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“Holy Land, Living Water” – Convening Celebrates UN WIHW 2020

Let the Parliament of the World’s Religions take you on a journey through story, videos and photos of an interfaith pilgrimage to remember the Sacredness of Water & the power of connecting with Sacred Sites of every faith.

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From February 1st through February 7th, on the official observance of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Parliament joined international partners for Holy Land, Living Water. Presented by Unity Earth, the United Religions Initiative (URI), and EcoPeace Middle EastHoly Land, Living Water was a historic week-long pilgrimage across the Holiest Sites of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, along a path through the Jordan River Valley, where water has played a vital role in the sustenance of the region. Its scarcity has become amplified by climate change and population growth. In addition, some of the founding stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are set along the Jordan River banks and the valley contains sites sacred to half of humanity.

This event also commemorated the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week of 2020, with nearly 100 international delegates, among them Parliament Chair Audrey Kitagawa, from a wide array of cultural and faith backgrounds coming together to share spiritual practices, values and visions of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and harmonious world.

Parliament Chair, Audrey Kitagawa, participated in a panel and gave a speech as part of the U-Nite Concert. Enjoy recordings from the gathering below.


Want to learn more about the programming, explore short summaries and enjoy images from each day of the gathering below.

Day 1

Dinner near Dead Sea

The journey began with an inspiring night of sharing, homogenizing, and messages of interfaith cooperation, hope, peace, and unity from the Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, Rev. Deborah Moldow, Chief Phil Lane Jr. and other prominent religious leaders. This welcome dinner, hosted by Executive Director of Unity Earth Ben Bowler, took place by the Dead Sea, famous for its religious significance and numerous mentions in the Bible. It is the lowest and most mineral-rich body of water in the world. The gathering set the stage for a week of visits to the sacred sites of the Holy Land.

Day 2

Mount Nebo

The Parliament Chair and Unity Earth participants visited the sacred site of Mount Nebo, an important place of pilgrimage where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. The group paid their respects at the commemorated site, the Memorial Church of Moses and the Siyagha (monastery).  They gathered in front of the Brazen Serpent Monument, symbolic of the bronze serpent Moses created in the wilderness and the cross Jesus was crucified. Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam and Rev. Sylvia Sumter offered blessings, prayers, and messages of hope. Banners of peace, unity, and reverence toward water were displayed.

Water Ceremony on the Dead Sea

At sunset, Dr. Mindahi Bastida Muñoz led the group in the Four Directions Water Ceremony by the Dead Sea, a Native American blessing that calls on the Four Directions (East, North, West and South). The ceremony was conducted by First Nations elders who recognize the sacredness of water, the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of protecting our water from pollution.  The ceremony on the Dead Sea was significant because of the reduced water flow.

Dead Sea Convergence

An ecology conference was held by the Dead Sea concerning the Holy Land and the Jordan River. Faith leaders from around the world discussed the intersection of faith, ecology, and the importance of water for supporting human life as well as its spiritual significance. Ben Bowler emceed the event. Yana Abu Taleb, Nada Majdalani, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Professor Kathryn Libal, and His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi gave presentations. Gidon Bromberg moderated a diverse five-person panel of prominent faith leaders to discuss the ecological and spiritual significance of water in general and the Jordan River in particular. The panelists were the Parliament Chair, Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Rabbi Gabriel Hagai, Haji Syed Salman Chishty, and Ven. Dr. Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai.

May Peace Prevail on Earth Flag Ceremony

Various members of the group chanted for peace in a circle as they created a mosaic of flags representing all of the countries in the world.

Day 3

Al-Maghtas Baptism Site at Jordan River

The sacred Al-Maghtas Baptism Site on the Jordan River is considered the third holiest place in Christianity.  It is the official baptism site of Jesus, called Qasr al-Yahud, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The group gathered in the pavilion near the bank of the river for a prayer for the Jordan River. Religious leaders of different faiths gave their blessing to the River. Faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Indigenous traditions blessed members of the group with the holy waters on the bank of the Jordan River.

CEE Stands with Wendsler Nosie / Poor Peoples Campaign

Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the new Poor Peoples Campaign said, “I really feel that, in some sense, Apache elder and my brother Wendsler Nosie Sr. is America’s Gandhi in this moment. A lot of our struggles start with lone individuals acting in ways that affect the whole.”

The protection of sacred sites of the original peoples is a moral and ecological imperative.  The United States of America is built upon the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness including freedom of religion, and equal protections under the law. The Center for Earth Ethics stands in solidarity with Wendsler Nosie, Sr. and his commitment to protect and defend the Sacred Sites of the Apache Nation.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We share with you the story of Wendsler Nosie’s return to Oak Flat, from the Poor Peoples Campaign published by the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice.


Wendsler Nosie Sr. Returns to Oak Flat to Protect Sacred Land from Extraction

On Thanksgiving Day (and National Day of Mourning), former chair of the San Carlos Apache, Wendsler Nosie Sr., left their reservation and began his return to the Apache holy site of Oak Flat (Chi’chil Bildagoteel) in Arizona.

Oak Flat is under threat of destruction by Resolution Copper, a joint venture owned in part by Rio Tinto, one of the largest metal and mining companies in the world. Wendsler, with the blessings of the Apache Stronghold, has decided that he will not leave the sacred site until it is protected, and his tribe’s Constitutional and moral rights to religious freedom are respected, even if it means losing his life. National Co-Chair and President of Repairers of the Breach, Rev. Dr. Barber, along with Rev. John Mendez, Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner, and Ms. Yara Allen were present as he started this journey home.

Sign the petition today to protect this sacred land.

Oak Flat
Wendsler Nosie Sr. returns to the sacred site of Oak Flat.

STEVE PAVEY

In the Apache tradition, the waters at Oak Flat are the source of all life. Generations of Apache have come to pray for thousands of years at this most holy site. After years of unsuccessful negotiations and a corruption scandal that landed an Arizona Congressman in prison, Resolution Copper was given the rights to mine Oak Flat as part of a last-minute rider that then-Senator John McCain added to the 2014 Defense Spending Bill. To process the copper ore, the proposed extraction would use 6.5 billion gallons of water annually — as much water as a small city — which would then be polluted with sulfuric acid. These operations would replace the holy ground with a gaping crater, two miles wide and one thousand feet deep.

The only thing standing between Resolution Copper and the mining rights they have already been granted is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS must be certified by the federal government before private companies can begin mining public lands. During the required public comment period on the EIS, Wendsler argued that, while the environmental impact of this proposed project would be devastating, the bigger issue is in fact religious liberty.

In a joint statement with the current San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler, Wendsler wrote, “the Oak Flat Draft Environmental Impact Statement does not address the current religious significance and the value given to Oak Flat by the Apache people, Yavapai people, Aravaipa and many others…Native American Religion has been excluded from the areas of concern and value.” However, the U.S. Forest Service has refused to consider the Apache’s religious freedom claim in its EIS.

DC
Wendsler Nosie Sr. with Rev. Dr. Barber in Washington, D.C. before setting off on his journey.

Two weeks ago, Wendsler and a delegation from the Apache Stronghold went to Washington D.C. to meet with the U.S. Forest Service and deliver the statement of his intent to return to Oak Flat. They were joined by Rev. Barber, Rev. Theoharis and a delegation of multi-faith clergy.

signal-2019-11-28-092531
Rev. Dr. Barber, Wendsler Nosie Sr. and Rev. Mendez on the day of Wendsler’s departure.

STEVE PAVEY

Rev. Dr. Barber was introduced to Wendsler seven years ago by Rev. Mendez, who has been engaged with the Apache Stronghold for over twenty years. Since then, they have built a relationship across faith, race, issues, and geography, to find common ground in this sacred and moral struggle.

Wendsler is a member of the National Steering Committee of the Poor People’s Campaign. Along with a delegation from the San Carlos Apache, he joined the December 4th, 2017, official launch of the Campaign in Washington D.C. And in June 2018, following a sacred journey connecting with indigenous people across the country, the San Carlos Apache joined the Campaign in Washington D.C. for the 40 Days of Action. There on Capitol Hill, Vanessa Nosie, Wendsler’s daughter, spoke to the conditions they had witnessed on their journey.

AS-in-DC-June-2018
The San Carlos Apache joined the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D.C. for the 40 Days of Action last year.

STEVE PAVEY

The Poor People’s Campaign now calls on all of the people in our movement to support the Apache Stronghold in their struggle for religious freedom and the right to their sacred lands at Oak Flat.

In Rev. Barber’s and Rev. Theoharis’ words, “As Christian ministers who are committed to the freedom of religion for all people, we call on all people of faith to stand with Wendsler Nosie and the Apache Stronghold before it is too late. To preach the resurrection of Jesus is to proclaim that no one and no one’s tradition must be crucified for the greater good. We can protect the waters, protect Oak Flat, and still have enough resources for every family in this land to flourish. The history of terrible violence this nation has committed against indigenous people from the Trail of Tears to Standing Rock is a reminder that the apocalypse Nosie goes home to face is a real possibility. But it is not a necessity. We pray Americans will act to show genuine gratitude for the original stewards of this land and their religious freedom. We join our brother, Wendsler Nosie, in the call to save Oak Flat.”

 

Support this critical struggle by signing the petition and please consider making a donation to the Apache Stronghold at this pivotal moment.

Holy Land Living Water

The Center for Earth Ethics is grateful to be continuing to work with our friends at ECO-PEACE MIDDLE EAST following the inspired Sacred Rivers Interfaith ceremony at Union Theological Seminary and the Hudson River during Climate Week.

The Center’s Mindahi Bastida will join UNITY EARTH’s international delegation for an historic pilgrimage in February 2020. Holy Land Living Water will be a 7 day journey of spirit and ecology that will include sacred site visits, music and ceremony, as well as ecological tours to the Jordan River.

CELEBRATING UN WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK

Holy Land Living Water will raise awareness about the groundbreaking efforts of regional NGO EcoPeace Middle East in facilitating collaboration and regeneration throughout the Jordan River Valley and beyond. The event is also presented in partnership with the United Religions Initiative and will celebrate UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, an annual celebration in the 1st week of February.

Successful Seminar “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean”

Report on “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean ” Manaus, Brazil August 8-9 from CODIA.  CEE’s Mindahi Bastida was pleased to participate (see photo below).

CODIA, September 6, 2019

Within the framework of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, UNESCO convened leaders from Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia, as well as local communities in Manaus around the Seminar “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean ”(Manaus, Brazil August 8-9). The meeting focused on the discussion about the sociocultural, technical, legal, economic and political aspects that the native peoples of the region have taken in the area of ​​water management. Organized by the International Hydrological Program (PHI) of UNESCO together with the UNESCO Office in Brasilia and Quito, the Conference of Ibero-American Water Directors (CODIA), the Agência Nacional de Águas (ANA), with the collaboration of the Organization of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty (ACTO).

With the participation of Mr. Oscar Cordeiro Netto, Director of the ANA; Mr. César de las Casas, Executive Director of OTCA; Fabio Eon (UNESCO Brasilia); Ms. Karla Bitar, Superintendent of the Amazon National Historical and Artistic Patrimony Institute (IPHAN AM); and Mrs. Marcivana Rodrigues Paiva, Coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB), opened the seminar “Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean” in Manaus, Brazil on the 8th of August at 9:00 a.m.

The Seminar was promoted within the framework of the International Day of Indigenous Peoples as an instance to exchange on the Sustainable Development Goals and their approach in relation to the knowledge of the native peoples about water management with the aim of generating recommendations for international agencies, UNESCO, indigenous peoples, around this theme.

The relationship between indigenous peoples and water resources inspires an approach to water as a human right and a common good, as well as providing the search for new technologies and forms of organization that guarantee water supply to the continent. The inclusion and knowledge of indigenous practices and techniques used in the resolution of water-related conflicts is often important as valuable knowledge for government organizations, businesses and civil society.

The event had a wide regional call through the honorable presence of the Secretary of Water (Ecuador), Mr. Humberto Cholango, and indigenous leaders linked to the management of water resources of Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia, professionals from the water sector of Peru and Chile as well as from local communities in Manaus. In addition, the UNESCO Chair in Water and Culture (UdelaR, Uruguay) and the UNESCO Chair in Sustainability of Water Resources (San Carlos de Guatemala) joined this initiative.


About CODIA

The Conference of Ibero-American Directors of Water emerges as a response to the mandate of the I Ibero-American Forum of Ministers of the Environment (Spain, 2001)  in order to create a forum in Latin America in which the those mainly responsible for water management in the region will participate.The main functions of CODIA are to act as a technical instrument to support the Forum and to examine and implement cooperative modalities in the area of ​​water resources. CODIA is made up of a total of 22 countries. 

Indigenous leaders mobilize in Paris to recognize the rights of “Mother Earth”

biodiversity

Invited by the Amazon Planet Association, Amazonian, Mexican, and Maasai spiritual leaders, people who have been protecting biodiversity for thousands of years, come together to convince world leaders and civil society to treat “Mother Earth” as a rights-bearing entity.

 

Our Earth has a fever, we are worried, we need to unify our energies to save life “.  In a wool vest, with beautiful deep thought and a dense voice, the leader Mindahi Bastida, Otomi Officer of the people of Mexico, powerfully explained, Wednesday, October 23 for mayor of the VI th district of Paris, the immense task which in the eyes indigenous peoples – 370 million people spread over more than 70 countries on five continents – must bring together the inhabitants of this planet ” with whom we travel in the cosmos “.

 

Which ones? Take all necessary measures to respect the sanctity of water, earth, fire and the life cycle. And break with anthropocentrism. ” If the territories of our peoples conceal 80% of the world’s biodiversity, added this doctor in rural development, it is because we have been working for thousands of years to preserve our sacred places.” At his side, the Amazon Ninawa Chief of the Huni Kui people (Brazil), wide headdress of long multicolored feathers, added: ” Can you live without breathing, without drinking? Without food? We are 100% dependent on Mother Nature to survive “. The energetic Maasai Magdalene Kaitei, in a green dress, completed: “In my country, Kenya, home to many wildlife and forests, the spirit of destruction deprives our pastoral farmers of the river water they need to survive . ”

 

These representatives of the “peoples-roots” were united in 2015 in Paris during the COP 21, in constitutive assembly – the alliance of the “Guardians of Mother Nature” – to weigh on the leaders of the world, the United Nations and the civil society, so that they treat “Mother Earth” as an entity with fundamental rights. And with this awareness, abandon the legal systems, inherited in their territories of the time of the colonies, who treat it only as a resource.

 

This Thursday afternoon, they will discuss their initiatives of reforestation, their battles to make their territories sanctuary. With the hope of provoking a sacred union around forests around the world. If their word moves so much their audiences, which many environmental activists of the ANV-COP 21, of Extinction Rebellion which recently occupied the place of the Châtelet and will proceed Friday to a new blocking to support them, it is because they emphasize how much the ecological crisis is also a spiritual crisis that forces us to reflect on the why of our presence on earth. ” Humans have come to take care of life, why have we forgotten the law of origin, how have we come to endanger life?“, calls Mindahi Bastida, for whom, if our institutions do not fulfill this mission, they must disappear.” Everything is transformed “.

 

>> The events take place at the 6th arrondissement of Paris, this Thursday, October 24 from 13:30 to 19 hours. And Sunday, October 27, at Espace Niemeyer, 2 place Colonel Fabien.

 

Sanctuarizing Forests: report

Originally Published by Normandy Chair for Peace

Event organised by Emilie Gaillard, General Coordinator of the Normandy Chair for Peace (Normandy region, CNRS, University of Caen in Normandy), in collaboration with Nadia Tahir (ERLIS, University of Caen in Normandy) and Vassili Rivron (CERREV, University of Caen in Normandy).

Its objective was to address the following points:

  • the Amazon rainforest as subject of deforestation
  • the world view of indigenous peoples: what link with the forest?
  • what impact on the anthropological approach to the relationship with nature?
  • which legal perspectives are open?

Programme:

Workshop with indigenous leaders from the Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature

  • Magdalene Setia Kaitei, from the Maasaï people (Kenya), Executive Director of Emayian Integrated Development Organization.
  • Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz, Director of the Original Caretakers Program held by the Center for Earth Ethics,  General Coordinator of Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council (Mexico), guardian of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people.
  • Ivanice Pires Tanone, cacique of the indigenous Kariri-Xocó people, one of the rare indigenous women leaders in Brazil.

Screening of the movie « TERRA LIBRE » – Debate with indigenous leaders / Guardians of Mother Nature

« TERRA LIBRE » – A film by Gert-Peter Bruch (125 min. Atmosphere Festival Audience Award). The screening, organized in collaboration with the Lux cinema, was followed by a debate with Gert Peter Bruch and two of the three indigenous leaders: Magdalene Setia K. and Mindahi Bastida. A call to the awakening of consciences, with the guardians of the world living for guides.

In the presence of Gert-Peter Bruch, founder of Planet Amazon. The event was presented by Vassili Rivron (anthropologist, specialist from Brazil, CERREV, University of Caen in Normandy) and Nadia Tahir (Lecturer in Hispanic-American Studies, ERLIS, University of Caen in Normandy).

To initiate the workshop, Mindahi Bastida explained how nowadays sacred lands in central Mexico have been demystified. Lands and territories that indigenous peoples maintain in a collective way to preserve life, are now in danger. From the indigenous perspective, land, water, and air are considered sacred elements and not resources. Therefore, they advocate for the legal recognition of their work protecting the Earth, by asking democratic governments, such as the French Republic, to sign the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention nº169, as a way of international support. In addition, he opens the reflection about how in the middle of this climate crisis, indigenous peoples cannot do this work only by themselves, and how important it is to raise awareness about this global problems that affect us all. He quoted: “What world are we leaving to the future generations? And, what generations are we leaving to the world?”

Read on…

Indigenous Science of Time

In this video, Jennifer Wemigwans, professor at University of Toronto, and author of A Digital Bundle, Protecting and Promoting Indigenous Knowledge Online, explains Geraldine Ann Patrick’s approach to Maya conception of time and how, contrary to what Maya scholars have said for the past five hundred years, Mesoamerican calendars did have a way to account for the extra quarter day every year which in Western astronomy leads to the leap day. This video provides an excellent visual support to explain how the four extra quarter days are included in the sequence of four years.  Geraldine is a Center for Earth Ethics Original Caretakers Initiative Fellow and a Union Theological Seminary Scholar in Residence. Please watch and share!
 

Original Caretakers Director, joined Indigenous Voices in Brazil to support the SDG’s

In the International Decade of Action for Water (2018-2028) and International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, and coinciding with the international day of indigenous peoples (August 9), the international hydrological program celebrated with a seminar on Indigenous Knowledge for Integral Water Management in Latin America and the Caribbean in Manaus, Brazil, August 8-9, 2019

Following the seminar, on August 10th in Manaus, indigenous leaders met for a time of reflection and discussion of Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals. Indigenous peoples across the globe have long understood the value of water and the way it connects us.  CEE supports opportunities for indigenous peoples to gather, fortify their alliances and articulate wisdom that can inform new models of economic and environmental health for the well being of our people and our planet.

Statement from the Gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America & The Abya Yala

The process of unification of spiritual leaders around the world is taking place. CEE’s Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida recently participated in one such gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America & The Abya Yala.  In order to take the next step among the Latin American peoples, native intellectuals and Spiritual Elders from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala came together in this unique meeting to share insights about the state and future of Mother Earth, and to share knowledge, ideas and actions through the unification process.  Following is their statement in English with a Spanish language pdf below:

March 2019, Cauca, Colombia

In this way we commit ourselves to weave the knots that connect the local to the global, to revitalize the centers of ancestral thought and knowledge, the centers of the action and knowledge of women, to revitalize ancestral communication, music, songs, dances, rituals and sacred ceremonies of the peoples, the ceremonial lunar and solar celebrations, and the recovery and purification of the sacred sites. We commit to working with sources of energy to re-establish balance and restore natural order. This is a call from our hearts to the hearts of all those who feel this collective conscience of caring for and protecting our common home.

We call upon the following:

1. To the social and political organizations: so that they can listen to this message and realize that the wisdom of our ancient peoples is the solution to heal the illness that our Mother Earth is experiencing.

2. To governments: to recognize and value the wisdom, knowledge, science and ancestral spiritual authority that has maintained the integrity of indigenous territories.

3. To the United Nations: to support the endorsement of the rights of Mother Earth.

The new dawn ushers in unity, happiness, peace and harmony and the continuation of the spiral of life.  We call on all Indigenous Peoples to do translate this document in their native languages.

CHINCHAYSUYU CAJIBIO (ATLÁNTIDA ECOVILLAGE), CAUCA, COLOMBIA, MARCH 9TH 5527 (2019)

To communicate, spread and fulfill.  #HealingMotherEarth

This gathering has been carried out thanks to the support of the organizations:
International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS US) | Center for Earth Ethics | The Fountain

Visit ICCS website here for more information on The Gathering and other participating guests.

 

Downloadable pdfs in English and Spanish:

Declaration – 2019 Gathering of Spiritual Elders – Cauca, Colombia

Declaración – 2019 Encuentro de Mayores – Cauca, Colombia

 

 

Indigenous Wisdom Healing Mother Earth – Cauca, Colombia

CEE’s Original Caretakers Program Director, Mindahi Bastida, will travel to Colombia to participate in this sharing between indigenous thought leaders and tradition keepers of Central and South America. 

THE GATHERING
The process of unification of spiritual leaders around the world is taking place. In order to take the next step among the Latin American peoples, we propose a four days private gathering, to bring together native intellectuals and Spiritual Elders from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

This unique meeting aims to reveal insights about the state and future of Mother Earth, and to share knowledge, ideas and actions through the unification process.

The Gathering of Indigenous Spiritual Elders of South America and the Abya Yala, will be an expression of dialogue and reciprocity to heal Mother Earth for present and for future generations. It promises meaningful discussions, as well as the development of pragmatic action plans.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Earth Ethics, ICCS – International Center for Cultural Studies, and The Fountain.

AGENDA

THURSDAY , MARCH 7TH
– Opening ceremony
– Welcoming words and introduction of participants
– Dance and ceremony

FRIDAY, MARCH 8TH
– Exchange of experiences of spiritual Elders of Colombia
– Exchange of experiences of spiritual Elders of invited countries
– Fire harmonization ceremony

SATURDAY, MARCH 9TH
– Presentation of the 4 pillars of Mother Earth
– Discussion “Towards the creation of the Global Council of Spiritual Leaders of Mother Earth”
– Closing ceremony

SUNDAY, MARCH 10TH
– Departure during morning time

Visit ICCS website here for more information on The Gathering and other participating guests.

Flyer Gathering March 2019 – COL