When diversity and dialogue fall in love the most beautiful children of earth blossom.
(This quote appears on Thais’ painting prepared for the United Nations; Bill Carmel suggested this gift. It was presented to Deputy Secretary Jan Eliasson at the UN Concert as a gift from Peace Lutheran, Kloster Vocalis, and the artist.)
To Margareta, Steve and Friends at Peace:
I must write to you with a word of humongous gratitude from the bottom of my heart!
Christina and I are still in a sort of daze, thinking “What happened to us, really?” I’m getting thank you emails from my Sycamore Chamber Orchestra parents giving testimonials like “this weekend our family will never forget,” “you are such an amazing force in our children’s’ life,” and one of my teenagers came up to me last night after orchestra practice, saying “after the UN event, I have so much more confidence in myself!” Everyone I meet who attended, stops and hugs me and must talk about it.
It was a life changing event indeed, individually and in a broader sense. We were absolutely touched by God and it is amazing! Thank you so much for giving my orchestra and me this chance to play our hearts out for such a higher cause.
With all my heart, Goran Berg, Director
Dear UN Co-chairs: Wow, what an incredible celebration we had for the UN 70th! Thank you for helping to make it happen, and thank you so much for including URI in the planning. I felt so lucky to be a part of it. It was amazing looking around the sanctuary and seeing so many people working in concert for a more peaceful world – what great inspiration! Thank you for all that you do in helping moments like that to happen. Gaea Denker, United Religions Initiative/URI
Summary of UN 70th Anniversary Events in New York, Danville and San Francisco
The audience was small but very much alive at St. Peter’s in Manhattan (the Jazz Church). Some fine connections were made among the artists.
The UN Concert on June 23 was marvelous. We were delighted that Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson could attend and share a word of encouragement. He is the #2 Person at the United Nations and he was impressed by the concert!
The performance at the UN Chapel followed later that afternoon and it was received well by an enthusiastic UN audience. The recommitment to the Preamble of the Charter was a stirring moment. Leaders from URI are to be credited with designing this particular event.
Kloster Vocalis choir enjoyed a Contemplative Walk in Muir Woods on Thursday afternoon. They sang at the UN Grove and I shared reflections from Dag Hammarskjold’s “Markings”. Their music was a dynamic completion of the forest sanctuary stillness.
The next day Mayor Lee greeted Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Governor Brown at the San Francisco City Hall on Friday noon. Malala was in the audience.
The Concert at Peace in Danville brought together 2 more choirs -The Pacific Youth Choir and the Coelis Vocal Ensemble – along with the Sycamore Chamber Orchestra. A stunning program! That evening Shabbat Prayers lead by Rabbi Dan initiated the concert. This prayerful interfaith affirmation was powerful for all present.
Saturday morning we greeted Ban Ki-moon at the Fairmont Hotel. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke. Bishop Swing from Grace Cathedral served as our MC for the day.
The United Religions Initiative staff led our Appreciative Conversations and the “The Way Chose You” Concert was excellent and uplifting. The Spirit was deep at work and taking us far beyond all that we had imagined.
The week presented not only these beautiful concerts but contributed to the development of new partnerships with the United Nations, the Swedish Church, UNA, URI and the Bay Area Interfaith Communities.
Gary is playing at a Concert in the park at Yerba Buena Gardens this Saturday, July 4th from 1 – 2:30 pm. Everyone welcome! It’s the Center’s big anniversary.
The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values. William Inge
Blessings, Pr. Steve