NAIN Conference 2017 Report
The following are some stream of consciousness thoughts about the North American Interfaith Network conference prepared by Cristina Seaborn and Michael Painter, co-chairs of the Interfaith Committee, who represented the Fellowship at the interfaith conference at the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, California. To find out more about NAIN go to http://www.nain.org/who-we-are.html
Beautiful facility. Gracious people at registration, very helpful. The first people we met were the conference organizers, Reverends Steve and Abigail Albert, a very friendly, nice couple. There were 260 attendees and 21 religions represented (22 if atheism is included).
The bridge ceremony was beautiful, touching, a great way for people to begin to connect. It created a great sense of unity to start the conference. All attendees were given a nice gift of a stole with the symbols of 21 religions on it. Overall, it was a genuine, sincere, warm, and friendly group who all revealed that presence of God within them.
The meals were excellent. The entertainer, Karl Anthony, wrote some original songs that were all geared towards creating a sense of unity and fit the purpose of the conference extremely well, Gotta Give Some Love to This Crazy World. See the video on Cristina Seaborn’s Facebook page or go to his you tube page https://www.youtube.com/user/KarlAnthonyMusic
The people whom we talked with were from a variety of faiths, one a Japanese religion (Sekai Kyūsei Kyō), a New Church Swedenborgian, two young Roman Catholic women, a Religious Scientist, a Jewish person, a follower of Sun Myung Moon who gave a beautiful account of what drew him to the Unification Church, a gentle and unassuming Zoroastrian, and several people from Protestant Christian faiths and New Thought traditions.
We liked the idea that the conference was organized with workshops in the morning and field trips in the afternoon and evening, so we had lots of time for socializing and networking. People are so open to talk about their faith.
We are all here to find out about what fulfills another person because of the faith, religion, or tradition whose teachings they live. A common question we asked was “What propelled you to change from the religion of your childhood or seek a higher truth?” “Something propelled me from inside” was the frequent answer. Cristina feels she rarely gets to have this quality of conversation with people in her “normal life.” Cristina felt very open to speak the truth about her faith, which she calls “Jesusonian based on teachings from the Urantia Book.” Many people we spoke with had a faith journey of three religious practices in their lifetime. These are truth seekers.
Maneck Bhujwala, Zoroastrian, Federation of Zoroastrian Association of North American https://fezana.org/ shared our 90-minute workshop time, and presented first. Then Cristina and Michael presented an interactive workshop which seemed to be well received by 13 attendees. Our theme was “Synthesis before Analysis” which demonstrated the importance of focusing on what you have in common with others before discussing differences. This approach builds a sense of unity that bonds religionists while they share the differences that can be divisive without that bond.
Throughout the five days, we each had many personal interactions in which we shared why we are drawn to the Urantia Book. What struck us was the realization that what we said wasn’t as important as the way we said it. Few will remember what we said about the book, but their first impression of the book is really their impression of us individually. Through the workshops and personal interactions, we made at least 50 people aware of the teachings and had positive interactions with the NAIN leadership. Other Urantia Book readers that attended were, Gard Jameson, Professor of Philosophy at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Former Chairman at Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, and past board member of NAIN and the Leadership Council at URI North America, and Marvin Gawryn, who is now the head of the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada http://interfaithsn.org/
So, the book and teachings were well represented at the NAIN conference of 2017. Interfaith activity is a great way to make the Urantia Book more visible! Join us at the Parliament of the Worlds’ Religions in Toronto November 1st – 7th 2018.
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