Unification News for September 2004
Report from Seattle WA regarding our 1st Women of Peace Reconciliation Ceremony for the Abahamic Faiths
by Steve and Susi Evans
On September 1st, Mrs. Susi Evans of the Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP), in concert with sponsors, Dr. David Burgess of the American Leadership Coalition, Steve Evans of the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, and Noriko Fisher (Northwest Regional Director of WFWP), held the first Middle East Peace Initiative Ambassadors for Peace and Bridge of Peace Ceremony for women leaders of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths in the Seattle suburb of Lynnwood, Washington.
Deeply moved by the Women of Peace Pilgrimage to Israel last May, Mrs. Evans personally felt God's calling to initiate this forum in the Pacific Northwest. With the unity and great support of Mrs. Eileen Williams (WFWP of Snohomish County), 67 guests, including 40 women leaders from around the region, attended. Five new Ambassadors for Peace were designated.
We gathered for three hours of education, celebration, humor and song, sharing an international pot luck dinner. The evening's focus was the vision of peace and reconciliation inspired by the founders of these organizations, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon.
Entertainment was provided by two talented guests. Kaylan Tarbell sang "Colors of the Wind," moving everyone's heart, and D'vorah Kost led us in signing a Kenyan song of peace, love and family, delighting all.
The event again was filled with spontaneity and joy, mixed with heart and clear vision that inspired the new award recipients and kept the room in rapt attention throughout the evening.
Mrs. Evans' total investment and challenging course (she has been suffering from debilitating sciatica since commiting to this effort) bore fruit in her riveting speech. It touched on many significant points and opened the heart, mind and imagination to the understanding that women of peace are able to relate across lines of race, faith and nationality, with the heart of a mother, even in the midst of conflict. She proclaimed: "This is the time for women to show models of non-violent leadership energized by their faith and their hearts so that we can stand together: Palestinian and Jew, Christian and Muslim, Black and White, Arab and American, because first we are women, mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, before anything else. Current brutal issues must be addressed through serious methodical application of key universal principles of reconciliation and restoration, grounded in a profound understanding of the root causes of conflict." Her speech was interrupted five times by applause.
Mrs. Evans' speech was followed by the video, Women of Peace, which brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience. After viewing the film, we felt that the Holy Spirit, experienced at Mt. Scopus, had entered the room.
The stage was set for the inspirational Powerpoint presentation given by Dr. David Burgess, elucidating the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings of the Middle East Peace Initiative.
Ambassador for Peace awards followed, with Steve Evans introducing the five women recipients, representing distinguished leadership in the community.
Among the highlights of the evening, was the spirit-filled Bridge of Peace Ceremony led by NorikoFisher.
We culminated with a toast, led by Steve Evans, to the four points of true love in the family. It was a blessing to all.
We wish to give thanks to the following individuals for their help and encouragement:
- Scott Dolfey and Doug Williams, for their yeomen's effort on the huge stage that they dusted off and restored.
- Leighton DeGoede, Brendan Williams and the second generation contingent.
- Bonnie Berry Coolidge, for lending her guidance.
- All the precious Japanese sisters, for their continuous loving support and leadership in our community.
- Jan DeGoede, for jumping in when needed.
- Diane Araki, for her humility and perseverance, always.
- Our dear brother, Brian Grandstrom, for his expertise as well as fortitude putting up with us neophytes, handling the audio-visual.
- Alain Aridj and Danielle Cohen, both now with the 40-day advance teams in Israel, for their heart and unity with the Evans family.
- Pastor Gerhard and Paulette Wiesinger, for their leadership and friendship.
- Rev. and Mrs. Sang Hun Lee, for their sincerity and exemplary spirit.
- Susi, for putting everything else aside, praying and crying, pulling it all together - with little or no budget and in pain and struggling to feel supported. You are my hero! (from husband, Steve)
- Steve, for your inspiration, confidence in me and being there when I needed you. I'm sure our unity invoked the spiritual help we needed. (from wife, Susi)
- Last, but not least, thanks to our Heavenly Parents and hosts for their incredible patience with us all and their unfailing faith in the mettle endowed in us that we constantly underestimate.
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