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Think Tank 2022

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Interreligious Association for Peace and Development

UPF-USA Convenes Series of Interfaith Prayer and Dialogue Programs

USA-2021-01-07-IAPD-USA Has Convened 120 Faith Leaders in Its Weekly Online Prayer Series

United States—On January 7, 2021, the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development-USA (IAPD-USA) completed 40 consecutive weekly programs in its ongoing Interfaith Prayer for the Nation and the World.

This program was held on Zoom every Thursday beginning on April 9, 2020. Abrahamic faith leaders—Jewish rabbis, Christian pastors, Muslim imams—along with Buddhist monks and Hindu leaders participated in the programs.

When the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread in early spring 2020 saw immense suffering and death across the globe, fear, hopelessness and despair infected many communities. No people or nation was immune. People were becoming more isolated because of lock-down procedures that closed most places of social and public gatherings and houses of worship where support and comfort could be provided.

In response to this worldwide spiritual as well as medical crisis, IAPD-USA National Chairman Archbishop George A. Stallings, Jr., UPF-USA Senior Vice President Tomiko Duggan, and Chairman of UPF-North America Dr. Michael Jenkins committed to sponsoring a prayer program on the Zoom platform that emphasized the importance of faith leaders in communicating the essential importance of faith in God, the fundamental unity of all human beings as children of that common Parent, and a love for all others as brothers and sisters regardless of faith tradition, sect or denomination, culture, race or economic status.

A total of 120 rabbis, pastors, imams and other spiritual leaders have participated and offered their prayers in this endeavor. They reinforced UPF's belief that the importance of greater unity among leaders and communities of all faiths is a required response to the challenging time of the COVID-19 epidemic. It is vital to strengthening hope and maintaining our appreciation of the relationships that bind us together and inspire understanding and love.

These interfaith leaders have expressed their gratitude in learning from the insights, openness, spiritual generosity and kindness of faith leaders committed to different traditions, ritual practices, scriptures and theologies. They deepened and enlarged their appreciation of the universal need for God in all our lives.

Whatever name they use to call God, the Zoom participants all expressed that we stand on a common ground for peace, forgiveness, tolerance, love for humanity, and devotion to a higher purpose. We are all tasked to work together in building lasting peace and creating a society where we can live as “One Global Family Under God.”