LSTC at the Parliament of the World’s Religions
By SaraTrumm, Director of A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice
Chicago is the original home and the headquarters of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, so when it was announced that this year’s gathering would be hosted just a few miles from LSTC, folks at A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice (CCME) knew that we needed to be involved. While past convenings of the Parliament have drawn a few students, staff and faculty to places like Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada, there were at least 25 members of the LSTC family, from many different aspects of the LSTC community that participated in the 5-day assembly at McCormick Place this August.
These 25 were among 7,000+ attendees, and CCME supported 5 additional students and guests from other institutions. Alumni and partners led sessions, Lutheran interfaith leaders were recognized and spoke from the main stage, LSTC musicians warmed the hearts of the multi-faith crowd, staff volunteered and provided guidance, and most importantly, all participants were overwhelmed, inspired, touched, and challenged by the hundreds of presentations and discussions of freedom, human rights, and a global ethic.
Attendees noted the following highlights:
- The Sikh community provided a vegetarian lunch every day, just as they do at gurudwaras around the world. This communal meal (on an unbelievable scale) spoke volumes about the Sikh values of hospitality, equality, service, and relentless optimism.
- The energy was vibrant and colorful, enlivening my body and soul, and stimulating all my senses. Creativity was everywhere you looked.
- It was great to be able to have exposure to traditions and faiths that are totally unfamiliar, and to learn from practitioners who are passionate and authentic in their expression.
- The Cosmic Mass combined ancient liturgies and sacred images with a kind of modern spontaneous dance party.
- One of the goals of the Parliament is to gather various perspectives and responses to the many crises that we face in the world. Networking and joining together for the common good seemed to be happening, but I was also glad to see that people were willing to acknowledge disagreement as well.
- The values of humility and curiosity were highlighted in both science and faith during our visit to the Planetarium.
- It was refreshing to have recognition given to faith traditions that have been historically colonized or suppressed.
- “It is a deeply profound experience to hammer a barrel of a gun into a gardening tool; to live out the Word of God so literally sent chills down my spine.”– Emily Moentmann
Above, Emily transforming her tool
- “The Parliament made me feel hopeful. Even though the messages about Climate Crisis and global injustice were dire and urgent, it was so rewarding to participate even as a virtual attendee to learn about all of the incredible work being done, and to feel united in common cause with such a diverse group.” — Samara Powers
Together, this experience allowed LSTC participants to experience a new way to come together in community, faith, and hope for a future that aligns with the values of our institution and the values that we embrace as we work to shape a more equitable and just society.
You can see other photos from the event below: