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Religious Leaders Join Forces for Peace

July 21, 2006

Spiritual leaders from a variety of religions met in San José Monday in what participants called Costa Rica’s first interfaith peace conference.

At the end of the afternoon conference, the leaders issued a statement calling for peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

“We reject all actions of war in the Middle East and in the rest of the world, and we invite all Costa Ricans to join in prayer for peace,” the leaders said in a statement.

The meeting was organized by the World Conference of Religions for Peace, an international coalition of religions that plans forums to encourage different religious groups to address challenges and share concerns.

Nineteen representatives from Muslim, Jewish and Indigenous religious communities and Catholic, Baptist,Methodist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Episcopal and Morava churches attended the event at the Hotel Tryp Corobicí near La Sabana Park on the western edge of San José.

The leaders discussed education, ethics and values, poverty and their goal of creating a culture of peace, said Father Jafet Peytrequín, an executive secretary for the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica, which comprises the country’s Catholic bishops.

In addition to fomenting dialogue between religious communities, the meeting served as a way for leaders of different faiths to get to know each other, Peytrequín said.

As a result of the meeting, a group of religious leaders is working to create an executive interfaith committee to plan discussion forums.

 

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