by Emiljun Rapada, UPF USA
In observance of the International Day of Peace promoted by the United Nations, the local chapter of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Elizabeth called together leaders to pray for peace.
On September 22, the event was attended by more than 20 people and was co-sponsored by the Elizabeth chapters of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP). The 2018 International Day of Peace motto served as the event’s theme: “The Right to Peace: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.”
The program began with a prayer by FFWPU Elizabeth Pastor Darryl Franklin, followed by a warm welcome by Christine Rapada, the Chairperson of WFWP Elizabeth. She recited a quote from Mother Teresa, which set the tone for the event: “The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace.”
After a few leaders from the community were called to offer brief messages and prayers, Rev. Ralph Oppenheimer, the outreach director of UPF NJ, gave a presentation on the five UPF Principles of Peace as preparation for the awarding of Ambassador for Peace certificates to four individuals: Apostle Cesar Garcia, founder and president of Pastores Internacionales de America along with his wife, Prophet Belle Plaza, Bishop Marco Antonio, and Stevenson Van Derodra, the New York state president of the Non-governmental Organization Junior Chamber International.
Rev. Emiljun Rapada, the host and main organizer of the event, announced the Peace Starts with Me rally, which will take place at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York, on November 12. He encouraged everyone to save the date and bring their families to honor the men and women who gave their lives for peace and freedom and to join thousands of others in praying for peace and healing in America.
The program concluded with a candlelight ceremony coupled with a unison prayer by all the participants. Afterward, everyone broke bread together and continued the fellowship.