Spirituality and the Environment
Over 200 pilgrims of dialogue families, representing the various dialogue groups and centers from India and abroad, gathered at the Renewal Centre Kaloor, Kochi, India, from 4 to 7 October 2008 and prayerfully reflected on Spirituality and Environment, a theme very relevant in our present day society. They have resumed their journey with renewed commitment and enthusiasm to continue the on going processes of dialogue, creating and maintaining a sacred and eco-friendly environment conducive to the existence of all beings, generated and nurtured by our Mother Earth.
The delegates were accorded a very warm welcome in the traditional settings of the Kerala culture at the Chavara Cultural Centre, the birthplace and permanent secretariat of the WFIRC. After the welcome speech by Justice P K Shamsuddin, President WFIRC and the exposition of the dynamics by Fr. Albert Nambiaparambil, Secretary General of the WFIRC the Honorable Justice Sri. Cyriac Joseph, a judge of the Supreme Court of India solemnly inaugurated the assembly.
Bishop Sahu the General Secretary, NCCI Nagpur released the souvenir specially prepared for this meet. Short felicitations were offered by the representatives of various religions and interfaith organizations. The session was concluded by the presidential address of Rev. Dr Marcus Braybrooke, the President of World Congress of Faiths and Patron of the International Centre, Oxford.
The programme of the assembly consisted of five Panel sessions dealing with various aspects of the general theme Spirituality and Environment, two workshops sessions, reporting on the activities of the dialogue centres and groups at the local levels. Besides these there were also interreligious prayer sessions and meditations every morning and evening. The cultural events were helpful for the delegates to participate in the programmes in a relaxed and enjoyable way. The surprise visit from Mr. Binoy Vishvam, Honourable Minister for Forest and Environment, Kerala and his address were very much appreciated by the delegates. The concluding candle procession and the inter- religious Sandhya prayer was a fitting grand finale for the whole assembly events.