The Words of the Halim Family
Auckland, New Zealand -- The Ellerslie Masonic Center hosted the monthly gathering of New Zealand Ambassadors for Peace on June 22, 2014. This was made possible through the hard work of Ambassador for Peace Mr. Morrin Cooper, who is a long-time member of the Freemasons in New Zealand.
This meeting was the first time that so many different religious and community leaders have been invited into the lodge of the Freemasons in New Zealand. All who attended were inspired by what the Freemasons stand for and were able to see with their own eyes what Freemasonry is about. It was a precious avenue that will hopefully open the path to greater understanding between people of different beliefs, especially when those who consider their privacy and independence to be sacred.
Participants were invited into the temple by Mr. Cooper and introduced to the former Grand Master of Freemasons in New Zealand, Mr. Ian Ross, who explained the teachings, traditions and meaning of the temple and its members.
The Freemasons have a 200-year history and contribute greatly to their communities in nearly every nation in the world. As their name suggests, they are an organization of stonemasons who value craftsmanship and protect their trade secrets. Though they are often misunderstood due to this veil of secrecy, Ambassadors for Peace learned that most importantly, they are a group of people who value brotherhood and equality among members more than anything else. It was unusual for non-Freemasons to have the opportunity of entering the temple, and Mr. Ross dispelled a number of myths that have been swirling around Freemasonry in general.
After the tour at the temple, participants sat together in the dining hall to listen to Mrs. Laurie Ross speak on the importance of standing together to promote good moral values and clamp down on things that corrupt society. She also shared about her work raising awareness of the risks of nuclear energy and how she cherishes the fact that New Zealand is now free of such dangers. It will take unceasing effort to maintain this status quo, she said, and she hopes that the work that she and her organization have been advocating will continue to bear fruit.
At the end of the tour and speeches, seven new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed through the hard work of Mr. Durga Reddy. Each had an array of qualifications and achievements in their respective communities and will no doubt continue to achieve more together. The following people received certificates from Rev. Julius Gicole, chair of UPF-New Zealand, and his wife Jasmine Gicole: Mr. Virin Gomber, Mr. Khush Kullar, Mr. Direndra Nath, Mr. Hari Shankar, Mr. Nitya Sand Sundar, Mr. Ranjit Singh and Mr. Muni Ratnam.
As the event came to a close, participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to come together in a fruitful gathering under the banner of peace and harmony between people of different races and beliefs. it was an avenue for understanding more about a belief that champions brotherhood and equality among people, one that is often misunderstood due to the importance that it gives on privacy and independence.
UPF-New Zealand looks forward to future encounters that build a growing network of people who seek to live with each other in peace and harmony, regardless of their background and beliefs.