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Global Reach of SOM Extends “Down Under”

SOM President Dr. Laurel Clark with the World Peace Prayer Society's Fumi Johns Stewart in Melbourne

Parliament of the World's Religions 2009
in Melbourne
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Parables of Universal Law while Down Under

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Among the 6000+ people gathering in Melbourne, Australia, were 15 educators – ages 3 to 63 – from the School of Metaphysics in the U.S.  Their presence at the 2009 Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR), December 3-9, brought an expanded view and neutral ground to participants representing 228 faiths from over 70 countries.

September 5, 2009 at the College of Metaphysics

Living Peaceably begins by
Thinking Peacefully

a pre-Parliament event on the campus of the College of Metaphysics

Video Invitation | Schedule of Events | Speakers/Presenters | Families Welcome

Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR) | History of CPWR

During the seven-day event, 650 presenters from around the world taught classes, observances, and participated in symposiums and panel discussions on matters concerning humankind from prayer and discipline to climate change and poverty.  Former U.S. President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jimmy Carter and Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson both addressed the Parliament via technology.  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet spoke on the final day.  President Obama even sent a White House team to seek insight into bettering Muslim relations in the world.

“Students from every faith study metaphysics at the SOM,” says Dr. Christine Madar who spearheaded the delegation’s efforts to travel down under.  “Our study gives them a common goal of understanding Self that enables them to better live their own beliefs while making space for those of others.”

With the Parliament theme being Make a World of Difference:  Hearing Each Other, Healing the Earth, it was natural for SOM representatives to attend since that’s exactly what the 501(c)(3) educational institute has been teaching since 1973.  “Listening is one of the ten essential life skills we teach, and all ten skills produce harmony and health in mind, body, and spirit,” said Dr. Barbara Condron.  Condron and her husband, Daniel, who are SOM graduates and long-time teachers from the College of Metaphysics, were invited to present programs during the Parliament.

Coming soon...

Audio excerpts from Dr. Daniel Condron's morning observance teaching THE STILL MIND, EMPTINESS, & DIVINE LOVE

and Dr. Barbara Condron's THE CROWN JEWELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: Three Universal Spiritual Practices

Dr. Daniel Condron gave a teaching to a standing room only crowd entitled The Still Mind, Emptiness and Divine Love. “There is no future.  There is no past.  There is only the eternal now. Therefore, peace, fulfillment and joy are discovered in the present moment.”  Condron led participants in a three-step movement of gratitude, forgiveness and Divine Love.

premiered in AUSTRALIA on Sunday, December 6, 2009

Read Dr. Sheila (Mother Teresa) Benjamin's account at

Barbara was invited to represent Christianity in a panel discussing The Search for Inner Peace:  Multifaith Views from Women Around the World.  “I was honored to be among this group of academically astute women who are a voice for the spiritual idealism embodied in the mother figures of all faiths,” Condron said.  Other religions represented included Judaism, Islam, Buddism, Sikkism, and Unitarian Universalist.
On the morning of the closing plenary, SOM representatives presented The Crown Jewels:  Three Universal Spiritual Practices.  Barbara Condron painted the picture of the spiritual unity by lecturing on how concentration, meditation, and visualization are incorporated into all the world religions.  Participants were then divided into smaller groups for interactive dialogue.  “This session was divine timing because it afforded participants the opportunity to see how the elements presented during Parliament fit together,” Madar said.  Additional teachers for this session included Daniel Condron, Dr. Sheila Benjamin, Dr. Pamela Blosser, and Dr. Laurel Clark. 

"The Parliament of the World's Religions was an inspiring and educational experience, meeting people from around the world, of all faith traditions, who are invested in sharing their practices and teachings and learning from one another,” said School of Metaphysics President Dr. Laurel Clark.  “It illustrated the truth that people do want to understand each other.” 

Fourteen-year-old Hezekiah Condron became a viable voice at Parliament when his new film, Seven Generations:  The Story of the Healing Wall, debuted as part of his mother’s presentations.  The documentary features the history and the future of the Healing Wall at the Peace Dome on the College of Metaphysics campus in Missouri.  Spreading the word about the wall was a focus for the delegation.  Since 2003, people have been invited to send a native stone that will be inlaid in the relief map of the world that has been constructed outside the Peace Dome.  To date, hundreds of stones have been received from dozens of countries around the world.  Many more have been promised as a result of attending the Parliament. 

Rounding out the delegation were Jesse Kern of Des Moines, Elena Dubinski and Erin Collins of Chicago, Jesse Reece of Louisville, and Tad Messenger, Laurie Biswell, and Rev. Paul Madar of Windyville.  The Madar’s daughters, Alexandra, 5, and Vivienna, 3, were among the youngest participants.  Many in attendance who deferred including their children found inspiration through living in a global village.  “Wherever I went with the girls, people around us lit up!” Paul said. “The last day a Sikh gentleman named Ralph Singh saw Vivi waving at him on the escalator and it transformed his purpose for being at the Parliament.”

Paul worked with his wife, Christine, to create a day to bring a taste of Parliament to the heartland. One of 80 pre-Parliament events hosted in thirty countries worldwide, the spirit of “Living Peaceably” was in keeping with the world vision of CPWR to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. The event drew hundreds of people from a nine-state region to the Ozark Mountains.  Will Bowen, author of A Complaint Free World, set the tone as keynote speaker for the event with his engaging message of practical spirituality. All the speakers and the day are highlighted here at

The CPWR, a global inter-faith event first held in Chicago in 1893, is now convened every five years.  The first Parliament was held in 1893 in Chicago.  One hundred years later, the second Parliament convened, again in Chicago, bringing together eight thousand people worldwide.  Since then a Parliament has been held approximately every five years:  Cape Town, South Africa (1999), Barcelona, Spain (2004) and Melbourne, Australia (2009).  The 2014 Parliament site has yet to be announced.

“Wherever it is, we will be there,” promises Barbara Condron.  “A strength of SOM is honoring all people as part of a greater whole and that consciousness adds to a global gathering like the Parliament.”  Clark adds, “We, all of humanity, share a common origin and are more alike than different in our hopes and dreams.”  In this way, Parliament affirms the universal truths the School of Metaphysics teaches.•

The 1500-acre campus of the College of Metaphysics served as the setting for the gathering hosted by School of Metaphysics teachers and students from a nine state area in the heartland of the U.S. The campus exists in harmony with natural law and universal order and is home to the world's Peace Dome, a universal site for peace dedicated in 2003.

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