On March 13th, 2015 the World Peace Blessing was held on the top hall of the French Protestant Church in Bern.
The Blessing ceremony is an event of reaffirmation of marriage for already married and faithful couples and newly-wed couples. Around 60 people from Biel, Bern, Ticino, Geneva and Zurich-Aarau attended the event.
Starting at 2 pm, the staff members setting up equipment and decorations for the big event. Not until around 4:45 pm did participants start to stream into the hall with wonder etched on their faces. At around 5 pm, MCs Noëmie Komagata and Roger Fankhauser started the ceremony off by inviting some youth to do some musical performances. Nathalie Komagata and Julia Handschin gave a piano/song performance and song/dance performance. After their performance, Michael Rawlence, Naomi Aoto and Elisa Ferrete performed three of their own songs for the participants. The songs that were performed were meaningful and fit well with the ceremony's ambiance.
Next, Chantal Chételat Komagata, Secretary General of UPF Switzerland, held a conference on the founding principles of peace and lasting happiness. The following water ceremony had representatives from 6 faiths who each gave their respective messages about the significance of family and that each faith’s pillar is also focused on family: Buddhism was represented by Bhante Anurudha, Protestantism was represented by William Mc Comish whose message was read by William Nguyen, Judaism was represented by Rabbi Muller read by Goya Cheytanov, Christian Science was represented by Danielle Blaser, Islam was represented by Magdoline Fedail and Unificationism was represented by Heiner Handschin. The meaning behind the water ceremony is that all the faiths are united in one as they pour the water into the bowl in unison.
After the water ceremony was over, the Blessing ceremony began with white scarves handed out to every person. Heiner and Carolyn Handschin, Presidents of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in Switzerland, led the process. Every couple stood up as each were handed a cup of holy wine or holy nectar. The meaning behind the holy wine and nectar was for the couples to start anew in their familial and spiritual life. A moment of closeness was shared between the couples as they drank from each other’s cups. This was followed by the ceremony of sprinkling holy water on the participants, reciting the blessing vows and speaking words of benedictions. A group picture was taken with everyone making hand hearts and then dinner was served right outside of the ceremony hall.
Written by William Nguyen