Like many Protestant churches, The Lake Street Church of Evanston celebrates the first Sunday in October as World Communion Sunday. For more than a decade, we have celebrated this Sunday with an interfaith service comprised of eight different religious traditions. We gather with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Indigenous, Jews and Muslims to celebrate not only our religious diversity but also our deeper unity as human beings.

My dear friend, the late Brother Wayne Teasdale developed the term interspiritual.  He said that the dramatic shift in global human consciousness is preparing us to live in a universal civilization in which human beings recognize their spiritual interdependence as human beings. We can remain rooted in our own tradition, he said, without being stuck in it. Being rooted in a tradition is what keeps us our feet on the ground. But we can also branch out.

We branch out because more light is available than can be seen through the prism of our parochialisms. In this way we can cultivate a new and larger spiritual community; one that is rooted in our own tradition but not limited to it. We can move from a parochial understanding of religion to a universal understanding of interspirituality.

The Council for A Parliament of the World’s Religions based in Chicago is an organization that seeks to make real this deeper human unity while celebrating religious diversity.

Every five years the Council for a Parliament of the World’s religions convenes a global gathering to celebrate interreligious harmony.  The next assembly is scheduled to take place in Melbourne, Australia in December of 2009.

In preparation for the next Parliament, several Pre-Parliament events have been scheduled.

If you are interested in how religion can be transformed from the poison of dissonance to a harmony of dialogue and community then you may want to attend an upcoming Pre-Parliament event at the UIC forum on Sunday, December 7 from 3 to 8 pm.

It is true: “we see the world not as it is, but as we are.”