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The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County Showcases Innovative ICARE Program at The 9th Parliament of World Religions 2023 in Chicago

September 2, 2023
Originally published by Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County on the Fall 2023 issue of Ministering Together by Greg Kremenliev and Terri Moss

Seven leaders from the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County (I4C) journeyed to Chicago last week to present a workshop at The 9th Parliament of the World Religions (dating back to 1893). This year’s gathering featured 7,000 participants from 90 countries and more than 200 faith traditions, revolving around the theme: “A call to conscience – defending freedom and human rights with a focus on combatting authoritarianism.”

The I4C representatives came to The Parliament to present a program, ICARE, that they inaugurated during the pandemic, in the hope that other interfaith organizations around the world will implement and benefit from ICARE. Terri Moss created ICARE, which provides opportunities for two or more faith communities to work together on community service projects that improve the lives of people in need. In addition, ICARE fosters understanding and friendships among people of various faiths, which strengthen our communities and serves as an antidote to hate. Often, people’s network is limited to their own faith community. ICARE introduces people to members of other faith communities which enriches and broadens everyone’s lives.

Terri co-presented the Chicago workshop with I4C Executive Director, Rev. Will McGarvey, and Dave Longhurst, ICARE co-chair and Co-President of I4C. ICARE sparked a lively discussion among attendees.

The Parliament kicked off with a colorful and boisterous parade on Sunday, August 13th. The pre-Parliament parade was uplifting and focused on the celebration of faith diversity. A long line of people processed down the street who were proud, loud, and vibrantly dressed in bright, audaciously colored costumes reflecting their culture and religious beliefs. They danced to music and drums and chanted at the top of their lungs on the street. They strutted their cultural stuff in front of the bland backdrop of the Hyatt McCormick. There was a steady stream of turbans, tunics and white feathered headdresses, a Chinese dragon, rows of reds, yellows, greens, glitter, and all colors of hair. In multiple languages, they proudly proclaimed their call for world peace in primary-colored banners adorned by gold tassels.

The world was literally parading at our doorstep and their messages were pride in their religion or culture, declarations of world peace and a call for saving our planet from climate demise.

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