From December 3rd through the 9th, several modern Pagans from across the globe, and representing organizations like C.O.G., Temple of Ara, EarthSpirit, Cherry Hill Seminary, Earth Traditions, Circle Sanctuary, Solar Cross, the Pagan Federation, Reclaiming, and the World Congress of Ethnic Religions will gather in Melbourne, Australia for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Held once every five years, the Parliament brings thousands of religious leaders and grassroots activists together to find common ground on issues that face us all, and attempts to build bridges of understanding between diverse faith traditions. Ever since the parliament’s rebirth in 1993, Pagans have been an active and visible presence at these gatherings, and today we play a vital role in its leadership as well.
“The Council for a 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.”
Simply put, our participation and movement toward leadership roles within the global interfaith community in the last fifteen years is extraordinary. We are emerging as a significant world-wide religious movement at a time where our voice and perspective is increasingly relevant and needed, especially when you consider that this Parliament in Melbourne is built around themes of healing the earth, dialog and reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and addressing the roots of religious extremism. This is an extraordinary time to be a Pagan, and Melbourne holds great potential to show where our future challenges and victories will emerge.
Because of the special nature of this event, I’ve coordinated with attending Pagans to create a Pagan Newswire Collective-hosted project to transmit the voices of Pagans at the Parliament to as many people in our interconnected communities as possible. “Pagans at the Parliament” will feature updates from Pagan attendees and presenters, including Moira Ashleigh of EarthSpirit, Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum, Ed Hubbard of MagickTV/PagansTonight, and Parliament Board of Trustees members Angie Buchanan, and Phyllis Curott*. In addition, I’ll be linking to updates and media posted by attending Pagans elsewhere, and coordinating phone/Skype interviews with individuals in Melbourne. All the content will be licensed under the Creative Commons so that Pagan media outlets, including blogs, podcasts, and magazines, can immediately re-transmit content, and use the site as a primary source for longer articles and explorations of the issues raised. Here is the address, spread the word, link to it, and subscribe to the RSS feed.
There are also social networking “Pagans at the Parliament” options, including a Twitter feed (follow us!) that will syndicate the blog and track Parliament-related tweets, as well as a fan-page on Facebook (become a fan!). You can also count on The Wild Hunt distilling and commenting on all available updates on a regular basis during the Parliament.
I hope this endeavor will not only be enlightening, giving us a as-it-happens picture of Pagan participation in this historic event, but will also drive home the importance of building a modern Pagan journalism that can cover them when they happen. So join us December 3rd – 9th for what promises to be an exciting time.
*The three Pagan members of the Parliament Board of Trustees are Angie Buchanan, Phyllis Curott, and Andras Corban Arthen of EarthSpirit.