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  Archived Events 1999  

The First Annual Thomas Berry Seminar
“The Epic of Evolution and World Religions”
Whidbey Institute
Whidbey Island, WA
July 19–24, 1999

This conference consisted of a small invitational gathering of scholars of the world’s religious traditions as well as a number of scientists and educators. The conference began on Monday evening (July 19) and continued until Thursday evening (July 22). We envisioned this as largely an opportunity to explore how the creation stories of the world’s religions intersect with or react to the epic of evolution as it is emerging in the thought of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. Our conversation was centered on the ideas of a working paper written by Brian Swimme which was sent to all participants in early July.

The conference was held at the Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle. This is a beautiful Learning Center situated in the dramatic forested landscape of the Pacific Northwest. It is an ideal venue for such a conference and it provided a setting that was relaxing but also conducive to rigorous thinking regarding this enormously challenging topic.

The conference was sponsored by the Forum on Religion and Ecology with special support from the Center for Respect of Life and Environment. It arose from the work of the Epic of Evolution Society which was formed after the conference on the Epic of Evolution held at the Field Museum in Chicago in November 1997.

At the conclusion of the three day discussion, an open conference was held on Saturday, July 24. Brian Swimme was the lead speaker of that conference. Stuart Cowan also told the Universe Story. John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker spoke on the work of the Forum. In addition, the conference hall at the Whidbey Institute was named the Thomas Berry Hall.

First Annual Thomas Berry Seminar Participants
Brian Swimme California Institute of Integral Studies
Ursula Goodenough Washington University
Larry Edwards California Institute of Integral Studies
Stuart Cowan Whidbey Institute
Historians of Religion
Indigenous Traditions
John Grim Bucknell University
David Abram Author, The Spell of the Sensuous
Nancy Wright Director, Earth Ministry, Seattle, Washington
Karim Ahmed World Watch Institute
Brian Brown Iona College
Confucianism and Taoism
Mary Evelyn Tucker Bucknell University
Michael Kalton University of Washington, Tacoma
Eric Weiss California Institute of Integral Studies
Religion and Science Dialogue
Audrey Chapman American Association for the Advancement of Science
Feminism/Spirituality/Green Politics
Charlene Spretnak California Institute of Integral Studies
Bokara Legendre San Francisco, California
Whidbey Institute Board
Fritz Hull Editor, Earth Spirit
Vivienne Hull
Sharon Parks Co-author, Common Fire
Larry Daloz Co-author, Common Fire
Danny Martin

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