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Day of Peace Observed in Bogota

Spanish

Bogota, Colombia - Ambassadors for Peace carried out various activities during the month of September in observance of the International Day of Peace to promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation:

September 21 - A joint meeting with members of the peace board in an area of Bogota. Several Ambassadors for Peace are part of this board: Imam Julián Zapata, Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel, and Rabbi Richard Gamboa. This organization is promoting interreligious cooperation to solve social problems on various fronts. It includes various Evangelical Christian churches, the Catholic church, the Muslim community, the Jewish community, and some NGOs.

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September 27 - An interreligious luncheon at the Peace Embassy to commemorate the second anniversary of the proposed law to declare September 21 the national Day of Pardon, Reconciliation and Action, promoted by Senator and Ambassador for Peace Dr. Charles Schultz. Various pastors, religious leaders, and Ambassadors for Peace attended the luncheon, where the video "A Peace Loving Global Citizen" was shown and new Ambassadors for Peace were appointed.

September 28 - We participated in the celebration of the new year according to the Hebrew calendar. Rabbi Richard Gamboa had worked for a long time to organize this event. It was not only a celebration of the end of the year but an interreligious gathering of more than 25 pastors and leaders of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and indigenous communities. In addition, the audience included a great number of social and political leaders and members of various churches. At the end of the meeting, a declaration was signed in which the various leaders and representatives committed themselves to develop and promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation. The declaration is a working agenda to which everyone is committed.

 

Interfaith Declaration of Rosh HaShanah 5772
Bogota, Colombia, September 28, 2011

We, leaders of churches, congregations, religious denominations, communities, and other faith traditions present in the Republic of Colombia, answering to the call of the Manhig of Shéggel, Rabbi Richard Gamboa Ben-Eleazar, to offer a joint prayer for peace on the occasion of the Jewish New Year,

AND CONSIDERING:

That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, the Colombian Constitution, and the laws of the Republic show our grave obligation to respect each other and not attack anybody because of their religion, conscience, or way of worship,

That without any distinction of race, gender, faith, nationality, social, economic, or ideological condition, are one family created by God,

That freedom of religion, conscience, and worship are the foundation of all freedoms in society, and that when these freedoms are suppressed, violated, restricted, manipulated, or ignored, all other freedoms and rights are violated,

That religious conflict in families, schools, and colleges, resulting in aggression against people because of differences of faith, creed, and worship, aggravates social conflict, that millions of Colombians have been victims of such violence, and that civil society calls us to concrete actions to build a peaceful Colombia,

That we recognize that we represent the conscience of Colombian people with the responsibility to educate about spiritual and moral qualities, which are the greatest human qualities, and that we have the obligation to teach families by word and example how to become schools of love and peace,

That echoing the Geneva Declaration of Religious Freedom signed on September 1, 2008, we have agreed to go beyond mere tolerance of plurality and work together to build a new Colombia that can lead our brother peoples of Latin America on the path of spiritual renewal,

WE DECLARE THROUGH THIS DOCUMENT THE FOLLOWING:

1. We ratify our adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Colombia National Constitution and the laws of the Republic about freedom of religion, conscience, and worship, and we also are committed to spread that knowledge, observance, and respect.

2. We reject and condemn all initiatives that promote more bloodshed in our beloved Colombia, regardless of the origin of such initiative. Human life is sacred from conception until its natural transition to the spiritual world and no person, collective, or structure can profane the sacred status of their existence.

3. We reject and condemn all acts or pronouncements that promote hatred, violence, discrimination, disqualification, or labeling as false any entity or religious collective, and we especially condemn all expressions of violence, whether by action or omission, made in name of God and our religious traditions. We affirm that such actions and words are not pleasing to God and do not represent the pure teaching of our respective faiths.

4. We make a solemn appeal to the Ministry of National Education to offer religious education, and we offer ourselves as leaders of faith traditions as guides in this urgent task. Schools must not continue being spaces in which human rights are violated, especially freedom of religion, conscience, and worship.

5. We will promote respect for all persons and ensure that no one is bothered or attacked because of their beliefs and religious practices, expressed individually or collectively, publicly or privately.

6. We believe that mutual knowledge will allow us to demolish the walls of hate and misunderstandings between religions. Therefore, we support initiatives that promote interreligious cooperation and educate youth to respect and appreciate all faiths, confessions, and ways of worship; we will encourage schools and universities to teach knowledge of the religious traditions in Colombia objectively and without triumphalism, abusive proselytism, or theological arrogance.

7. We will promote dialogue, understanding, and cooperation among religious people and non-religious people in order to walk fraternally toward peace. We believe that those who call themselves non-believers are in the image and likeness of God too.

8. We will promote care and respect for nature, because our Sacred Scriptures teach that we have been tasked by the Creator of the Universe to administer the natural resources wisely and to offer to future generations the same ecological kindness which we have enjoyed. Peace with God and peace among people must also include peace with the natural environment.

9. We will work in defense of human rights, as ordered by the Charter of the United Nations and our National Constitution, and we call for a negotiated solution to the Colombian conflict armed, for social justice, and for national reconciliation.

10. We will promote peace between our churches and religious traditions and participate in the World Interfaith Harmony Week, the first week of February every year.

11. We invite our brother peoples of Latin America and the religious authorities of all the faiths present in this Continent of Hope to join us in promoting fraternity and harmony in their respective countries, in order to build a united world where the coming generations can live in peace.

12. In testimony of these intentions and ideals, and so that the people of Colombia and the international community may know what we have agreed upon today, this Declaration will be conveyed to international and national bodies.

The signatories commit to work in fraternity for peace in Colombia, invoking the protection of God.

Rabbi RICHARD GAMBOA BEN-ELEAZAR
Manhig of Shéggel, International Ambassador for Peace

Rev. LUIS FERNANDO SANMIGUEL
Community of Hope Presbyterian Church, Teusaquillo Territory of Peace Representative

Pastor PEDRO STUCKY
Mennonite Church, Teusaquillo Territory of Peace Member

Mr. MAURICIO JIMÉNEZ
Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity – Colombia

Lama TSULTRIM TARCHIN
Karma Thegsum Chöling Center

Pastor ALFREDO TORRES
President, Christians for Peace Foundation

Rev. DAYRO ARANZÁLEZ
Central Presbytery of Bogota

Rev. DAIREN JACOME
Colombia Soto Zen Community

Pastor RITA GÓMEZ
Director for Colombia of the World Day of Prayer

Rev. EDUARDO MARTINEZ
Presiding Bishop, Colombia Evangelical Lutheran Church

Msgr. GONZALO JARAMILLO
Bishop of the Old Catholic Church

Mother PAOLA HERNÁNDEZ ZEINEKAN
Ancestral Recovery Process of the Word Muhysca Community

Msgr. FREDDY CASTILBLANCO
Bishop of Our Lady of Guadalupe Apostolic Catholic Church

Pastor LUIS CARLOS SERRANO
Love Way Christian Community

Pastor RICARDO ANGARITA
Prince of Peace Methodist Church

Rev. LEONEL MOLANO
Council of the Assemblies of God of Colombia

Rev. NAOTARO SHIMIZU
Colombia Tenrikyo Church

Sister GLORIA CAMARGO
Brahma Kumaris Association

Rev. LUIS FELIPE OLIVEROS
Presbyter, Reformed Missionary Church

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