Pass the Compassion Torch at the 2015 Parliament: Face to Face and Heart to Heart

parliamentThe world’s religious and spiritual traditions, represented by nearly 10,000 people, came together under one roof during October 2015 in Salt Lake City for the Parliament of World’s Religions. Along with them came thousands of cultures, spiritual practices, and traditions, providing a tremendous opportunity for meeting each other, building relationships, and creating unity in diversity. And equally, presenting quite a challenge.

Parliament Side 1 - RevisedAs organizers of such an event, how do you create an environment that is welcoming and safe, yet easily provides meaningful ways for people of all backgrounds to meet and get to know one another? The Parliament tasked the Compassion Games with the challenge of coming up with a new “way to play” to do just that. Thus, Pass the Compassion Torch at the Parliament was born!

Every attendee at the Parliament was given a “Compassion Torch” inside their totebag as a starting point for building relationships with others. Playing was simple: a person’s mission, should they choose to accept it, was to use the Compassion Torch as a way to introduce themselves, and take a photo with each other passing the Torch.

The photos were then sent to PassTheTorch@CompassionGames.org where they were put online and displayed as a parliament-specific album of torch-passing moments. The album could be viewed at the Compassion Games booth in the exhibit hall or online. Parliament of World Religions

Participants were encouraged to visit the booth to check out this collection of photos, as well as pick up their next “Compassion Mission” to help make the Parliament a friendlier, kinder place, based on the Parliament’s four core themes: peace, justice, sustainability, and compassion.

One of the most outstanding Agents of Compassion who played their heart out in passing the torch at the parliament was SimranKaur Khalsa from Longmont, CO. Here is what she shared with us about her experience playing Pass the Torch:

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“Being familiar with the Compassion Games since 2013, I was so thrilled to see the “Pass the Torch” card in our Parliament of the World’s Religions’ packet. It was such a joy to be able to take pictures with others, holding the card between us, and to let people know about the Compassion Games as well as passing the torch. May we continue to pass the torch of compassion so that our world can be a more compassionate one.”

Pass the Torch and the four additional missions were a heartwarming success. We want to “keep the flame alive” now that the Parliament has ended. We are preparing for a number of upcoming “coopetitions”, where players and teams play together, challenging each other to ignite compassionate acts in communities around the world. Please consider participating in any or all of the following:

The Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play it Forward (12/1 – 12/11/15) –  The Giving Games are an 11 day global challenge to inspire, develop, and celebrate our shared humanity through acts of generosity and compassion.  The Giving Games are played worldwide between youth, educators, and mentors to foster safe and fulfilling places of learning, helping the next generation develop into happy, compassionate, creative, and resilient members of our world!

MLK Weekend: Living Beloved Community (1/15 – 1/18/16)  – This coopetition is focused on bringing Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community to life.  Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred.

World Interfaith Harmony Week (2/1 – 2/11/16)  – Designed to promote peace, harmony, collaboration and tolerance between all faith and spiritual traditions in the spirit of altruistic play. This will be the second year that the Compassion Games is participating in this UN-sponsored week of interfaith cooperation.

We want to thank everybody at the Parliament for embracing the Compassion Games in such a meaningful way. We are inspired by our experiences at the Parliament, eager to carry this compassion movement forward with each of you as we come together to reclaim the heart of humanity.

We also see the opportunity to play Pass the Torch at other events and activities. This is a great way to open hearts and to get to know each other and we encourage you to build authentic connections and dream up additional missions that can help make our face-to-face gatherings more fun, inspiring, creative and long-lasting!