This was the 4th in the series of «Peace begins with me» events , which have been held around Switzerland in recent months.
This time the venue was at the beautiful location of Lassalle Haus in Bad Schönbrunn. It is a centre for Christian activities and Zen meditation. Seeing the wonderful view from the hill where the buildings are situated , it is easy to imagine spending time there as a retreat or inspiring seminar about spiritual matters.
The moderator for the day was Chantal Komagata, who did a great job in making all the guests feel at home and guiding the talks of the panelists, as well as summarising the main points
The first panelist was Mr Gurdeep Singh Kundan, the founder of the Centre for Sikh Studies in St Gallen, an Executive Member of IRAS COTIS, which is a very active Interfaith Group in Kanton Zürich, Secretary of the Global Sikh Council and co-founder of Cultural Link.
He gave us a brief explanation of the Sikh beliefs and principles, which he described as a very modern, scientific and all-embracing religion. Its founder Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of prayer, no fear, no hatred, no ego and developing love and compassion in one’s character.
Mr Kundan also mentioned the important point of social responsibility and the inclusion of women in worship, education and equal status in society. His wife is from the Catholic faith and they share a common interest in their life of faith.
The second panelist was Rev. Jonathan Botchway, a Christian minister of the New Life International Church. He has a background in Theology and Business Administration and is on the Board of the Ecumenical Kreuzweg Zürich and Healing Jesus Campaign. He is married with 4 children.
He said that peace cannot be created without recognizing the source of peace, which is in knowing Jesus. Through quotes from the Bible he showed that Jesus came as the Prince of Peace, and that the governments of this world cannot solve the problems without Jesus, who works through people. We can all become vessels which he can use to make vital changes in this world. If the heart changes , there is no conflict and this world becomes a better place.
Finally, the Unificationist viewpoint was given by Mr Heiner Handschin . He is the President of Family Federation and father of 7 children. In our life of faith, we can find points in common with others and focus on common sense values. We all know that we come from a father and a mother. Our birth is not possible any other way. Family stability has a good effect on society.
The opposite is seen when family breakdown causes all kinds of problems in health, financial struggles, crime, violence and the downfall of society.
Children learn by example and hopefully it is a good one. To become a good parent ourselves we follow the example of our good parents. At a national level the constitution of a country should be based on strong families, ensuring the survival and passing on of true values, which nurture everyone in society.
A discussion time followed. Here are some of the main points.
We must stand up for good true values. Expose corruption.
If we have a deep relationship with God, we will not be deceived. Prayer is important to know ourselves and be clear in our vision.
If we have peace and beauty within ourselves, we can see that around us and it gives us hope that the world can change.
We must be united and keep going to the end!