Cynthia Jackson was thrilled Tuesday to see familiar faces and newcomers at the International Day of Peace hosted by the Manteca Interfaith Community Appeal.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the local event consisting of the various religious groups and community members was postponed as was other such gatherings a year ago.
"We couldn't do much but meet by Zoom," said Jackson of the Transformed through Hope Ministries Church.
MICA, comprising several area churches – St. Paul’s United Methodist, Transformed through Hope Ministries, The Sikh Community, the Baha’i Community, St. Anthony de Padua (Catholic), Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Islamic Center of Manteca — shared the same message of "peace, love and unity for all," according to Russell Ballow of the Baha'i Community.
He was one of several speakers who shared thoughts at the International Day of Peace at the Manteca Civic Center.
The others were Jaspreet Kaur and Kavroop Kaur of Sikh Community, Kade Petersen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jason Thornton of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
"Peace has to start with ourselves," Petersen said.
Thornton, who has been involved in five of the previously held International Day of Peace events, urged those in attendance to become acquainted with one another during the reception that followed.
"My hope is that we will be able to have more events like this next year and make more friends," he said.
Guest speakers included Manteca Police Chief Mike Aguilar, Rhodesia Ransom of Congressman Josh Harder’s office, and Mohammed El-Farra of the Islamic Center of Manteca.
Bayan Ballow, in addition, noted that the International Day of Peace, observed every year on Sept. 21, came about from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, currently celebrating its 73rd anniversary.