Personal report on two events

:

The United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast
by rank !a"fmann# $2%&'%&( Pa)e &

*ear riends and amily I wrote yo" re+ently askin) for prayers and )ood wishes s"pportin) my role and parti+ipation at then "p+omin) events: United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week# The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast I was moved and I am deeply )ratef"l that yo" wrote ba+k with en+o"ra)ement and in fa+t offered prayers and )ood wishes, -ome wrote to ask for a note or two on how thin)s went,

United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week
This UN event I attended was +onvened as part of United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week: !in) .bd"llah II of /ordan proposed a World Interfaith Harmony Week at the Plenary -ession of the 60th United Nations 1eneral .ssembly in New 2ork on -eptember 2'# 2$&$ Prin+e 1ha3i bin 4"hammad of /ordan# -pe+ial .dvisor and Personal 5nvoy to the !in) .bd"llah II and a"thor of the resol"tion# presented the proposal for a World Interfaith Harmony Week before the UN 1eneral .ssembly in New 2ork where it was adopted "nanimo"sly on 6+tober 2$# 2$&$

Personal report on two events:

The United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast
by rank !a"fmann# $2%&'%&( Pa)e 2

The event I attended was hosted by 4aria 7ar)as of the Universal Pea+e ederation, The meetin) was +alled 8Ne+essity of Interfaith Harmony and 1lobal 9ooperation in .ddressin) -o+ial Iss"es,: There was a bad storm that evenin)# b"t impressively there was a f"ll t"rn o"t nevertheless, Panelists in+l"ded a New 2ork 9ity 5van)eli+al Pastor and +ivi+ leader# a New 2ork area ;abbi# a Baptist Pastor# an .hmadiyya leader# a Hind" speaker# the board +hairman of the prominent UN N16# We the World# and me, 4y role at the event was to present a talk# and afterward to moderate a dialo) amon) the panelists, 4y talk seemed well re+eived, It +ontained two main points: &, Interfaith has be+ome widespread and almost +ommon pla+e, Now there e<ists people sit"ated on every point of the spe+tr"m +ommitted to this ideal# from brand new +onverts to seasoned e<perts, I noted that this reality as des+ribed re="ires interfaith work to be or)ani3ed more +aref"lly# as this wo"ld prevent meetin)s from repeatedly rea+hin) only introd"+tory levels# and th"s failin) to advan+e the work toward s"bstantial pro)ress, This inattention to or)ani3in) interfaith a+tivitymore +aref"lly has stilted pro)ress, Interfaith a+tivism sho"ld have +ome father alon) by now, 2, 4y se+ond point re+ommended that interfaith work be +ond"+ted in the broader +onte<t of leadership, It sho"ld not be limited in its field of infl"en+e only to reli)ion, .++omplishin) this re="ires )reater respe+t# "nderstandin)# and inte)ration amon) reli)io"s and se+"lar leaders, The panel dialo)"e I developed was: 8*o reli)ions have insi)hts that +an help pea+e )ro"ps and other positive not for profits to work more +losely to)ether so as to yield )reater o"t+omes# instead of remainin) st"+k in the +"rrent sit"ation in whi+h )ro"ps that work for )ood do so separate from ea+h other, There is m"+h more to say abo"t this ="ite e<+ellent meetin)# espe+ially the +ontent ea+h speaker presented was s"bstantial and val"able, The followin) mornin) I trained to *9 to be)in a week at

The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast:
The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washin)ton# *,9,# on the first Th"rsday of ebr"ary ea+h year The breakfast# held in the Washin)ton Hilton>s International Ballroom# is typi+ally attended by some '#0$$ )"ests# in+l"din) international invitees from over &$$

Personal report on two events:

The United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast
by rank !a"fmann# $2%&'%&( Pa)e '

+o"ntries, The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United -tates 9on)ress It is desi)ned to be a for"m for the politi+al# so+ial# and b"siness elite to assemble and b"ild relationships, -in+e the in+eption of the National Prayer Breakfast# several U,-, states and +ities and other +o"ntries have established their own ann"al prayer breakfast events, 5very U,-, president sin+e *wi)ht *, 5isenhower has parti+ipated in every sin)le ann"al event, These several days wo"ld re="ire a far more f"ll and len)thy report ?on &$ different events I attended thro")ho"t the week@# "nlike the UN s"mmary above# whi+h is abo"t a sin)le evenin) meetin) of a few ho"rs, I attended the National Prayer Breakfast in my +apa+ity as board member of Brid)es to 9ommon 1ro"nd# whi+h has as one of its +ore p"rposes the mission to address tension and +onfli+t between 9hristianity and Islam, Be+a"se of this orientation# m"+h of the time of Brid)es board members was spent in 4iddle 5ast related options# the 4iddle 5ast Breakfast# the 4iddle 5ast -"ite# and other s"+h parts of the NPB that are a nat"ral home for Brid)es, . key and essential part of the Prayer Breakfast is the ="ite ama3in) fa+t of widespread# deep# sin+ere# and )en"ine spirit"ality and +ommitment to sa+rifi+e and )ood that +omprise attendees, . hi)h per+enta)e of parti+ipants are leaders and +ontrib"tors to massive works for )ood in the world, 4any work in the hardest and worst pla+es fa+in) dan)er# obsta+les# and +hallen)es to brin) +lean water# food# medi+ine# s+hools# opport"nity and hope, It is all b"t overpowerin) that for days virt"ally every person one meets# one after the other is sa+rifi+ially devoted to )ood, .nd then# despite a++omplishments# wealth# and talent there is the inviolable ass"mption of h"mility and spirit"al s"rrender, People there are e<+ited# en)a)ed# and tr"ly interested in ea+h other, It is not a time to show off, .s fas+inatin) as the ab"ndan+e of )ood present there# is the distin+t and +"rio"s way that this the National Prayer Breakfast is so thoro")hly an interfaith event, Parti+ipants are from a h"ndred +o"ntries the world over# and from all reli)ions, This in itself wo"ld not make the NPB "ni="e as an interfaith event, B"t where the matter )ets tr"ly interestin) is that the every ti+k of the +lo+k and every breath in and breath o"t while there is in the name of /es"s, The Hind"s# 4"slims# /ews and all on hand share a week of inspiration# lovin) embra+e# and m"t"al dis+overy all in the name of /es"s, 6ne of the playf"l themes of the NPB is that the power of /es"s +an harmoni3e even the embattled members of 9on)ress, This year>s hosts /ani+e Hahn ?*A9.@ and Bo"ie 1ommert ?;ATC@ did a f"n and f"nny Dob with this theme as 49s for main breakfast and other parts of the day, Their love for one another despite intense politi+al differen+es was a )ood e<ample and set the tone, .lso they told "s how m"+h they treas"re this one spe+ial ho"r every week in whi+h they p"t all differen+es aside to pray for ea+h other and for ea+h other>s families,

Personal report on two events:

The United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast
by rank !a"fmann# $2%&'%&( Pa)e (

The main event of the week is a two or so ho"r breakfast attended by the President, . dais of inspirational speakers ?s"+h as Soul Surfer's Bethany Hamilton# for e<ample@# as well as President and 4rs, 6bama# and 7i+e President Biden, 6thers ?s"+h as /ohn !erry# and even other national presidents are at their tables on the floor,@ There is a +ertain +onservatism in the environment that )rows from the Bibli+al inD"n+tion to pray for o"r leaders# & Timothy 2: &A ', Th"s no matter what anyone>s politi+s# the president and his family are treated with profo"nd respe+t, It is even near tearf"l to see &$$s of people from +o"ntries aro"nd the world prayin) almost desperately for .meri+a, . sho+kin) thin) for me was how often either from speakers and in personal +onversations the spirit of 1od +o"ld be felt, This is not a time of mere prea+hin)# politi+al shrewdness# and masterf"l rhetori+, ;ather these are days a)low the +onstant inAbreakin) of the Holy -pirit, .s s"+h the time there be+omes almost intense, In the presen+e of 1od>s spirit and )ra+e o"r own state and o"r own +ondition is amplified, The event is D"st one day# b"t this fa+t this is abo"t as m"+h of s"+h intensity of spirit"al presen+e that one +an bear witho"t a break, It is no pla+e for e)o, It is no pla+e for politi+s, Those who +an>t trans+end s"+h habits# tho")h they mi)ht not reali3e it themselves# sti+k o"t a bit, I was parti+"larly str"+k when a +on)ressman on the presidential dais slipped into a bit of a mean or partisan spirit, His mild 8atta+k: on his fellow +on)ressman however# was met instantly with h"mility# ele)an+e and the spirit of /es"s, 4atthew 0: 'EA(E, I was disappointed in the President>s spee+h, It was a politi+al spee+h# and as s"+h it was o"t of pla+e, I may p"blish an arti+le analy3in) this part of my e<perien+e, I attended the NPB in 2$&2, I fo"nd the same president>s spee+h m"+h s"perior then, In 2$&2 president 6bama>s spee+h was +onfessional# liltin)# and spirit"al, I felt it then to be "pliftin) and to my hearin) to"+hed the spirit of 1od, This year however# I felt myself in the presen+e of a man belea)"ered# one more spee+h to )ive# one more event to smile thro")h# one more +leverness to weave into a senten+e that says this b"t means that, It was presented as a +hampion of reli)io"s freedom# b"t to me ran) hollow, The +r"sade to fi< every +o"ntry>s violations b"t o"r own, It was a bl"ster of more U- poli+in) the world>s wron)s that ha"nted the president>s p"ffy +hested fin)er wa))in), .fter havin) seen a spirit"al side of the same man two years prior# I was very saddened to feel the absen+e of 1od in his words this time# none there even for a moment, .part from the networkin)# the +onferen+in)# and the fellowship# veterans of the NPB know that above all this time is meant to be one of selfAst"dy and personal transformation# a +han+e to stand in a bri)ht li)ht# to look within# and be made whole a)ain and a)ain by )ra+e, This was the most intense part of my e<perien+e, Perhaps I will write of this sometime too, rank !a"fmann ebr"ary &'# 2$&(

Personal report on two events:

The United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week The 62nd National Prayer Breakfast
by rank !a"fmann# $2%&'%&( Pa)e 0