IARF organises a congress of its members every four years. The venue is allotted cyclically through our four major regions (East Asia, South Asia, North America, Europe/Middle East), and the theme follows from critical issues of the day.
Our most recent, 33rd congress was held in Kochi, Kerala (India), 4 – 7 September 2010. For information about this and the previous two Congresses, see the sidebar menu.
Historical List of IARF Congresses since 1901
|1901||London ( UK)||Proceedings published as Liberal Religious Thought at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.|
|1903||Amsterdam ( Netherlands)||Congress of Religious Free-thinkers|
|1905||Geneva ( Switzerland)||Congress of Religious and Progressive Christians|
|1907||Boston ( USA)||Fourth International Congress of Religious Liberals|
|1910||Berlin ( Germany)||World Congress of Free Christianity and Religious Progress|
|1913||Paris ( France)||International Congress for Religious Progress – Progressive Christians and Free Religious Believers|
|1920||Boston ( USA)||*1 (below)|
|1922||Leiden ( Netherlands)||*2 (below)|
|1927||Prague ( Czech Republic)||Seventh Congress of Free Christians and Other Religious Liberals (for apparent conflict with 1920 and 1922 events – see footnotes below)|
|1930||Arnhem ( Netherlands)|
|1934||Copenhagen ( Denmark)||11 th International Congress of Religious Liberals|
|1937||Oxford ( UK)||Liberal Christianity: The World’s Need|
|1949||Amsterdam ( Netherlands)||The Mission and Message of Liberal Religion|
|1952||Oxford ( UK)||Authority and Freedom in the Modern World|
|1955||Belfast ( UK)||Liberal Religion in an Age of Anxiety|
|1958||University of Chicago ( USA)||Today’s Religions Can Meet the World’s Needs Today|
|1961||Davos ( Switzerland)||The Unity of Mankind in Our Divided World|
|1964||The Hague ( Netherlands)||A Religion for the World of Tomorrow|
|1966||London ( UK)||The Spiritual Challenge of Mankind Today and Our Response|
|1969||Boston ( USA)||Religious Encounter with the Changing World|
|1972||Heidelberg ( Germany)||Man, His Freedom and His Future|
|1975||Montréal ( Canada)||Our Unity in Diversity|
|1978||Oxford ( UK)||The Limits of Toleration Today|
|1981||Noordwijkerhout ( Netherlands)||The Tide of Religion|
|1984||Tokyo ( Japan)||Religious Path to Peace: Eastern Initiative & Western Response|
|1987||Stanford CA ( USA)||World Religions Face the 21st Century|
|1990||Hamburg ( Germany)||Religions Co-operating for the World|
|1993||Bangalore ( India)||Living our Faiths, Working Together for Peace and Justice|
|1996||Iksan City ( Korea Rep)||Spirituality . Responsibility . Cooperation|
|1999||Vancouver ( Canada)||Creating an Earth Community: A Religious Imperative|
|2002||Budapest ( Hungary)||Religious Freedom: Europe’s Story for Today’s World|
|2006||Kaohsiung ( Taiwan)||Dignity in Diversity|
|2010||Kochi ( India)||From Conflict to Reconciliation: The Challenge of the 21st Century|
*1 – This Congress was counted as Pilgrim (Seventh) International Congress by its Secretary-General, Rev Charles W. Wendte, and is as such listed in his autobiography The Wider Fellowship. However, the European led secretariat which continued the IARF administration after Rev Wendte’s retirement, decided not to count this first major gathering of IARF supporters after the First World War as a formal IARF congress, but saw it as a joint meeting with the Unitarian Tercentenary Celebrations in 1920, commemorating three hundred years of the landing of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ in North America (1620).
(from Josef Boehle thesis, Chapter 2 – “Charles William Wendte and the Development of the First Permanent International Inter-religious Organisation”, footnote 74).
*2 – Leiden, 29 – 30 August, 1922 (7th IARF Congress)
This congress is considered the first one after World War I. Even though there were only 62 participants, they represented 12 nations, conducted a program, and set new goals for the future (youth organization, etc.).
(from: Elke Schlinck-Lazarraga, Geschichte des Weltbundes für Religiöse Freiheit 1975)