parliament of world religions 2009

i went to the launch of the 2009 Parliament of World Religions this morning. i’d never heard of it before, but the invitation was pretty, and i’m a sucker for a free breakfast [yes, i am truly that vacuous], so i stumbled into the city at a ridiculously early hour for the event…

The PWR was first held in Chicago in 1893, and it’s held every 5 years in a different location around the world – the last one was in Barcelona, previously it was in Cape Town. The event ‘brings together the world’s religious and spiritual communities, their leaders and their followers to a gathering where peace, diversity and sustainability are discussed and explored in the context of interreligious understanding and cooperation’ [i stole that straight from the website]. Rev. Dick Ficca who is the Executive Director of the organising council for the PWR said, at the launch, the core principle is harmony, not unity. The intention of the event is not to water down differences, but to create a space where it’s safe to be who we are.

The next parliament, which will be in Melbourne in December 2009, will be the largest inter-faith gathering in human history.

i have to say, this is the first time i’ve felt inspired by organised religion for a very long time. standing there this morning, surrounded by sikhs, hindus, buddhists, muslims, christians, jews, ba’hais… it felt like something very good is just about to happen…