I am proud to announce that the theme of the 2021 Parliament is "Opening our Hearts to the World: Compassion in Action."
Why did the Program Committee choose this theme for the 8th Parliament of the World’s Religions? Why, even in the midst of this pandemic, must we gather the world’s religions to convene virtually?
The world has been through a lot in the last year. This, I am sure, is not news to you.
The world has been under an onslaught of viruses. One of these viruses is quite literal but there is also the virus of racism, the virus of sexism, the virus of hate and bigotry, the virus of dishonesty, and more.
We have lost so many lives to these viruses. We are losing so many lives to these viruses. We must acknowledge this is the world we live in. Each of our religious and spiritual traditions teaches us something about this acknowledgment and the reaction to it; some call it grief. It is time to grieve. Let us convene to grieve.
How do we arrive at the vaccine for these viruses? What is the antidote? For COVID-19, the world has begun the long process of distribution of vaccines. But what about the other viruses? I am lucky to have worked at and attended the last two Parliaments. In Salt Lake City, I bore witness as we convened to “Reclaim” our hearts. In Toronto, I took part as we convened to infuse our hearts with “The Power of Love.” This year, it is now time to open our hearts to the world and release that power.
It can’t wait! This is the antidote: unbridled hope.
We must take this newfound hope and compassion and build a better world from it. As people of faith, we can fix this world through compassion in action.
We can be better.
The world can be better.
The world must be better.
Our faith and spiritual communities have continuously risen to be antidotes to these moral and physical viruses and we need to gather to highlight this action-based work, share best practices, learn from one another, and celebrate the successes.
Therefore, let us convene to have compassion and take action.
For the first time in history and through the power of the internet, Parliament attendees will be able to open their hearts to the entire world. Please join us virtually for the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions on October 17-18.
Stephen Avino, COO
PS: Stay tuned to your inbox, the Call for Programs is coming very soon.