COP17, UN’s Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa – 4th Dec.
Interfaith Prayer Meeting
The COP17 Faith Secretariat hosted an inter-faith prayer service at the Sports Centre of Steve Biko Campus, Durban University of Technology. Prayers from different faiths were welcomed at the prayer service, and the BKWSU was one of the seven different faiths that took part. Others were from Hindu, Moslem, Baha’I, Christian, Buddhist, and Jewish, traditions. The main aim of the gathering was to call for leaders representing different people in COP17 to overcome self centeredness and put morals and principles before economy. There was also a call to encourage and support one another to overcome the greatest danger that has ever faced mankind. The event started off with a candle lighting ceremony where each faith group gave a brief introduction of their faith group and lit a candle. This was followed by speeches from the interfaith leadership, readings and prayers from different faiths, music and songs.
Living in Harmony - Creating Inner Resilience in Challenging Times-BK Jayanti
Sister Jayanti gave a deep, powerful and inspirational talk at the Old Mutual Sports Hall, University of Kwazulu Natal. The event, hosted by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, pulled a crowd of around of around 4000. In the program, there were two beautiful songs from local singers Jodi and Aisha, and a poem from BK Teresa from Zimbabwe. Sister Jayanti started her talk by describing the harmonious and sustainable world that used to exist in the past and highlighted the fact that this world can come to reality again. She explained how we can develop the inner resources needed for a harmonious world with so much clarity that she held every one’s attention throughout her talk. “The loss of the awareness that we are spiritual beings has led us into accumulation of material wealth and the crisis that we are in”, she share and stated that the most important change that can ever happen is the change in human consciousness. Another aspect that she mentioned as important is the connection with the divine and the understanding we need to have of our contract with God. God gave us free will to choose the type of actions we want to do. We must make responsible choices. In conclusion Sister Lefuma posed some important questions to Sister Jayanti on the level of violence and racism affecting the South African people. In response Sister Jayanti gave an example of her own experience, how her ability to maintain the powerful state of soul consciousness affected other people’s awareness and how they viewed her. “The root cause of crime is the negative forces that lead to the loss of awareness that we are souls. So coming back to the understanding of the soul and its original qualities is the only way that we can bring about self transformation,” she remarked. Before closing the program Sister Jayanti gave a soothing and relaxing guided meditation.
On Sunday evening from 19:00 until 19:30 Golo Pilz was interviewed by national radio station, SAFM on the theme of Climate and Spirituality. Reverend Tim Grey from the Anglican Church in Johannesburg was the second panelist. The key focus of the interview was what, as a faith group you are doing to address the issue of climate change. Reverend Grey shared an awareness program which they ran in all their parishes. Golo shared the solar installations in India as well as the ongoing education programs that Brahma Kumaris offer to build inner capacity to deal with changes brought about by climate issues. The presenter also asked whether, as some Christian teachings share, that the climate crisis is the sign of the end times. Golo emphasized that the Brahma Kumaris see time as cyclic, that the period we are in is a time of intense and fast transition, and therefore people need to be empowered to deal with it. He ended the interview with some practical actions that people can integrate into their lives. To be vegetarian is one of the key ways of living a greener life-style.
For more news and resources, please visit: www.environment.brahmakumaris.org