Archive for the ‘CPWR’ tag
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is thrilled to welcome Chicago-area Vivekananda Vedanta Society’s Swami Varadananda, one of three co-founding trustees of CPWR, to our Living Out The Vision anniversary program and benefit dinner on November 16 in Chicago. Varadananda will honor Vivekananda, the Hindu saint and historical luminary whose conviction about harmony among the world’s religions was first heard by the west at 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions. Initially inspired by Vivekananda, the formation of the modern CPWR is credited to the dream of three monks of Vivekananda’s order, the Vedanta society. Their decision to expand the 100-year commemoration of Swami Vivekananda’s 1893 speech Hindu celebration to an interfaith Parliament mobilized several Chicago religious communities which would become the CPWR’s Chicago champions. Theirs is a story we celebrate and the vision we pledge to live out. Tickets for the program and reception only are on sale now! Learn more…
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…
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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.
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.
GATHERED AS ONE
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Elijah Interfaith Institute presents the Guerrand-Hermès Forum of Interreligious Study of the Mystical and Spiritual Life. Mysticism-Elijah.Org connects scholars and seekers to a wide-range of courses, to peruse a multilingual bank of texts, essays, and probe discussion on the mystic dimensions of six major faith traditions.
Reflecting on the project, CPWR Board Trustee Anantanand Rambachan, who serves on the Elijah Institute’s team of scholars, says, “The Elijah website on the mystical traditions of the world’s religions is a rich resource for individual study and class-room instruction. While offering insights into these traditions, it does so in the context of interreligious dialogue, fostering mutual inquiry and learning. I found it enriching to be a part of these conversations. ”
The website offers a tutorial video to learn the search features available, as well as a telling statement by the project’s benefactor, Guerrand-Hermès,
“I was inspired to be looking to the mystical and the spiritual because I know for myself,… I knew I was in the presence of some powers that was so strong that it made me not only to transform, but to look at life from a totally different point of view. It wasn’t what I had that was interesting, it was what I could do, how I could help, how I could bring something different that was important.”
The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions congratulates the Hindu American Foundation on their successful campaign to make October the Hindu-American Awareness and Appreciation Month in the state of California. In a release from HAF Press, State Senate Majority Leader, Ellen Corbett, was interviewed about her recent work to bring Resolution SCR 32 to a vote. “As the Senator representing the 10th State Senate District, I am honored to represent constituents from many diverse backgrounds, including a significant number of Hindu Americans,” said Majority Leader Corbett. “California is home to a thriving community of over 370,000 Hindu Americans that enrich our state’s diversity and professional assets in fields as diverse as academia, science, technology, business, arts and literature. I thank my colleagues for supporting SCR 32 today that recognizes Hindu American contributions in California, as well as designates October 2013 in their honor.” The resolution was passed unanimously.
This passage marks a great interfaith triumph as, according to the release, “the resolution also received the support of 55 non-governmental organizations, interfaith leaders, civil rights activists, and community leaders from across the country, who previously wrote to all State Senators urging them to pass SCR 32.” As for this October, many are looking forward to the various events and opportunities for discussion as the month becomes a platform for Hindu dialogue.
For more information, please connect to The Hindu American Foundation.
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, email@example.com