Leaders from Edmonton’s Interfaith and Aboriginal communities, including All Saint’s Anglican Cathedral Vicar the Rev. Canon Travis Enright, Inner City Pastoral Ministry Pastor the Rev. Rick Chapman and elder Lewis Cardinal, hosted “Peace Movement: A Process of Listening to Self, Others, the Land” at Edmonton City Hall, May 3rd. Over 90 people attended the creative and interactive evening of fellowship, the arts, and “kiskinowashita” (Cree for listening, which changes the listener). In attendance, was the Rev. Dirk Ficca, Executive Director, Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Edmonton’s Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, along with the City of Edmonton, are exploring the possibility of bidding to host the 2019 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Enright, Chapman and Cardinal travelled to Melbourne, Australia for the 2009 World Parliament to present the workshop “Edmonton’s Experience of Reconciliation with Indigenous People”.
Hosted once every five years by a different city around the globe, the Parliament is the world’s largest interfaith event, bringing together religious, civic, academic, political and grassroots leaders. Themes explored at past parliaments have included: Healing the Earth with Care and Concern, Honouring Indigenous Peoples and Self-Determination, Overcoming Poverty in an Unequal World, Securing Food and Water for All People and Building Peace in the Pursuit of Justice.
At the city hall gathering, interfaith and community leaders shared a meal of ethnic dishes, while experiencing “kiskinowashita” through dance, drama, dialogue and prayer.
Ficca arrived in Edmonton two days before the gathering to “get to know Edmonton culturally and tour possible Parliament venues”. He observed “many signs of hope”, from the honouring of the Rossdale aboriginal burial grounds, to the meal catered by Kids in the Hall, a bistro which provides opportunities for at risk youth 16-24 years to learn life and employment skills. He said Edmonton’s “rich diversity of religious and spiritual communities”, committed to working together with community and government agencies, make the city a “candidate for consideration”, should it bid to host a future world parliament.
See the June 2011 issue of The Messenger for more about the “Peace Movement” gathering and Edmonton’s interfaith community.