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SpiritFest in Atlanta:
A Local Tradition of Service Continues

On September 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., members of the Atlanta center and the local community enjoyed SpiritFest 2009, a community fair we hosted. This is the fourth year we have hosted this community fair as a fundraiser for the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, a 28-acre sanctuary for wildlife, encompassing wetlands and forest along the floodplain of South Peachtree Creek in Decatur, Georgia, not far from the center.

Ties between the nature preserve and the Atlanta center are strong. Members of Sukyo Mahikari have supported many service projects held at the nature preserve over the years, and some of the staff of the nature preserve have received Light. As with every year since the first community fair, all proceeds from food and raffle tickets sold at this event go toward supporting the nature preserve, helping it remain a verdant gem in our local area.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., despite incessant rain, members came together to hold a successful activity. The rain didn't keep the guests away either. Events took place both inside the center and in a tent outside.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., presentations were scheduled. Members gave short talks about their experiences with the divine principles and Light in action in the following areas:
  • Science and medicine
  • Education
These presentations by members were interspersed among talks by guest presenters from organizations also seeking to improve our local and national community, including:
  • The Red Cross
  • The United Way
  • Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
  • Atlanta Beltline, an urban redevelopment program designed to provide greenspace, trails, transit, and new economic development along 22 miles of historic railway areas that encircle the urban core of Atlanta
In addition to these presentations, members and the guest presenters displayed posters and staffed tables where visitors could learn more about their organizations. The assistant center director gave a short talk about Sukyo Mahikari, and we had posters and information about various elements of Sukyo Mahikari, such as youth education and nature and the environment. Members also talked with visitors one-on-one, and a space was set aside for giving Light. We had children's activities to keep the young people learning and laughing throughout the day. The fourth photo with this article shows some of the crafts work children did that day.
At day's end, the sign-in book totaled 101 participants in SpiritFest (50 guests and 51 members), more than we expected! From the time the event began, the room for giving Light was busy, at times to capacity!

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