Pluralism Sunday or Pentecost Sunday?
I receive a lot of news releases from various church press agencies and entities. Most are about as exciting as reading stereo instructions, but every once in a while along comes one that makes me sit up and take notice.
May 11 is Pentecost Sunday but apparently some Christians believe that the celebration of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, often referred to as the birthday of the Holy Christian Church, would be a good day to celebrate Pluralism Sunday, a day on which all world religions are honored for the good they do their adherents. This is a tragedy of indescribable proportions.
Read the following, and weep. Then pray that God the Holy Spirit would stir the hearts of the faithful to reach out in love and compassion for all those are wandering as sheep without a shepherd, either caught up in the error of false and damning beliefs, or who have wandered away from the sheepfold of Christ. Here is the press release, and following it, is the description of the event on the web site of the Center for Progressive Christianity. The Center for Progressive Christianity has 325 web pages of congregations that have indicated they want their affiliation with the CPC to be made public knowledge.
Pluralism Sunday – May 11, 2008 – Worldwide
Christian churches around the world will celebrate Pluralism Sunday on May 11 in worship – in recognition that other religions may be as good for others as their faith is good for them. The worship services will include speakers from other faiths, and music and liturgical elements from other religions, honoring the religious diversity of the world.
Pluralism Sunday is sponsored by The Center for Progressive Christianity, www.tcpc.org. It is a network of over 5000 affiliates and nearly 400 churches nationwide which have adopted a "Welcome Statement" that affirms that other religions can be as good for their followers as Christianity is for Christians. Churches in Australia, New Zealand and Britain are also participating in Pluralism Sunday. "We do not claim that our religion is superior to all others. Instead, we celebrate that we can grow closer to God and grow deeper in compassion, and we can understand our own traditions better, through a deeper awareness of the world’s religions," says Rev. Jim Burklo, the event’s national coordinator.
Here are the plans of a few of the other churches participating in Pluralism Sunday around the U.S.: Epiphany Community Unitarian Universalist Church of Fenton, Michigan, has invited a Zen Buddhist with a Christian background to be the preacher that day "so that we can experience the similarities of our faith paths," according to Anne Lerche, the pastor Mizpah United Church of Christ in Hopkins, MN, will do a pulpit exchange with Bet Shalom Temple (Jewish) on Fri, May 9, and Sunday, May 11.
The Prince of Peace Church in Anniston, Alabama, will conduct a service that will include readings from the Muslim and Buddhist traditions, and hopes to have a guest speaker from a local mosque. Barbara Currie, pastor of the Congregational Church in Deering, NH, will preach about how Jesus is the church’s gate to God, yet there are other equally important and creditable gates to God for other people.
For more information about Pluralism Sunday, see its website: www.pluralismsunday.org, and contact: Rev. Jim Burklo, coordinator, Pluralism Sunday, for The Center for Progressive Christianity: email@example.com – 415-847-8997 or Fred C. Plumer, President: 253-303-0022
Web site text:
On Pluralism Sunday, May 27, 2007, Pentecost, progressive Christian churches around the
US will explore and experience other religious traditions.
Speakers, music, liturgies, and other elements from various religious traditions will be included in worship services. This event is sponsored by The Center for Progressive Christianity.
congregations will benefit by being included in national and regional
publicity for the event by TCPC, creating a special “evangelism”
opportunity to reach out to people who seek open-minded, open-hearted
churches. To be listed as a participating church, contact Rev. Jim Burklo, Pluralism Sunday’s coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Indicate
your church contact person, email address, phone, church web address,
and any plans you have for celebrating Pluralism Sunday in worship on
May 27. For resources and information to help your church participate, see www.tcpc.blogs.com/pluralism_sunday .
Progressive Christians thank God for the diversity of religions in the world! We don’t claim that our religion is superior to all others.
We grow closer to God, grow deeper in compassion, and understand our
own tradition better by honoring and exploring the world’s religions.
if not most people think that in order to be a Christian, it’s
necessary to believe that Christianity is the only valid way to
salvation, and that other religions are inferior at best and evil at
worst. But Pluralism Sunday spreads good news: there
is a way to be Christian without making this prideful claim, which has
been the cause of so much inter-religious division and misunderstanding. Pluralism
Sunday takes a big step beyond mere “tolerance” of other religions, and
affirms that other faiths may be as good for their adherents as our
faith is for us.
Acts chapter 2 in the Bible recounts the powerful legend of Pentecost. When Jesus’ disciples gathered in
Jerusalem, the “curse of Babel”
was reversed, and suddenly people who spoke different languages could
understand each other. This coming Pentecost, May 27, progressive
churches will celebrate the Holy Spirit of harmony and understanding
that is possible among followers of different spiritual traditions.
PLURALISM SUNDAY is:
time to bring people of other faiths to our churches to preach or help
lead worship and celebrate other religions through songs and liturgies
* time for children and adults to learn more about the rich traditions of other faiths
* time to let the wider community know that our churches embrace religious pluralism.
To learn more about PLURALISM SUNDAY nationwide, contact Rev. Jim Burklo, TCPC Pluralism Sunday coordinator, at 415-332-3790 or email@example.com, and look at www.tcpc.blogs.com/pluralism_sunday for more background.