading academics, media professionals, NGO officers and religious leader, were ready to deeply understand the Holy Wine Ceremony as an instrument of grace to connect to God's true love, life and lineage. Their joyful faces as they shared the cup of wine or nectar and ready hearts to participate in the ceremony to remove the resentment of centuries of hurt between men and women, bear testimony to the level of common heart that was reached.
San Marino provided such a welcoming venue from the embrace of our local UPF Chair, his family and their wonderful young friends, who were such willing and helpful staff, to the Ministry of Tourism who offered their Patronage.
This picturesque community is the longest continuous republic in the world since its founding at the start of the 4th century by a Christian stonemason fleeing persecution. It is an extraordinary nation in miniature, but one which plays its active part in global institutions from the Council of Europe to UNESCO. Mrs Fausta Morganti former Education Minister for 15 years and Regent (Head of State) in 2005, welcomed all to Hotel San Giuseppe on the hillside below the famous three towers of the old town.
We felt as though the Theatre Titano was tailor made for our joyous Blessing event as a troop of medieval performers welcomed us at the door and the dignified stage and elegant stalls and balconies held us in a warm embrace. A beautiful banner announcing the World Peace Blessing rose at the height of the Ceremony to reveal a recording of True Parents' Invocation in Korea last October, while Dr Yong Cheol Song and his lovely wife represented them with dignity throughout the whole Ceremony.
Standing tall in the front row was the imposing figure of Dr Taj Hamad, Secretary General of UPF International, in his white turban and robes. He contributed greatly to the Leadership Conference by sharing news of the international work of UPF in 2009 and the vision ahead for 2010. Dr Hamad was deeply moved by the wonderful interfaith prayers from Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam and the Congratulatory Addresses form Riccardo Venturini, representative of San Marino to the Council of Europe, Lord Tarsem King of the United Kingdom Parliament and Dr Willem van Eekelen, former Dutch Defence Minister and tireless supporter of European unity.
Dr van Eekelen shared about his 53 years of married life and how the weekend had brought him and his wife to reflect deeply on the preciousness of marriage and family as an instrument for peace. Marcus Braybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths, spoke of how the whole experience called him to give more attention to marriage and family in his ongoing preaching and interfaith work. Lord and Lady King are yet another distinguished couple who stand as wonderful examples of enduring love and who joined in Father and Mother Moon's God given task to reconnect humanity as one family under God through the grace of the Blessing. This was indeed a time of rejoicing and of new beginnings connected to the love of God expressed in family!