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Parliament Celebrating Anniversaries At ‘Living Out The Vision’

Dear Friends,

120 years ago leaders from religions east and west came together at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions with a vision for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. And the Interfaith Movement was birthed.

It took another 100 years to hold the second Parliament; that event broke down barriers, included groups formerly left out, and attendees committed to work towards a world without wars, hate, and discrimination by signing a pioneering Global Ethic.

CPWR is celebrating the 120th and 20th Anniversary of this vision on November 16th in Chicago, and framing the future towards the vision, with a benefit program & dinner to ensure the ongoing work of the Parliament. Please lend your support with your donation of spirit and resources. We hope you can share with us on November 16 as we celebrate:

Living Out the Vision

4:00 p.m. Renewing the Vision:  Reflections on the 1893 Parliament and the 1993 Global Ethic
Featured panelists including the esteemed:

  • Dr. Martin Marty
  • Dr. Allison Stokes
  • and the first Executive Director of CPWR, Dr. Daniel Gomez-Ibáñez

6:00 p.m. Benefit Dinner  
Recognizing Our Leaders, Celebrating The Future

Chicago Sinai Congregation
15 West Delaware Place
Chicago, IL

To Purchase Individual $150 Tickets Please Visit The Parliament of the World’s Religions Anniversary Benefit or send your check to CPWR Attn: Stephen Avino, 70 E. Lake Street Suite 205, Chicago, IL 60601.

What a promising time to move into a shared dynamic future with your support. We look forward to sharing with you this November 16. To learn more about purchasing a table, becoming a sponsor, and/or becoming a benefactor of CPWR, Living Out The Vision, please contact Brian Savage. Development Associate at or 312-629-2990.
  • Benefactor: $5000
  • Sponsor: $1000
  • Table Sponsorship (10 tickets): $1200
Desire to share in the spirit of this momentous anniversary? Please consider giving in support of CPWR carrying on the work towards that vision, convening major interfaith events, connecting people through newsletters and social media, developing model programs like Sharing Sacred Space and training groups through Ambassadors and Faiths Against Hate.Warm Regards,

Dr. Mary Nelson
Executive Director

Save the Date for Parliament of the World’s Religions Anniversary Benefit

Come celebrate with the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions!

We are gathering to commemorate the birth of Interfaith in Chicago, the 1893 and 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, and to honor the passion and work of new interfaith leaders today. Join us as we honor old friendships and build new ones for a bright and peaceful future!

Questions? Please contact Molly Horan,

New Play Captures Spirit of Vivekananda

From The Hindu

Like the protagonist of his solo play on Swami Vivekananda, singer-actor Shekhar Sen won the hearts of one and all.

The life and vision of the man divine, Swami Vivekananda was presented by Impresario India in an incredible musical play written, composed and enacted by the renowned actor-singer Shekhar Sen from Mumbai at Kamani auditorium this past week. The outstanding performance of this gifted artiste encompassed the life of the patriot saint whose vision of shared spirituality and eloquent message at the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago conquered the hearts of people from across the world. Disclosing the making of this dynamic saint, the two-hour long riveting play unfolds the stories of his childhood, the impact of the Brahmo-Samaj on him, his eagerness to find God and meeting his revered mentor Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, his unforgettable Chicago speech, and so on.

A talented singer, composer, lyricist and actor, Sen left the audience awestruck, debating whether he was a better singer or actor, after his spellbinding performance as Vivekananda. With a solid background provided by his initial training in classical music from an early age under his parents Anita and Arun Kumar Sen, both renowned vocalists of the Gwaliar gharana, Shekhar later established his distinct identity by singing poetry of the medieval poets. He has done more than 1500 shows across the world. With 190 cassettes and CDs to his credit, he has also sung for the record-breaking serial “Ramayana”. After the resounding success of his musical mono-acts on Goswami Tulsidas and Kabeer, “Vivekananda” represents yet another milestone for this gem of an artiste.

Click here to read the entire article.

Faith & Football

FIFA LogoFrom The Times of India

The recently concluded FIFA World Cup football in South Africa caused worldwide excitement. Indians were overtaken by the passion of the game even though India was not participating in the event.

It is easy to get infected with the spirit of the game in a globalised world with its vast media networks that enable people to watch the game even at odd hours. Often such infectious spirit drives us to indulge ourselves on the material plane and remain immersed in superficial aspects of life. Drinking beer and watching football in Germany might have temporarily taken its people away from the humdrum business of life and made them feel elated for some time. But every sphere of life, including the sphere of sports and games, must explore the infinite dimensions which impact human existence and about which we are not adequately aware.

When Swami Vivekananda returned to India in 1897 after his historic trip to America where he addressed the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, he delivered a series of lectures. In one of them he linked the attainment of spirituality to football. He said to the youth: “You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Bhagavad Gita”. Good health is the first step to strive for perfection. It involves overcoming weakness and acquiring confidence and spiritual dignity. It means cultivating self-esteem.

Scripture-reading is not sufficient if we are driven by frailties and temptations. Exercise is the key to achieve higher and finer objectives. Vivekananda was giving precedence to the individual’s right to quality health which can provide access to many other wonderful realms. He said that Indians remained lazy because they were deprived of strength and energy. He explained our inability to work in terms of our physical weakness. He even painfully noted that the root cause of selfishness and disunity among Indians was our weakness manifested in fragile body and spirit. He earnestly pleaded for measures to strengthen our physical and mental health.

Click here to read the entire article.

Achieving Interfaith at the Local Level

Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan ChicagoFrom The Chicago Tribune

Since it was founded more than two decades ago, the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago has come to a consensus on issues such as housing and gun control, served as a resource for local law enforcement and brought religious leaders together to do work in the community.

But as the organization celebrates its 25-year anniversary, its leaders say that helping local congregations better address major social issues — such as poverty and violence — is crucial to meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

“One of the major challenges before us is how do we take what we’re doing at the top level … and get it down to the average person in the pew and on the prayer rug,” said the Rev. Stanley L. Davis, co-executive director of the council, which is made up of some of Chicago’s top religious leaders.

Helping local congregations take action on those issues is one way, said professor William Schweiker, director of the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

“It is important to include congregations in these discussions,” said Schweiker. “It allows religious people a way to voice their concerns beyond the claims of ‘official’ statements.”

…Chicago has been the home of formal interfaith conversations since the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions, a gathering of international religious leaders during the World’s Columbian Exposition. The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago was founded in 1985 by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who sought to tackle social injustices head on. Its core message to the city was clear: Your leaders of faith, however different, can sit at one table and tackle sensitive issues with respect and candor.

At the time, those religious leaders came from the city’s Christian and Jewish communities, but as Chicago has grown more diverse, so has the council. Today, its members also include Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians, Mormons, Sikhs and Baha’is.

…Dirk Ficca, executive director of the Chicago-based Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, said continuing the discussion is what’s important.

“If people can come to the table and have sharp disagreements and really engage, to me that is the healthiest sign of navigating religious diversity,” he said.

Click here to read the entire article.

The Council Announces the Paul Carus Award

After participating as a scholar in the original Parliament of Religions in 1893, Dr. Paul Carus went on to be instrumental in the early days of the interreligious movement.  The Carus award, offered today in his honor, will present $100,000 (USD) to an individual, community or organization that has contributed in an extraordinary to the international interreligious movement.  For more information on Carus and his legacy, and for information on the award and nomination process, click here.