Thanksgiving Day in the United States was Thursday, November 25th.

Chicago's Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council hosts an Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service held at the Rockfeller Memorial Chapel at University of Chicago. This time, they invited OMNIA to host a conversation among Interfaith Peacemaker Team leaders from diverse faiths and from around the world on the theme: Dismantling Our Supremacy Over the Earth.

The Thanksgiving call was for Interdependence, the opposite of supremacy. What must we do to recognize and promote Interdependence so it becomes a movement? This is necessary in the context of climate change, we said. From desertification in Northeastern Nigeria which causes conflict between cattle herders to migrate southwards and running into conflict with crop farmers, and the devastation caused by warming ocean waters and rising sea levels in South Asia, our partners in the Interfaith Peacemaker Teams feel its impact personally. The fact is that they bear little or no responsibility for causing this problem. It is largely created by the Global North. This is why our recognition of Interdependence is critical. The question we posed at the end is: What will we do to make interdependence a movement.

Hosted by OMNIA's president Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, it featured Ms. Soraya Deen (Coordinator for Women's Initiatives and Partnerships), Ms. Jana Aty (from Dubai, UAE), Mr. Uba Ayuba (from Gombe, Nigeria), Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe (National Coordinator for Sri Lanka), Mr. Isuru Ranaweera (from Kandy, Sri Lanka) and Rev. David Das (National Coordinator for Bangladesh).

The service included the world famous Chicago Children's Choir and other musicians and the Rockfeller Chapel's organist. It also featured several faith leaders who spoke of the power of faith to motivate us towards living lives of gratitude. Please click below for a video of the entire service. OMNIA's presentation begins at 46:30 minutes.

Shanta Premawardhana

President

Shanta Premawardhana is president of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership. Prior to OMNIA, he served as the Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches, USA. While serving as pastor of Ellis Avenue Church in Chicago, he engaged in community organizing in the Southside of Chicago. He is an emeritus trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, National Council of Churches, USA, and Common Cause Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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