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Parliament Women’s Task Force Announces Tibet House Partnership Presenting Multi-Religious Speaker Series

The Parliament of the World’s Religions Women’s Task Force is excited to announce its participation in the Multi-Religious Speakers Series on the Sacred Feminine and the Vital Nexus of Religion and Women’s Issues organized in partnership with the highly esteemed Tibet House in New York City.

Program speakers featured in the series will be accessible to women around the world through the Parliament Webinar Series later in 2014.

The series will premiere with Ukranian spiritual teacher Nadia Reznikov hosting an advanced Tantric and Shamanic workshop for women at Tibet House April 4 and 11.

More information on the Tibet House schedule and how to register for the premiere event is available here. 

Nadia Reznikova

Nadiia Reznikova or Nabhasvati (“Shining”) is an extraordinary spiritual practitioner and teacher from the Ukraine who is making her first appearance in the United States at Tibet House. She has developed a system of tantric, shamanic, and psychotherapeutic practices for women which can produce immediate and dramatic improvements in emotional balance, joy, relationships, physical health, and inner and outer beauty. The practices are designed to naturally and powerfully elevate mood and energy state, enabling even new students to manifest desired changes within, as well as in their relationships and environment. These simple, daily practices have been proven effective tools of spiritual transformation for women of all walks of life and in all areas of life. Her shakti energy has been found to be directly transformative by many, and at the same time Nadiia teaches daily practices which may be done by students on their own.

Parliament Board Elects 10 New Trustees for 2014

The Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is announcing the election of all ten new trustees. Ushering a new era for the Parliament, this year’s board comprises 19 denominations of 11 global religious, faith, and spiritual traditions, constituting a more robust 27-member body.

News is spreading about the elections of returning trustee emeriti, including Dr. Kusumita Pederson who is currently co-chair of the Interfaith Center of New York, Andras Corban Arthen, founding and spiritual director of the EarthSpirit community, and Swami Varadananda of the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, who was among the three incorporating trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.

The seven new faces on the Board are teeming with expertise, a group comprised of both elders of and dynamic up-and-comers in the Interfaith movement. These trustees are experienced leaders of religion, business, and scholarship. Get to know:

  • Grandson of Mohandas Gandhi: International Peace Activist and Author Arun Gandhi. , who founded the MK Gandhi Center for Non-Violence and publishes gripping books.
  • One of the first trustees to identify explicitly as a pluralist: author Tom Lemberg, a Boston-based attorney.
  • Executive Director of Arizona Interfaith Movement who created the”Golden Rule” license plate Dr. Paul Eppinger.
  • Veteran Leader in the World Sikh and Interfaith Community, Scientist: Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal
  • Journalist, preservationist, published author, and playwright, Dr. Gianfranco Grande who serves as a Senior Vice President of Partners for Sacred Places.
  • Executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, a regional judicatory of the American Baptist Churches U.S.A, and the theologian-in-residence for the Community Renewal Society, a progressive, faith-based organization in Chicago that works to eliminate race and class barriers and advocates for social and economic justice, Dr. Larry Greenfield
  • The Deputy Executive Director of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, past Parliament of the World’s Religions panelist Rev. Nicole Diroff.

As the Parliament continues to profile the newest trustees, they are taking places on newly formed standing committees for the year 2014 and busy in their personal endeavors. Just this week Arun Gandhi delivered a keynote speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Georgia, while Dr. Paul Eppinger was being honored by Arizona State University for his successful campaign to see Arizona declare MLK Jr. Day a state holiday in 1992.

Keep your eyes on this Class of 2016, and look for deep-reaching features with each of them in the months ahead.

The Parliament traces back its origins to the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. It was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Connect with Parliament Ambassador and Interfaith Opportunities in San Francisco

Karen Hernandez is an interfaith activist in San Francisco serving as an Ambassador of the Parliament.

As an Ambassador for CPWR living in San Francisco, it seemed like a good idea to write about and share what’s occurring in the interfaith scene here. The good news is that there’s a lot happening. 

Here presents a simple introduction of organizations doing interfaith work in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in the coming months, more profiling will be shared on each.

What is notable about the interfaith organizations that are located in San Francisco itself, is that they are all grassroots organizations, working locally, and internationally.

  • There’s the San Francisco Interfaith Council that was founded out of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
  • There’s also the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. San Francisco has an Interfaith Winter Shelter, housing homeless men during the cold winter months.
  • There’s an Interfaith Family Network,
  • as well as an Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
  • Internationally, San Francisco boasts the home of United Religions Initiative – also a grassroots organization that works in over eighty countries worldwide.

San Francisco has many houses of worship working in the interfaith realm. Around the corner from my house, stands a former church that is now a Buddhist Temple. Russian and Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Islamic, and Unitarian Universalist establishments abound, and, places such as Glide, where not only can one go to a religious service, but, if you are homeless, hungry, need employment, or involved in an abusive relationship, you can find the help you need at Glide.

Theologian Howard Thurman also founded his house of worship here in San Francisco – The Church for the Fellowship of All People – an interfaith, interracial, intercultural community.

I am thoroughly excited to introduce these organizations and the people who help to make a difference in the interfaith movement here in the Bay Area in the coming months. Look for my next installment next month. In the meantime, if you are part of an organization here in the Bay Area and would like to be featured, please email me at

Wishing you many blessings for 2014, Karen Leslie Hernandez, Theologian, and Ambassador for CPWR

January 15th, 2014 at 1:47 pm

A Reflection on Nelson Mandela from Imam Mujahid, Parliament Chair of the Board

We all knew of Nelson Mandela’s state and his age. Yet, his death is still a tremendous loss to all of us who learned to struggle against all odds from the man who put his trust in the humanity of his oppressors, the leaders of South Africa’s apartheid system. He wrote a new chapter on the power of dialogue which he, a helpless prisoner, initiated with his powerful captors. And he did all of this without losing his dignity, without compromising his principles, and without being intimidated by the power of the apartheid regime.

Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Parliament of the World’s Religions

It was because of the power of his non-violent struggle, as well as his compassion toward those who took almost all of his youth from him, that I went to South Africa, despite all odds, to attend the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1999. It was my way of celebrating the power of peaceful struggle. Mandela may not be big on religion, but he sure was high on the ideals of humanity. That is where I made my personal commitment to the interfaith movement, which believes in and promotes the power of dialogue and human relationships.

I had the honor of meeting one of Nelson Mandela’s “comrades”, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, at the Radio Islam studio in Chicago. He was among those imprisoned at Robben Island along with Mandela. It was after talking with him that I learned how Mandela transformed the life of this young rebel into positive energy for change. 

In today’s world, where hate is rising, the people of love and humanity, those of faith and the “nones”, need to rise as a force for positive human relationships.  In a world where one-third of humanity is obese while another third sleeps hungry, let’s share more and consume less.

Let us remember together as we mourn together, that “None of you has faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” Long Live Madiba!

Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

A Reflection on the Life of Nelson Mandela from Dr. Robert Henderson, Parliament Trustee

A few years ago I was standing in Nelson Mandela Square in the center of a large shopping mall in Sandton, South Africa admiring the famous 20 ft. statue of Mandela.

As I stood there, one after another Afrikaner families walked up to the statue and took photographs of their blond haired blue-eyed children. One could not help but think that the parents of these children were not raised to admire Mandela, but to fear him and what they had been taught he stood for.

Dr. Robert C. Henderson, Elected Member of National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions Trustee

Nevertheless, on this warm evening, they patiently coaxed their children to stand straight and tall at the feet of the great man.

What powers of spirit and vision could bring such transformation? Perhaps it was the unimpeachable integrity of moral stamina undiminished by 27 years of imprisonment.

Or the indomitable will inspired by the vision of social justice that he bent to the task of exorcising the spirit of apartheid—employing the tools Truth and Reconciliation instead of bloodshed to shepherd a nation, conceived in social injustice, to a united future.

Nelson Mandela birthed a new South Africa and in so doing revitalized the spirits of moral excellence and social justice among people in every land. Like South Africa, we all have much yet to do in the quest for truth, reconciliation, and unity. But thanks to Mandela, we have a model to follow. A model of true faith steeped in patience, an unbending vision of social justice without shortcuts or compromise.

Mandela was committed to religion as a powerful agent of change. “Without the religious institutions, he explained at the Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Cape Town, “I would not be here today.”

“You have to have been in a South African jail under apartheid where you could see the cruelty of human beings to each other in its naked form. “…Religious institutions and their leaders gave us hope that one day we could return.”

He explained that Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish religious groups were instrumental in providing him and other young blacks with an education – and later in giving comfort to political prisoners and their families.

As grateful recipients of Mandela’s precious gifts to humankind, perhaps each one of us might arise and struggle to return the favor in the name of our many faiths. We must work together to carry on the mission that Nelson Mandela gave his life to: to build a world inspired by love and guided by the principle of true justice, that we are all one family—bound together by bonds and ties that are stronger than blood. Nelson Mandela his gone from us now, but his spirit must live on in our hearts and guide our service to God, to our nations, and to one another.

Welcoming Executive Director of Arizona Interfaith to Parliament Board

The Arizona Interfaith Movement championed official state Golden Rule license plates. The project helps continue to fund the ongoing work of the organization.

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the election of a new trustee. Dr. Paul Eppinger brings a wealth of experience promoting interfaith dialogue by new and exciting means to the Parliament Board as the current Executive Director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement and until recently, serving as a member of the Parliament’s Ambassador Advisory Council.

Eppinger is “a very smart businessman in the work of Interfaith, exactly the kind of idea person who will help guide the Parliament forward as we encounter new opportunities and challenges,” says Executive Director of the Parliament, Dr. Mary Nelson.

His passion for cultivating shared humanity, and creative business approach has helped market interfaith understanding to an entire state.  “Arizona Interfaith is very uniquely organized under Paul’s leadership. Where else are people buying license plates promoting the Golden Rule, while the promotion of the Golden Rule goes back to support the organization itself! This is a model to be followed by other cities,” says Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Paul Eppinger was elected to the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions Board of Trustees in September, 2013.

Dr. Paul Eppinger is a graduate of William Jewell College, Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology degree, and San Francisco Theological Seminary where he received a Doctor of Ministry degree. He has served as a missionary, a pastor, and a professor.  He has served on numerous boards and committees for his denomination and in the communities in which he pastored.

From 1993 to 2002, he served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Ecumenical Council.  He then became the Executive Director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement in 2002. The Arizona Interfaith Movement is composed of 24 different major religious groups and seeks to bring understanding of each other to all the major religions of the state.

October 30th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Congratulating New Secretary-General of Baha’i World Community

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions shares congratulations to Dr. Joshua Lincoln on his recent appointment as Secretary-General of the Baha’i International Community. The Centre will be undoubtedly blessed by his wealth of engagement in global interfaith relations.

The Baha’i community has been central to the work of CPWR from its beginnings. One of CPWR’s three incorporating founders and first Chair of the Board, Charles Nolley, comes from the Baha’i community. He and four other Baha’is were prominent signatories of the 1993 declaration Towards A Global Ethic.

For more information on Dr. Joshua Lincoln, read the news release here.



October 8th, 2013 at 9:46 am

Parliament and Vivekananda Vedanta Salute Swami Vivekanada


A four-day celebration hosted by the Vedanta Society is planned for November 8 – 11 bringing thousands of Vivekananda-devoted monks together to mark this historic anniversary in modern spiritual. Celebrate the birth of interfaith with International Devotees of Vedanta at the conference day, November 9, or November 10 program which features CPWR Trustees including Chair of the Board Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid and Treasurer Rabbi Michael Balinsky addressing the 
Chicago Calling: Interfaith Dialogue between East And West at Chicago Hilton. Learn more…

EVENT: Lighting 150 Lamps for Vivekananda in Chicago

As the Parliament prepares to salute Swami Vivekananda anniversary celebrations upcoming across Chicago, festivities planned Sunday, October 6 present a veritable cultural homage to his legacy.
The Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago hosted with University of Chicago’s Rockafeller Chapel Office of Spiritual life and Committee of South Asian Studies welcome all to The Legacy of Swami Vivekananda: To Live for Others.
From the hosts:
Swami Vivekananda’s presence at the 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago was revelatory for the Western World. Speaking in Cobb Hall (on Modern Schools of Hinduism) in the very earliest days of the University of Chicago’s existence, he shaped a generation’s understanding of the religions of the East.
The Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago, with the Spiritual Life Office and the Committee on South Asian Studies at the University of Chicago, invite you to this celebration of the Vivekananda’s birth, with the lighting of one hundred and fifty lamps and Indian song and chant.
Featuring address by Swami Varadananda (Chicago), Swami Shantarupananda (Portland, Oregon), Professor Gary Tubb (professor and chair, South Asian Languages and Civilizations), and Swami Ishatmananda (Chicago), and Eastern/Western fusion music by Sur Musafir. Free (registration encouraged at A reception follows.”

NAIN Celebrates 25 Years at Toronto Connect

On the 25th anniversary of the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN), more than 150 friends came together in Toronto over August 11 through 14 to convene the annual Connect conference. Leaders of religious, faith, and spiritual communities from across the continent gathered for workshops, plenaries and inspirational tours of sacred sites to learn and celebrate interfaith relationships some regarded “like family.”

The 25-year-old network currently led by Rob Hankinson of Edmonton, CA, energized participants across programs themed “In Diversity Is Our Strength.” The message was enhanced with a plenary on best practices gleaned from Canada’s legal history of human rights, a gripping panel delving into the importance of understanding diverse traditions within the indigenous communities, and the overarching agenda of most workshops focusing on cross-community development for all participating interfaith institutions. Youth engagement commanded a broad interest over the days of reflecting on what new talents come into the movement with several next generation of interfaith leaders in attendance.

Reconnecting to some of the first and brightest leaders on the North American Interfaith scene, the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions attendees Chair Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Senior Ambassador for Sacred Spaces Suzanne Morgan, and CPWR Staff Molly Horan were greeted by this spirit of partnership and collaboration. The Parliament was also represented by some of NAIN’s longest advocates including CPWR Board Chair Emeritus Bob Thompson, Ambassador Advisory Committee persons Kay Lindahl and Paul Eppinger,  Parliament Ambassadors Sande Hart and Simran Jeet Singh, and past CPWR staff Ruth Broyde Sharone, each leading regional interfaith efforts.

(Check out the Parliament’s event photo album here)

As the legacy of NAIN leaders were heard over video and live speeches, one by former NAIN Chair Kay Lindahl reminded that interfaith is rooted in the beauty of conversation, relationship, and collective action in an original poem in tribute to NAIN penned by Lindahl’s husband, Frank Hotchkiss.

NAIN’s next annual conference will be held in Detroit in 2014 with interim fundraising efforts working to increase youth scholarships. A goal of $25,000 over the 25th year was announced and kick-started with a generous $2,000 donation from the global action network, United Religions Initiative.

“Gathered As One” was graciously shared with CPWR for publication.



We, gathered as one,

Here, now, in this place,

Seeking a holy harmony,

Can we let these walls recede,

Dissolve, and be replaced

By visions of historic landscapes -

Where tribes of peoples long ago

Created stories, rituals and beliefs

That now form our differing faiths -

Those landscapes of earliest times:

Mighty rivers, plains, mountain valleys,

Desert oases, steep cliffs, shores by the sea,

Great forests; all visible

In a swirl of differing colors

With differing sounds and song?



Then, can we envision differing structures

Made to honor Gods or God:

Rings of stone, great mounds, kivas,

Pyramids, stone sundials in stone cities

High in the clouds, fine temples,

Great cathedrals, all of diverse design

In differing lands, with differing chants

And differing songs of worship?




Let these also recede, dissolve –

All the magnificence

Created over many centuries,

And now return to a vast

Far-reaching, interweaving expanse

Of those early native landscapes

and see

All the people of our global family

Marching from the four directions,



As we create, here, now,

A new magic space for all who seek

To heal and be strong stewards

For our global home,

all who seek peace,

Who know of the transformative power

Of love and of those mysterious,

Blessed, spiritual connections

With the sacred.


Frank Hotchkiss 8/8/13