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Interfaith Peacebuilding

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Interfaith Programs

Sharing the Blessing of Peace

UPF-Netherlands held a Peace Festival in Huize Glory, Bergen aan Zee on July 6 featuring guest speaker Rev. Euft F. Verbaas from Almere. Rev. Verbaas had been a minister in a number of places before going to the new town of Almere in 1976, when the first house was built. Almere is now a multi-cultural and multi-religious city of around 183,000 people of some 100 nationalities.

He himself was a minister with the Dutch Reformed Church, the oldest Protestant church in the Netherlands, but in Almere, from the very beginning, he had worked with a Roman Catholic priest, because that was the only way they could afford accommodation. He had never thought, when he first went to Almere, that he would hold meetings in sports halls and mix with people such as Sikhs and Baha’is.

He had been very committed and enthusiastic in his work, and his children would joke "Pa is high" when he came home. He had a full heart and sought to live with love and truth in his family and church. He referred to the French song, sung in the Taize community, that says "where there is love and freedom, there is God."

He described peace as not just the absence of war but living in peace, not being afraid or angry, with everyone having work and food and health, where people respected each other and dealt fairly.

Christian services end with a blessing of peace, and he read the blessing that God gave Moses for Aaron: "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

His talk was full of warmth and amusing remarks express the insight that true peace is connected with the blessing of God.

Ambassadors for Peace spoke about developing Peace Councils to explore ways to work for the benefit particular areas of society.

Bruce Cerew spoke about his newly published book War Child and showed a publicity video he had made about it. The following week an interview with him appeared in the national Metro newspaper.

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