Monday, July 13, 2009

Live webcast reveals local proposals for Parliament of Religions

Live webcast reveals local proposals for Parliament of Religions
Today the Interfaith Center of the Presidio hosted a live webcast about the Parliament of Religions which will be held this December 3-9 in Melbourne, Australia. Several potential presenters shared their topics at today’s meeting, which ran from 4 - 6:15 P.M.

The ecumenical conference has been held every five years in international cities since 1998. The mission of the Parliament is to promote religious harmony – not unity – by respecting the traditions of different faiths.

At the last parliament, held in Barcelona in 2004, attendees committed to doing at least one act to benefit their community. These "Gifts of Service" focused on four areas including overcoming religious violence, healing the earth by managing water supplies, and minimizing debt.
Hosting organizations in Australia are asking this year’s attendees to bring their collective wisdom and to discuss how to reconcile with indigenous groups, particularly the Aborigines.
Some of the proposed presentations made by local individual and groups include the following:
The San Francisco Interfaith Council wants to share at the conference about their local work and present ideas for other groups and cities who are in the beginning states of getting people together to do interfaith projects.

A woman from Southern California shared about the Sky Wheel Project, a satellite based on the Tibetan prayer wheel. Its purpose is to send blessings and intentions from all religions into orbit around the planet; from there, these same blessings would be "directed" toward all inhabitants on earth. The satellite would have sacred texts including chants inside, from the world’s traditions, and be decorated with sacred symbols. First, it would be exhibited globally. Then it would be launched into space. The presenter did not state how this project would be funded.
Another woman, a practicing pagan or Wicca, proposed making two presentations. One would be on social justice as prayer and meditation. The other would be about "Dancing the Seven Secret Directions," including the "Great Within."

A male attendee at today’s meeting identified himself as being from the "Covenant of the Goddess," but did not have a pagan-themed proposal. Instead, he suggested a different theme.
Registration for this December’s Parliament of Religions is $450 with discounts available to seniors, students and groups of 10 or more. Home stays with Australians are available for attendees who want to save on hotel expenses. Airfare was quoted as cheaply as $740 with Qantas and United Airlines; the normal price is between $1400 - 2000.

FOR MORE INFO: Paul Chaffee, director of Interfaith Center of Presidio, at paul@interfaith-presidio.org or 415/775-4635.

Michael Pappas, executive director, San Francisco Interfaith Council, at michael@sf-interfaith.org or 415/474-1321.

For general info about the Parliament of Religions, email info@parliamentofreligions.org or call 312/629-2990 in Chicago. For conference info, email parliament@meetingplanners.com.au


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