Religions united to pray for peace and care for one another in the pandemic crisis

Published in World
Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:59

While national measures limiting social activities bring out changes of daily routine due to the pandemic, efforts to understand spiritually about life facing diseases and related social changes are underway across religion.

On December 14, 560 representatives from 31 religions in 80 countries including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism joined in an online gathering named “HWPL End-of-year Religious Leaders’ Gathering: United Hopes & Prayers for a Brighter 2021” to express words of consolation to humanity and reaffirm inter-religious commitment to and dialogue for peace.

11 religious leaders representing different religions prayed for wisdom and solution to the multifarious life patterns affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. The video messages from religious leaders displayed their support for the role of religion in countering anti-peace movements such as discrimination, hatred and violence that can be exacerbated during the pandemic.

During the prayer, Rev. Acharya Prem Shankaranand Tirth, Hindu High Priest of Shree Geeta Ashram of Delhi, said, “For our colleagues, families of peace, let us continue endeavor of world peace. During this pandemic, we must realize the value of one another in that we all coexist with the nature and other creations. We in the human society must act as one and should exist in peace, harmony and love.”

“I remember sitting at my desk and finding out about the first infection in my own country. I prayed, asking a lot of questions. Many of my peers turned back to scripture in these times to seek answers about the Creator God, His plan, His will and what He wants us to focus on due to these events,” said Ms. Nandi Bester, manager of International Youth Peace Group in South Africa.

“Today we may be able to solve the problem of COVID-19, but another disease will come. When winter is coming, we can't stop it but can cover ourselves and protect ourselves. That's what we can do when there is challenging issue of bad health and adversities coming in life. We should maintain patience and learn the art of tolerance and tolerate the difficulty and suffering that is coming upon us,” said Rev. Hare Krsna Das, Priest of ISKCON, Rishikesh, India.

“Regarding the question about how human society should understand why suffering such as COVID-19 occurs, we found that all religions are searching for an answer. In the process, those participating in this event, transcending time difference, pray for the safety of all regardless of their faiths. This is the clear difference from the time before the pandemic when news of conflict was filled with intolerance against groups from different backgrounds. In this respect, it has proved the possibility that humanity in a crisis can be united and one in peace beyond religion,” said a HWPL official.

The organizer HWPL is an NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and had led national plasma donation from over 3,700 people in South Korea who recovered from COVID-19 to develop a cure throughout this year.

[Attachment1] Key Attendance List

No.

Country

Religion

Name

Organization

Title

1

India

Sikhism

Mr. Bhupinder Singh

Guru Teg Bahadar Jalandhar

Head Priest

2

Ukraine

Judaism

Alexander Duhovnyi

All-Ukrainian Council of Religious Associations

Chairman

3

India

Jainism

Pradyumna Shah Singh

Religious Studies, Punjabi University

Professor

4

India

Buddhism

Dhammapiya

International Buddhist Confederation (IBC)

Secretary General

5

India

ISKCON

Hare Krsna Das

ISKCON Rishikesh

Priest

6

Czech Republic

Islam

Hassen Tlili

Alfirdaus Praha

Imam

7

Romania

The Orthodox Church

Constantin Cârlan Ungureanu

Biserica “Sfântul Ştefan”

Parish Priest

8

Cambodia

Buddhism

Oeun Sam Art

Supreme Patriarch's Cabinet

Personal Assistant to The Great Supreme Patriarch

9

Sweden

Ahmadiyya

Agha Yahya Khan

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Gothenburg Mosque

Chief Imam

10

United States of America

Hinduism

Bikram Paul

The Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington

Chairman

11

United States of America

Protestantism

Eldon Jones

Good field church

Pastor

 

Press-release of HWPL

An Online Prayer Meeting for Religious People Around the World to End COVID-19

Published in World
Tuesday, 17 November 2020 17:59

Amid the corona crisis, which causes about 500,000 confirmed cases and 8,000 deaths a day worldwide, a Korean-based religious organization called Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (hereinafter referred to as Shincheonji Church) hosted an online prayer meeting, “3rd Global Prayer Service of Religious People” on November 15th.

Broadcast live on the official YouTube channel of Shincheonji Church, the prayer meeting was organized to pray for not only the patients and their families in sufferings but also the government, medical staff, and volunteers fighting to overcome COVID-19. Along with 200,000 domestic and foreign members of Shincheonji Church, about 56,000 people around the world wishing to defeat this pandemic joined the prayer meeting at the same time.

Religious leaders from all over the world added their aspirations for the end of COVID-19 in the online prayer meeting. Their words carried the weight and sincerity as they have continued to work with Chairman Man Hee Lee, a representative of an international peace NGO called HWPL

Chairman Lee, as a war veteran, has practiced peace activities based on the love for humanity toward many victims of war and the words of Jesus, “glory in heaven and peace on earth,” as a believer. He suggested an online prayer meeting because “as the world is suffering from COVID-19, religious people around the world need to pray together to end this disaster."

“Too many people are suffering from COVID-19. In particular, many were infected within our church last February. Both the church members and citizens suffered a lot. We must actively step forward and pray to God for the extinction of COVID-19 in the globe and for the nation and the people,” he said.

352 religious leaders from Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, and Hinduism, representing 73 countries participated in the prayer meeting with one heart transcending religions and denominations. They shared the need of overcoming the crisis by taking the lead in resolving a disaster as religious leaders.

Dr. Anak Agung Diatmika, Secretary for International Relationship of PHDI Jakarta, said, “Genuinely from the inner of our heart consider as WE ARE ONE. We should continue our prayer till the end of the COVID-19 pandemic from the earth and continue our synergy among world religious leaders to keep the world peace, harmony, justice, and prosperity. I am so happy I can join this that truly brings world peace and harmony.”

Following this prayer meeting, about 4,000 recovered patients from COVID-19 who are also Shincheonji Church members will donate blood plasma to develop convalescent plasma treatments. Shincheonji Church has already conducted two large-scale plasma donation of 1,700 church members last July and September, and among them, 312 recovered patients donated twice.

Regarding the large-scale blood plasma donation, Rt. Hon. Hrant Bagratyan, Former Prime Minister of Armenia, sent his congratulatory message, “the action of those who decided to donate plasma at the request of the government deserves praise. If a vaccine is developed through plasma donation, it would be helpful worldwide."

A Shincheonji Church official said, “We have been conducting online service since February 18th, and praying at each worship service for the end of COVID-19, the safety of the quarantine authorities and medical staff, and the recovery of the patients. We will do everything we can with a responsible attitude until the end of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Press-release of HWPL

 

Religious Leaders in Malaysia Advocate Human Rights Issues

Published in World
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 10:44

Peaceful coexistence and progress have become a prime development agenda in both Malaysia and Southeast Asian countries. When the multicultural environment with religious and ethnic diversity raises the need for mutual recognition, religious representatives and an international NGO held a conference to discuss the religious contribution to international peace building.

On January 31, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO affiliated with UN ECOSOC, held a "2018 Malaysia Peace Forum" on the theme of "One Malaysia, One Asia, One World" at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

“We cannot and should not take peace for granted, we have to work for it, we have to preserve it and keep it for future generation,” emphasized Mr. Ghani Bin Ibrahim, president of HWPL Malaysia and a member of advisory committee of the Prime Minister's Department. “From universities in Malaysia, students will discuss the international law for peace, which will be the basis of advocacy plan from the youth,” he added.

“We are forming a network of women peace committee leaders throughout the country to build awareness through community work and education for a peaceful, united and harmonious society,” said Ms. Woo Sow Pheng, President of Johor Women's League.

The conference on interfaith dialogue as a session was carried out with the topic of “restoration of a peaceful world through commitment and implementation.”

The interfaith dialogue called “World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Office Meeting” is one of major peace projects in 126 countries by HWPL with the approach to peace building in religion based on comparative studies on scriptures to find commonality of the spirit of peace in different religions.

The discussion and attention in the WARP Office meeting were given to forced conversion that occurred in South Korea and led to a death of a 25-year-old woman by her parents. According to the report suggested, she was kidnapped and confined in a pension and finally suffocated by her family.
“Just because of not registering under the certain denomination of vested interests, they interrupt the peace works of a religious person. Can we say these kinds of religious people are the ones who promote peace? There are no such sayings in the scripture that we should use violence nor encourage discrimination,” said Sethu Pathy M A Cumarasamy, Hon. Secretary of Sri Mahamariamman Temple. “There are no such teachings from God. They even use violence and kill those who are going to moving to another denomination, and this is happening now, in the 21st century, within the religious world. Religious scriptures, such as the ones discussed during our WARP office meetings, are aimed to be solutions to problems within mankind, to act as a guidance,” he added.

“There is a saying ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves.’ Religious leaders should steel themselves to make this world a better place to live. To put an end to war and establish peace in our globe, everyone is required to be a messenger of peace,” said Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL.

All the participant representatives from religions in Malaysia including Hinduism, Islam and Christianity signed an agreement on the role of religious leaders in cooperation of peace building and harmony of religions to spread a culture of peace.

Stopping Global Devastation: Chairman of HWPL Delivers Message of Peace to the UN

Published in World
Friday, 02 October 2015 13:38

Chairman Lee calls on youth, women, and religious leaders to give the future direction in establishing peace at the Global Peace Leadership Conference

The 70th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 70) opened at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 15 September 2015. The General Debate of the 70th Session of the UNGA commenced on the 28 September. On the first day of the General Debate, as President Park delivered a keynote speech at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015, the Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), Mr. Man Hee Lee, also hosted The ‘Global Peace Leadership: Women, Youth, and Interfaith Dialogue.’

The participants were eager to hear about the progressive work of HWPL. Mr. Lee spoke at length regarding the role of the UN and the international community. He reflected upon The World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit in Seoul, South Korea in 2014. It was a summit of an unprecedented scale, where all participants came together and made commitments of peace that laid the foundation for world peace. Notably, thousands showed their determination to achieve world peace by signing the Agreement to Propose the Enactment of International Law for the Cessation of Wars and World Peace and the Unity of Religions Agreement, respectively.

During the 1st Annual Commemoration of September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit last week, International law experts pledged to work together for the implementation of an International Convention on the Renunciation and Cessation of War and International Armed Conflicts to bring fruition to the works initiated last year. Twelve specialists were appointed as members of the HWPL International Law Peace Committee. Chairman Man Hee Lee urged international law experts engaged in the Convention on the Renunciation and Cessation of War and International Armed Conflicts. It was drafted by members of HWPL Peace Advisory Council. Through discussion and modification by the HWPL International Law Peace Committee, the draft will be revised into a pragmatic international convention. Furthermore, HWPL aims to send the final convention to heads of states for ratification, and undergo the deliberative process of the UN to be fully adopted, implemented, and overseen by the relevant UN bodies.

While in New York, Chairman Lee and Chairwoman Kim of the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) addressed the media, women, and youth involvement on the importance of the Implementation of an International Convention on the Cessation of War and Achievement of World Peace. Upon hearing the summation of the event in Seoul, peace conscious journalists, New Yorkers and the UN community were reminded again of the crucial role they play in propagating positive messages and the hope of peace through responsible and accurate reporting.

Following this event, the two global peace leaders met with heads of state and UN officials. They also participated in high-level events as well as met religious leaders from all groups to foster the dialogue that can move the people of all faiths one step closer to peace.

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