Our Experience at the Parliament of World’s Religions 2018

Written by: Pato Banton & Antoinette Rootsdawtah

Parliament Of World Religions 2018
POWR 2018

Parliament Of World Religions (POWR) – Our first experience was at their 2015 Salt Lake City event titled Reclaiming The Heart of Our Humanity. We were invited by Ben Bowler to help with hosting the 1God.com Booth and it was an especially great experience because our main goal was to find the common ground that all religions share. The feedback was so amazing that we created a video with the responses of religionists from all over the world, including many Urantians!

Love Is The Greatest
Love Is The Greatest CD by Pato Banton

We were super excited when we got the news that our application to perform at the 2018 POWR was accepted. The title of the Parliament’s event objectives were The Promise of Inclusion & The Power of Love and because we had just released our new (Urantia Book inspired) CD entitled “Love Is the Greatest” this seemed like perfect timing!

Our joy was even more enhanced when we realized that other members of our Urantia Family would be offering presentations at the Parliament and that the Urantia Booth (which was beautiful and all embracing) would be representative of the unified efforts of all leading organizations. We were also excited to meet our family from Unity Earth, The United Religions Initiative and The Golden Rule Day, face to face, some for the first time.

Road to 2020 – Toronto Convergence

We flew out to Toronto two days early because we were invited to perform at the Unity Earth pre-Parliament event called Road to 2020 – Toronto Convergence .

Many Religious Leaders, Global Unifiers, Spiritual Teachers and Environmental Activists were in attendance in a dynamic discussion about Spiritual Unity, cohesive alliances and practical new ideas to bring our world closer to Light & Life! Organizations in attendance were  The United Religions Initiative (URI) , The Charter for Compassion and The Compassion Games, Contemplative Life, UNIFY, The United Palace, Spiritual Directors International, One Humanity Institute, Bella Gaia, and representatives from the Indigenous Tribes of Canada.

I was lost for words and moved to tears when Ben Bowler announced that  Antoinette and I were to receive the Unity Earth Champions “Keepers Of The Flame” Award. It made my mum happy too! 🙂

The atmosphere at The Parliament of World’s Religions was filled with the aroma of peace, mutual respect, religious reverence and LOVE! The Metro Toronto Conference Center was buzzing with conversations in so many different languages and like a gathering of the Galactic Federation on the Star Trek Enterprise, vibrant with the rainbow of skin tones and cultural clothing colors representative of the diversity of the world’s religions. Not even once did I feel the racial tension that I’m so used to in the outside world. And even though there were many highly respected and globally renowned religious leaders, teachers and gurus in attendance, never did I feel the intimidation of Religious Intolerance or Ecclesiastical Authority.

Actually, what I found to be very interesting and quite obvious, was that there were many more women than men in attendance. There were many presentations about the Feminine Divine and the Rise of Women in Roles of Leadership and the increasing need for sexual equality.

I learned that the large group of people, joyfully singing and dancing in three concentric circles spontaneously in different parts of the conference center, were followers of Paganism, and the solo Jewish acoustic guitarist walking around, playing and singing happily was an amazing brother I met in Isreal on one of my Outreach Missions to the Holy Land. He actually caught me and Antoinette’s attention when he started playing one of my songs called Universal Love. He would also join us during our performance for the Participate in The Golden Rule Day 2019 Presentation.

Apart from our amazing experiences with a broad range of inquisitive souls while volunteering at The Urantia Booth, we also had time to fellowship, do a photoshoot and have a prayer circle with our Fellow UB Readers. Gard Jameson also invited us to close his amazing presentation with a song and we had everyone in the room singing “We are all brothers and sisters”.

The United Religions Initiative had 150 members representing many different Cooperation Circles from around the world in attendance at the Parliament. We had just complied an International Double CD Compilation Project for them call “All In This Together” which featured the diverse talents of musicians who belonged to the various Cooperation Circles across North and South America, Africa, Europe, Australia and India.

Considering that most of the organizations we were involved with, were also working together in unique ways, it was obvious that the essence of Spiritual Unity and Teamwork was in full effect in many areas of The Parliament Of World’s Religions.

Another thing I realized during our performance, was that most of the “Visitors” to the Parliament did not actually “belong” to any specific religious organization. I asked, “how many people here are enjoying “Spiritual Freedom or Spiritual Liberty” and I was shocked to see most of the people in attendance raise their hands in the air, accompanied with huge smiles on everyone’s faces. It was like an unspoken statement that we were all riding the same “wave” that would bring us to same shore of our future spiritual destiny.

Ultimately, our experience at the Parliament was one of excitement, fun, friendship, teamwork, peace, love, unity and veganism! It leaves us hopeful for a more loving, tolerant, understanding and compassionate future.

We would like to thank Gard Jameson (Urantia Foundation), Fred Harris (Mind Body & Spirit) Ben Bowler (Unity Earth) and Andy Kushner (our amazing guitarist) for helping us to make this dream become a reality.

Eternally Grateful ~ Pato Banton & Antoinette Rootsdawtah