The Parliament Blog

Archive for the ‘Columbian Exposition’ tag

John Henry Barrows: Producing the First Parliament of Religions

Rev. John Henry Barrows, the “architect” of the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions.

by Marcus Braybrooke
from The Interfaith Dispatch

John Henry Barrows was the architect of the 1893 Parliament of Religions. Charles Carroll Bonney has been properly credited for coming up with the idea of a World Parliament of Religions. It was Bonney’s notion that the World Fair in Chicago and its great exhibits should be accompanied by a series of “congresses” or parliaments to provide a forum for discussing the state of anthropology, art, commerce and finance, education, labor, literature, medicine, philosophy, temperance, and religion. The most important congresses to Bonney were about religion. He, therefore, established a committee to organise them and appointed Rev. Dr. John Henry Barrows the chair.

Barrows, born in 1847, was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago. He had studied at Yale, at Union Theological (NY) and Andover Newton seminaries, and served congregations in Kansas, Massachusetts, and Paris. Rather than trying to describe the Parliament itself, this essay briefly summarizes Barrow’s contribution and theological stance.

Rev. Barrows, known as a powerful preacher, was clearly a tireless worker. Besides the World Parliament, his Committee organised 45 denominational congresses. In preparation for the Parliament of Religions, some ten thousand personal letters – not to mention forty thousand documents – were sent to the far corners of the world inviting support. “We affectionately invite the representatives of all faiths,” the letter said, “to aid us in presenting to the world, at the Exposition of 1893, the religious harmonies and unities of humanity, and also in showing forth the moral and spiritual agencies which are at the root of human progress.”

Click here to read the full article

Parliament of Religions Backs Chicago 2016

From the Parliament of Religions at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 to our current Downtown Luncheon Series, the Parliament has been involved in the local interreligious movement from the beginning. It is with this in mind that we proudly announce our support of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

To read more about the Parliament of Religions and our hopes for 2016, click here.

Chicago 2016 Cites the Parliament

Chicago 2016 has released a statement on behalf of the the city’s Olympic bid; the statement calls particular attention to the religious diversity of Chicago and cites the Parliament of Religions as an example:

Held in conjunction with the Exposition was the World’s Parliament of Religions of 1893—seen today as the first formal gathering of leaders of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. The parliament has been recognized as the first attempt to create a global dialogue of faiths.

To read the whole article, click here.

The History of the Parliament

You may have known that the Parliament of the World’s Religions originated at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, but did you know that the Council has launched six other major events in the last seventeen years? From Jane Goodall to Nelson Mandela, from Swami Vivekananda to Auntie Joy, the Parliament of the World’s Religions has a storied tradition of searching dialogue and an invested effort to change the world for the better. You can read about all of these events and more in the CPWR website’s history section.