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June 19, 2015, 9:00 AM

URI's 15th Anniversary Reflections

URI's 15th Anniversary Reflections

The June 2000 group shot of the URI Charter Signing Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. Photo courtesy of Barbara Hartford

On June 27, 2015, URI will celebrate its 15th anniversary, as part of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations celebration at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California. You are invited to join us!

During this exciting time, members of the URI community are reflecting on what it means to be a part of a growing peacebuilding organization.

Also, you are invited to see photos from the URI - Latin America and the Caribbean region celebrating the 15 years since URI's charter signing.


Dear URI Family,

Amazingly, when Sally Mahe's recollection of "birthing values" arrived, I was reading my opening speech given at that same Summit, June 24, 1996.  Here are a few things that I said.  Please keep  in mind that I was aiming for a United Religions, not a United Religions Initiative.

"Greetings!  I marvel that I am standing here talking about something that has never happened in the world, and almost everyone who has had access to my ears has told me will never happen.  I marvel even more that you are seated there in earnest, listening to this.  Today, indeed, is a special moment.  Credulity trembles.!  And delirious hope gasps for a first breath.  An entire new life for the world beckons us to step ahead."

In my travels, "Thus far, I have garnered some learnings and developed some guesses concerning the scope of a United Religions. Here are eleven samples:

1  -  A United Religions could end up being basically a spiritual resource for peace among religions, healing among nations and wholeness in the realm of nature.

3  -  Nothing takes the place of one to one, face to face, interfaith work.

5  -  The most basic issue is whether or not a religion believes that the world holds together in an ultimate unity.

7  -  A United Religions would be the place where religions could find some wiggle room in the midst of intractable situations.

8  -  The most powerful teachers of interfaith are the media and one's own religious tradition. Most often neither teaches what is accurate about the religion of others.

9  -  A United Religions would hold each faith in context of all faiths for the sake of all life."

"I am convinced that someday there will be a United Religions.  There is not going to be a time when one religion converts, conquers, subjugates all of the other religions to itself.  Furthermore, religions are going to have to learn to live together. No longer can one one religion use terror, law, threat to excise other religions from its territory.  The sooner we find a way for religions to share the some geographic space, the sooner life will be enhanced."

"At the first of this century, there was a time when human beings knew in their bones that we should fly.  So all kinds of people glued feathers to their arms, climbed to the top of the barn, began flapping and jumped off.  And sure enough, right around then we learned to fly.  So, I don't mind standing in front of you today smelling of feathers and sticking with glue.  I'll tell you right now, I'm jumping."

Dear URI family members, I am overwhelmed with gratitude thinking about the journey from June, 1996 until June 2015.  We are flapping together and soaring, and it is spiritually intoxicating.

With blessings and love,

The Right Rev. William E. Swing, URI President and Founding Trustee


Dear Friends,

We had a very colourful celebration here yesterday in connection with URI’s 15th anniversary. Dr. N. N. Murali, chairman of the Lions Council of Governors, inaugurated the program. He is so famous as a doctor who has performed about thirty thousand major operations (Limca Book of Records) and over one hundred thousand major and minor operations. The former District Governor of the Lions Club, he is a good friend of URI. 

A large number of Cooperation Circle leaders and dignitaries attended. It was a gala dinner in miniature. We honoured a few artists who performed for us on this special occasion. A video of the first ten years of URI was presented. It was so nice to walk back the alleys. Heavy monsoon rains stopped just for us. Now the sky pours out cats and dogs. Not a good time for celebrations, but still the heavens blessed us.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Abraham Karickam

Executive Secretary, URI Asia Region &

Coordinator, South India-Sri Lanka Region



A section of the audience who attended URI 15th anniversary celebrations under the auspices of URI South India Region


Sisters and Brothers of URI,

Today we celebrate the birth of a movement, conceived through encounters of people of different traditions and regions discovering that truth is to be found always between us. 

Today we celebrate the many stories that make up the URI Story, the weaving of hearts and minds into a tapestry that wraps the world in warmth and possibility. 

Today, we celebrate the people, past, present and future whose lives lived in circles of cooperation have transformed communities and created those cultures of peace, justice and healing that were envisioned so long ago. 

We who have joined the movement along the way are blessed by the courage and love that so many gave so much of to make this possible. 

Happy Birth Day (and Anniversary) URI - the co-creative process continues. 

URI Executive Director Victor Kazanjian


Dear Global Staff and URI Family,

Greetings of peace and love on the 15th Anniversary of the URI Charter!

Today the URI Pakistan and Peace Center, Lahore celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the URI Charter signing, with IFTAR DINNER, with great zeal and enthusiasm and Break Fast with Muslim friends, as well as the URI coordinators. Many interfaith leaders, Ullmas and government officials participated. (Detailed report and photos later.)

We are sending our warm congratulations to Global Staff and URI family and other interfaith leaders. 26th June is a very important day in the history of URI. On 26th June, 2000, around 350 interfaith leaders from around the world gathered in Pittsburgh, USA and signed the URI charter.

It was a great honor for Pakistan that Fr. Dr. James Channan OP, Justice (R) Javaid Iqbal, Sr. Elvina Herman, Maulana Abdul Khbeer Azad and Allma Abul Fathe Chisti also signed the URI Charter in Pittsburg, USA along with others on 26th June, 2000. 

I specially extend my tribute to the Bishop William E. Swing, whose dream and vision reflect URI in the United Nations session he attended 15 years ago. His vision and dreams come true now that URI is spreading its Preamble, Purpose & Principles (PPP) in 85 countries. 

I would also extend our gratitude to our Global Staff, Global Trustees, and all Cooperation Circles around the world for their great contributions towards promoting interfaith harmony for peace.  

May God Bless You All and May Peace Prevail on Earth!

Yuel Bhatti  

From: URI Pakistan Regional Staff.

Fr. Dr. James Channan OP, Regional Coordinator, URI Pakistan, 

Mr. Yuel Bhatti, Executive Secretary, URI Pakistan,

Sr. Sabina Rifat, Coordinator, Women Wing, URI Pakistan. 

Ms. Tasneem Saeed, Youth Trainer, URI Pakistan.



My name is Ardisanne (Ardey) Turner and I want to share with you my story of the day of the URI Charter signing on June 26, 2000.


I was there with my husband as part of the production crew that put on the event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All the delegates had been asked to bring a stone from their home to be used in a ceremony where they were placed in the foundation of the United Religions Initiative. I had no knowledge of this request before I left my home in California, so I brought one of the blue Taiwanese River rocks that the production crew had purchased to be used as table decorations.

350 delegates from 48 religions had flown in from all around the world and I was blown away by all the beautiful clothes, gowns, head wrappings, jewelry, swords, and suits that they wore. I was even more humbled by the words that were spoken. A beautiful man in orange from India wanted to save millions of children in India. A beautifully-gowned and bejeweled woman wanted to save all the women of Pakistan. I remember becoming very anxious as I wondered what I would say. I knew that I did not have the contacts to do what these folks wanted to do.

When it was my turn, I held up my stone and, as I placed it in the receptacle, I said that I would be this stone. I pledged to help one person learn to make a difference and then teach that one to do the same, and then find another. My commitment to URI is to send each and every person doing this work of ending religiously-motivated violence in the entire world the healing energy of Reiki -- each and every day....

I have my purpose and my commitment. And now I ask, “What is yours?” I would love to hear your stories – your purpose, your commitments. 

Ardisanne (Ardey) Turner
Past Chair, URI North America Leadership Team
Reiki Master, Healer and Medical Intuitive, MultiRegion Communications Team


My story of URI was introduced to me by Toots Fungo, who happened to attend the Pittsburg event. Before that meeting with Toots about URI, I had no idea of its existence. In fact, to organize interfaith in Cebu Philippines, which among other provinces in the Philippines, was the cradle of Christianity in this part of the globe, and to organize that in our place in 1998 was unthinkable. With me being a member of a religious organization, the society of the sacred heart was doubly hard. No one would understand that. Personally, though, I am open to its reality, but not my people here in Cebu... So, bluntly, I said there is no way I would organize something like that. Being a friend and colleague in the promotion of active non-violence way back in the early eighties, I couldn’t shove Toots because along with him were eight people of different faith and religious affiliations. So in my mind, I thought... okay… just accept it and allow God to do the rest.

So that was the beginning of my awakening of this movement, and I saw in it the hand of God moving it to its right directions. From then on, I received communications on the process towards the signing of URI’s preamble and principles. And in 2000, I participated in its signing via the internet. And the rest was history.

I became one of the Board of Trustees for South Asia and the Pacific from 2005 to 2008. In Cebu the people, especially other religions and especially the Catholics and the government, were open to its founding. Since I was working at the university handling thousand of students, it was easy to promote the vision and mission.

In 2008, formally the interfaith movement was launched in Cebu City with the collaboration with the government even until today. The cooperation circles may seem not so active by sending reports, but on the ground, URI is very much known.

So in this its anniversary, I give praise and thanksgiving to our almighty god for inspiring different people all over the world to be open to cooperation circles for one mission: that of sharing our ONE HUMANITY, regardless of our faith traditions.

Along the way, as a Catholic I became more aware and appreciated my faith in my god, as well as also being challenged to criticize what is not human in terms of practice and traditions. I grew an appreciation of other religions and openness of heart and mind, because I had encountered and engaged with others in a more realistic and concrete presence of a god who is compassionate and loving. I did this through my encounters with people like Bishop Swing, Charles, Sally, Maria, Rita, Dough, Ray, Shakun, Maritess, Amir, and so many others that these pages can't accommodate to mention them. For all of you, I am greatly thankful to have met you in person, but deeper still had a chance to collaborate with on an international level to form the United Religions Initiative.

So, thank you for this opportunity to share and reminisce the beauty that was bestowed on us... the vision of god... that ALL MAY BE ONE ... THE ALREADY BUT NOT YET IT ... SO MY DEAR FRIENDS IN URI ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Sr Sandra G. Clemente, RSCJ, Cebu, Philippines

Kalinaw CC, Cebu City Interfaith Movement


When I joined URI, I was a small, young girl who didn’t have much experience with anything to do with interacting with people different from religious backgrounds, moreso if they were not of the same belief I was. The only diversity I knew about was ecumenical whereby Christians from three denominations came together. That was fair enough for me. Experiencing URI was a new phenomena, but exciting at the same time. It was different because it was more of a family than a mechanical organization with rules and regulations. It was a safe place for people to immerse themselves in their own spiritual, religious and indigenous traditions. It helped me to learn more about my faith because being in URI meant sharing my own with whoever was interested. There was and continues to be flexibility in the way the network operates. As new people join and others leave, URI shall continue to mutate but still remain that diverse, interconnected network where all are welcome. I am happy to have been a part of it and even if one day I leave, I shall still be sure that those who come after me shall continue to nurture the spirit of family and belonging for the diverse religious, spiritual and indigenous persons that decide to cooperate for the good of humanity.

Despina Namwembe, Regional Coordinator for URI Africa - Great Lakes


Dear URI family,

URI's global family is having a birthday -  it is 15 years since our birth as a global community!

I wanted to remember "birthing values" of URI and found a list of values/aspirations that came from the collective desires of the planning team who worked on the very first gathering in 1996.  

Collective aspirations:

  1. Create a spirit of hospitality and openness.
  2. Share from a personal level from the beginning and throughout...
  3. Honor each person for who they are and what they bring.
  4. Avoid making speeches as a conference norm.
  5. Reserve time for silence, pausing to reconnect.
  6. Incorporate sacred practices, with sensitivity and optional participation.
  7. Create process for renewal and as well as productivity.
  8. Make space for story-telling, both one to one and in the community.

I feel happy, and astounded in fact, that URI has done pretty well living into these early aspirations. Even with many mistakes, disappointments and growing pains, the global family of URI is flourishing.

Please feel free to share a story about a value or aspiration that you see being lived into in URI experience.  Like early days, we still strive to co-create and build URI together. 

Happy Birthday with love and joy,

Sally Mahé, Co-Director of Global Programs & Organizational Development


Peace Greetings!

On behalf of our PEACE CC, we extend our happy birthday wishes to URI and its family.

We children feel so blessed and fortunate to associate with wonderful stalwarts of URI.

We pray to Lord to give all of us extra physical, mental and spiritual strength to remain united in order to march ahead and fulfill the purpose for which URI was instituted.

On the auspicious occasion of fifteenth anniversary of URI, we are pleased to share a Manipuri prayer and thoughts by Dr. T.D. Singh stated during the defining moment of the century. His thoughts do express how the great founder members put hours of hard work before founding URI. It is inconceivable indeed, time has flown, but the spirit of sacred unity remains!!!

(Following adapted from the publication 'The Science of Interreligious Dialogue' by Dr. T.D. Singh in the chapter three titled 'Building Bridges from the Heart' published by Bhaktivedanta Institute (Kolkata)

The following prayer was composed in Manipuri language by Dr. T.D. Singh, one of the founder members of URI, for the opening of the Charter Signing Ceremony of the United Religions Initiative (URI).

Shonminnasi pullapna

Niminnasi pullapna

Aikhoy punna changminnasi

Bhagavangi leiphamda

 

Let us pray together, let us beg together, let all of us together enter the house of the sacred Lord.

 

Lon, kuchunachingba khennarabasu

Macha manai ngaktani

Ichin inao ngaktani

Pulli pumnamak magi premgi langlana

 

Although we speak different languages and have different colors, we are all children of the same Father and we are bound together by the common thread of the love of the sacred.

 

Jungi tang kuntaruk, ningthoukaba numitni

Thongi sahar pittsburghda

Aikhoy pullap punduna

URI Charter sahi tauredo

 

In Pittsburgh, the City of bridges, all of us together have signed the URI Charter on Monday, June 26, 2000.

 

Mirol mirol kayada

Shonnagani khudingmakna

"mamal naidraba khudolni

Mioibagi anouba ashani"

 

"This is a priceless gift and is new hope for humanity," these words will be recalled by people generations after generations.

 

Hanna hanna prarthana touminnasi

Ashoy angam leitana

Prithibigi mapham khudingda

Shantigi khungang leinaba

 

Let us all pray together again and again so that we can build villages of peace in every corner of this planet safely.

 

Om Santih! Santih! Santih!

 

OM PEACE, PEACE, PEACE

 

Dr. T.D. Singh said:

The exquisite performance by the Manipuri drummers was an added attraction and ecstatic experience for all the present at the glorious Charter signing ceremony.

On the same day, San Francisco radio station broadcasted news about the Charter signing to about one lakh listeners. "If the religions of the world ever stop killing each other, it will be in large measure because of what happened today in Pittsburgh".>

 

Photograph of Dr. T.D. Singh signing the charter 

We are also pleased to share with you that our case study on the ' journey of a peace ambassador' has been selected for presentation next month for a case study research conference at a leading campus in western India. During that time, as part of 15th anniversary we shall dedicate one entire slide to URI and its significant role in building future Peace Ambassadors.

Thank you.

In appreciation of work by the URI family,

Jayanti R. Chavan

 


 

Read anniversary reflections from the Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs, URI Founding Executive Director Emeritus.


I love this portion of the URI preamble. Absolutely beautiful: 

Therefore, as interdependent people rooted in our traditions, we now unite for the benefit of our Earth community.

We unite to build cultures of peace and justice.

We unite to heal and protect the Earth.

We unite to build safe places for conflict resolution, healing and reconciliation.

We unite to support freedom of religion and spiritual expression, and the rights of all individuals and peoples as set forth in international law. 

It is true -- it is, it is -- that this work is making a difference! Look at the work of people like Global Council Trustee Rebecca Tobias, who has been working for environmental justice for years now; or the Abbey of Hope Cooperation Circle who stood in support of their Muslim community members after a Muslim market was vandalizedthe Interfaith Works CC who held an interfaith prayer service to support members of their community mourning the Nepal earthquakeor this contortion of four CCs who are banding together to stand up against ISIS's killing of the Yezidi people. And I could go on and on! I welcome you to read more stories here if you want to! 

In Peace,

Sari Heidenreich, Regional Coordinator for North America 


June is our 15th anniversary month. What if we use this opportunity to reflect together? Our PPPs are at the core of what we do. What does each small part say to you?

The Preamble starts:

We, people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the world, hereby establish the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. 

This enduring text stands out to me today. I think that if we want to make a change, our actions should be long-lived. Can you please share what is outstanding for you?

If it is a we, we cannot go with out you! May peace prevail!

Happy anniversary month!

Maria Eugenia Crespo de Mafia, Director of Cooperation Circle Support, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Bless you, Maria.

We, together, by being in this wonderful organisation, have a powerful action before us as a witness to what is possible. We are making a difference. We can together, in OUR faith, make an even greater difference and I am excited about seeing it unfold, and all the wonderful actions that are taking place around the globe at this very moment --- because this organisation exists. Because the people with in it have committed to being:

WE people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the world, hereby establish the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. 

Happy anniversary. Thank you URI for being.

LOVE, Bumblebeex

Pauline Crosbie of Bumblebee Global Renewal Projects CC


Dear URI colleagues,

How well I remember our Charter-signing ceremony! It has been a remarkable fifteen years, to be sure.

As I've observed in several previous communications to smaller groups within URI, I believe URI has lived into its Preamble commitments in sequence, according to their increasing levels of complexity.

First has been to create enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, which is fundamental to the purpose of every Cooperation Circle and every part of URI.

Next came URI's efforts in peacemaking, which of course will continue for a long time to come.  

More recently URI has acted on its commitment to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth. Its work for ecological protection and well-being continue to grow, and this was, of course, the focus of this year's Circles of Light gala celebration.

Yet to be addressed in a significant way, as I see it, is the commitment to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for all living beings.

Perhaps this fifteenth anniversary month can be an opportunity to open a dialogue on how to embrace and pursue this ultimate commitment.

Happy anniversary to URI folks in every corner of the globe!

Best regards, Cynthia Sampson, Asheville, North Carolina, USA


Dear URI Family,

I always salute your commitment and deep solidarity with which we timely rise. Lilongwe Central Cooperation Circle is preparing to share its anniversary with friends at Maula Prison. It will be a day of
organisation awareness, sports and deepening the oneness with our partners, (youth networks, culture groups, etc). It will be a day I personally know will be the global anniversary of URI. Stay blessed, people of harmony.

Geoffrey Manasseh of Lilongwe Central Cooperation Circle


Thanks for the valuable information.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE URI FAMILY.

Take note of this; DAIKY INTERFAITH COOPERATION

May Peace prevail on Earth!

Jonah Lomak


Dear Maria.

Congratulations to the URI family.

Peace,

Dra. Enoé Texier, Coordinadora Regional de la Iniciativa para las Religiones Unidas, (URI) América Latina & El Caribe


Dear Maria,

I wish to say a big congratulations to the URI Family on the 15th Anniversary of the URI Charter.

May we continue to live and work on the mandate that we believe in.

Hearty Cheers.

Peace and blessings to us all.

Ogbonna, Chris A., Program Manager, Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre CC


Maria, thank you for starting this great discussion!

One of my favorite parts of this statement is: create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.

I like that it says we CREATE cultures of peace. We have an active role to play - we must do something, we must think creatively, we must change the status quo!

Sari Heidenreich, Regional Coordinator for North America 


Dear Maria,

Thank you so much for this very thought provoking conversation. For me the phrase that jumps out is "daily interfaith co-operation". It is a decision to cooperate that is in our awareness, our thoughts and our actions - every day. We look for opportunities every day to practice interfaith co-operation, even in small ways.

Blessings always,

Berry Gargan – CC Liaison, Southern Africa


Dear All,

Happy Birth Anniversary of URI to all, May the Lord our God help and bless to all those who are committed and determined to promote the spirit and values of URI continuously.

God bless everyone.

Jahangir Piara


 

Dear URI Community,

Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday, Happy 15 years URI.

According to the vision of Indigenous Peoples, at the age of 15 you enter the adult world. Those who have seen you grow in your different stages know that in your adulthood you are ready to cut off and run to fulfill your dreams and those of your ancestors. We know the task will not be easy but we also know that we have the forces of our values and wisdom of Mother Earth, of which we have learned to live in harmony and balance with all living beings of Cosmos.

Our Indigenous Circle was approved on June 26, 2000, the day of the foundation and signing of the Charter of URI in Pittsburgh, USA. This was not casual, but wisely our ancestors were putting in our hands a great task in front the world. We are honored to be part of this valuable organization of PEACE, today, our great Family-Community. To all of us who were there and were present at the birth of our great and valuable URI, we extend a big hug, peace and greetings, wishing them strength to continue pursuing our dreams. Congratulations to all the Cooperation Circles! 

Rosalía Gutiérrez

Indigenous People from Argentina, South America, CEPNA


 

How wonderful to see so many faces eager to start a long but an ending walk to create cultures of peace, justice and healing on Earth.

Surely peace is ultimate!!

Thank The Almighty I am not late to join the great family!

Elisha Buba Yero


Greeting of peace from Cambodia.

Today 6 Cooperation Circles in Cambodia met to celebrate the 15th anniversary of URI.

The team shared and updated each other on the peace movement in Cambodia and the current situation of world peace.

We are all filled with hope and joy that URI continues to offspring lots of births of Cooperation Circles. The Cambodian Team envisions URI in the west zone of SEA-Pac mushrooming with Cooperation Circle members creating enduring, daily, interfaith cooperation. 

We send our love and peace to our URI family.

Peace upon all,

Sothearat, Regional Coordinator, SEA-Pac, West Zone, Change Facilitator


Dear URI family,

I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to you all on our 15th anniversary.

I would also like to express my gratitude to each one of you for making URI so special as a network of mutual respect, love and cooperation.

In today's world we can feel and understand the importance of our work together.

Let us pray for a flourishing onward journey as partners in peace.

In prayer and gratitude,

Kiran Bali MBE JP, URI Global Council Trustee Chair


Happy birthday to all the URI family. May this event have many greater returns each time, blossoming its adept flowers.

What delights me about URI and attracted me to it: URI's Preamble, Purpose & Principles (PPP) seek to reconstruct the human being and strengthen the foundation for a new world.

The revival of human values ??will reshape institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of a changing world.

URI's ideals are not opposed to any legitimate obligation, nor can they undermine essential loyalties. Do not ignore or attempt to suppress the diversity of ethnic origins, history, language, traditions, thoughts and habits that differentiate people and beautify our unity. It condemns any attempt of unnecessary uniformity.

The URI's PPP preach a wider loyalty, a greater aspiration: the unity in diversity.

Also the autonomy of the Cooperation Circles prevents excessive centralization.

All this philosophy and actions resulting from this placement are inherently harmonious with my personal belief in the principles of the Baha'i Faith expressed in the words of Abdu'l -Bahá:

"In reality all are members of one human family, children of one Heavenly Father. Humanity may be likened unto the vary-colored flowers of one garden. There is unity in diversity. Each sets off and enhances the other's beauty."

With the warmest greetings to all the members of this family,

Mostafa Bartar, Cooperation Circle Coordenator - Campinas, Brazil


Dear Kiran and all URI family,


I congratulate you all at this very special moment. Hope to meet many of you at the October Parliament. 

Love,

Dr. Shlomo Alon, Former URI Council Vice-Chair


Happy Birthday to URI and many more yet to come!


Kali Mallik


Congratulations URI!  

How wonderful that when President Obama is speaking so eloquently about grace, your event is held at Grace Cathedral!

May we go from strength to strength.

Blessings and love,

Elana Rozenman
Executive Director
TRUST-Emun   
   


Dear Elana, and URI brothers and sisters,

Happy Anniversary!

May URI, its visions, its people, its events, its future be abundantly blessed and may it bless all it shines on as it goes from this strength to strength.

Pauline Crosbie, Bumblebee Foundation, URI


Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday, Happy 15 years URI,

According to the vision of Indigenous Peoples at age of 15 you enter the adult world. Those who have seen you grow in your different stages know that in your adult-hood you are ready to cut off and run to fulfill your dreams and that of your ancestors. We know the task will not be easy but we also know that we have the forces of our values and wisdom of Mother Earth, of which we have learned to live in harmony and balance with all living beings of Cosmo.

Our Indigenous Circle was approved on June 26, 2000, the day of the foundation and signing of the Charter of URI in Pittsburgh-USA. This was not casual, but wisely our ancestors were putting in our hands a great task in front the world. We are honored to be part of this valuable organization of PEACE, today our great Family -Community.

To all of us who were there and were present at the birth of our great and valuable URI, we extend a big hug Peace and greetings wishing them strength to continue pursuing our dreams.
Congratulations to all the CCs!

Rosalia Gutierrez, leader of Indigenous People of Argentina CC


See more photos and video from Eastern India's URI anniversary celebration!


In honor of the anniversary, URI Venezuela hosted the United States, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile for a "Religions and Peace, Dialogue as a Path" Videoconference. See more pictures and read about it here.

 


Dear friends!

Happy birthday to our URI (you are I) ! It is really a global network of people united by unconditional love and service. URI is 15 (actually a nice teenager), and this is the time to take the next step to the future and to become more and more mature and wise. There is no limit for perfection... So much work to do, so much pain to soothe. It is believed that we, as humanity, have entered the New Time-the New Epoch, which main principle is Compassion. 2 C’s (Compassion and Co-operation) should be the main leading principles of our work, I believe; the world needs it! So we shall overcome if we are One).

Ermolina Galina, Euro-Asia CC


 

 The Stanford planning session in June 1999. Photo courtesy of Barbara Hartford


Bishop Swing signs the URI Charter in 2000 in Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of The Interfaith Observer


Ravi Peruman and Enoe Texier at the moment of Charter signing. Photo courtesy of Barbara Hartford


David Cooperrider and Mohinder Singh

 

Charter Signing: Betsy Stang


Charter Signing: George Armstrong


Charter Signing: Annie Imbens-Fransen


Charter Signing: Deepak Naik


A drummer at the Charter Signing Summit

Comments:

Meaningful encounters,deep transformation, intense present and promising future. So much to thank URI for!!!

Arrow

mariacrespo - June 19, 2015 3:37 PM

Mary and I send our warm greetings to all members of URI at this special anniversary. We were privileged to be at the Service in Grace Cathedral in 1996 and at several of the meetings, which led up to the inauguration of URI, which we attended. The growth of URI has been amazing and has been a symbol of hope in a troubled world. It has also changed and enriched the lives of many individuals. Mary and I wish we could have been with you, but hope to see some of you at the Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City I also send greetings from the World Congress of Faiths May the Spirit of Peace, Unity and Compassion fill our hearts and transform the world Blessings to you all Mary and Marcus Braybrooke

Arrow

MarcusBray - July 3, 2015 4:10 AM

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