Planning a Regional Interfaith Event: Spread Our Wings 2017
Hello! As a Parliament of World’s Religions Ambassador, Miranda Clendening, I am excited to report about a large event we have been planning for the last year and a half; a Regional Pre-Parliament of World’s Religions event: ‘Spreading Our Wings’ with ‘Best of Humanity’ Community. It was held on July 21-22 at Denver University and went phenomenally well. 600 people attended in person and 1300 watched online (you can watch on Vimeo and Ustream).
Tim Hobbs and I, co-founders of Best of Humanity Community have a great love for Interfaith peacemaking efforts and helped plan this event together. We are an interesting combination in putting on an event together and have had to learn a lot of communication skills and grow a lot in last year and a half of planning due to the vastly different walks of life we come from.
Tim is on the cusp of Baby Boomer and Generation X generations but has a technology company of 80 employees that are mostly Millennials who he greatly loves working with; I am younger and on the cusp of Generation X and Millennial generations.t I am a Hospice nurse and many of my best friends are in their 70’s or older, plus, I do a lot of work with youth. These backgrounds make an interesting mix of experience and understanding that Tim and I have together. We put a big emphasis on multi-generational involvement and men and women playing equal roles in our groups, businesses, and organizations.
This conference was very much about how we are living and evolving and how we are treating each other with love and respect in the world. We have a choice to have the greatest kindness come from within us and we have to treat each other with value, always using tact and tolerance in our Interfaith interactions. It helps to truly take delight in learning more about each other; always wanting to learn and know more about our family of humanity. There is greatness within all of us and we get the chance to manifest it through love every day.
Look for our next project which we are calling Universal Mission, which involves emerging technology innovation and linking, meta-currencies, and simultaneous events occurring in large scale over the next 2 years. We will have updates on the Best of Humanity website and you can see a video intro here.
Spiritual Leaders, led by their faith have been some of the most influential leaders in the world. Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Bahá’u’lláh, Haile Selassie, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Confucius, Lao Tsu, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. all shifted humanity through their deep trust and connection to God.
Today, new spiritual leaders are rising up from our youth; Xhiuhtezcatl Martinez of Earth Guardians, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Nexus Youth Summit Leaders, Interfaith Youth Core, etc., are all getting a very big response. These new leaders have been able to see, through faith, what can emerge through the power of positive change, and have helped share their faith with the world and unify people through love and hope. At this event, we talked some about the crises on our planet, but more so about the incredible and awe-inspiring reality of more and more people gathering around human rights.
We are forming a more unified family of humanity. One that cares for our planet and people better than we have been able to in the past. More than 1 Million people have gathered in cities around the U.S. in the last year in protest, and many people worldwide are gathering in recurring Global Solutions and Innovation Summits. There seems to be a greater willingness now, more so than ever before, to start working together. This is partly due to the fact that climate change and human rights’ crises are at such extremes.
It was such an honor to get to put on this event and get to be of service. It was a lot of planning and work and we had about 20 volunteers helping. The Colorado Sikh Community with Colorado Singh Sabha, Sikh Community of Denver, and Denver Sikh Gurudwara helped support this event as well. They served Langar which is vegan lunch to 600+ people for free as a service to humanity which they do for millions of people worldwide on a daily basis. The Sikh Community was also a large part of the 2015 Parliament of World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, where they fed 5,000+ people a day. We were so impressed by the loving kindness and service of the Sikh’s in Salt Lake City, largely made up of the California Sikh Community, that we reached out to Colorado Sikh Community through Colorado Singh Sabha in early 2016 after we returned from Parliament.
They welcomed us with open arms and introduced my kids and I to many families here, had their elders meet with us and taught us much about their traditions and customs. We were most touched by their offer to do Langar for our whole Pre-Parliament event and said they also had 200+ trained volunteers that could be of service for whatever might be needed. Even requesting us to put the word out through our whole community, that if there is ever anyone in need of ‘anything’, clothing, food, etc. that they are willing to help anyone in need.
A request which deeply touched us.
Gurpreet Kaur Juneja spoke to our audience about Sikh heritage, customs, and service work. We owe a special thanks to her and Jessie Singh, Amarit Singh Sandhu, and Davinder Singh for their hours of tireless work in helping us plan and run this event. Thank you all so much! They also graced us with 3 spectacular dance performances by elementary and high school student dance teams. Wow! They were incredible!! Catch them on the videos, for sure! Thank you all!
We also received planning and organizing help from Ben Bowler, Dr Kurt Johnson, Debra Muldow, Pato Banton, and Antoinette Rootsdawtah, and Myra Jackson. They are of organizations 1God.com, Unity.Earth, World Weavers, Interspiritual Network, Evolutionary Leaders, Garden of Light, GaiaField, Convergence Radio on Voice America, and more. These are also a part of those who are leading a project with more Interfaith events called the Road to 2020 and they are creating and soon to launch an online academy and community- The Convergence Academy: Spiritual Education, Support Community, Gain Knowledge, Experience Unity and Transformation.
One of the amazing pieces and reasons it was such a cool experience was because I had the excuse to contact so many special leaders, many more than were actually able to attend. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatij, (a leader in numerous international, interfaith events, summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the House of Commons, the Parliament of World’s Religions, Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, and countless others. Pujya Swamiji is President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram) and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji from one of the largest Ashrams and interfaith spiritual institutions, Parmarth Niketan Ashram in India (she is Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international alliance of interfaith religious leaders working for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). She is also the President of the Divine Shakti Foundation, a charitable organization bringing education, vocational training, upliftment and empowerment programs to women and children in India. She is also the Director of the annual International Yoga Festival, and Managing Editor of the recently completed historic 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism) were invited to the event. Sadly, these two very inspiring individuals were not able to make it as planned, but our beautiful conversations leading up to the event touched me deeply. They spoke of their work as leaders of their Traditional Religion, Hinduism and talked of how they welcomed people from all over the world to their Ashram and taght them about their beliefs and customs. They also shared about how they spend a lot of time serving the ‘Oneness’ Movement and Interfaith movement in India. It struck me that the ‘Oneness’ Movement is a thriving, living, and growing movement, yet it is not one organization, you can’t look up the oneness leaders per se, or the ‘Oneness’ website exactly…but many, many people identify with this beautiful, organic movement.
We had contact so many amazing leaders (many who spoke at the last Parliament of World’s Religions in 2015, plus U.N. Leaders, etc.), I highly recommend that other Parliament of World’s Religions Ambassadors put on Pre-Parliament events and Regional Interfaith Events to benefit this movement and help create greater inspiration, connection, and impact on local levels.