Theme (34th WRC)

Pathway to Peace

The 34th World Religions Conference was held on September 28, 2014 at the River Run Centre in the City of Guelph. The theme chosen was "Pathway to Peace"



The world is passing through turbulent times. Crises throughout the globe continue to manifest newer and graver dangers almost daily. The current situation of the world, with its increasing uncertainty and instability, seems to be moving us towards some sort of global conflict, which could come in the shape of an unprecedented world war. There is an overwhelming sense that things are quickly getting out of control and that people are looking for someone to step forward on the global stage to offer concrete guidance to lead humanity on a path back to security and stability; a path that speaks to their hearts and minds alike and gives them hope and confidence that there is a path that can lead to practical and sustainable peace, at every level of human existence, individual, societal and international.


 

Selection of Photos (34th WRC)

Pathway to Peace

The 34th World Religions Conference was held on September 28, 2014 at the River Run Centre in the City of Guelph. The theme chosen was "Pathway to Peace"

 Here is a selection of some great pics from the event

  

 


 

Program (34th WRC)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

River Run Centre, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

THEME: Pathway to Peace

Presided and Moderated by Abigail Bimman (CTV).

OPENING SESSION

10:00a Doors Open - Registration & Brunch

10:30a Opening Multi Media Presentation

10:40a Welcome by the Presiding Chair - Abigail Bimman

10:44a Reading from the Holy Scriptures - All Faiths

10:57a Opening Ceremony

- Introduction of Speakers and Dignitaries
- Unveiling of the World Religions Conference Plaque
- National Anthem of Canada - Trevor Dick & Gateway Public School Orchestra

11:05a Introductory Remarks

- Lal Khan Malik, National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada

11:10a Speaker's Introductory Intriguing Remarks - Representatives of All Faiths **

11:11a - Islam: Muhammad Afzal Mirza - Toronto
11:14a - Humanism: Karis Burkowski - Waterloo
11:17a - Hinduism: Swami Chaitanya Jyoti - Kitchener
11:20a - Christianity: Rev. John Lawson - Guelph
11:23a - Buddhism: Dr. Christopher Ross - Waterloo
11:26a - Judaism: Rabbi Michael Dolgin -Toronto
11:29a - Aboriginals: Rick Rogers - Toronto
11:32a - Sikhism: Jagmeet Singh - Toronto

11:35a Messages and Greetings from Guest Dignitaries

- Local, Regional, Provincial and National Leaders:
- Stephen Woodworth, MP Kitchener Canada
- Frank Valeriote, MP Guelph
- Dr. Kirsty Duncan, MP. Etobicoke North
- Bob Delaney, MPP- Mississauga-Streetsville
- Councillor Karl Wettstein - representing Mayor of Guelph
- Councillor Todd Dennis - representing Mayor of Guelph
- Councillor Berry Vrbanovic, Acting Mayor City of Kitchener
- Councillor Larry Corrigan - representing Mayor of the Township of Scugog

12:00-1:00p LUNCH (Break and Social Interactions - Lunch will be served)

THEME SESSION - "Pathway to Peace"

Seven World Faith representatives and an Atheist philosopher will present his/her view of their respective faith on the theme "Pathway to Peace" (12 minutes each). Each speech will be followed by a spiritual hymn presentation reinforcing the concept presented by the respective faiths religious group (4 minutes).

1:00p Introduction to the Theme Session - Moderator


1:02p Islamic Perspective - Muhammad Afzal Mirza - Toronto
1:14p Islamic Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Ahmadiyya Muslim Children

1:19p Humanist Perspective - Karis Burkowski - Waterloo
1:31p Secular Poem or Song -  Society of Ontario FreeThinkers

1:36p Hindu Perspective - Swami Chaitanya Jyoti - Kitchener
1:48p Hindu Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Local Hindu Community

1:53p Christian Perspective - Rev. John Lawson - Guelph
2:05p Christian Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Local Christian Community

2:10p Buddhist Perspective - Dr. Christopher Ross - Waterloo
2:22p Buddhist Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Local Buddhist Community

2:27p Coffee Break - Complimentary Refreshments and Social

2:45p Jewish Perspective - Rabbi Michael Dolgin - Toronto
2:57p Judaic Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Local Jewish Community

3:02p Aboriginal Perspective - Rick Rogers - Toronto
3:14p Aboriginal Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Aboriginal Community

3:19p Sikh Perspective - Jagmeet Singh - Toronto
3:31p Sikh Spiritual Poem or Hymn - Sikh Student's Association

INTERACTIVE & CONCLUDING SESSION

3:36p Announcing rules of the Q/A Session - Moderator


3:38p Open Question & Answer Session - (45 minutes)

- with all speakers of different faiths and philosophies

4:23p Vote of Thanks - Recognition of Speakers and Volunteers

- Fwad Malik, President WRC Organizing Committee

4:27p Closing Remarks - Moderator & Chair

4:29p Silent Multi-Faith Prayer - All Faiths

4:30p Social Interaction and Adjournment

(**The order of speakers was determined by a random draw during our last World Religions Conference held October 6, 2013 at the River Run Centre, Guelph. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoFIGQQaioA))

 

 

Speaker Profiles (34th WRC)

Following is a line up distinguished speakers and scholars chosen to represent different faiths & philosophies at the upcoming 34th World Religions Conference on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at the River Run Centre. The event will be moderated by Abigail Bimman and theme for this year's event is "Pathway to Peace"

Presided and Moderated by

Presided and Moderated by
Abigail Bimman
TV Anchor & Journalist


As a videographer with CTV Kitchener, Abigail shoots and reports a wide range of stories for viewers across Southwestern Ontario. On weekends, she produces and anchors local newscasts. Her journalism has been recognized with awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and RTDNA. Before joining CTV Kitchener, Abigail worked at Studio 12 News (Oshawa), Rogers TV, CTV Ottawa and CTV News Channel.

     

Representing Islam
Muhammad Afzal Mirza - Toronto


Prolific speaker and a learned scholar of world religions. Takes keen interest in youth welfare. Regularly hosts a live phone-in radio program explaining contemporary Islamic issues. Graduated from the Ahmadiyya Islamic University in 1976. Worked as an Islamic Missionary in various cities in Pakistan, USA and now in Canada. Former Vice President of the Institute of Islamic Studies in Toronto. Presented at numerous interfaith forums throughout Canada.

     

Representing Humanism (Atheists and Agnostics)
Karis Burkowski - Waterloo


Sacred Secular Sanctuary president, and World Pantheist Movement board member, Karis is an atheist, embracing Secular Humanism and Scientific Pantheism (reverence for the Universe and Nature). Karis has celebrated with devotees in synagogues, cathedrals, temples, mosques and gurdwaras around the world. A member of Interfaith Grand River since 2001, she understands the only acceptable spiritual path to be evidence-based, rational, empowering, and - essential in our multifaith world – tolerant.

     

Representing Hinduism
Swami Chaitanya Jyoti- Kitchener

Disciple of H.H. Brahmrishi Shri Vishvatma Bawra Ji Maharaj, Chaitanya Jyoti is graduated in M.A. and M.Ed. and has been a lecturer at the Punjab Agriculture University, India. Now vice president of International Brahmrishi Mission and head preacher at Brahmarishi Mission of Canada. Received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal Award, 14 November 1012, for outstanding and selfless dedicated service to the community and to Canada for over 30 years.

     

Representing Christianity
Rev. John Lawson - Guelph


John is a minister in the United Church of Canada currently serving in Guelph. Before theological studies in Princeton, New Jersey he studied International History at Western and London School of Economics. John is passionate about the spiritual connection with the environment, was a candidate for the Green Party in Guelph during the last federal election and is involved in multi-faith dialogue in the Guelph community.

     

Representing Buddhism
Dr. Christopher Ross - Waterloo


Psychologist, Dr. Ross provides psychotherapy spiritually-informed by world wisdom traditions. An Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier. Recent publications: "Buddhism, Healing and Pastoral Care" in Psychotherapy: Cure of the Soul, and "Typewise: Using Jung's Theory of Psychological Types in Teaching Religious Studies". Current teaching: "Therapeutic and religious responses to grief loss and death", "Spirituality in the human life cycle", "Religious experience", and "Buddhism, psychotherapy and western psychology".

     

Representing Judaism
Rabbi Michael Dolgin - Toronto


Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto and Past President of both the Toronto Board of Rabbis and the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. Ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1992 and is proud to have served Temple Sinai during the last 22 years. His congregational rabbinate has focused on the creation of new liturgy and meeting the challenges of Jewish life through study, prayer, and learning.

     

Representing Aboriginals
Rick Rogers - Toronto


A member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Bear Clan, with tribal affiliations of the Chippewa/ Pottawatomi Nations. For several years in Ontario, Rick has been involved with Aboriginal organizations as well as non-aboriginal educators and organizations including Concerns Canada, Univ of Toronto, Toronto Board of Education, Correctional Services and various social service groups. Rick's strongly feels a need to make people aware of Aboriginal lifestyles.

     

Representing Sikhism
Jagmeet Singh - Toronto


MPP Singh was re-elected in Bramalea-Gore-Malton during the 2014 provincial election. Jagmeet presented a bill in the Legislature, calling for the month of April to be recognized as Sikh Heritage Month which received royal assent. Mr. Singh was listed as one of Toronto Star’s Top 12 people, named as Ontario’s 75 most powerful people and featured as Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People as one of the 5 youngest rising stars.

 

Press Release - (34th WRC)

For Immediate Release: Press and Media

34th World Religions Conference

Theme: Pathway to Peace

Guelph, Ontario:

Scholars of 8 faiths and philosophies and over 800 delegates including members from academia, local, provincial and national governments as well as members of various faith organizations are expected to gather at the River Run Centre for Canada’s Largest Multi-Faith event – the 34th World Religions Conference (WRC), taking place on Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

Buoyed by contributions from the many faith communities that thrive in our country, WRC has enriched our society by promoting peace, understanding, and tolerance in Canada for 34 years.

With over 800 attendees last year -- including participants and representatives from academia, media, and leaders from all levels of government –WRC has become established as the largest multi-faith event of its type in Canada and an enduring tradition for this region.

Each year the conference explores a new theme. This year's theme is "Pathway to Peace"

The world is passing through turbulent times. Crises throughout the globe continue to manifest newer and graver dangers almost daily. The current situation of the world, with its increasing uncertainty and instability, seems to be moving us towards some sort of global conflict, which could come in the shape of an unprecedented world war. There is an overwhelming sense that things are quickly getting out of control and that people are looking for someone to step forward on the global stage to offer concrete guidance to lead humanity on a path back to security and stability; a path that speaks to their hearts and minds alike and gives them hope and confidence that there is a path that can lead to practical and sustainable peace, at every level of human existence, individual, societal and international.

The conference aims to explore the teachings and practices of different religious and philosophical traditions, with the hope that such mutual exploration will encourage better understanding and promote harmonious co-existence among the members of Canada's cultural mosaic.

Distinguished scholars representing Aboriginal spirituality, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Humanism will present their views on the issue. Following is the lineup of scholars from different faiths:

Representing Islam: Muhammad Afzal Mirza – from Toronto - Prolific speaker and a learned scholar of world religions. Regularly hosts a live phone-in radio program explaining contemporary Islamic issues. Former Vice President of the Institute of Islamic Studies in Toronto. 

Representing Humanism (Atheists and Agnostics): Karis Burkowski – from Waterloo - Sacred Secular Sanctuary president, and World Pantheist Movement board member, Karis is an atheist, embracing Secular Humanism and Scientific Pantheism (reverence for the Universe and Nature).

Representing Hinduism: Swami Chaitanya Jyoti  – from Kitchener - Disciple of H.H. Brahmrishi Shri Vishvatma Bawra Ji Maharaj, Chaitanya Jyoti is the Vice president of International Brahmrishi Mission and head preacher at Brahmarishi Mission of Canada.

Representing Christianity: Rev. John Lawson – from Guelph - John is a minister in the United Church of Canada currently serving in Guelph. John is passionate about the spiritual connection with the environment and is involved in multi-faith dialogue in the Guelph community.

Representing Buddhism: Dr. Christopher Ross – from Waterloo - Psychologist, Dr. Ross provides psychotherapy spiritually-informed bBy world wisdom traditions. An Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier with numerous publications on interfaith issues.

Representing Judaism: Rabbi Michael Dolgin – from Toronto - Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto and Past President of both the Toronto Board of Rabbis and the Reform Rabbis of Greater Toronto. Proud to have served Temple Sinai during the last 22 years.

Representing Aboriginal Spirituality: Rick Rogers – from Toronto - A member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Bear Clan, with tribal affiliations of the Chippewa/ Pottawatomi Nations. For several years in Ontario, Rick has been involved with Aboriginal organizations.

Representing Sikhism: Jagmeet Singh – from Toronto - MPP Singh was re-elected in Bramalea-Gore-Malton during the 2014 provincial election. Mr. Singh was listed as one of Toronto Star’s Top 12 people, named as Ontario’s 75 most powerful people and featured as Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People as one of the 5 youngest rising stars.


The Premier sponsor and organizer of the conference is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at of Canada. Partnership includes the cities of Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge as well as over 30 other faith based and community organizations from the entire region, and several media outlets of the area.

Numerous faith Groups will setup displays and participate in religious and cultural poem and hymn presentations. The event will be moderated by famous TV host Abigail Bimman of CTV.  Abigail shoots and reports a wide range of stories for viewers across Southwestern Ontario. Her journalism has been recognized with awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and RTDNA.

With free admission (including brunch, lunch and refreshments), and a chance to learn and meet others from a multitude of faith and philosophical communities, it is a small step to make this world a more peaceful world to live.

The entire conference will be streamed live at the conference website.

Please visit www.worldreligionsconference.org to register for the event and to find more information.

For more info contact

Nabeel A. Rana

Chief Planning and Coordinating Officer

World Religions Conference

www.worldreligionsconference.org