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October 2018
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World Peace Blessing

Peace Blessing Festival Held in Imo State, Nigeria

Diakuma, Nigeria—More than 210 couples in Diakuma kingdom in Imo State, Nigeria, participated in a special Marriage and Family Peace Blessing Festival organized by the Nigerian chapters of UPF and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an affiliated organization. The festival was held on December 26 and 27, 2017, and a follow-up program took place on January 2, 2018. The events were part of activities to mark the 15th anniversary of the coronation of King Eze Anyabuike of the Diakuma kingdom, who is an Ambassador for Peace.

The Marriage and Family Peace Blessing Festival brought together traditional rulers, chiefs, elders and couples from the community and neighboring areas to the palace of the traditional ruler of Diakuma kingdom. The program was meant to encourage the Diakuma kingdom to become a peace kingdom where citizens live together in peacefully as brothers and sisters centering on strong and stable families. The program was designed to promote healthy marriage and family relationships grounded in true and selfless love, mutual respect, interdependence and “living for the sake of others.”

The event began with registering participant couples and taking their photographs. This was followed by opening prayers offered by representatives of different religious denominations and the singing of Nigeria’s national anthem. King Anyabuike gave welcoming remarks and thanked everyone for honoring the invitation to the ceremony, which was the first of its kind to be held in Diakuma. He introduced UPF and FFWPU, and spoke highly of the founders’ lifelong commitment to peace.

Each of the FFWPU couples was introduced, and participants spoke of being inspired by the international outlook of the FFWPU. This was followed by an address by UPF-Nigeria secretary general, Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, who spoke about the purpose of the Peace Blessing and the steps involved in participating in the program and its expected outcome.
The couples, most of whom were married, committed to renewing their marital vows with a sacred promise as husband and wife to love each other faithfully, live together in peace, and raise their children and grandchildren to uphold purity. About 144 couples participated in the first day’s event, and those who could not participate were invited to attend the program the following day. The blessing ceremony was officiated by the national president of FFWPU-Nigeria, Rev. George M. Ogurie, with his wife, and six other couples as assistant officiators. Rev. Ogurie guided the couples through the basic steps of the blessing and prayed for peace in their families and communities.

Over 54 couples participated in the blessing on the second day, December 27. Afterwards, several political and community leaders gathered at the palace for the celebration of the anniversary of King Anyabuike’s coronation. During the celebration, UPF’s founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, were presented with the title of chieftain by the elders and chiefs of the Diakuma kingdom, naming them as Omeudo Ndi Igbo (Propagators of Peace) in recognition of their lifelong devotion to the realization of a peaceful world. Conferring the chieftaincy title on the UPF founders admitted them into the membership of the Council of Traditional Rulers of the Diakuma Kingdom. The chieftaincy title materials were received by the secretary general of FFWPU-Nigeria, Mrs. Margaret Kikunda, and her spouse, on behalf of the founders. This ceremony attracted several commendations and was reported on the local radio station of Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, and broadcast across the state.

Following the two-day event, some of the traditional rulers who had participated in it requested that a peace blessing ceremony be extended to their communities. King Anyabuike approved a follow-up peace blessing to take place on January 2, 2018, in one of the communities in the neighboring Okigwe Local Government Area of Imo State. The blessing was held at a Methodist church, and 30 couples participated in the program. Leaders of the church have requested that an additional peace blessing program be organized for a later date.

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