UN International Day of Families 2009

Day of Families Celebrated in Lyon


Lyon, France - The International Day of Families was celebrated in France in partnership among the Universal Peace Federation, the Shekina Evangelical Church, the Aclco Bana Mboka Choir, the Ambassadors for Peace team in Lyon, the African Center for Culture and Development, AJS Kivu, Women's Federation for World Peace, and the SOS Casamance humanitarian association.

About a hundred participants gathered to celebrate this International Day of Families. It was a colorful meeting, for which many mothers had put on their traditional attire. It was also an international and interreligious meeting with the purpose of enhancing the importance of families and the essential mission of mothers. The Evangelical Church of Nations had offered its premises for this festival. The Shekina choir opened the event with songs. After an introduction to the evening by the MC, Mr. Jean-Jacques Dumas, Minister Nymedo Mapulele offered a song and a prayer.

Mr. Michel Brédard read the speech of the United Nations Secretary-General, in which Mr. Ban Ki-moon reminded the world that giving birth to a child was 300 times more life-risking for a mother living in a poor country than for a mother from a rich one.


The topic of the first session was "The Place of the Family in a Changing World." Minister Mapulele recalled the words given by God to Abraham in the Bible: "You will be a source of blessings, and all the families of the earth will be blessed in you and through your descendants." Then a PowerPoint presentation on family values was projected and commented on by Mr. Jean-Paul Chaudy, coordinator of the Association of Families for Peace in Lyon. He described values that are shared by all religions, especially sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage.

The discussion that followed raised questions about marriage breakdown and sexual behaviors that are forbidden by the holy scriptures. As the parents were debating, their children were playing outside together, under supervision. The end of the afternoon was beautiful and sunny. The session ended with musical entertainment with accordion and flute played by Nathalie and Aurelie Dumas.

During the break, drinks and cakes were served, and that provided a good time for sharing, even though the time seemed too short.

The topic of the second session was: "The Role of Mothers in a Changing World." The Aclco Bana Mboka choir opened the session with African songs to the rhythm of tom toms. Speakers included Mrs. Gertraud Brédard from the Women's Federation for World Peace; Mrs. Adelaïde, a mother of five children; Mrs. Honorine Mapulele from the Evangelical Church of Nations; and Mrs. Marie-Louise Tuzolana, founder of the Bana Mboka choir.

Each of these women genuinely expressed her heart. In the question-and-answer session that followed, people discussed pregnancy and the role of mothers in the education of their children. Before the closing of the festival, three mothers were awarded Ambassador for Peace certificates.

Pictures of the whole assembly and participants were finally taken, as songs could still be heard. Then people gathered around drinks and cakes in a fitting portrayal of one big family transcending race, color, culture, religion, and tradition.

This event was held under the banner of the international, intercultural, and interreligious motto of "Mankind, one family united in God."

To read UPF's Declaration on Families, click here.


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