Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Parliament Wraps Up

The Parliament of the World's Religions  has now come to a close.  Our National Interfaith Reps. are packing up and leaving Melbourne.  Don and Anna are traveling to New Zealand before they return in a few days.  Rowan and Rachael are traveling by train to a Pagan gathering and concert across the country before they return on December 15th.  I am sure that all of our Reps. will continue to post about their experiences at the Parliament as they have time and web connections to do so. 

Other Pagans have already posted Blogs about the ending of the Parliament.  I found this one by Ed Hubbard for The Pagan Newswire Collective

"To understand this event, it will be months in coming as it will take time to assimilate what has happened. For certain, Pagans have advanced their cause greatly, even while working towards understanding their place in the world. Modern Paganism has made a powerful outreach to the indigenous people and found common ground, something to build a future relationship on. As Pagans, we have discovered that maybe we are not as one community as we had believed, and that maybe we are several movements that share common ground, but have different traditions and origins. That maybe Wiccans need to find their own voice, which was completely invisible in the programming as a whole, and not rely as heavily on a Parliamentary Pagan background, which now seeks to align closer to being indigenous faith of Europe. All these things fill me at once about my experience."

T Thorn Coyle had this to say"

"I feel profoundly grateful for having attended the Parliament. There is much to write up still: about inter-religious dialog. About the fact that the upcoming meeting in Copenhagen was very much with us. About the indigenous people’s representation and statement. About the Dalai Lama. About Pagan identity. About identity in general. About the fact that we all have to work a little harder – together – to secure justice for the earth and all it’s denizens. I want to write about our placement in the solar system and the gifts we share. I want to write about theology and the preponderance at a gathering like this to shift deep understanding about the Non-Dual into nice words about a Creator God. .I want to write about doing and living theology rather than studying theology."

D Andrew Kille, a reporter from San Jose, CA. with Examiner.Com summed up the Dalai Lama's closing appearance this way:

"In a bit of unmistakable irony, the first sign that the Dalai Lama would soon be present at the Parliament of the World's Religions was the presence of metal detectors at the entrances to the Melbourne Convention Center. That this man, who probably more than any other embodies a spirit of peacemaking and global unity, might provoke someone to violence says much about the brokenness of our world, and the distance we have yet to travel....
 
The Dalai Lama challenged those who had attended the Parliament to work to ensure that the gathering had not simply been a social occasion. He urged them to draw closer together to make love and compassion real and to implement the dreams and possibilities that had been discussed there. He spoke of the need for a strong secularism- not a secularism that denies the importance of religion, but one which respects the practitioners of all religions and of none. Beliefs may differ, he said, but the core practices of love and compassion are common in all traditions."
 
In the Interfaith Space News and Notes Blog Mr. Kille also spoke about a special object he is bringing back from the Parliament:
 
"The other object is a stone, on which is painted a pathway, outlined in white dots in the Australian Aboriginal style. It is a gift, given to all the participants, from the Aboriginal community, along with a blessing for the Journey written by Vicki Clark of the Mutthi Mutthi:
As you journey on Our ancient land,
travel gently on Our Mother Earth,
with respect and care.
Hold the Spirit of the Sacred campfire
always in your heart and
may the Spirits of Our Ancestors
always watch over you and keep you safe."

As everyone returns home I am sure there will be a lot more stories to tell, issues to examine, and work to do. Stay tuned to both of our new COG Blogs.