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November 2019
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Day of Peace in France

French

Lyon & Vannes, France - Interreligious harmony, family values, and cultural traditions were celebrated.

Lyon

Can good news come from Venissieux? This industrial city located in the greater Lyon area became famous in 1981, when riots revealed for the first time the severe problems caused by uncontrolled immigration policies. Creative individuals have tried since that time to bring a new spirit and to give another image of the city.

On September 21, 2008, the International Day of Peace, the local branch of UPF, led by Mr Jean-Paul Chaudy, took up the challenge and chose this city to celebrate interreligious, intercultural harmony and family values.

 

Around 150 people gathered in the Shekina church. The pastor, Rev. Nymedo Mapulede, welcomed the visitors and reminded everyone about the powerful message of peace revealed by Jesus Christ, which starts by making peace within. The biblical story of Esau and Jacob (the two enemy brothers who reconciled) was read, and gospel songs created a spirit of praise and gratitude for God's gifts of peace. In the back of the church, one could notice Romanian people sitting down beside Africans.

A lady from the Congo recently felt an inspiration to feed and care for these Romanians. "We Africans know what racism, discrimination, and so forth are all about. But as much as we want to be respected, we have to respect those who sometimes suffer even more than us," she said with a smile. She works very hard to help them make a new start in life. "I once received so much help from Heaven and from others. It is now my turn to give."

Mr. Mutuale Balume Ya, a Catholic professor from the Congo, quietly explained to the audience that even before the gospel arrived in Africa, there were traditional values of solidarity and brotherhood in African societies, and he urged everyone to keep their roots while embracing universal values. After he spoke, a mixed choir (French and African) interpreted a few songs in French and Lingala (an official language the Congo) and introduced a project to help orphans in the Kivu region of eastern Congo.

A local politician who attended the event explained that God is not dead in France and that he personally considers politics as a way to promote spiritual values. Mr. Ladouce concluded the event with a speech about Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., showing that those two figures had been embodiments of the five principles of UPF. Several people were awarded Ambassador for Peace certificates.

Vannes

To celebrate the International Day of Peace, 45 people came together for a peace festival at the Hotel Ibis in Vannes. Jean François Moulinet, Secretary General of UPF-France, and his assistant, Hanna Lotterie, were guests coming from Paris.  

After a short introduction by Peter Burt, a buffet lunch of specialties brought by the various participants was shared. Then Renée was asked to present her local association. To her surprise and the pleasure of all, Renée was presented a certificate making her an Ambassador for Peace. Following that, Jean-François Moulinet gave a brief introduction to UPF. This was followed by participants teaching their skills to others, including origami paper sculptures, Japanese calligraphy, and facial massages.

Participants in the gathering interacted with each other as brothers and sisters in a joyous atmosphere, so it was with regret that everyone left later in the afternoon.

To read UPF's Peace Declaration and reports of observances in other nations, click here.

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