“Humanity must progress as a whole. Unity in variety, not uniformity, is the pattern for world culture. There is no inherent conflict between science and religion, between reason and faith, or between poetry and philosophy.”
-Vedanta (Swami Vivekananda), Science and Spirituality, p. 193
On Saturday, May 31st, an ordination took place at Stephen Fiske’s garden in Venice, California. The person ordained was Nathan Michon, who has an impressive background of study in the field of religion, where he has also on occasion been a teacher. He has traveled and studied in several parts of the world, including Japan, Taiwan, and various parts of the United States. Several of his friends came to support him in his ordination, as well as four interfaith ministers ordained through the Unity-and-Diversity World Fellowship. The Fellowship is a specialized affiliate of Unity-and-Diversity World Council, Inc. Nathan is especially involved in Buddhism, but he has also studied and taught about many of the other religions.
The UDC has several specialized affiliates that are related to this process. We have a UDC School for Interfaith Ministry and a Unity-and-Diversity Ministers’ Association, as well as the Unity-and-Diversity World Fellowship. The School trains ministers through the study of all religions, science and religion, and various aspects of the practical ministry. The Ministers’ Association now meets quarterly and is updating the ministry curriculum and is setting up a website for exchange among the ministers, including the setting up of this blog. The Fellowship handles ordinations, as well as the setting up of interfaith services. The interfaith Sunday a.m. “services” now very active are called Gatherings of Creative Community. Kindly contact UDC for interest in the ministry or the activities mentioned above.
Since 1975 the Fellowship has ordained thirty-six interfaith ministers. A number of these ministers are still quite active, and the last few years have seen an increasing involvement in the related activities. Interfaith has a very important purpose in the world at large, and there are many levels of interfaith collaboration. What has been missing until fairly recently is the recognition that interfaith is also a path, a path that welcomes participation of people of all paths. It is a place of synthesis, of the dynamic integration of diversity. People of the various religions of the world are welcome, as are those who are not identified with any single religion. Agnostics and atheists who are open to the diversities of understanding are also welcome.
Unity-and-diversity ministry is futuristic. It is in the process of being established, and it has a special work to do that until recently was seldom seen. It requires an openness to the diversities of the teachings of the historic religions and to the many more recent religions and spiritual movements. It is in search for creative ways of expressing this new found freedom. It also has an urgent work to do in the world as a whole, going beyond violence as a way of solving problems to the use of nonviolence, diplomacy, and the sacred art of listening. A new day is being born on planet earth, a long awaited time when people are beginning to trust each other and to live together in peace and goodwill.
How will you participate? What is it that you have to contribute to this ongoing process? Please let us hear from you and see how we can work together for the well-being of all!
Spirit is One; paths are many!!!