United Methodists to join thousands of others at Parliament of World’s Religions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Scores of United Methodists will join about 10,000 Christians and other religious leaders at the next gathering of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada November 1-7, 2018.

The purpose of the Parliament is to promote interreligious harmony, as opposed to seeking unity.  This kind of approach enables members of diverse religions to have respectful and cooperative relationships with each other, while maintaining the unique and precious character of each individual religion.

The theme for the gathering is “The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation and Change.”  Special tracks of study and dialogue around diverse topics will be offered, including: The dignity of women, countering war, climate action, indigenous people, next generations and global justice.

The Council of Bishops has offered partial scholarships for persons attending the Parliament for the first time.  The persons receiving those scholarships are: Rev. Knut Refsdal from Norway, Ms. Chloe Panaguiton from the Philippines, Mr. Paul Gomes from the United States, Rev. Amy Scroggins from the United States, and Rev. Derrick Scott, III from the United States.

In addition to these persons, many United Methodists from around the world will also be participating.  For example, Dr. Soren Hessler will be presenting a workshop on a book he just edited entitled Words to Live By: Sacred Sources for Interreligious Engagement.  Ms. Tura Foster Gillespie will be presenting a workshop on research she did on interreligious books and resources for children.  Additionally, Rev. Neil Gaiser will be moderating a panel discussion on interfaith contemplative practices, and Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst will be moderating a panel discussion on religion as an Injustice healer.

A group of twenty United Methodists have organized to meet twice during the event for fellowship and conversation.  If you are attending the Parliament and would like to be a part of a United Methodist gathering, please let Rev. Hawxhurst know by contacting her at jhawxhurst@umc-cob.org.

About the Parliament: The first meeting of the Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in Chicago in 1893 and is widely recognized as the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide.  The Parliament was renewed one hundred years later, in 1993, and was then established as an on-going gathering.  Currently, world religious leaders gather every few years in a different location around the world with the stated goal of cultivating “harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster[ing] their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.” 


Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church


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