Water – and its capacity to sustain both physical and spiritual life – will be the topic of a special presentation by members of URI (United Religions Initiative), the world’s largest grassroots interfaith organization, at Rio+20, the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Professor of Religious Education Reijo E. Heinonen will lead the list of panelists presenting “The Spirituality and Ethics of Water” at 9:30 a.m. June 18, 2012 at the RioCentro convention center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Through dialogue and cooperation, members of different faith traditions can share our world’s shrinking resources.
“Have you ever thought how the understanding of the intrinsic value of water could contribute to our use of water and our prodigality?” said Dr. Heinonen, founding dean of ecumenical theology of the University of Joensuu in Finland. “Spirituality, with its holistic, religious dimensions can promote the understanding of the intrinsic value of water -- which can hinder its prodigal use.”
His discussion will be followed by a series of presentations by URI members from several religions, spiritual traditions and indigenous beliefs who will describe the essential meaning of water– a symbolic and practical element of every faith. Joining the panel is Global Council Trustee Rebecca Tobias, “The origin of water is a mystery to science, however its purpose on our planet is abundantly clear--water is the progenitor of life, all life. We may not have clarity as to her origins, but we are charged with the moral and spiritual imperative to protect and restore that by which every living creature has been conceived.”
The event will end with a closing spiritual ritual and a blessing over water offerings brought from many different parts of the world.
“We need spiritual literacy,” said Heidi Rautionmaa, of the URI Global Council. “Spirituality refers to an inner path enabling a person to discover the deepest values and meanings by which people live. Sustainable behavior and action are based on holistic spirituality and ethics.”
URI will present this event in cooperation with URI Brasil, URI Finland, and Faiths Without Borders-a URI interfaith group based in Finland fostering a sustainable lifestyle and global ethic, the Ecumenical Water Network, and Christian churches and organizations coordinated by the World Council of Churches working to promote access to water world-wide.