The oldest and largest interfaith organization in the world, The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, has elected two leaders from the Pagan community to serve on its executive council. The Rev. Angie Buchanan, director of Gaia’s Womb, and Rev. Andras Corban-Arthen, a director of the EarthSpirit Community.
“Two well-known leaders of the Pagan community were elected to executive positions by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR), in Chicago, Illinois this past weekend … Since its founding, CPWR has sponsored major international interfaith conferences in the USA, Africa, and Europe, and is preparing for the next conference to be held in Melbourne, Australia in 2009. On October 22, 2007, Rev. Angie Buchanan was elected for a three-year term to the Office of Secretary for the Board of Directors of the Parliament and will also serve on the Executive Committee … In addition, Rev. Andras Corban-Arthen, serving as a member of the Parliament’s Board of Trustees since 2006, was also elected to serve on the Executive Committee as a “Member at Large” at the same meeting this past weekend.”
It was at the 1993 Parliament in Chicago (the first in 100 years) that the growing Pagan community “came out” to the larger religious world for the first time*.
“The Pagan presence at the Parliament was historic. The fact that this Parliament included Pagan group sponsors, speakers, and delegates in the first place was noteworthy, since Nature religions were excluded from the first Parliament. At this Parliament, however, there was inclusion, respect, and support. In addition to Wiccans and other Pagans, there were those from a variety of traditional Nature wisdom paths, including Winnebago, Navajo, Hopi, Yoruba, Maya, Santeria, Lakota, Cheyenne, and others. Pagan and Native American participation received widespread positive media attention. Some reporters commented that just as the first Parliament served to introduce Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions to the realm of religions in the West, this Parliament served to bring Pagan and Native American spiritualities more fully into the community of the world’s religions.”
Since then modern Pagans have been an active part of Parliament-related interfaith forums and activities. Becoming a valued and respected part of its organizing council. Pagan participants are expected to be a valuable voice in the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, where issues of aboriginal reconciliation, sustainability, and global climate change, will be explored through the lens of indigenous spiritualities.
The fact that modern Pagans have risen to places of leadership in the global interfaith movement in less than fifteen years is extraordinary, and is a credit to our collective movement. One can only hope that this is a positive sign for the future, and that modern Pagan and Heathen organizations from across the world will step up to make their own voices heard in our global community in the coming years.
* The sponsoring Pagan organizations at the 1993 Parliament were Circle Sanctuary (Circle), Covenant of the Goddess (COG), EarthSpirit Community, Fellowship of Isis, and Lyceum of Venus of Healing.