Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ojai Joins Pursuit Of Peace

Joshua Home Edwards and Michelle Sabatiré share a moment of togetherness during the “Living Peace in Ojai” event Sunday afternoon at Libbey Bowl

By Nao Braverman
Despite tempestuous weather about 100 people attended Living Peace in Ojai’s opening night on the International Day of Peace, according Evan Austin, founder of the Ojai Peace Coalition and coordinator of the weekend’s opening ceremony.
He was pleased with the turnout, though the ceremony was hastily relocated to the Chaparral Auditorium to keep guests from getting drenched in the rain.
Attendants observed a moment of candle-lit silence before Ojai’s first Noble Peace Prize was awarded to Clive and Marion Leeman, for their dedicated efforts to promote peace and their continuous involvement in local activism.
Following the awards ceremony, The Peace Alliance presented the “Gift of Peace,” a series of monologues aimed at drawing support for the establishment of a United States Department of Peace.
Proposed by Ohio congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the Department of Peace would propose a number of mandates including prison rehabilitation programs, human rights monitoring, and the establishment a U.S. peace academy.
A closing interspiritual gathering, service and celebration on Sunday was a huge success, said Katherine Hope, spiritual leader of the Symphony of Life Spiritual Center, who facilitated the service.
Opening with a Native American ceremony, led by Chumash elder, Julie Tumamait, the gathering was attended by a Jewish rabbi, Daniel Mehlman, Sufi practitioner, Darakshan Farber, along with Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu practitioners. “It was a beautiful interweaving of practices, faith and spirituality,” said Hope.
Religious ceremonies were interspersed with meditation, yoga, “peace sharing,” and even “science sharing” by neuroscientist Peggy La Cerra from the Center of Evolutionary Neuroscience.
Coordinators are already getting ideas for next year’s event, Austin agreed.
“It was intended that this would be an annual event and its success is just another incentive,” he said.

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