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Responding to Religion for Peace’s 9th World Assembly

by Aaron Stauffer


The importance of Religions for Peace World Assemblies lies foremo­st in their ability to connect and reconnect many of the world’s senior religious leaders. Having them together is an unprecedented opportunity for networking and collaborating.

Peter Morales, the current president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), noted that last month’s Assembly in Vienna was particularly meaningful for giving him an opportunity to renew important relationships. “It was a heartening and impressive event,” Morales reported, “especially for the UUA, because we were there in the beginning to help plant the seed of RFP.”

Peter Morales left the Assembly asking what are the next steps to take after such an event, building on the work of the Assembly. “Right now I am asking – what are the big opportunities?” For Morales and the UUA, there is a large need to make peacebuilding around issues such as immigration more experiential, relational, and less cognitive. Much of the important work that needs to be done is about the bonds of human relationship and connection. This requires patient work, but it is important, part and parcel of peacemaking across lines of religious difference.

In this edition of RFPUSA Connect you hear the voices of several who attended the World Assembly, a multifaceted view of what the Assembly means to participants.

Rev. Bud Heckman, RFPUSA’s executive, surveys the Assembly alongside several other international interfaith gatherings last month and reflects on how the religion and the world are changing.

Young adult representative Ethan Bodnaruk shares lessons learned and comes home to work on an interfaith approach to addressing homelessness.

The video to the right captures the resonse of Baker al-Hiyari, Special Advisor to the Middle East and North Africa Affairs (MENA) of RFP.

In this issue you’ll also find a reflective article by Dr. Katherine Marshall on the efficacy of spending all the time and money required to hold a major interreligious forum.

Finally, don’t forget RFP’s next webinar on December 17 featuring Dr. Seyed Amir Akrami addressing “Islam, Religious Diversity and Peacemaking.” Check it out here.