Parliament of World’s Religions to Hold Conference in Louisville

 — Aug. 31, 199931 aoüt 1999

The founding director of “No More Violence” will reveal the numerous community factors that influence youth violence at a special conference, 8:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 9 at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville.

The event will preview the Dec. 1 -8 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Cape Town, South Africa. Janet Arnow’s anti-violence efforts will be one of the “Gifts of Service to the World” to be highlighted when hundreds of religious and spiritual leaders mingle with more than 6,000 scholars, social activists, youth and interested laity from around the globe.

In addition to access to more than 600 presentations and celebrations, participants will receive the 1999 Parliament Book of Gifts, listing accepted projects. Gifts may also be presented at workshops, in panel discussions, or honored at a Parliament plenary session.

The hosts for the event, the Cathedral Heritage Foundation and the Thomas Merton Center Foundation are organizing a special panel for Sept 9. Local leaders from religion, education, business, the arts, medicine, and the media will practice “creative engagement.” Those scheduled to participate include: Dr. Joseph J. McGowan Jr., president of Bellarmine College; Rob Reifsnyder of the Metro United Way; Allan H. Cowen, The Fund for the Arts; Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, V.A. Medical Center; and the Rev. Jude Weisenbeck, Office of Ecumenism, Archdiocese of Louisville.

Their discussion will foreshadow the Parliament’s working document, “A Call to Our Guiding Institutions,” inviting powerful segments of society to reassess and redefine their roles in seeking “a just, peaceful and sustainable future.”

The Rev. Robert V. Thompson, a trustee of the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) and senior minister at the Lake Street Church in Evanston, Ill., will give an overview of the South African event and lead a workshop on how Louisville can get involved.

The Parliament’s two predecessors occurred a century apart. The 1893 Parliament in Chicago was the first formal dialogue between Eastern and Western religions. The second Parliament, also in Chicago, challenged 8,000 participants to address the world’s critical issues. The success of the 1993 Parliament prompted a commitment to staging a Parliament somewhere in the world every five years beginning in 1999.

The 1999 Cape Town site was deliberately chosen to celebrate the diversity of the global faith community. “South Africa’s historic struggle to end apartheid underscores the Parliament’s focus on applying faith convictions to social realities,” said Jim Kenney, director of CPWR’s International Interreligious Initiative.

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