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U.S. Faith Leaders Join in 200th Consecutive Weekly Prayer




 Washington, D.C., United StatesThe Interreligious Association for Peace and Development-USA (IAPD) held its 200th Interfaith Prayer for the Nation and the World on February 1, 2024. Beginning with the first program on April 9, 2020, the weekly interfaith prayer has been held every Thursday. This week's event coincides with the start of the U.N.-designated World Interfaith Harmony Week.


IAPD seeks to inspire greater unity among leaders and communities of all faiths, to strengthen hope, maintain appreciation of the relationships that bind people together, and inspire understanding and love for one another.


The 200th program featured Prof. Adina Friedman of the Cather School of Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University; Pastor Helena Williams of the Love of God International Ministries; Imam Joel Abdur-Razzaaq Saahir, president of the Masjid Al-Muminum of Winston-Salem; and Patriarch George A. Stallings, Jr. of the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation. Dr. Michael Jenkins, president of UPF-International, gave opening remarks, and the event was moderated by Mrs. Tomiko Duggan, senior vice president for UPF-USA.


This interfaith prayer program began as a response to the devastation and social upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic that was spreading globally in the early spring of 2020. It was an effort to create a network of support for faith communities, in particular for faith leaders who were struggling to address the disruptions in their communities by the loss of family members and loved ones. The program continued and developed as the faith leaders expressed growing concerns over the outbreak of war, violence in their communities, social challenges to family life, and the protection of young people, all threats to peace in the nation and the world.

 

From 2020 to 2023, a total of 580 faith leaders offered selected readings from their religious scriptures, shared their insight and wisdom from that reading, and concluded with their prayer. The Abrahamic faith leaders were the most prominent in their representation, including 97 Jewish rabbis, 244 Christian pastors, 158 Muslim imams, and 81 representatives of other faiths.

 


By Tomiko Duggan, Senior Vice President, UPF-USA February 1, 2024

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