Yesterday I received the message below from my friend Twila. I became acquainted with Twila through Facebook. She is a member of Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride. I admire Twila for her work in bringing our spiritual communities into unity. Twill went to 2015 Parliament in Utah. This is an awesome event that drew together over 30 different faiths in one space and place to help bring the communities into unity and help resolve some of the problems we face in our world.
Here is what Twila has to say about her trip -
First, I want to thank everyone who helped me by donating to my gofundme. Every donation helped me to alleviate the financial burden of this trip.
During The Parliament I have had packed days with workshops, rituals, plenary's and networking.
Parliament is a living library full of knowledge and culture. When choosing workshops I had to focus on which classes would be most beneficial to Greater Chicagoland Pagan Pride and to the Pagan community back home. I choose classes such as: "Compassion and Law Enforcement", "We People...Future of the Interfaith", "Using New Forms of Media to Combat Violence and Hate Speech", "How to Expand Your City's Role in the Interfaith Engagement", "What Makes a City Compassionate?" and "Spiritual Leadership". My goal with these classes are to help strengthen and grow the Pagan community.
So many faiths are celebrated at the Parliament with rituals and ceremonies. I was honored to have participated in the Lighting of the Sacred Fire which brought together Indigenous Tribes including the tribes of Utah and Maori (from New Zeland ). I also participated in the Sikh Langar which is a free communal meal served in a Gurdwara to all visitors. During your meal you are to remove your shoes and be humble by covering your head.
Plenary's at Parliament bring together so many people. During the opening plenary the Utah Indigenous tribe lead in the procession of the represented faith's. It was full of multiple faith prayers, music and speakers demonstrating the diversity, inclusiveness and harmony of the Parliament.
The women's plenary was an amplified energy beacon for empowering women and supporting women religious leaders of all faiths. Speakers such as Valerie Kaur, Grandmother Mary Lyons, and Marianne Williamon and so many more, brought the entire audience to their feet and generated enough energy to be felt beyond the convention walls.
The networking of The Parliament was invaluable. I was blessed to met people like Vivianne Crowley, Andres Corban-Arthen, Valerie Kaur, Police Chief Steve Conrad, Grandmother Rose Per and a Tibetan monk Main-Chun.
Between running through all of this there were the spontaneous moments. Moments of music, art, culture and random interactions. A few of these bountiful moments were: watching monks make a four day Mandala, Jain dancer in front of their water temple, telling my story to be archived in the Life Story Library Foundation, and experiencing all the music filling the halls.
Beyond all of these experiences I was part of something more. I was part of the thousands of people praising, supporting, and fighting for interfaith and harmony. Part of 50 faiths working within our communities for peace and community. Part of souls raising hope and energy to our communities.
My trip to the Parliament was one that I will not forget. A trip that will bare fruit long after I am home. An experience that has let me grow as a person and as an emerging leader.
Thank you everyone for your support. My soul is soaring so high because of this experience. If you want to be a part of the experience that is The Parliament of World's Religions please visit their website parliamentofreligions.org
Finally, If you want to help me you still can. Please visit gofundme.com/tysaltlakecity to help me reach my fundraising goal.
Thank you again everyone.
We interviewed Twila on A Gang of Girls Radio here is the link to that show -https://soundcloud.com/24-7-the-stream/a-gang-of-girls-radio-10-5-15
For those of you who made donations for Twila's trip - a BIG Thank you!