World Religious Leaders Meeting


PR Newswire
Mar 2 1999 6:20AM ET

DALLAS, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- More than four dozen of the world's religious leaders will gather in Dallas next week to craft an interreligious worldwide resolution to encourage healing across religious and cultural lines.

The Thanksgiving World Assembly will be led by Francis Cardinal Arinze -- the African cardinal considered a potential papal successor, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and representatives of many of the world's religions, including a representative of the Dalai Lama.

The delegates, coming from as far away as India, Jerusalem and Thailand, will meet March 12 - March 15 to discuss how the world's religions can best reconcile humanity. The leaders will craft a short statement promoting healing and understanding across religious lines.

"The concept of thanksgiving is universal, and every nation and people show gratitude in often disparate ways," said Elizabeth Espersen, executive director of The Thanks-Giving Foundation, sponsor of the four-day gathering. "This is an excellent opportunity for religious leaders of many of the world's traditions to gather and reflect on how giving thanks together can promote healing."

The United Nations General Assembly has designated the year 2000, at the request of The Thanks-Giving Foundation, as "2000: An International Year of Thanksgiving." The four-day Dallas assembly is the first event launching the international celebration.

The assembly will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, March 12, with a Scottish bag-piper leading the delegates, dressed in ceremonial vestments, several blocks through downtown Dallas to Thanks-Giving Square, a 3.5-acre park built in 1968 to foster healing across interreligious lines.

On Saturday, delegates will begin considering how giving thanks unifies and heals. They will gather Saturday night for a public banquet in which Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria, president of the Vatican's Office of Interreligious Dialogue, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, a world renowned rabbi, and Venerable Achok Rinpoche, representing the Dalai Lama, will speak to the assembly.

The assembly's finale will begin at 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 15, in a ceremony featuring speeches by Dr. Carey, Dr. K.L. Seshagiri Rao, editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, and Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America.

Thirty local religious leaders will join the international retinue for the four-day assembly. Many of the world's religions will be represented, including Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Unitarian Universalism, Sikhism and the American Indian tradition.

SOURCE Thanks-Giving Foundation

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Mar/02/1999 6:05 EOS (PRN) Mar/02/99 06:05 86 -0- (PRN) Mar/02/1999 6:20 :

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