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Pittsburg, CA – December 10, 2018– Rev. Will McGarvey, Co-Pastor at East County Shared Ministry in Pittsburg, recently attended the Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto, Ontario, Canada along with 8,000 people of faith and conscience, scholars and activists. The Parliament welcomed representatives from over 220 religions of the 4,200 on our planet.
This year’s theme was The Promise of Inclusion, The Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation and Change. The seven-day program included over 500 programs, workshops, and dialogues, along with music, dance and art exhibitions from a vast range of religious communities and institutions. Rev. McGarvey led two workshops: one on peacemaking and one on peace between people and the planet.
This year marked the Seventh World Parliament. The first was held in Chicago in 1893. The next one celebrated the centennial in 1993. Subsequent parliaments have been in Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004), Melbourne (2009) and Salt Lake City (2015). Rev. McGarvey was a featured speaker at the Salt Lake City event.
The week-long program focused on six major tracks:
- The Women’s Track: The Dignity of Women Across the World’s Wisdom Traditions
- Countering War, Hate & Violence Track: Peace and Love – Not War, Hate & Violence
- Climate Action Track: Care for Our Earth, Responsibility for Our Future
- The Indigenous People’s Track: The Spiritual Evolution of Humanity & Healing Our Mother Earth
- The Next Generations Track: Interfaith Has No Age, Youth Voices for Change
- Justice: Advancing Concrete Change Toward a Just, Peaceful and Sustainable World
Keynote speakers included Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; Canada’s Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Kim Campbell; Rev. Jim Wallis, found of Sojourners; and Carol P. Christ, who leads Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete among many other notables.
“One of the highlights for me was how universal dances for peace would just break out in various locations,” remarked McGarvey, who is also Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. “Meeting folks from all over the world is very exhilarating as we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.”
As a result of his experiences at the Parliament, Rev. McGarvey has invited speakers from a broad spectrum of faith walks to join him in Interfaith Conversations. On Sunday, December 9, he was joined by Rev. Andrea Goodman, President of the Board, Interfaith Peace Project. On Sunday, December 16, Rabbi Pamela Frydman, Congregation B’nai Emunah will join him. On Sunday, January 13, he will be joined by Phillip Scott, a Native American representing Ancestral Voice and in March, Thea Bristlebroom, Covenant of the Goddess National Membership Officer, will attend.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world, according to its mission statement.
About East County Shared Ministry
East County Shared Ministry consists of Community Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg and First Congregational Church of Antioch. ECSM recognizes, celebrates and gives thanks for the many diverse gifts of God among us. All are invited to participate in their community and worship life including, but not limited to, believers, seekers, agnostics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions, those of all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope.
Services are every Sunday at 10 a.m. Visit www.eastcountysharedministry.orgor call 925.439.9161 for further information.