Globally, 560 religious leaders from 80 countries and 31 religions gathered online to pray together and reaffirm inter-religious commitment to peace.
Online PR News – 21-December-2020 – Sydney, Australia – Global changes have been under way in the world of religion. In the face of this pandemic and the uncountable lives lost throughout, many religious leaders, from Buddhism to Jainism to Sikhism, have united in solidarity.
On December 14, 560 representatives from 80 countries and 31 religions—including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism—partook in an online gathering to express words of consolation to humanity and reaffirm inter-religious commitment to and dialogue for peace.
Titled “HWPL End-of-year Religious Leaders’ Gathering: United Hopes & Prayers for a Brighter 2021,” the event saw 11 religious leaders representing different religions praying for wisdom and for solutions to the innumerable struggles and difficulties faced by countless people worldwide as a result of the current COVID-19 crisis. Video messages from religious leaders were also broadcasted and streamed, displaying their support for the role of religion in countering anti-peace movements involving discrimination, hatred, and violence that have been exacerbated during the pandemic.
During the prayer, Rev. Acharya Prem Shankaranand Tirth, Hindu High Priest of Shree Geeta Ashram of Delhi, said, “For our colleagues, families of peace, let us continue this endeavor of world peace. During this pandemic, we must realize the value of one another in that we all coexist with nature and other creations. We in human society must act as one and should exist in peace, harmony and love.”
“I remember sitting at my desk and finding out about the first infection in my own country. I prayed, asking a lot of questions. Many of my peers turned back to scripture in these times to seek answers about the Creator God, His plan, His will and what He wants us to focus on due to these events,” said Ms. Nandi Bester, manager of International Youth Peace Group (IPYG) in South Africa.
“Today, we may be able to solve the problem of COVID-19, but another disease will come. When winter is coming, we can't stop it, but can cover ourselves and protect ourselves. That's what we can do when there are challenging issues of bad health and adversities coming in life. We should maintain patience and learn the art of tolerance and tolerate the difficulty and suffering that is coming upon us,” said Rev. Hare Krsna Das, Priest of ISKCON, Rishikesh, India.
“Regarding the question about how human society should understand why suffering such as COVID-19 occurs, we found that all religions are searching for an answer. In the process, those participating in this event, transcending time difference, pray for the safety of all regardless of their faiths. This is the clear difference from the time before the pandemic, when news of conflict was filled with intolerance against groups from different backgrounds. In this respect, it has proved the possibility that humanity in a crisis can be united and one in peace beyond religion,” said a HWPL official.
The organizer, HWPL, is an NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC, and throughout this year, to help develop treatments for COVID-19 has ushered in national plasma donations from over 3,700 people who have recovered from COVID-19 in South Korea.