Thursday, May 31, 2018

Film Screening "The Man Who Built Peace" and Interfaith Talk


On 26 May 2018 we had a film screening and discussion of The Man Who Built Peace. This event was held at Tanri Abeng University (TAU). The Man Who Built Peace is a documentary film which captured the life journey of Frank Buchman in bringing peace and was followed by a lively discussion. Many people may never have heard of Frank Buchman and that he had played big roles in changing the world. Frank Buchman was the founder of Moral Re-Armament, now known as Initiatives of Change (IofC).

The session started with a prayer and the singing of the Indonesian national anthem. We continued singing one of IofC’s songs, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” The message of the song is to encourage each of us to light a candle for unity. Andi Anugrah, a representative of the student senate welcomed the committee and participants to TAU and was looking forward to learning through the session. “I believe this program will bring good impacts and positive energy for us.” Meanwhile the representative of the executive council of students, Ilham Nur, thanked the IofC team for the collaboration with TAU.

Akhmad Khairul Umam, the lecturer of TAU, also the former president of IofC Indonesia, led the session of film screening by sharing his point of view about Frank Buchman. “Frank Buchman was a unique and wonderful person. He was a devout Christian but his approach included people of other faiths.” Irna Yugaswatie, president of IofC Indonesia, said this film inspires us in applying the path we should take in responding to things happening today. This film is relevant today to share messages of hope and peace. As quoted by Frank Buchman, “If everyone cared enough and everyone shared enough, everyone would have enough.” Sharing will enrich us with joy and happiness. Through this film we also realize more that human beings need moral and spiritual awakening.

After the discussion, Nonie, our IofC friend, shared how she was introduced to IofC. “I attended the annual Youth Leadership programme in 2012 which was conducted in Semarang. I was impressed with the camp and kept getting involved with IofC programs till now. In 2017, I lost my grandfather named Kusumawardhy, also known as John, who was the brother of my mother’s father. As a matter of fact, Mr. Kusumawardhy used to be part of MRA/IofC and surprisingly, he and his wife were introduced to MRA/IofC by my own grandfather (my mother’s father), Soenarto. My late grandfather, Soenarto used to be a government employee. “Having known about my background, I feel more connected with IofC and I am blessed to have been on a journey with this movement.” Nonie’s mother, Siti Ambarini also attended today’s gathering and shared her childhood memory with her father. “My father often traveled abroad for his work and MRA/IofC activities. I loved to collect postcards sent by my father since I was eight. I didn’t understand why I did so, but now I find that it’s worth it. I could show them to my daughter and her IofC friends. When I was a child, we often hosted MRA/IofC friends from various countries. I saw them staying in silent and sharing their stories in group, I didn’t understand what they were doing. After years, I got to know from my daughter that it was called a quiet time.” Nonie and her mother shared in an empowering way and we were moved by the stories.

During our interfaith talk, we learn to increase our understanding of other religions, respect diversities, and build our appreciation of others’ values.  Miftahul Huda, program director of Trust Building IofC Indonesia, shared that it is important to exposure people to intercultural and interfaith and most importantly, experiencing them in our day-to-day life will help us break prejudices and build trust. He campaigns in his social media account “Trust Not Terror” in order to invite people to spread love for all and hatred for none. Trust needs to be earned in order to build a strong and united Indonesia. Huda will continue his work in trust building to bring young people together to listen and understand each other.

Another speaker, Binsar Pakpahan, a priest, also an alumnus of Caux IofC said this time people tend to trust news on the internet without identifying the fake from the real. The spread of misinformation also includes religious issues that may disrupt the truth and create conflicts among people. “Religions lead us to God, not create wars and conflicts. We need to deepen our knowledge and understanding of our religion, spread goodness and respect others.” Responding to what happened recently in Indonesia in which a family carried out bomb attacks on three churches in Surabaya, we felt that each of us had responsibilities to promote peace, embrace our differences, and fight against terrorism.

The participants appreciated the IofC team for arranging this event and hoped to run this program continuously. At the end of the session, our Moslem friends had fast breaking and enjoyed the meals and conversations. We had good times together and will build strong friendships and partnership in the future.


Reported by Yofrina Octika Gultom