The Dallas community celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of WFWP on November 4th 2017, and were joined by WFWP President Mrs. Angelika Selle and Vice President Mrs. Katarina Connery. Our guest speaker was Anita Marcos, President of the Peace Maker, Inc. Mrs. Marcos gave an overview of the organization, whose principles of serving others resemble principles of WFWP. Vice President Connery gave a powerful powerpoint presentation explaining the principles and activities of WFWP International and WFWP USA, and our keynote speaker, President Selle, gave a heartfelt presentation on the uniqueness of WFWP, in relation to other NGOs and leadership of the heart. She explained that the difference is the fact that WFWP’s founding is spiritual and that WFWP is embedded in the Founders’ vision of peace.
The second part of our event consisted of honoring, through the “HerStory Award,” women who have made great sacrifices and an exceptional difference in their communities. They were Dr. Helen Jackson, a mother of nine and a teacher for 40 years who has earned several awards for service to others; Mrs. Norma Matthews, former president of Peace Maker, Inc. and UNA of Dallas; Mrs. Verna Melton, owner of Verna’s Ventures and H.E.L.P; Laura Hornbeck, the former chairwoman of WFWP Texas who dedicated many years of service; and Mrs. Reiko Oshika, who has been serving as a missionary for many years in different countries. Mrs. Oshiko was chosen to represent all the Japanese sisters who were originally sent to establish the WFWP all over the world. A beautiful, engraved crystal globe, representing the global aspect of WFWP as well as the global aspect of a mother, was presented to each of the women.
We then moved onto the Bridge of Peace ceremony, in which all the honorees participated. The Bridge of Peace ceremony had its own special way of lighting up the room, especially for the many participants for whom it was the first time they’d ever heard of the bridge or crossed it. It was an exciting moment. As was previously shared in the November 15th issue of Logic of Love, member Laura Hornbeck had the following reflection from her experience:
I was deeply touched during the Bridge of Peace Ceremony when I realized that my “sister” (the woman with whom I was paired to cross the bridge) was Mrs. Helen Jackson, a fellow Herstory Award winner. Helen is a woman in her 90s whom I’ve met several times in the past. What struck my heart on November 4th was that Helen is, no doubt, the descendant of slaves, while I am a descendant of at least one slave owner here in Texas. My grandfather’s grandfather came to Texas from Tennessee in 1858 with his family and “servants” (a euphemism) to try to avoid the Civil War.
When I looked at Mrs. Jackson, so small and frail, I felt sorrow and contrition for all the ways in which my ancestors oppressed hers. I was brought to tears thinking that there is still much suffering and disorder in the African-American neighborhoods of the Dallas area, not to mention in the nation. I enjoyed talking with Helen during dinner and deepening the connection. I am still thinking of how to follow up with her. The Bridge of Peace Ceremony has great power and I’m glad it is featured at many WFWP events.
As the end of the event neared, the Texas WFWP chairwoman made an appeal to all the participants to support the WFWP Texas chapter and WFWP in general. For dinner, a donation had been requested and the proceeds will go to the Schools of Africa. It is worth noting that during the event, we had incredible entertainment, including a Japanese opera singer who sang solo and a Japanese choir.
The next day on Sunday, November 5th, WFWP President Selle and Vice President Connery gave an inspiring Sunday service at the Dallas Family Church, who hosted WFWP the previous night. They spoke on “Peace Starts with Me – What’s Next?” President Selle reminded the audience about the event this past July at Madison Square Garden when Mrs. Moon called upon the audience to unite with her so that each can become the spark of light that guides people back to God. President Selle talked about putting new wine into wineskins and that we cannot continue doing the same thing in the same way and expect to have a different outcome. She emphasized leadership of the heart and that we need a paradigm shift and a new way of thinking so that God’s motherly love can flow through each and every one of us. She also reminded us that we must all inherit the WFWP founders’ vision and make it our own. For that to happen we must become new wineskins.
Mrs. Connery spoke about unity, mentioning that unity occurs when one acknowledges the uniqueness and individuality of the other so that they focus on bringing together their strengths to accomplish a common goal. Unity is not changing one’s identity or essence, but rather, putting our God-given individual qualities together to accomplish our God given responsibility. It is like bringing all the pieces of a puzzle together to create one masterpiece.
The Texas WFWP chapter is grateful to President Selle and Vice President Connery who came all the way from New York to support our chapter on this occasion. We also want to thank all of those who attended and celebrated with us from Dallas, surrounding cities, and other states. This event was very significant to our chapter in that it was like a launching pad for a new beginning for the Texas WFWP chapter.