Written by Ruth Broyde Sharone / Photos by Martin Roy Mervel
The URI booth at the Parliament was a hub of pulsating, lively activity that seemed to occupy the entire 6th floor of the convention center in Toronto—even though there were other booths nearby. Every time I entered or even passed by, I was struck by the positive energy that emanated from our booth. And buoyant Ardey Turner was almost always there to offer Reiki healing and TLC.
URI was a living, international presence at the Parliament because of so many URI members were keynoters, facilitators, presenters, panelists and participants at the conference. For example, I was fortunate enough to be a presenter or panelist in eight different workshops during the first week of November, and I know many other URI members were also active in multiple events, so we often had to forego the pleasure of attending each other's workshops.
I carried with me from L.A. the Israeli/Palestinian Peace and Healing Quilt made by 72 women in Jerusalem (including our own Elana Rozenman, a leading force behind the project). The quilt was hung prominently at the entrance to the Exhibition Hall. Many people took photos in front of that exquisite tapestry and then posted them on their individual Facebook pages.
Click the yellow arrows to scroll through the photos in the slideshow below.
I also had an opportunity to present one of the songs from my musical: INTERFAITH: The Musical at an opening plenary, the same evening that URI Executive Director Victor Kazanjian delivered a rousing keynote address. An exciting evening indeed!
At the very end of the conference, in the final hours, Kay Lindahl facilitated a beautiful workshop entitled “Listening Across Diverse Traditions” with three other women panelists: Rev. Eileen Epperson, Rev. Dr. Guo Cheen, and myself. We discussed the diverse ways different cultures have of listening and we heard true stories about listening from the participants in the group. URI has been a great proponent for sacred listening from its very inception, which is one of the reasons we have seen such an enormous growth of Cooperation Circles (URI member groups) around the world.
In conclusion, URI was everywhere, and its influence and impact continues to expand every year. I feel privileged not only to have been responsible for the establishment of four Cooperation Circles around the world—in Los Angeles, Virginia, Guadalajara, Mexico and Lahore, Pakistan—but also to be an active member of W.I.N. (Women’s Interfaith Network, another URI member group).
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!
Ruth Broyde Sharone