UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Participates in the Meeting of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago
The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC) presented the Interreligious Leadership Award to three distinguished individuals - His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Rabbi Herman Schaalman, and Mrs. Ilene Shaw - in recognition of their unique contributions to interreligious relations in the Chicago Metropolitan area. This inaugural event took place on Thursday, June 19, 2014 with a reception from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the law firm of Jenner & Block, located at 353 N. Clark Street in Chicago, IL.
Upon the invitation of the CRLMC, and with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA was represented by His Grace Bishop Daniel, President of the Consistory and the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, who was accompanied by Deacon John Charest of Sts Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, IL.
Meeting with over 50 representatives of Chicago Metropolitan area religious leaders, Bishop Daniel offered words of greetings from the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox church of the USA to His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, who has generously supported North-American Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, as well as opened the doors of Holy Name cathedral to Ecumenical servicers, honoring the memory of millions of Ukrainians, who lost their lives during the Artificially Created Genocidal Famine in Ukraine of 1931-1933.
Moreover, the religious leaders of Metropolitan Chicago area spoke to Vladyka Daniel about the loss of human life in Ukraine and offered their sincerest assurance of prayers for the nation of Ukraine and the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA.
Rabbi Michael Balinsky, president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, welcomed the members of the Council to the Award ceremony and introduced the Mayor of Chicago honorable Rahm Emanuel. The mayor of Chicago expressed his gratitude to the members of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago for their ministry and dedication among the residents of Chicago Metropolitan area and asked to speak in unison with him, addressing vital social and moral issues of the society.
Following the mayor’s remarks, the official award ceremony commenced. His Grace Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago presented the award to His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, has actively served as a member of the CRLMC since 1997. During his ministry he has emphasized the positive role of religion in American life, service to the community, and promoted interreligious dialogue.
Other recipients were Rabbi Herman Schaalman (a long standing and dedicated member of the CRLMC, has devoted his life to promoting interfaith understanding and dialogue. Through his work in educational, civic and religious organizations, he has become one of the most respected rabbis to serve Chicago’s Jewish community) and Mrs. Ilene Shaw (under the auspices of the CRLMC, has made possible the production of an InterFaith Calendar featuring 17 different faith traditions describing their basic tenets, beliefs and observances. The calendar is recognized nationally as an excellent vehicle to promote interfaith understanding and respect).
The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC), a non-profit organization, is comprised of the head religious leadership of practically every religious tradition in the broader Chicago area, representing nearly six million people. Through its work, the CRLMC speaks with a unified moral voice on the issues of the day, creates a climate of better interfaith understanding and cooperation, and participates in programs which advance its work.
As the Council approaches its Thirtieth Anniversary in 2015, the religious leaders of the community explore together ways in which the different religious traditions, can be more visible and have a greater impact in a city, which provides so many exciting opportunities of encounter and at the same time presents so many challenges. In the past two years, the Council has been collaborating with faith leaders and the city of Chicago to provide tax exemption for the religious organizations that provide so many services to the needy. It has also collaborated in the efforts to reduce gun violence and to reform immigration laws, among many other activities.
The Council has been part of the life of Chicago since 1984, when twenty-one religious leaders, met in response to racial issues in the city under the initiative of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, then Catholic Archbishop of Chicago. Today thirty-six members from the full spectrum of world religions in the Chicago area participate in the Council.
Since then, CRLMC has been a forum to foster mutual understanding and cooperation between and among major world religious active in the wider Chicago area. In addition, the Council has sought to bring a religiously grounded and prophetic moral voice to the public square regarding local, national, and international issues.