Event Schedule: Saturday, December 5th

Each day of the Parliament included over 100 programs, including observances, performances, films, plenary sessions and more.

Programming for Saturday, 5th December included:

Halting the Spread of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Challenges for FaithEmbedded Image

Gideon Byamugisha, Jean Duff, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Thomas Bohnett, Katherine Marshall and Murray Proctor

The role of religion in fighting disease has many dimensions, some inspirational and some obstructive. This program explored examples of work on the ground and moral advocacy for HIV/AIDS. Canon Gideon Byamugisha pointed to the complexity of moral challenges around HIV/AIDS but above all to the powerful potential that religion has within this battle. Interfaith initiatives have great potential to make major contributions. Jean Duff, Executive Director of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, long time Board Member of Catholic Relief Services, described ongoing efforts, especially in Nigeria, and action steps necessary for forward movement. Thomas Bohnett described emerging ideas on engaging faith in relation to the scourge of tuberculosis.



Religious Dimensions of the Reconciliation Process in Timor-Leste Embedded Image

Dr Pat Walsh, Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, Dili, East Timor; Constantino Pinto, director Fundacao Lafaek Diak, East Timor; Inge Lempp, Civil Peace Service, Baucau, East Timor

Through Portuguese, Japanese, and Indonesian occupation the Timorese people struggled to maintain their spiritual values. As they emerge from colonialism, the Timorese have revived traditional beliefs surrounding the Uma Lulik (sacred house) that harmonizes the worlds of the living and of the dead. At the 2009 Parliament, this program presented this spiritual revival as an integral part of the process of healing from the trauma of the past.




Mamaa The Untouchable Ones - Religious Philosophy of the Wanjina and the Gwion in North West Australia

Paddy Neowarra and Pansy Nulgit with Heather Winter, Indigenous Human Rights Activist

As a central spiritual belief system of the three language groups of the Ngarinyin, Wororraa and Wanumbal from the North West of Australia, Mamaa The Untouchable Ones, is a Ngarinyin initiative centred on their religious belief and practice pivotal to the sacred rock art galleries of their Creator, the Gwion and the Wanjina. This program offered a unique and rare insight into our ancestral spiritual teachings, the religious philosophy of the Wanjina and the Gwion.




Science and Spirituality: Building New Partnership to Heal the Earth

Laureate Prof Peter Doherty, University of Melbourne, Nobel Prize Winner; Phil Clayton Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Claremont Graduate University

The current ecological crisis demands that science, technology, and the spiritual traditions become close allies and partners. The International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR) presented a one-day workshop to deepen the cooperation between the sciences and religious communities worldwide as they strive together to heal the earth.



Neighbourhoods of Difference: the Multicultural Uniting Church of Australia and Interfaith Relations

Isabel Dobson, moderator, Uniting Church of Victoria & Tasmania; Rev. Glenda Blakefield, Associate General Secretary, Rev. Seforosa Carroll, Convener of Relations with Other Faiths Working Group, Rev. Tony Floyd, National Director, Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry; Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director, Uniting Justice; Rev. Kerry Enright, National Director, UnitingWorld

Formed from the union of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in 1977, The Uniting Church of Australia is that nation's third largest religious community. It has received immigrants from the region, including Korea, the Pacific Islands, Indonesia and Samoa. This symposium presented the strategies the Church has employed to respond to its internal multiculturalism as well as to the presence of other faiths in the Australian community. The panelists who presented were from Uniting Justice, UnitingWorld, UnitingCare and its Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Ministry.



Indigenous Land Rights: Struggles and Survival (Session 1)

Marcos Terena (Terena–Brazil), Chief Megaron Txukarramae (Kayapó:Brazil), Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga, USA)

The survival and livelihood of most indigenous communities depends on their land base. Dispossession of these ancestral homelands, due to economic development or various government policies, is a major problem confronting indigenous peoples worldwide. At the 2009 Parliament, participants in this panel gave examples of their struggles for land rights.



Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (Religions for Peace Asia)

ACRP Executives: Dr. Din Syamsuddin, Moderator, Prof. Des Cahill, deputy moderator, Dr Sunggon Kim, secretary-general; Dr. Lilian Sison, women's network

Religions for Peace Asia (RfP Asia) is the largest interfaith group in Asia working for peace. Its member countries include Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea (North), Korea (South), Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. This session explained the work and activities of RfP Asia, including its women’s and its youth committees as well as the results of the Manila Assembly in October 2008.



Engaging Faith-Based Organizations for the MDGs: the UN Experience

Dr Azza Karam, United Nations Population Fund, and representatives of six UN agencies

In 2001, the United Nations agreed to achieve eight development goals – from ending extreme poverty, to promoting gender equality, and attaining environmental sustainability. In this program, representatives from six UN organizations discussed the successes and challenges involved in their outreach to Faith-Based Organizations as they work to achieve these ambitious goals. This session was an opportunity for religious communities to build bridges with multi-lateral organizations in their efforts to bring economic justice to the developing world.



Colonisation: Indigenous Peoples Striving for Self-Determination

Marco Terena (Terena:Brazil), Mandaza Kandemwa (Shona/Ndebele:Zimbabwe), Linda Hogan (Chicksaw:USA)

The devastation wrought by colonization continues to run deep in the lives of many indigenous peoples. The recovery of self-determination by indigenous communities takes many forms, from expressions based on the power of words, to formal legislative processes. At the 2009 Parliament, this panel addressed issues of self-determination from the perspective of indigenous peoples.



Christian Action and Witness For the Environment: What You Can Do When You Go Home

Beth Blissman, Ph.D., Oberlin College Bonner Center for Service & Learning; Peter Milne, Christian Vegetarian Association; Rev. Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Danville CA

This panel presented three approaches to environmental issues based on fundamental Christian teachings of social justice, stewardship, and bearing witness on behalf of the oppressed. Stories included community-based and individual responses to the environment, and described successful approaches for building community to support the earth.



Maori Custom Law and Listening to the Land - Australian Aboriginal Meditation

Merekaraka Caesar, Wahine Maori of Queensland Inc; Miriam-Rose Ungunmarr-Baumann, Aboriginal artist from Daly River area, Northern Territory

Tikanga (Maori Custom Law) is not theoretical but a practical vibrant living part of the Maori Culture that has been handed down from our Tipuna. Tikanga is from our God and our Ancestors and gives spiritual guidelines for our daily lives and interaction. From the very beginning of time, where once we stood as eternal brothers and sisters, it helps us to be reminded of our sacred cultural and spiritual values. Merekaraka Caesar, Wahine Maori of Queensland, and Miriam-Rose Ungunmarr-Baumann, Aboriginal artist presented Listening to the land - Australian aboriginal meditation, which enables the practitioner to reconnect to the earth, our mother.



Multifaith Insights on Deep Ecology

Vidya Sarveswaran, Indian Institute of Technology Madras; Manjulika Ghosh, Dept of Philosophy, University of North Bengal; Kiyokazu Okita, University of Oxford; Dr. Dorji Wangchuk, Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, University of Hamburg

Deep Ecology calls for a shift in human-centered attitudes and invites us to look upon nature as an end in itself independent of human needs. This panel presented perspectives on this concept through the lenses of literary eco-criticism, through Buddhist principles, and through a three-way comparison of Christianity, Buddhism and Vaishnavism.



Thomas Berry and the Great Work of Our TimeEmbedded Image

Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, Christopher Key Chapple, Anne Marie Dalton

Thomas Berry is one of the world’s foremost experts on the ecological crisis facing our planet. At the 2009 Parliament, this panel discussed how Berry’s work can lead to targeted action that heals the environment through deepening the spiritual practices of the world’s religious traditions.




Striving to Live in a Livable World (Session 1)

Anna Pinto (Meitei: India), Dr. Joseph Suina (Cochiti Pueblo: USA), Omie Baldwin (Dine’: USA), Chief Megaron Txukarramae (Kayapó:Brazil)

For many indigenous communities, environmental safety and sustainability is a global problem. The lands on which indigenous peoples live provide food, material for homes, feed for livestock, herbal medicine for health, and contain special or sacred places. Panelists from various indigenous communities discussed the challenges and spiritual significance of the environment.



The Haudenosaunee ProphecyEmbedded Image

Oren Lyons (Onondaga: USA), Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan; Jake Swamp (Mohawk:USA), International Ambassador; Doug George-Kanentiio (Mohawk/Iroquois:USA)

The Haudenosaunee comprise a confederation of six, eastern tribal nations in the United States: the Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, and Tuscarora. Like a number of other indigenous cultures throughout the world, the Six Nations have a prophetic tradition. Prophecy foretells what or how changes will come to pass and what effect they will have on the well-being of the people. Panelists from the Six Nations discussed various aspects of Haudenosaunee prophecy.




Yoruba Worship of the Earth and Veneration of the EnvironmentEmbedded Image

Professor Wande Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Kehinde Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Babalawo Taiwa Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Kolapo Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Adetokunbe Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Ifaboyede Michelle Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria)

Indigenous African religions such as Yoruba, Vodun, and Akan are well known for their interest in the sanctity and preservation of the environment. These beliefs hold that it is our sacred obligation to honor the earth and the forces of nature that are greater than humans. This panel focused on the Yoruba practices and beliefs about the environment, as practiced in West Africa and in the African Diaspora.




Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation – Youth Session

Shakila Wijenayake, Mala Wijenayake, Simran Jeet Singh, Gurvinder Pal Singh, Manny Waks, Heba Ibrahim

Our parents grew up in a very different world than the one we are now. Some in a very different country to the one we live in now. With the progress of society comes change and with that change comes challenges. Add religion, culture and a move to foreign lands to the mix and the challenges become even more complex. At this youth session, attendees listened to the stories of young people and their parents from Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh backgrounds as they shared how they were able to navigate the challenges between the generations.



Evening Plenary:


International Plenary

At the 2009 Parliament, this plenary presented the international interreligious movement and the UN Decade for Interreligious Dialogue by international speakers, international artists and performers.



Observances included:

Invoking Inner Tranquility: Buddhist Chanting and Meditation

Chung Tai Dharma Masters

The graceful and subtle melody in Buddhist chanting resonates with our pure mind and permeates space with harmony and compassion. Using hand-bell, gong, and the wooden instrument muyu, Dharma Masters from Chung Tai Chan Monastery of Taiwan offered a Chan style Buddhist morning service at the 2009 Parliament. It began with chanting, followed by guided Chan (Chinese Zen) meditation, and concluded with a dedication and blessing: May all sentient beings attain wisdom and be liberated from suffering.


Performances included:

LDS Samoan Choir

Established in 2002, this 80-voice Polynesian choir from the Melbourne area has inspired love and harmony between people of many faiths and cultures. This choir from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented a spiritually uplifting program of songs. The performance spoke to diverse faiths and cultures, using music to promote peace and harmony.



Le Carnaval Spirituel

Le Carnaval’s Spirituel presented a joyful, colorful and intriguing tapestry of theatre, dance, music, yoga, martial arts and meditation. Performing throughout the seven days of the festival, this group created an enchanting and entertaining fusion of East and West. Grounded in the timeless spiritual wisdom of ancient India’s Vedic culture, Le Carnaval’s performance provided a message of hope and reconciliation.


Films included:


Premier: Sacred Planet Embedded Image

Global Ethics and Religion Forum/Joseph Runzo

Stunningly filmed on location in the Canadian Yukon Territories, Southern California, and Japan, this film shows that the world’s religions have an essential role in changing our destructive attitudes and fostering a sense of sacred connection and proper stewardship towards the environment. Indigenous First Nations traditions of the Yukon and the spiritual traditions of Japan are highlighted as the film transitions from the rugged Yukon to the high tech city of Toyoma, showcasing divergent perspectives that can inform a global outlook. With a rich tapestry of 25 interviews, ranging from Cambridge University scientists to Buddhist priests, The Sacred Planet encourages science, government, business, NGO's, ordinary citizens, and the world’s religious traditions to work together for sustainable living and the preservation of our sacred planet for future generations.


Divided We Fall

Valarie Kaur

Valarie Kaur, a 20-year-old college student, traveled throughout the United States in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks documenting the reaction against Sikh, Muslim, and Arab American communities. In 2005, director Sharat Raju and his crew joined Valarie as she retraced her steps across the country, revisiting her original interviewees and speaking with many others about race and religion in 21st century America.