Bahai News - Potluck to feature talk on business and peace

U.S. & World

Saturday, January 13, 2001

Potluck to feature talk on business and peace

If religion and politics make uneasy bedfellows, religion and business would seem the unlikeliest couple of all. But not according to Sister Valerie Heinonen, executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), who will be speaking tomorrow at the Brandywine Peace Community's monthly potluck supper about "An Ethic of Peace-Making: Global Corporate Accountability."

Founded in 1971, ICCR is a coalition of 275 Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish institutional investors with a combined portfolio worth $100 billion. As shareholders, ICCR members use their leverage to influence corporations on issues such as the environment, corporate involvement with human rights abuses, sweatshops, and equal-employment opportunity.

Speaking from her office in New York, Sister Valerie said she would discuss ways religious institutions can help change the policies of corporations that supply armaments around the world.

"The churches that formed ICCR decided that something had to be done about the way in which their investments were contrary to the values and ethics of their church and their ministries," said Sister Valerie, an Ursuline sister of Tildonk.

The shared-dish supper begins at 4:30 p.m. at University Lutheran Church, 3637 Chestnut St. Information: 610-544-1818.

Esther's Circle forming

Tahirih was a Baha'i poet and scholar who fought for women's rights in 19th-century Persia. To continue her legacy, the Tahirih Justice Center near Washington was founded in 1997 to represent women facing persecution around the world.

The founder, attorney Layli Miller, will be in Wayne tomorrow to discuss the center at an Esther's Circle fund-raising event. The center is launching a local Esther's Circle of advocates who donate $1,000.

Miller, a Baha'i, said that while the nonprofit center was inspired by the Baha'i tenet of full women's equality. It offers legal, medical and educational help to women fleeing genital mutilation, rape, forced marriage and domestic violence.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m. at the J.M. Sorkin store, 155 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne. Information: 215-683-5432.

The meaning of prayer

Are prayers answered?

That is one of the questions Rabbi Eliyahu Bergstein will raise in a Hasidic Jewish workshop Wednesday evening on the meaning of prayer.

A New York systems analyst and national lecturer, Rabbi Bergstein said he would analyze the prayers of famous biblical characters to determine why they pray.

"Once we establish the point of praying, we can decide what it means for it to get answered," he said.

The workshop is being held at the Bucks County Lubavitch Center, 1444 Yardley-Newtown Rd., Yardley. It begins at 7:30 p.m. and costs $10. Information: 215-321-2220.

Prophecy conference

The turn of the millennium may have come and gone, but Christian end-times speculation continues apace. Renald Showers of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, based in Bellmawr, will give an update at a Prophecy Conference at Grace Baptist Church in Ambler next weekend.

Though much of Christianity looks askance, "prophecy-watching" for signs of the Bible's promised Tribulation, Last Days and the Second Coming has many avid followers in evangelical and Pentecostal circles.

Showers, who regularly teaches at Philadelphia Biblical University, will link biblical prophecies to the current round of violence in Israel: "The Book of Zechariah talks about the end of the Tribulation as a time when the world's governments will send military forces to Israel."

Conference sessions begin at 6 p.m. next Saturday and 9:30 a.m. next Sunday. The church is at 701 Pen-Ambler Rd. Information: 215-646-1420.


©Copyright 2001, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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