While the daily confirmed cases of COVID 19 are consistently increasing worldwide, the world religious leaders from seven major religions gathered at the online meeting for the World Interfaith Joint Prayer Conference on the 26th of October.
Approximately 600 people from Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Christianism, and Islam in 19 countries across five continents attended the conference to unite the voice of prayers for the eradication of COVID 19.
The conference was organized by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) with supports from religious leaders cooperating with HWPL. It aimed to unite various religious groups to deliver a message of hope to people and religious communities of the world suffering under COVID 19 and create a platform to overcome the crisis transcending religions and continents.
HWPL is a Korea-based international peace NGO for global peace and cessation of war. Affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC, HWPL has carried out global peace movements, including interfaith dialogue meetings called World Alliance of Religions Peace (WARP) Office Meeting.
The WARP Office Meeting has been conducted in 128 countries since 2014 to strengthen the communication among religious leaders based on mutual respect and to accomplish interfaith reconciliation to resolve all the global conflicts caused by religions and achieve world peace.
Even after the global outbreak of COVID 19, an average of 107 WARP offices in 70 countries has held online WARP Office Meetings worldwide monthly.
Iftikhar Ahmad Ayaz, Chairman of the International Human Rights Committee, said “Today the whole world is facing a catastrophic COVID 19 Pandemic, and thousands continue to die. Humanity must turn to prayers and seek the Creator’s mercy to bring peace and harmony in our lives. HWPL must be congratulated to take the initiative to bring together all the faiths to pray together. I believe that religious leaders from around the world taking part in such conferences have a crucial role to play. Together, we can shine the light of hope and unite humanity in prayers to stay in peace.”
The conference consists of a keynotes address from HWPL addressing opening remarks and purpose of the conference, congratulatory remarks, and speeches from six religious leaders representing Islam, Hinduism, Christianism, Judaism, and Sikhism.
Marcel Andres Tanguilan, the Administrative Pastor of Knox United Methodist Church, delivered, “To me, it has been five years working with HWPL. Through the dialogue of the religious scriptures, we always discussed the true understanding of the scriptures. I know that we are having a difficult time because of this pandemic. It would be hard as alone, but it will be possible for us to win together, and we can overcome it as we gather with one heart in HWPL, despite our differences.”
In the speeches, religious leaders introduced their methods of prayer based on each religion’s tradition and scripture and delivered messages to defeat the COVID 19 crisis with collaborative efforts made by religious communities.
Dawud Noibi, the former Executive Secretary of the Muslim Ummah of southwest Nigeria, said, “Fellow religious leaders across the world, let us do all we can to give comfort to patients in our respective countries suffering from COVID 19. Let us help in propagating this praiseworthy work of HWPL by embarking on regular joint prayers in our respective countries for divine intervention towards an end to the COVID 19 pandemic and a speedy recovery for those still suffering from it.”
In the prayer session, all participants simultaneously prayed together for recovery of the world through spiritual reflections and the ends of COVID 19 in each language and each religion’s tradition. At the end of the conference, the song of peace with every participant’s wishes was resonating in harmony via zoom.
Ashin Htavara, General Secretary of All Burmese Monks Representative Committee, said “HWPL organized this prayer conference with various religious leaders from all over the world. This is the unprecedented prayer conference for people of different religions to pray together with one heart. God will hear our prayers.”
As an extension of WARP Office Meetings, HWPL organized a series of relay global interfaith prayer meetings in October, hoping to end the coronavirus crisis soon. HWPL has hosted online interfaith prayer meetings over 20 times with participants in 70 countries this month.