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The Golden Rule: World religions united by common goal
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you… - Matthew 7:12

   
 


Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary, Canadian Council of Churches.

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May 14, 2010
-Dan Dyck, Chair, Communications Team, World Religions Summit 2010: Interfaith Leaders in the G8 Nations

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The “Golden Rule” is familiar to the sacred teachings of all of the world’s major religious faiths, and that idea will draw together Interfaith Leaders in the G8 Nations for World Religions Summit 2010 in Winnipeg, Man. from June 21-23. Over 50 leaders of the world’s major religious faiths, including Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha’i, Hindu, Sikh and Christian are expected to attend.

In a world where religion is more often blamed for disagreement and conflict than healing and hope, leaders gathered for the World Religions Summit will hold accountable the G8 nations whose governments pledged to support the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established by the United Nations in 2000. These goals seek to end hunger, enhance child and maternal health, work toward universal education, achieve gender equality, care for creation in sustainable ways, treat people with HIV-AIDS, and become better global partners.

The pledges of the G8 nations expire in five years. Collectively over the past ten years, they have achieved about half of their commitments. The other 50% must be accomplished in just five years in order to meet the original objective.

When the religious leaders of the world meet in Winnipeg this June, they will draft a joint statement to the G8 political leaders seeking renewed commitments to the MDG commitments. An appointed delegation hopes to deliver the statement personally to the G8/G20 meetings in Huntsville, Ont., where the political leaders will meet from June 25-27.

“Society is growing ever more ambivalent about the role and influence of the world’s faiths and their leaders. This is ultimately an exercise in proclaiming what we believe together, and acting on it together,” says Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, Chair of the Interfaith Partnership and the General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches.

First Nations representatives will welcome guests to the host facility at the University of Winnipeg, which sits on Treaty 1 First Nations land, as will University of Winnipeg President Dr. Lloyd Axworthy. High profile faith leaders will address the delegation. Some of these events will be open to the public.

Rev. Jim Wallis (USA) of Sojourners magazine and long time activist for social justice, Rwandan Dr. Andre Karamaga, President of the All Africa Conference of Churches, and H.E. Sheikh Shaban Mubaje, Grand Mufti of Uganda, will address the gathering. Mennonite Church Canada will be represented by General Secretary Robert J. (Jack) Suderman. In addition Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire, whose global warning about an impending Rwandan genocide was largely ignored, and John McArthur (USA), CEO of Millennium Promise, an international non-profit organization solely committed to supporting the achievement of the MDGs, will also speak.

Space for observers is limited to the seating capacity of Convocation Hall at the University of Winnipeg, but there are other ways to support and contribute to this noteworthy event:

  • Pray for the world’s religious and political leaders and especially for Robert J. Suderman as he represents Mennonite Church Canada at the World Religions Summit.
  • Support the intent of the event by contacting your Member of Parliament and asking your elected representative what he or she will do to keep Canada accountable for its MDG pledges. There are extensive resources available at www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1325 to help you do this effectively.
  • Learn more about this project at www.faithchallengeg8.com/
  • Sign the online petition at petition.faithchallengeg8.com/, entitled “A time for inspired leadership and action.”
  • Plan to attend a public meeting of people of faith and Members of Parliament at Convocation Hall, University of Winnipeg, on May 18 at 7:30 pm.