World’s Religions’ parliament draws thousands, including Episcopalians, to its Chicago gathering
Originally published by Episcopal News Service on August 22 by Melodie Woerman
The Episcopal Church didn’t send an official delegation to the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which took place Aug. 14-18 in Chicago, Illinois, but the Rev. Margaret Rose, the church’s deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations, said one wouldn’t know it, given the number of Episcopalians she encountered during the event.
Rose and Lynnaia Main, the church’s representative to the United Nations, were the two Episcopal Church staff members in attendance. Throughout the event they encountered Episcopalians from across the church, including House of Deputies Vice-President the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, members of Executive Council, and bishops, priests and church members who are connected to ecumenical or interfaith groups, Rose told Episcopal News Service.
In total, over 6,500 people registered for the parliament, according to Religion New Service, representing 212 spiritual traditions and 95 countries. The parliament describes itself as “the world’s premier interfaith convening of civic, spiritual and grassroots changemakers,” and this was the first time it had gathered in person since 2018. It is an international nonprofit, non-governmental organization affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information.
Its origins are rooted in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where the first convening of the World Parliament of Religions created a global platform for east-west religious engagement.