As you may already be aware, in early November I attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions which is widely considered to be the world’s premiere gathering for interfaith dialogue and endeavors of understanding and peace-seeking for those of any and all faiths globally. This year the Parliament gathering of over 220 distinct faith traditions was hosted in Toronto, Canada, an apt setting for such a conference, as Toronto is often credited for being the most diverse city in the world. My participation in the conference was a direct result of your support of my continuing education as a pastoral leader serving the church. For your support I offer my sincere thanks as this was an absolutely incredible experience and learning opportunity! Even prior to leaving for Toronto I had intended to share about my experience attending this conference, but truth be told, there is just no way I can possibly summarize the whole week, as each session was often a deep dive into its chosen subject matter. Each day of the conference was a challenging exercise in selecting just one of the scheduled sessions to attend (out of  the often 45+ options being within the same time-slot). Certainly you would have chosen differently than I did, but I thought that I would simply share the list of share-worthy sessions I ended up attending. I intend to share and facilitate a number of Community Conversations (after worship on Sundays) on topics that interest you, out of the ones listed below, so please do share with me either in person, email, text, or on Facebook which session topics you like to hear more about, and I will do my best to share what I have gleaned from these amazing sessions.
  • Empowering and Courageous Conversations: Building the Capacity for Dialogue Across Difference
  • A Shabbos of Heart, Mind and Soul: Reflections from a Reformed Jewish Mystic Sabbath Service.
  • “Reverence for Life” Reconstructed: Ethical Mysticism in Our Time (Albert Schweitzer)
  • Ethics of Gene Editing Our Children and Their Children: Genes, Justice, and Generations
  • Using Science to Bridge Religious Traditions (Sinai and Synapses)
  • Circle Keeping/Restorative Practice for Teachers and Parents
  • Where Did Hagar and Sarah Go? Finding New Meaning in an Old Story
  • At the Intersection of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations
  • Raising Prejudice free Children
  • Labyrinth Walking: History and Spirituality
  • Practice of Community in the Digital Age
  • The Global Ethic: a basic ethical framework for humankind
  • Islam in an Age of Misinformation
  • The Baha’i Faith: its Advent and Beyond
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment and Engagement: Solutions to Advance a Low-carbon Economy
  • A Dialogue of friendship support & collaboration: Abrahamic faiths in Canada, where we’ve been and where we’re going?
  • New Search for life beyond our Solar System – Finding God beyond Planet Earth
  • The Next Generation Assembly (Keynotes from: Habiba Dahir, Abubakar Khan, Jessica Bolduc, Frank Fredericks, Eboo Patel, David Lewis-Peart, Sara Rahim)
  • Plenary on The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love (Keynotes from: Wande Abimbola, Jim Wallis, Parisa Khosravi, Swami Tyagananda, Lobsang Nyandak)
  • Plenary on Mutual Understanding: Interfaith Dialogue (David Rosen, Dr. Tu Weiming, Karen Armstrong, Elijah Brown, Ingrid Mattson)
  • Plenary on Reconciliation (Phyllis Curott, Jessica Bolduc, Beverley Jacobs, Eriel Deranger, Hsin Tao)
If you’re interested in reading the bios of these keynote speakers, I encourage you to check out the official website: https://www.parliamentofreligions.org/parliament/2018-toronto/keynote-speakers Believe it or not, this is far from an exhaustive list of all the sessions I attended, as with any endeavor in continuing education, not all sessions I were brilliant, memorable, and share-worthy (or that I have notes to share from), but at this particular conference, I can happily report that most of them were. Grace and peace to you this day and always.