I have just been informed that, in its October conference call, the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative voted to invite me become an At-Large Trustee. This is a great honor, which I have accepted.
The purpose of the URI is “to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation; to end religiously motivated violence; and o ctraete cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings.” I worked with many others – including CoG’s Deborah Ann Light - in the writing of the URI’s Charter in conferences in 1998-2000.
This is my third term on the URI’s Global Council. In 2002, I was elected to be one of three Trustees from the North American Region on the URI’s first elected Global Council. In 2006, I was asked to be one of two At-Large Trustees on the URI’s second elected Global Council. This time, on the third elected Global Council, I am again one of two At-Large Trustees, the other being Swami Agnivesh of New Delhi, India.
The current Global Council is made up of 30 individuals from 19 countries. The Global Council includes Christians, Muslims, Jews, representatives of Indigenous traditions, Hindus, Sikhs, a Buddhist, and now a Witch. Many of the Trustees are clergypersons, monastics, and elders of various sorts.
While most of the Trustees come from and represent geographic Regions in the URI (Latin America & the Carribean, Middle East & North Africa, Europe, etc.), my efforts in the URI have been focused on what is called the “Multiregion” (www.urimulti.org). This is the Region for Cooperation Circles (“CCs”) whose members are in more than one geographic Region or whose focus spans more than one Region.
I serve as coordinator for two Multiregional CCs: Expressing the URI in Music & the Arts (EURIMA) and the Spirituality & the Earth CC. EURIMA created and published the first Intefaith Songbook (www.interfaith-presidio.org/store/songbook.html) and hosted the first Interfaith Sacred Space Design Competition in 2004, inviting participants to imagine what genuinely interfaith sacred space would look like. The competition resulted in 160 designs from 17 countries (www.interfaithdesign.org), which were published in the book Sacred Spaces.
The Spirituality & the Earth CC is a network of various Earth Religionists (Heathen, Hindu, Indigenous, Shinto, Taoist, Wiccan, etc.) on four continents. Our cooperative efforts have included arranging computers and English lessons for Indigenous interfaith representatives in Latin America and hosting an annual People of the Earth conference in San Francisco, bringing together Neopagans, immigrant Pagans, and Indigenous practitioners around issues of common concern (www.ancientways.com/Earth.html).
I look forward to once again serving the URI on its Global Council for as long as they need me.
National Interfaith Representative