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2010
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Interfaith Center at the PresidioDecember- Spiritual Envy

IN THIS ISSUE: Michael Krasny and Spiritual Envy | Spirituality and Social Justice | Year-End Giving | Theatre Anew at the Presidio Chapel | Join the Interfaith Center

 

Much spirituality today is the faith of the so-called New Age, the by-product of the dawn of Aquarius and of ongoing secularization and loss of faith in organized and institutional religious worship and belief.

So writes Michael Krasny in his recent book, Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest. Krasny is well known in the San Francisco Bay Area as the host of Forum on KQED, the Public Radio station in San Francisco. Every weekday, Krasny presents wide-ranging discussions of local, state, national and international issues, as well as in-depth interviews, all handled with grace, wit, and an encyclopedic grasp of the issues.

The Interfaith Center is delighted to present Michael Krasny in conversation with United Religions Initiative Director, Rev. Canon Charles Gibbs, at the Presidio Chapel on Monday, December 13 at 7:30 pm. Reserve your space today by contacting Sandi Pilon at (415) 561-3930 or sandi@interfaith-presidio.org. $10 is the suggested donation. Dr. Krasny will discuss his book, and a book signing will follow. See the full details here.

Spiritual Envy is a thoughtful, and thought-provoking, investigation into the role of religious faith and its power in human living. Unsatisfied by the adamant tone of too many on opposite sides of the faith question, Krasny invites believers and nonbelievers alike to explore profound questions of faith, religion, and spirituality. Plan to be with us for what promises to be a unique evening!

And just to whet your appetite, here's some more from the book:

After all the time I spent at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, a place where all forms of Eastern philosophy are taught to and practiced by some of America's privileged class, I realized that many of those who were there, walking alongside me or in the dappled gardens, or sitting with me naked in the tubs overlooking the ocean, were pilgrims in search of spiritual nourishment. I discovered evanescent moments of peace at Esalen, a place surrounded by the spectacular beauty of Big Sur and situated on the once holy land of the Esalen Indians. But I also felt afflicted there with spiritual envy, because, though I have longed for years for spiritual knowledge or a mystical, pure spiritual experience, I doubt the search and I doubt the rewards.

Agnostic doubt precludes any certainty of discovering a way to satiate spiritual hunger. One can, of course, be spiritual without being New Age. And one can embrace the underlying tenets of an organized religion without following all its customs, and can consider that to be spiritual rather than religious. But spiritual envy includes envy not only of those who have found answers or who practice a spirituality that yields sustenance but also those who believe they are on a path or engaged in a practice that will lead to answers, who have set out to discover the spiritual territory within, sure of, or at least hopeful of, finding the spiritual vein of ore to mine and the tools to mine it.

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SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE SERIES. The series continues on Tuesday, December 14, 7:00-9:00 pm at the Presidio Chapel. William Short, OFM (Franciscans) will speak on "St. Francis of Assisi and Franciscan Economics: Medieval & Modern." Brother Short is a former dean and president of the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley (part of the Graduate Theological Union), with a special love of things medieval, and is a scholar equally comfortable in the fields of spirituality, Christian history and the Franciscan tradition.

The Spirituality and Social Justice Series is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Center, the California Institute of Integral Studies Center for Contemplative Practice and the Knights of Saint Francis Porziuncola Nuova. Additional details here.

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DONATE TO THE INTERFAITH CENTER. As you consider your charitable donations as we come to this holiday/end of the year time, please consider a donation to support the work of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. In the midst of current ferment around the place of religion and religious institutions in the country, it is increasingly clear that the Interfaith Center provides a unique and important regional presence, reaching not only to the San Francisco Bay Area, but across the nation and around the world. It is an embodiment of the First Amendment to the Constitution, providing safe space to all to gather, worship, learn, and develop trusting interreligious relationships that enable individuals and communities to work together for the benefit of all.

If you enjoy the monthly news from the Bay Area Interfaith Connect, if you have taken part in one of the many events sponsored by the Center during the year, or if you are simply interested in supporting the vital work of the Interfaith Center, we invite you to make a contribution. Contributions are tax deductable. Checks may be sent to Interfaith Center at the Presidio, Post Office Box 29055, San Francisco, CA 94129, or make an online donation.

Thanks for your support!

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THEATRE ANEW AT THE PRESIDIO CHAPEL. Theatre Anew, an innovative San Francisco theater company inspired to create new productions of established plays in unique performance venues, brings its production Three Viewings to the Presidio Chapel, Fridays and Saturdays, December 31, 2010- January 29, 2011. Your experience commences as you begin the ascent up the hill to the Presidio Chapel. You become immersed in the unfolding atmosphere which reveals the setting of the play - once inside the chapel you become a witness to three different viewings each with a tale to tell. Three beautifully spun comic/dramatic monologues conveyed with intimacy, humor , and candor. Performed separately, the three stories interweave to portray the deceased and the bereaved, and the lengths to which survivors go to hold on to memories, money,life and love. The play culminates in a wonderfully surprising and satisfying ending. Tickets are $20.00 to 35.00. Please purchase tickets at www.theatreanew.com.


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

Join now! As an individual (Associate) or as a group (Affiliate). Simply click on this link: Membership, fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org.


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Interfaith Center at the PresidioNovember-
Music, Spirit & Earth

IN THIS ISSUE:| Note from Toronto | People of the Earth Gathering | Golden States of Grace | Musical Benefit | Spirituality & Social Justice | Film and Chant |Dalai Lama | Join the Interfaith Center

 

Years of reading this newsletter does nothing to quell my amazement at the multitude of interfaith activities reported here every month. So tempting, sometimes, to think of the San Francisco Bay Area as an interfaith one-of-a-kind! A week in Toronto last month completely banished my temptations toward provincialism . - Paul Chaffee, October 30, 2010

Toronto skyline

Jan and I were invited to Canada’s biggest city by interfaith activists. Their work had been featured here at NAINConnect 2008. Now they wanted us to witness the interfaith ferment on the northern shores of Lake Ontario.

Our host was Scarboro Missions, a small Catholic order with decades of global social justice engagement. A strong and abiding commitment to interfaith activities led the Order to create a new department – Scarboro Missions Interfaith (SMI).

Paul McKenna, who leads SMI, is creator of the Golden Rule poster, the simplest and most powerful interfaith tool in the world today. Having hundreds of thousands of posters distributed in 20 languages (so far) is remarkable by itself. But the poster tells only a small part of Scarboro’s interfaith activity, in Toronto, in North America and the world. Read more . . .

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AT THE PRESIDIO CHAPEL. A busy month lies ahead for the Interfaith Center, with music (and opportunities to support the work of the Center), spirituality of and for the disinherited, and sacred care for the earth and its peoples:

THIRD ANNUAL PEOPLE OF THE EARTH GATHERING. This event will take place at the Presidio Chapel on Saturday, November 20, 2010 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. This gathering is for peoples who practice Neopagan traditions, Afro-diasporic traditions, immigrant Pagan traditions, and Indigenous spiritual traditions from the Americas and around the world. Keynote speaker Alejandrino Quispe Mejia is a native Quechua living in Peru. He is Director of the Global Indigenous Initiative, an association of 14 tribes in Latin America working together to preserve native traditions. In addition to being a wonderful opportunity for building relationships between all the Earth religions, the event will include a sharing of practices used in the many traditions to bless a space. [Download a flyer.]

Past People of the Earth gatherings have included: practitioners of Indigenous African traditions, Confucians, Druids, Heathens, Hindus, practitioners of Ile Orisha, Native Americans from North / Central / South America, practitioners of Indigenous Pacific Island traditions, Shinto practitioners, Taoists, Umbanda practitioners, Witches, and more, coming together to discover the many commonalities in our practices and paths. Lunch provided, $10-20 donation requested to cover costs. Co-sponsored by the Interfaith Center of the Presidio, the Lost & Endangered Religions Project, the Spirituality & the Earth CC of the United Religions Initiative, and the Northern California Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess. For more information & to register, contact earthreligions@ancientways.com.

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Golden States of GraceGOLDEN STATES OF GRACE. Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited is a masterpiece collection of photographs of eleven religious communities, each with its own story and challenges. In the book, these unique and disparate religious groups are introduced to the reader through photography, first-person anecdotes and third-person observation as their spirituality, prayer and real lives intersect. Among the groups are communities from San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and San Quentin, as well as others in Southern and Central California. Author and Photographer Rick Nahmias will be at the Presidio Chapel on Thursday, November 4, 2010, from 7:00 - 9:00 pm to show selected images and talk about creating the project, the book and the gallery display. He will read from and sign copies of the book, which will be available for sale. 50% of all softbound and 10% of all hardbound books sold will go directly to ICP. The Interfaith Center has been closely involved in the production of the book as a fiscal sponsor, and Director Paul Chaffee has been an advisor to the project and wrote a foreword for the gallery exhibit. You can get a taste of the project at www.goldenstatesofgrace.com, and read more about Rick Nahmias and the project from the Los Angeles Times.

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WITH A SONG IN YOUR HEART. Sally Porter Munro and some of her students are returning by popular demand to the Presidio Chapel on Sunday, November 7th at 4:00 pm to offer you a program of Art Songs, opera arias, and Broadway hits, "With a Song in Your Heart." Those of you who have already had the pleasure of coming to "Munro and Friends" events will have shared in the  heartfelt joy the performers bring to their singing. We all believe there should be a song in everyone's heart and it is never too late to learn how to set it free. Music heals the soul. This concert  will be followed by a reception of food, wine and soft drinks with a raffle and silent auction. Much fun to be had by all. Warning;  you may be invited to join in a song or two !!!!! A Fundraiser for the Interfaith Center at the Presidio – $25 a ticket or $100 to be a Sponsor. For reservations, call Jan at 415-292-7059. Credit cards welcome.

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SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, a new series co-sponsored by the Interfaith Center, the California Institute of Integral Studies Center for Contemplative Practice and the Knights of Saint Francis Porziuncola Nuova will begin at the Presidio Chapel on Tuesday evening, November 9, at 7:00 pm. Dr. Darleen Pryds, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality and Medieval History at the Franciscan School of Theology, in Berkeley will speak on "Women of the Streets: Leadership & Service by Lay Women in the Early Franciscan Tradition." Additional details here.

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OTHER THE INTERFAITH CENTER EVENTS

  • FILM PREMIERE. The Interfaith Center at the Presidio, along with the United Religions Initiative and other Bay Area interfaith partners, is glad to sponsor the San Francisco premiere film screening of the groundbreaking PBS documentary: The Calling on Thursday, November 11th, 6:00 - 8:30 pm at Delancey Street Foundation, 600 Embarcadero, in San Francisco. It is modern retelling of an age-old story of spiritual awakening… To be followed by a post-screening dialogue to explore your calling! The showing is free, but you must RSVP to http://tinyurl.com/uri-thecalling. Other sponsors include: Abrahamic Alliance International, Abrahamic Family Reunion, Active Voice, The Chaplaincy Institute, Ik Onkar Peace Foundation, Holy Names University Campus Ministry, Kindling Group, San Francisco Interfaith Council, St. Mary's Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism, URI SF Peninsula CC, Young Spirit Foundation, Youth Spirit Artworks

  • INTERFAITH KIRTAN: Come sing with us! On Sunday, November 21, 2010, at 6:00 pm at Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince Street in Berkeley, join us for an evening of Kirtan – call & response / group chanting – to Jewish, Sikh, Christian, and Sufi prayers, poems, and songs of devotion to benefit the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. Chant leaders from Hargobind Sadan & 3HO/Sikh Sangat, Keneset HaLev, Aquarian Minyan, and Kehilla Community Synagogue include Sahib-Amar Kaur, Amar Singh, Prabhu Nam Kaur, Jonathan Furst, Sylvia Bloom, Eric Black, Kelly Black, Neal Cronin , Ariel Lenchner, Beth Dickinson and Yoga with Diane Byster. Suggested donation $12-$45 - no one turned away for lack of funds. To pre-register: 510-704-9687 or info@chochmat.org You may also pay at the door. Download a flyer.

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THE DALAI LAMA was in the Bay Area during October, where he spoke to a gathering of over 12,000 people at the San Jose Convention Center, and again several times at Stanford University. Video and audio recordings of his talks are available online. For the San Jose Event (Teaching on Eight Verses for Training the Mind), video and audio files can be found at the Gyuto Center website: www.gyutocenter.org/. Recorded webcasts of three presentations at Stanford are also available online: "The Centrality of Compassion in Human Life and Society," "Harry's Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life," and "The Role of Compassion in Education and Wider Societal Context." His appearance in San Jose was followed by an Interfaith gathering of over 600 people, who heard reflections on the Dalai Lama's comments from Prof. Huston Smith, Rev. Matthew Fox, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rev. Dorsey Blake, Acharya Prabodh Chaitanya, Dr. Thupten Jinpa, Noah Levine, Bishop Koshin Ogui, Rev. Murshida Ana Perez-Chisti, Ann Marie Sayers, and Samina Sundas.


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

Join now! As an individual (Associate) or as a group (Affiliate). Simply click on this link: Membership, fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org.


BAY AREA INTERFAITH CONNECT is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.

To Subscribe: If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

To Unsubscribe: If you wish to unsubscribe you can do so by writing info@interfaith-presidio.org and letting us know. Thank you.

About the Editor: D. Andrew Kille is director of Interfaith Space in San Jose, working to develop and strengthen interfaith relations throughout the Bay Area. Send your calendar items, comments and suggestions to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We try to keep the ICP Update and Calendar as current as we can, but if you want your item included in the monthly newsletter, it needs to be in our hands a week before the end of the month.

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Temple Square, Salt Lake CityOctober-
Gathering of Blessings

IN THIS ISSUE:| Gathering of Blessings | Leadership Changes | Financing Interfaith Workshop | Remembering David Ponedel | Responding in Solidarity | Next Month at the Center | Join the Interfaith Center | At the Presidio Chapel | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Subscription information

RECLAIMING THE FIRST AMENDMENT. The current political climate again threatens the most basic of American rights, freedom to practice your own religion and freedom from government supported religion. Today Muslims are suffering the kind of prejudice other traditions have also suffered in this country, in spite of the First Amendment. This year's Gathering of Blessings will focus on "Reclaiming the First Amendment" as we gather Sunday, October 3, 2010, at 4:30 pm at the Presidio Chapel. At this year's Gathering of Blessings, distinguished leaders from eight different traditions – Baha'i', Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Neopagan, and Sikh, will talk about having been persecuted and what they learned from it. Dr. Kathleen Hurty, an internationally renowned interfaith activist for a quarter century, will reflect on what we've learned and propose ways to "reclaim the First Amendment." BK Sister Elizabeth Padilla will offer a musical blessing. You are invited! A reception will follow. The event is free. An offering will be taken to cover the afternoon's expenses.

The Interfaith Center's first Gathering of Blessings took place on Sunday, October 1, 1995, a ceremony marking the transition from military to civilian care of an interfaith chapel built in 1931 by the U.S. Sixth Army. On that bright, sunshiny day 15 years ago, the Interfaith Center brought together 20 different faith traditions who offered blessings for the future of interfaith work at this Chapel. Since then the Gathering has become an annual event. We hope to see you there.

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LEADERSHIP CHANGES AT THE INTERFAITH CENTER. We noted in our July issue that Paul and Jan Chaffee had decided it was time to retire. Board Chair Rita Semel recently wrote about some of the changes on the horizon:

Dear friends and supporters of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio:

As some of you already know, the Rev. Paul Chaffee and his wife, Jan, have decided that the time is right for them to retire. This will take place in December 31, 2010.

Paul and Jan ChaffeePaul has served as the Interfaith Center's Executive Director for 15 years, since its founding. Jan has been at his side as the Chief Financial Officer. Our gratitude to them for shepherding this wonderful institution through its beginning and growing years will be expressed in a proper way with a celebration after the New Year. Watch for the announcement! I know you will want to join us to pay tribute to this creative, generous, and special pair.

Since their decision, a Transition Committee has been hard at work planning what needs to be done to keep the Center moving forward to play its important role in the interfaith community.

Susan StrouseI am pleased to announce that, after due deliberation and planning, the Board of the Interfaith Center has been able to persuade the Rev. Dr. Susan Strouse to assume the role of Interim Executive Director to serve beginning January 1, 2011. Because of Susan's background – a doctoral degree in interfaith studies from the Pacific School of Religion of the Graduate Theological Union, an internship and subsequent staff position at the Center, and experience as the Pastor of First United Lutheran Church, San Francisco, she is eminently qualified to lead the Center during this transition period.

We will continue to look to you, our friends and supporters, to be with us as we navigate these next months. There is much work to be done to heal this fractured world of ours. And the interfaith activities in which the Center has been engaged are an important part of that work.

Please continue to support the Center. There are exciting programs planned for the next several months and I know you will want to participate. Watch this space for details. I look forward to greeting you.

Sincerely, Rita R. Semel
Chair, Board of Directors The Interfaith Center at the Presidio

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FINANCING INTERFAITH. "But what about funding?" is the eternal question for non-profit groups, and interfaith organizations are not exempt from the question. On Wednesday, October 27, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio will present a special program on how to find funding for your interfaith work. The program will include a panel with Carol Hovis, Executive Director of the Marin County Interfaith Council, Michael Pappas, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and Brian Stein-Webber, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Interfaith Council. The panel will be followed by small group discussion and networking during lunch. Bring your lunch and we'll provide drinks and dessert. Please RSVP to 415-561-3930 or paul@interfaith-presidio.org

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Rt. Rev. David PonedelREMEMBERING DAVID PONEDEL. ICP lost a longtime supporter and friend with the death of The Rt. Rev. David Ponedel, Bishop of the Church of Divine Man in Berkeley on September 4, 2010. David was known worldwide as the "Sacred Water Bishop," bringing the concept of human oneness through rituals with holy waters he gathered from 150 sacred sites around the world. He was active in the interfaith movement, serving as President of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council, a Board member of NAIN, and on the Board of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. He was a delegate to all of the Parliament of the World's Religion meetings since 1993, and was a "quiet and passionate doer within the local and international Interfaith movement," according to ICP Director Rev. Paul Chaffee.

David's family and friends from the many areas of his life gathered for a memorial service at the Presidio Chapel on Sunday, September 26.

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RESPONDING IN SOLIDARITY. Disturbed by the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric, demonstrations, and even personal attacks across the U.S., a coalition of interfaith groups in the South Bay, including the Council of Churches of Santa Clara County, the Interfaith Council for Economics and Justice and others, held a press conference on September 8th and a community rally on Friday, September 10th at the James McEntee Plaza in front of the Santa Clara County Office Building. Representatives of Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant Christian, Jain, Jewish, and Muslim communities, along with Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese all spoke of the need to work together peacefully for the good of the whole community. Pictures of the event are available at the SouthBay Interfaith website.

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NEXT MONTH AT THE INTERFAITH CENTER:

  • Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited is a masterpiece collection of photographs of eleven religious communities, each with its own story and challenges. On Thursday, November 4, 2010, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, Author and Photographer Rick Nahmias will talk about his experiences and observations as people's spirituality, prayer and real lives intersect. ICP has been closely involved in the production of this book. You can get a taste of the project at www.goldenstatesofgrace.com.

  • Spirituality and Social Justice, a new series co-sponsored by the Interfaith Center, the California Institute of Integral Studies Center for Contemplative Practice and the Knights of Saint Francis Porziuncola Nuova will begin at the Presidio Chapel on Tuesday evening, November 9, at 7:00 pm. Dr. Darleen Pryds, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality and Medieval History at the Franciscan School of Theology, in Berkeley will speak on "Women of the Streets: Leadership & Service by Lay Women in the Early Franciscan Tradition." Additional details here.

  • The Third Annual People of the Earth Gathering will take place Saturday, November 20, 2010 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. This is a gathering of peoples who practice Neopagan traditions, Afro-diasporic traditions, immigrant Pagan traditions, and Indigenous spiritual traditions from the Americas and around the world. Keynote speaker Alejandrino Quispe Mejia is a native Quechua living in Peru. He is Director of the Global Indigenous Initiative, an association of 14 tribes in Latin America working together to preserve native traditions. In addition to being a wonderful opportunity for building relationships between all the Earth religions, the event will include a sharing of practices used in the many traditions to bless a space. [Download a flyer.]

    Past People of the Earth gatherings have included: practitioners of Indigenous African traditions, Confucians, Druids, Heathens, Hindus, practitioners of Ile Orisha, Native Americans from North / Central / South America, practitioners of Indigenous Pacific Island traditions, Shinto practitioners, Taoists, Umbanda practitioners, Witches, and more, coming together to discover the many commonalities in our practices and paths. Lunch provided, $10-20 donation requested to cover costs. Co-sponsored by the Interfaith Center of the Presidio, the Lost & Endangered Religions Project, the Spirituality & the Earth CC of the United Religions Initiative, and the Northern California Local Council of the Covenant of the Goddess. For more information & to register, contact earthreligions@ancientways.com

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BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

Join now! As an individual (Associate) or as a group (Affiliate). Simply click on this link: Membership, fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org.


BAY AREA INTERFAITH CONNECT is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.

To Subscribe: If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

To Unsubscribe: If you wish to unsubscribe you can do so by writing info@interfaith-presidio.org and letting us know. Thank you.

About the Editor: D. Andrew Kille is director of Interfaith Space in San Jose, working to develop and strengthen interfaith relations throughout the Bay Area. Send your calendar items, comments and suggestions to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We try to keep the ICP Update and Calendar as current as we can, but if you want your item included in the monthly newsletter, it needs to be in our hands a week before the end of the month.

 

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BAIC ARCHIVES

In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find listing of books, websites, and opportunities that have appeared in our monthly newsletters, editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

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Temple Square, Salt Lake CitySeptember-
On Religious Freedom

IN THIS ISSUE:Freedom of Religion  | Forum | Gathering of Blessings | Treasure Island Chapel | Dalai Lama in San Jose | Join the Interfaith Center |

These are trying times for those who work hard to develop relationships of understanding and trust among the diverse religious traditions of this nation. In recent weeks, we have seen the spectacle surrounding the proposed Muslim community center in New York City. Similar anti-Muslim actions that are taking place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Temecula, California; and Gainesville, Florida have made it clear that many Americans do not believe that Muslims should enjoy the same religious freedoms as others in our land.

ICP Director Paul Chaffee writes:

The rhetorical violence currently focused on Islam proves again that American Constitutional protection is inadequate by itself to save us from religious bigotry and nasty public behavior. The religious freedom provided by the First Amendment is one of our nation’s premier achievements, admired everywhere. Yet we regularly fail to live up to its vision.

In reflecting on the current turmoil, Paul and other local interfaith leaders consistently call us back to the task of building bridges, fostering mutual understanding and appreciation, and standing firmly in the religious freedom which is grounded in our constitution.

It is important to speak out against evil. . . .But how much better to spend our time living out and extolling true virtues, walking in the ways of true goodness, realizing what tools we might need to build the beloved community, that which is needed to carry us whole through whatever awaits us in the future.
[Brian Stein-Webber, Interfaith Center of Contra Costa County]

The current frenzy reaffirms for me the fundamental importance of interfaith, interreligious, multicultural work for the well-being of our nation and world.
[Carol Hovis, Marin Interfaith Council]

This could become a time for Americans of fairness and goodwill to take the time to listen and to learn from people in the interreligious community and from Muslims themselves about the importance, the variety, and the beauty of this second largest religion in the world.
[Bill Lesher, Past President, Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions]

This kind of raging as well as the furor over a Muslim cultural center-Cordova House-near the World Trade Site demonstrate how easily people can be drawn away from the real problems we face, transferring their own frustration, pain and confusion into dangerous combustible material. 
[Rev. Chuck Rawlings, Council of Churches of Santa Clara County]

This year's Gathering of Blessings on October 3 will focus on the blessings of religious freedom afforded by the Constitution. As Paul notes, "It is a precious, sacred heritage, for all of us, the necessary groundwork for a world at peace."

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INTERFAITH DIALOGUE ON FORUM. The August 29th edition of Forum on radio KQED in San Francisco featured an interview with Board Chair Rita Semel and several other local interfaith leaders: Bishop William Swing (United Religions Initiative), Heng Sure (Berkeley Buddhist Monastery), and Munir Jiwa (Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union). The interview with host Michael Krasny concerned the role of religion in modern American society and about their work building dialogue between faiths. You can hear the broadcast online at www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201008231000

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A GATHERING OF BLESSINGS, OCTOBER 3. The Annual Gathering of Blessings convenes each year on the first Sunday in October, commemorating the founding of the Interfaith Center. This year it will take place on Sunday, October 3, at 4:30 pm in the Presidio Chapel. The theme, "Reclaiming the First Amendment,."is timely in light of recent developments on the American religious landscape. We will share in blessings from different traditions, hear reflections on religious freedom and its implications for us all, and enjoy special music. Watch for more details as they become available.

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Treasure Island ChapelSAVE THE TREASURE ISLAND CHAPEL. Did you know that the Presidio Chapel has a "sister" chapel on Treasure Island, which once served the sailors stationed at the Naval base there. ICP Director Rev. Paul Chaffe and Board Chair Rita Semel write a letter to the editor that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle in response to the previous article published on August 26, "Treasuring the island's lone chapel." They said, in part:

Multireligious inclusivity makes the Treasure Island Chapel, like the Interfaith Chapel in the Presidio, a rare kind of building. The news today, near and far, is full of religious conflict, anger, and intolerance. Multi-religious sanctuaries built by the military and increasingly spun off to civilian use, offer us hope. They daily demonstrate how friendly, healthy interreligious relationships are not only possible but a tool for forging lasting peace in the world.

Treasure Island Chapel insideAn effort is underway to spare the chapel, built in 1943, from redevelopment plans which threaten its current location. There are hopes that it can be moved to a new location and continue to serve the community. You can sign the petition at http://www.treasureislandsf.org/

Thanks to Jan Chaffee for the photos of the Treasure Island Chapel outside (above) and inside (right).

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DALAI LAMA SPEAKING IN SAN JOSE. The Dalai Lama will be at the Convention Center in San Jose on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, teaching on Eight Verses on Transforming the Mind: Awakening the Heart of Compassion from 2:00 - 3:.30 pm. Following the teaching, there will be an interfaith gathering hosted by the Gyuto Vajrayana Center from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. This interfaith gathering provides an opportunity for people from a variety of faith traditions to share insights and ideas on His Holiness’ teaching with one another. Eminent teachers and scholars will offer initial reflections. A $15.00 registration fee covers the cost of snacks and beverages. The Gyuto Center will underwrite all other costs for this event.

Everyone who attends His Holiness’ teaching is invited to register and join us in Ballroom A of the San Jose Convention Center. Registration is limited to those who attend His Holiness' teaching and available on a first-come-first-served basis. Ordained Clergy from any faith tradition may receive a complimentary ticket to His Holiness’ teaching by completing the Registration Form for Interfaith Clergy on the Gyuto Center Website , but must register for the interfaith gathering.

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BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

Join now! As an individual (Associate) or as a group (Affiliate). Simply click on this link: Membership, fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org.


BAY AREA INTERFAITH CONNECT is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.

To Subscribe: If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

To Unsubscribe: If you wish to unsubscribe you can do so by writing info@interfaith-presidio.org and letting us know. Thank you.

About the Editor: D. Andrew Kille is director of Interfaith Space in San Jose, working to develop and strengthen interfaith relations throughout the Bay Area. Send your calendar items, comments and suggestions to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We try to keep the ICP Update and Calendar as current as we can, but if you want your item included in the monthly newsletter, it needs to be in our hands a week before the end of the month.

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Temple Square, Salt Lake CityAugust-
What Happened at NAIN CONNECT This Year?!

IN THIS ISSUE: NAIN CONNECT 2010 | Presenters | Historic Presentations | Young Adults | Salt Lake | Get Involved | Join the Interfaith Center

North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) is a web of grassroots interfaith relationships among 86 interfaith-engaged organizations committed to “building bridges of interfaith understanding, cooperation, and service.”

With a tiny budget, no staff, and a working board, NAIN operates as a loosely knit association of like-minded interfaith activists whose annual NAINConnects predate the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and United Religions Initiative.

Interfaith Center at the Presidio has been a NAIN Member since 1996. Seven registrants this year came from the San Francisco Bay Area. NAINConnect 2010 took place in Salt Lake City, July 25-27.

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Paul Chaffee, Interfaith Center at the Presidio director & NAIN trustee
shares his impressions of NAIN CONNECT 2010:

Presenters | Historic Presentations | Young Adults | Salt Lake | Get Involved

The morning after the final banquet this year at NAINConnect, our airport shuttle filled up with a Hindu, a Unificationist, two Christians, and two Muslims. The doors were barely shut when the driver, a Mormon, asked if we were “part of the interfaith group here.” We were, we said. He thanked us for visiting Salt Lake City and spoke at length of his admiration for what we do. He asked how we handle prayer at an interfaith event.

Prayer and meditation punctuated each part of the conference, we explained, with representatives from different traditions presenting at different times, each speaking from her or his own tradition. That pleased him, and he asked if we could have a meditation as we drove. We handled that a bit awkwardly, but a sense of the holy, and of family, suffused our van. Our driver took backroads to give us a short city tour before reaching the airport. Thanksgivings all around as we headed to our planes.

Those 20 minutes in a shuttle perfectly exemplified what happened at this year’s NAINConnect, devoted to “Many Faiths – One Family, Building a World of Harmony.”

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Amazing cadre of presenters & goodies

NAIN’s Salt Lake planning team got it right on critical elements of interfaith conference creation – a broad diversity of speakers and registrants, plenty of interaction and schmoozing, and 50+ presenters (most with brief, pungent presentations).

Speakers were engaged experts from a host of academic, civic, corporate, nonprofit, religious, and social service arenas, all bringing serious interfaith concerns to the table. The interaction of about 100 registrants and Salt Lake religious leaders, for a few days, caught the vast landscape of interfaith culture emerging today. Read more . . .

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Two historic presentations

North American grassroots interfaith culture was powerfully challenged to grow in two new directions during NAINConnect 2010. Both deserve report.

The conference’s keynote featured Douglas Johnston talking about faith-based diplomacy, an interreligious peacemaking approach which has often threatened his life . . . The simplistic, often unfortunate divide between Abrahamic and Asian religions was challenged with the premier screening of Gerald Krell’s The Asian and Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America.
Read more . . .

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Interfaith young adults stir the pot

For years NAIN’s board has actively solicited young adult (18-35) participation – people who haven’t grown gray yet! They are consistently represented on the board, and six young adult scholarships are typically offered for each year’s Connect.

This year the door blew off its hinges. Thirty applications showed up, three times the usual. The board responded by reaching into reserves to double the scholarships to 12. Karen Boyette, NAIN trustee who championed their cause, told about being astonished by their qualifications. Stay with me for some details!

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Appreciating Salt Lake

A large local team made NAINConnect 2010 a success. But four planners were with us throughout, quietly making everything flow easily. Jan Saeed, long-time NAIN trustee, first raised the hosting proposal seriously with Salt Lake leaders little more than a year ago, a very short time for pulling this together. Brian Farr, an internationally engaged Rotarian specializing in conflict resolution and peace, now newly elected to NAIN’s Board; Rev. Ivan Cendese, Executive Director of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable; and the Roundtable’s Chair, attorney/musician/MC extraordinaire Alan Bachman – with Jan, they were the ‘team’ we saw, always around, helping in little or big ways. I can hear everyone who participated saying “Thank you!” Read more . . .

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If you’re interested in being involved in NAIN…

Last week I volunteered to join NAIN’s Bylaws and Board Development Committee. Under normal circumstances, such an act, I think, would render me certifiable. Mad and masochistic.

What special circumstances sent me over the edge? This volunteering responsibility requires regular communication with Grove Harris and James Wiggins. Read more . . .

If you are interested in getting more involved with NAIN, take a tour of www.NAIN.org. Individuals can join as Associate Members. The ‘voting’ membership is made of 86 interfaith-engaged groups and organizations (though we probably grew last week). Then, if you are interested in more involvement, contact NAIN’s Chair, Bettina Gray, or one of the other executive trustees with e-mail links at the site.

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BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


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Interfaith Center at the PresidioJuly- Celebrating America's "Sacred Ground"

IN THIS ISSUE:  Freedom of Religion | Chaffees Announce Retirement | NAIN Connect | Interfaith Webcasts | Congratulations to Woody Trautman | Join the Interfaith Center |

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .
First Amendment, United States Constitution

The Fourth of July is not only a time for picnics, barbecues, and fireworks. It is also a time when the people of the United States give thanks for the freedoms that we enjoy. Among those is the freedom to believe and worship freely. It is no accident that religion plays such a large role in this nation's life. According to the Pew Foundation's US Religious Landscape Survey, 82% of US adults say religion is important to them (56% say "very important"), 92% believe in God; more than a third say they attend religious services at least once a week.

At the core of the American experience is freedom of conscience– what Barbara A. McGraw has called "America's Sacred Ground." McGraw, director of the Center for Engaged Pluralism at St. Mary's College in Moraga and a familiar participant in interfaith conversations, writes in her book Rediscovering America's Sacred Ground (SUNY Press, 2003):

It is safe to say that freedom of conscience generally was considered by the founders to be the most important of the inalienable rights. In fact, freedom of conscience had been recognized as inalienable in the state constitutions and declarations of rights even before freedom of speech had been so recognized [81].

Some have argued that the Founders of this nation had only Christians in mind when securing religious liberty, but it is clear that many believed, like Richard Henry Lee, that ". . . we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion: but when we are making a constitution, it is to be hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact?" Such freedom "embraces the Mahomitan [Moslem] and the Gentoo [Hindu] as well as the Christian religion" [83].

So how ever you may celebrate this July 4th, take a moment to give thanks for the gift of religious freedom established by those whose vision was broad enough to enable us to seek our own consciences and to explore ways to work together for the good of all.

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PAUL AND JAN CHAFFEE ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT. Paul and Jan Chaffee have announced their intention to retire as of January 1, 2011. Paul has served as the Executive Director of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio since its creation, overseeing its development and programming and carving out a significant presence in interfaith relations locally, nationally, and globally. At his side, Jan Chaffee has worked at overseeing the finances, managing the facility, hosting weddings and tending to the myriad details of keeping the Center going. They now feel the time has come to step down and take a much needed rest. Paul and Jan intend to remain in the area, and will continue to work on interfaith projects. President Rita Semel has appointed a committee from the Board to guide the transition period and seek an interim director. We can never hope to replace Jan and Paul, but we know they have given the Center a strong foundation and inspiring models as we move into the next steps.

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INTERFAITH WEBCASTS: July wraps up the webcast series An Abrahamic Showcase. This month, ICP will feature From The Camera to Your Living Room with Michael Wolfe and Daniel ICP webcastTutt, on using film to educate and inspire people for interfaithunderstanding (postponed from June 24). Finally, on July 8th, you can tune in to hear Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Ph.D. and Huda Abu Arqoub describing the work of Abraham's Vision, an educational program for interreligious education. Both webcasts will be shown at 7:00 (PDT) in the Video Center. The Thursday evening webcasts will be hosted by Rita Semel, Chair of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio and an interfaith activist since the early sixties.

Word reached us last month of the death of Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, Sheikh of the Naqshabandian Religious Method (Sufi), Head of the Uzbeke Community of Jerusalem and also the Muslim coordinator of the Prayer Interfaith Encounter group, an affiliate of the United Religions Initiative. Shekh Bukhari was one of the people who was interviewed by Bettina Gray at the Parliament of the World's Religions in December; you can see that interview on the Spiritual Resources page.

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NAIN CONNECT 2010: The time is near for the annual gathering of the North American Interfaith Network, in Salt Lake City, July 25-28. The theme for this year's event is Many Faiths, One Family, Building a World of Harmony. The conference will take up Madeleine Albright’s challenge of finding ways “to harness the unifying potential of faith while containing its capacity to divide.” Challenging and inspirational speakers, stimulating panels and collegial brainstorming will renew and enhance our vision of interfaith work, enliven esprit de corps, and hone in on practical ways to build both local interfaith organizations and the North American Interfaith Network. Registration is now open for the conference; for details and a registration form, see the NAIN Connect 2010 website.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO WOODY TRAUTMAN. A group of folks in Toledo, Ohio gathered to honor Woody Trautman on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Woody and his wife Jean were founders of the Multifaith Council of Northwest Ohio, and have been active with NAIN, for which Judy is the newsletter editor. A reporter wrote: "When asked what his next step was in multifaith work, Mr. Trautman thought for a second before he answered. 'Onward,' he said. 'To get more people involved. I've got to do it in the next 10 years.'" Read more . . .

 


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Andrew Kille

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Interfaith Center at the PresidioJune- Interfaith Online

IN THIS ISSUE:  Social Media and Interfaith Communication | Remembering Jack Lundin | Interfaith Webcasts | Happy Birthday URI! | Join the Interfaith Center

Interfaith understanding is about communication, and communication is increasingly about new social media. If we want to support dialogue across religious divides on the world’s most pressing policy challenges, we need a better grasp of how technology connects people and mobilizes them for action.
—Thomas Banchoff, Director of Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

When you hear about "Social Media," your mind may jump to such things as Facebook or Twitter (or you may just scratch your head). For all the buzz it's getting in the mainstream press and online, Social Media is still hard to define. What is clear is that the internet, cell phones, and other new ways to communicate are enabling people to communicate and work together in new and surprising ways that go far beyond familiar e-mail exchanges.

In addition to the social connections possible through Facebook and the stream of consciousness of Twitter, people can now connect by sharing and viewing photos (Flickr), videos (YouTube), or joining in any number of blogs, online forums and discussions. The Pew Research Center reports that 73% of wired teens now use social networking sites (as do 47% of online adults).

Communication and collaboration. Sounds like the fundamental movements of interfaith dialogue and cooperation! So it's no surprise that a recent study from the Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs set about to explore the impact and potentials of social media on interfaith work. The study, Bridging Babel: New Social Media and Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding, looked at the ways that new technologies are beginning to shape interreligious dialogue, cooperation, and interaction.

Their fundamental finding is not surprising:

We found that a key challenge in both offline and online interreligious and intercultural dialogue is establishing a basic level of respect, trust, and openness. Experts agreed that online tools have no inherent positive or negative power, and that dialogue depends less on the particular online medium than on the quality of the conversation and the goodwill of the participants. In many cases, online conversation has spurred people to productive offline action—and vice versa. What is clear from the success stories we documented is that there is great potential to use the Internet to foster dialogue if goals are well-defined and if the tools are chosen carefully. Flexibility and the willingness to experiment are also key. [p. 38]

While interreligious interactions can and do take place anywhere on the net, it is sometimes difficult to find that necessary "basic level of respect, trust, and openness." Here are a couple of sites that work to do just that, centering on interfaith relationships as their core reason for being:

PeaceNextPeaceNext www.peacenext.org PeaceNext was created by the Parliament of the World's Religions and introduced at the Melbourne meetings in December. Members of PeaceNext have access to forums and tools that allow them to share photos and videos, start or join discussions on topics like compassion and the stranger, or the evolution of consciousness. There is a calendar where members can post events, blogs on issues of concern, and gather groups with a common interest, location, or religious traditon.

Bridge BuildersBridge Builders "A Network of Leaders for the Interfaith Movement" bridge-builders.ning.com/ was created by the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago. The intended goal for Bridge-builders is to bring the interfaith youth movement together in a single location wherein goals, ideas, thoughts, visions, and projects could be shared with the expressed intent of creating a network of global interfaith leaders. It offers many of the same tools as PeaceNext (in fact, it's built on the same social networking software, known as NING), but is aimed at a younger constituency of student leaders (members of all ages are welcome). It also offers access to resources from the Interfaith Leader's Toolkit developed by IFYC.

InterfaithingInterfaithing http://www.interfaithing.com/ Interfaithing.com was established in March 2009 in Montreal, Canada. They are an online interfaith community with daily interfaith news, positive news, videos, an extensive interfaith resource and the largest interfaith group directory on the Internet. The site is devoted both to resources and education about the interfaith movement and interreligious organizations, and to interaction among its members through blogs, forums, groups, and calendar listings.

All three of these sites allow you to create a personal profile and to connect with "friends" to enable sharing of common interests and ongoing interactions.

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Rev. Jack LundinREMEMBERING JACK LUNDIN. The Interfaith Center at the Presidio lost a dear friend and interfaith pioneer supporter with the passing of the Rev. Jack Lundin on May 6th. Among his many contributions, he was a founding member of the United Religions Initiative and the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and served for many years on the Board of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. He turned his considerable musical talents to the creation of EURIMA- "Expressing United Religions in Music and the Arts," and guiding the creation of the Interfaith songbook One World, Many Voices that was published by ICP in 2002. Read more about Jack in this tribute by Rev. Paul Chaffee, director of ICP.

A memorial service for Jack Lundin will be held Saturday, June 5th, at 3:00 pm at the University Lutheran Chapel, 2425 College Avenue in Berkeley.

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INTERFAITH WEBCASTS: June will bring us two more webcasts in the series An Abrahamic Showcase. On June 10, Rita Semel will interview Maha ElGenaidi and her colleagues on the work that they do with the Islamic Networks Group- an international educational organization based in San Jose. The webcast – Educating One Another – will center on the work that ING does in educating students about Islam and other religious traditions. Then, on June 24, we'll feature From The Camera to Your Living Room with Michael Wolfe and Daniel Tutt, on using film to educate and inspire people for interfaith understanding. Both webcasts will be shown at 7:00 (PDT) in the Video Center. Every other ICP webcastThursday we'll continue to feature an extraordinary peace effort started in the BayArea, that has since gone on to make a global difference. Tune in and learn about new bridge-building tools from these pioneering Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peacemakers. The Thursday evening webcasts will be hosted by Rita Semel, Chair of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio and an interfaith activist since the early sixties. See the Webcast page for full details.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY URI! Join us to celebrate United Religions Initiative’s 10th birthday at the Interfaith Chapel in the Presidio Saturday, June 26, from 4:00-6:00. Bill Swing has called the Presidio Chapel “our interfaith cathedral.” During the five years of planning URI and over the past decade, the Chapel has hosted URI’s global leadership numerous times, to say nothing of San Francisco Bay Area URI Cooperation Circles. This time we hope you will come to the party!

  • Bring your stories.
  • Bring your photos (prints, flashdrives, or CDs).
  • And bring something tasty – sweet or savory – to share, if you can.

Newcomers are welcome. URI veterans will be happy to fill you in! Come one, come all to celebrate an interfaith world! If you haven’t been to the Chapel before, you’ll find a map and directions on our website.


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Bay Area Interfaith Connect is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website. If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

Andrew Kille

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Interfaith Center at the PresidioMay- What are We Doing?

IN THIS ISSUE:  Working Together on Solutions | One Voice of Faith Conference | Interfaith Webcasts| Faiths Act Hub Launch | ICP Benefit Concerts | Dreaming A Sustainable Future | Join the Interfaith Center

"The world yearns for religions to work together to find solutions to our present challenges. . . As the local and global religious and spiritual landscapes continue to be enriched by diversity, which is the reality today and the trend of our future, the interreligious movement must strengthen its voice on behalf of all humanity. In our time, this voice will be the vehicle for bringing greater wisdom and compassion into the public square."

With those words, Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian laid out the challenge to the interreligious movement in the workshop that members of the Silicon Valley Partner City group led at the Parliament of the World's Religions in December. In a recent review in the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, Scott McKnight writes:

"Brian McLaren thinks there are four crises facing the world and therefore the church today:

  • prosperity that is ecologically unsustainable;
  • equity shifts that are widening the gap between rich and poor at record levels;
  • security in a world with escalating violence; and
  • a spirituality crisis, since the world's religions are not adequately addressing the first three crises. " [Review of Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianity]

These were precisely the issues that were raised in April's One Voice of Faith Conference at St. Mary's Cathedral, sponsored by the Interfaith Millennium Development Goals Coalition, which includes the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. The speakers reminded attendees of the "bottom billion"— those in our world who go without food, shelter, clean water, or adequate health care — while others (including ourselves) enjoy more than our share.

ICP Director Paul Chaffee offers a personal account of his experience at the conference:

A circle ceremony with burning herbs opened One Voice in Faith, an interfaith conference in the basement of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco last month. Chanting and prayers honored the racial and religious diversity of nearly 300 social justice advocates from dozens of backgrounds, more than a third of them young adults.

An opening panel distilled the scriptural, theological wisdom regarding the issue at hand from Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant points of view. Their injunctions turned out to be remarkably similar. At issue? Alleviating the poverty of the billion plus people who go to bed hungry every night in the midst of the vastest accumulation of wealth in human history. Read more . . .

We have a long way to go, but possibilities for action and service that express the compassion of religious communities are emerging all around. We continue to build relationships, educate one another, and to celebrate together at the Interfaith Center and beyond.

INTERFAITH WEBCASTS: The premier webcast of An Abrahamic Showcase, an interfaith series profiling imaginative new ways people are making peace, is scheduled for Thursday evening, May 13, at 7:00 (PDT) in the Video Center. Every other Thursday, starting the ICP webcastthirteenth, we will feature an extraordinary peace effort, started in the Bay Area, which has gone on to make a global difference. Tune in and learn about new bridge-building tools from these pioneering Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peacemakers. The Thursday evening webcasts will be hosted by Rita Semel, Chair of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio and an interfaith activist since the early sixties. See the Webcast page for full details.

FAITHS ACT HUB LAUNCH CELEBRATION. Faiths Act Fellows are young leaders of different faith traditions who have been spearheading multi-faith action in the UK, USA and Canada under the auspices of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core. For the past year, two Faiths Acts Fellows have been based with ING (Islamic Networks Group) in San Jose. Tim Brauhn (Christian) and Hafsa Arain (Muslim) have been working with young people in the area, encouraging them to get involved with interfaith action for the Millennium Development Goals and the eradication of malaria. The San Francisco cluster will meet at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio on Monday, May 3, 2010, at 6:00 pm to celebrate the good work that's been done this year and to prepare volunteers for what comes next. For more information, visit http://www.faithsact.org Please RSVP with Tim at tim.brauhn@faithsactfellows.org

FEEDING HEART AND SOUL. Two opportunities come your way this month not only to enjoy the wonderful acoustics of the Main Post Chapel while feeding your soul, but also to help strenghten the hand of The Interfaith Center at the Presidio. Two exciting musical events in May showcase some of the talents and diversity of the Bay Area, and support the ongoing work of ICP.

Sunday, May 2 at 4:30 pm- Variety is the Spice of Life
Sally Porter Monroe, a mezzo-soprano with the San Francisco Opera, presents a benefit concert for the Interfaith Center and Chapel with her (singing) friends. There will be something for everyone! Bluegrass; Latin American Guitar, Banjo & Vocals; Opera & Broadway; Early Music Harpsichord and many others. The evening includes pre-concert refreshments, and a light dinner afterwards. Dessert with the Artists, Raffle & Silent Auction. Tickets are $35/ two for $60; Seniors $30/ $50. Reservations (415) 292-7059 • Credit cards accepted.

Ten reasons to attend “Variety is the Spice of Life!”

  1. Sally Porter Munro, friend of the Chapel and soloist with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, invited her professional friends from all sorts of different musical arenas. So we’ll hear…
  2. Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, and Andrew Lloyd Webber –
  3. As well as Baroque chamber music and Bluegrass, played by professionals on…
  4. Banjo, Cello, Clarinet, Fiddle, Guitar, Harpsichord, Piano, and Recorder!
  5. Along with magnificent operatic singing and “Born to Drone,” an acapella women’s group singing Bulgarian ethnic music.
  6. Clearly, an only-in-San Francisco event!
  7. We start with refreshments at 4:30 and Master Chef David Ponedel is serving a stand-up dinner afterwards.
  8. Biggest auction selection ever, along with a raffle.
  9. The evening supports the Interfaith Center and the Chapel – Thank You!
  10. Chapel galas are regularly accused of having more fun than anyone expected!

Temple Hill Choir

Sunday, May 23 at 6:00 pm– Bells & Voices Ring Out
Once again, the San Francisco Handbell Choir and the Temple Hill Choir will join forces in a performance of sacred and secular songs including “Gaelic Blessing” and “Syncopated Clock.” Refreshments to follow the performance. Suggested donation: $20 to benefit the Chapel’s restoration campaign.

Handbell Choir

DEVELOPING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE. In the spirit of last month's 40th celebration of Earth Day, a group of concerned folks are gathering in Mill Valley on May 31st to develop an interfaith group dedicated to learning about each other, sharing in earth-based ritual and working together for the good of our planet. Plans are to engage heart, head, hands, and body to work together on a vision of a just and sustainable future for the San Francisco Bay Area.

BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Bay Area Interfaith Connect is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website. If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

Andrew Kille

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Interfaith Center at the PresidioApril-
Caring for the Earth

IN THIS ISSUE: Earth Day | One Voice of Faith Conference | Interfaith Webcasts| Faiths Act Hub Launch | ICP Benefit Concert | NAIN Connect | Join the Interfaith Center

Love all Creation.
The whole and every grain of sand in it.
Love every leaf,
and every ray of light.
Love the plants.
Love the animals.
Love everything.
If you love everything
you will percieve the Divine Mystery
in all things.
Once you perceive it
you will comprehend it better every day.
And you will come, at last,
to love the whole world
with an all embracing love.
-Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov

Earth Day turns 40 on April 22nd. Since its first celebration in 1970, Earth Day has been devoted to appreciating the environment, learning about what threatens it, and taking action to restore local and global ecosystems. It is not surprising that many actions have been undertaken by religiously motivated individuals. The noted writer and Creation Spirituality teacher Matthew Fox challenges all of us to rediscover our connection to the world around us. He writes:

When I speak of "re-discovering" religion's relationship to nature and Creation, I speak consciously. It is a re-discovery because our religions once knew these facts well. Surely the indigenous faith traditions are all grounded in Creation and enveloped by its wonder and beauty and grace. . . all of our faith traditions of even more recent vintage share a belief in the sacredness of the universe and of our role in it. (One River, Many Wells, (Tarcher/Putnam, 2000), p. 28).

The Earth Day Network, which offers resources and connections to the global environmental movement, has a special page of Faith Resources, including link for Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. At the GlobalOneness Project website, you can view videos about relationship to the land, including interviews with indigenous religious leaders, eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, learn about projects to improve the environment, and much more.

ONE VOICE OF FAITH. If you are anywhere in the greater Bay Area, you won't want to miss this significant two-day conference taking place April 20-21 at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco. Join with people of diverse religious communities from across the country who share a common concern for addressing global poverty. Participants will be challenged to consider how their religious traditions of compassion and service can help fulfill the promise of the Millennium Development Goals developed by the United Nations. Speakers will include Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service, Katherine Marshall, a senior advisor for the World Bank and executive director of World Faiths Development Dialogue, along with a Religious Leaders Panel which includes Dr. Bonnie Anderson (President of the House of Deputies, Episcopal Church), Maha ElGenaidi (Director of ING), and Rev. Heng Sure (Director, Institute for World Religions). The Conference is a catalytic convening of religious and interfaith leaders and activists for networking, education and advocacy towards the fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. There will be a special program track for Youth, an opportunity for people to meet in regional groups to develop strategy and actions, and a public Interfaith Prayer Service on April 20th. More information can be found on their website: www.imdgc.org/

ICP webcastINTERFAITH WEBCASTS: Don't forget the weekly interfaith webcasts from the ICP video center, Thursday evenings at 7:00 pm, PDT. We are repeating previous webcasts from Spiritual Resources, the program featuring significant interreligious leaders interviewed by Bettina Gray, and the Interfaith Forum, a series of conversations about interfaith issues and activities hosted by several different folks from ICP. This month's webcasts offer time with Rita Semel, Rev. Marcus and Mary Braybrooke, Kenneth Butigan, Rev. Sam Muyskens, Paul Knitter, Rev. Heng Sure, and Paul Knitter. Next month we'll be webcasting An Abrahamic Showcase, exploring relationships among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in our world. For a fuller description of each series and the complete listing of scheduled webcasts, see ICP Interfaith Webcasts.

FAITHS ACT HUB LAUNCH CELEBRATION. Faiths Act Fellows are young leaders of different faith traditions who have been spearheading multi-faith action in the UK, USA and Canada under the auspices of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core. For the past year, two Faiths Acts Fellows have been based with ING (Islamic Networks Group) in San Jose. Tim Brauhn (Christian) and Hafsa Arain (Muslim) have been working with young people in the area, encouraging them to get involved with interfaith action for the Millennium Development Goals and the eradication of malaria. As their term of service comes to an end, they are working to hand off the leadership of Faiths Act - Bay Area, and are planning two Launch Celebrations. The San Francisco cluster will meet at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio on Monday, May 3, 2010, at 6:00 pm to celebrate the good work that's been done this year and to prepare volunteers for what comes next. For more information, visit http://www.faithsact.org Please RSVP with Tim at tim.brauhn@faithsactfellows.org

SAVE THE DATE! Sally Porter Monroe, mezzo-soprano with the San Francisco Opera, will present "Variety is the Spice of Life," a concert to benefit the Interfaith Center at the Presidio on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 5:00 pm.

NAIN CONNECT 2010, the annual gathering sponsored by the North American Interfaith Network, will be held in Salt Lake City, UT, July 25-28. The theme for this year's event is Many Faiths, One Family, Building a World of Harmony. The conference will take up Madeleine Albright’s challenge of finding ways “to harness the unifying potential of faith while containing its capacity to divide.” Challenging and inspirational speakers, stimulating panels and collegial brainstorming will renew and enhance our vision of interfaith work, enliven esprit de corps, and hone in on practical ways to build both local interfaith organizations and the North American Interfaith Network. Registration is now open for the conference; for details and a registration form, see the NAIN Connect 2010 website.


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Bay Area Interfaith Connect is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website. If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

Andrew Kille

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Interfaith Center at the PresidioMarch-
Inter-Active

IN THIS ISSUE: Inter-Active Interfaith |: Interfaith Webcasts | FAITHS Grants | One Voice of Faith Conference | ICP Benefit Concert | Join the Interfaith Center

I had the opportunity this last weekend to attend the monthly Interfaith Breakfast that is sponsored by the Bay Area Family Church in San Leandro, and to hear Paul Chaffee speak. (Mark Denni, a familiar figure at interfaith gatherings around the Bay and beyond, is their interfaith outreach coordinator. You've probably seen him with his guitar.)

Paul's topic for the morning was "Finding the Light - Interreligious Engagement is the Hope of the World." Much of what he described would be familiar to most people in the interfaith movement, indeed, he himself suggested he was more or less "preaching to the choir." One phrase, though, struck me in a new way. Paul described interfaith relationships as "inter-active."

Now, "interactive" is a popular buzz word in the computer world these days. It usually refers to pointing and clicking on a screen to make something happen, or inviting someone to post their response to an article or conversation online, or indicating that they "Like" something on a Facebook page.

But Paul was describing something different– the way that interfaith work brings people together not just to talk and listen and learn, but to join together in service to the world. Most religious traditions call upon their followers not only to compassion and hospitality, but also to service to the wider world. In an interview in the current issue of The Christian Century, Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, says:

"[An interfaith youth movement is] a reasonably obvious idea: religious traditions inspire service. Young people want to engage in service. The world needs service, and it certainly need cooperation among different religious traditions. So why not use service as a way to bring young people of different faith backgrounds together to serve and to share how that service changes them?"

Compassion. Hospitality. Service. These are values that our religious traditions share. They are the gifts that the interfaith movement can share with the whole world. Let's learn how to be more Inter-Active! (You can find a report of the breakfast, along with some photos at the Bay Area Family Church blog).

ICP webcastINTERFAITH WEBCASTS: Beginning Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm, the Interfaith Center will begin reshowing our interfaith webcasts each week. Dr. Sakeema Yacoobi of Afghanistan, who puts her life on the line each day for the girls and women she serves, is featured in the March 4th interview. Three different series will be featured: Spiritual Resources, Interfaith Forum, and, starting in May, An Abrahamic Showcase. Each program can be seen on our video center. For a fuller description of each series and the complete listing of scheduled webcasts, see ICP Interfaith Webcasts.

FAITHS Community Partners Mini-Grants Every year The San Francisco Foundation's FAITHS Program supports congregations and faith-based organizations’ community service, civic engagement, or cultural and artistic programs. Faith-based organizations in the five Bay Area counties they serve (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo) are invited to apply for a mini-grant of up to $5,000. This year the FAITHS Community Partners Mini-Grants will support programs or projects that increase civic or cultural participation and/or provide community services to low-income residents in the Bay Area. As part of this grants program, FAITHS will also consider mini-grant support for free, community-based artistic and cultural activities, with a priority focus on low-income communities. Please read the grant guidelines [PDF] then log in to Grantee Center to submit your online application by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 . For more information or assistance please contact FAITHS Program Coordinator Tessa Rouverol Callejo at 415.733.8541 or trc@sff.org.

ONE VOICE OF FAITH. The Interfaith Millennium Development Goals Coalition, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been working for several years to encourage religious communities to join in advocacy in support of public policy that benefits the poor. This year, together with the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and many others, they are sponsoring One Voice of Faith: A National Interfaith Conference on Global Poverty, to be held April 20-21, 2010 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. The Conference is a catalytic convening of religious and interfaith leaders and activists for networking, education and advocacy towards the fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. There will be a special program track for Youth, and a public Interfaith Prayer Service on April 20th. More information can be found on their website: www.imdgc.org/

SAVE THE DATE! Sally Porter Monroe, mezzo-soprano with the San Francisco Opera, will present "Variety is the Spice of Life," a concert to benefit the Interfaith Center at the Presidio on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 5:00 pm.

E-MAIL PROBLEM. If you tried to send an event announcement to us and it bounced or you do not see your event listed below, we apologize. The service provider which handles that e-mail suffered a catastrophic event that shut down the service for nearly a week. It's operational now, so please do send the information about your events to calendar@interfaithspace.org.


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Bay Area Interfaith Connect is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website. If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

Andrew Kille

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Interfaith Center at the PresidioFebruary-
Near and Far

IN THIS ISSUE: Spiritual Resources from the Parliament | Muslim-Jewish Dialogue | Interspiritual Wisdom Conference | One Voice of Faith Conference | Religion Communication Congress | Interfaith Understanding Conference | Project in Malawi

As 2010 gets going, many opportunities for interfaith learning, dialogue, and shared work are coming our way both near and far. A few events and resources that are on the horizon:

Near . . .

PARLIAMENT VIDEOS. About 30 people gathered at the Presidio Interfaith Center yesterday, January 31st, to share experiences, photos, and stories from the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Dr. Bill Lesher, who just completed six years as Chair of the Council for the Parliament, was present, as were many ICP supporters and friends. Paul Chaffee reminded the group of the collection of videos produced by the team from ICP, which include interviews with interfaith leaders including Sr. Joan Chittister and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi. The videos are available on the “Spiritual Resources” page of the ICP website; new videos are being added as they are edited.

MUSLIM-JEWISH DIALOGUE AND EDUCATION. The Center for Islamic Studies & the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union invite you to: Madrasa-Midrasha: Islamic and Jewish Texts Study. Tuesdays, 7-9 PM, Feb. 2 - April 6, 2010, at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Room 116, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley. The course offered in association with Progressive Jewish Alliance, Islamic Networks Group, Lehrhaus Judaica ands the Zaytuna Institute. Join the group for a course on reading texts from Jewish and Islamic sources (Torah, Qur'an, and Commentaries on both) on key issues of shared interest in both traditions. The course will be taught by a team of scholars from Jewish and Muslim Bay Area academic and religious communities. Topics include: Methods of text study, Religious Law and Authority, Women and Gender Roles, Sacred Space/Place (esp. Jerusalem), Social Justice and Business Ethics. Please visit the Lehrhaus website for more information about dates and times and to sign up, or email cjs@gtu.edu. Scholarships are available for Jewish educators. Community members are welcome to audit only one of a few sessions if unable to commit to the full course. Contact Rbiale@pjalliance.org to reserve a spot at least 1 week before the session. Space is limited.

INTERSPIRITUAL WISDOM: SHARING THE MYSTIC HEART. ICP is a co-sponsor of this exciting weekend experience presented by the First United Lutheran Church of San Francisco and the Spiritual Paths Institute. Recognizing the increasing spiritual creativity emerging from meeting and dialogue among the world's major religious traditions, InterSpirituality acknowledges differences between religions and affirms the greater unity they all share. Featured leaders include Rabbi Rami Schapiro, Swami Atmarupananda, Mary O'Hara Wyman, Kabin & Camille Helminski, Ed Bastian, and Orion Pitts. Saturday and Sunday, February 27-28, meeting at the First Unitarian Universalist Chapel, 1187 Franklin Street (at Geary), San Francisco. For more information, see the First United Lutheran website.

ONE VOICE OF FAITH. The Interfaith Millennium Development Goals Coalition, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been working for several years to encourage religious communities to join in advocacy in support of public policy that benefits the poor. This year, together with the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and many others, they are sponsoring One Voice of Faith: A National Interfaith Conference on Global Poverty, to be held April 20-21, 2010 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. The Conference is a catalytic convening of religious and interfaith leaders and activists for networking, education and advocacy towards the fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. There will be a special program track for Youth, and a public Interfaith Prayer Service on April 20th. More information can be found on their website: www.imdgc.org/

Far . . .

RELIGION COMMUNICATION CONGRESS. The Religion Communication Congress is: A once-a-decade interfaith forum; a hands-on opportunity to learn new technologies and retread old technologies; a round-table for exchanging views on important communications issues; a professional pick-me-up with hundreds of practical workshops; an opportunity to experience a wide range of faith expressions; a convergence of communications professionals from all media disciplines; a global event planned by a North American committee. RCCongress 2010 will be held April 7-10, 2010, in Chicago, bringing together an estimated 1,200 communication professionals from many settings around the world. Details at www.RCCongress2010.org.

INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING CONFERENCE. Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, will present Interfaith Understanding Conference 2010, April 11-13, 2010. Discover the intellectual energy, the spiritual passion, and the relational power of cutting edge interfaith dialogue and collaboration. Keynote speakers include Dr. Leonard Swidler, (Dialogue Institute); Sr. Joan Chittister, (Benetvision); Rabbi Hirschfield, (National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership); Dr. P. Jayaraman, (Bhavan's Centre); Dr. Eboo Patel, (Interfaith Youth Core); Her Eminence Mindrolling Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche. In conversation with other attendees, you will share insights, explore best practices, and create action plans that reflect the rich texture of interfaith engagement. More information and registration at interfaith2010.naz.edu/

And help from Near to enable the Far . . .

SPIRITUALITY, TECHNOLOGY, AND COMMUNITY IN MALAWI. The Board of the ICP voted recently to serve as the fiscal agent for a new program being developed in Malawi. Njira Ya Tsogolo is a program to provide computers to young people, give an intensive introductory course, and train youth leaders to pass along what they have learned. Zachary Levine, along with local partners in Malawi, will be working hard to expand the scope of the work to include interfaith education, agricultural assistance, health education and leadership training. Read more about the program . . .


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Bay Area Interfaith Connect is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website. If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

Andrew Kille

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Recording CrewJanuary-
Bringing it all back home

IN THIS ISSUE: Parliament of the World's Religions | Bringing It Back | PeaceNext | Abrahamic Showcase | Not In Our Town

The Parliament of the World's Religions is much like the proverbial elephant encountered by the blind men- what you find depends on the angle at which you approach it. In one of my own reports from Melbourne, I likened it to an "interfaith aquarium" - a dazzling array of diverse people, each expressing their deep connections to life and the divine in their own unique way.

The Interfaith Center at the Presidio was a presence at the gathering, not only because of the members and associates who were making presentations, or the programs that were being featured, but because of the efforts of a team producing live webcasts from Melbourne.

Executive Director Paul Chaffee writes,

Being with 5,000 people who share your passion is hugely confirming. On the other hand, deciding which 30 workshops to attend (if you can handle that many in six days), from the 660 offered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions last month in Melbourne, is worse than a high-school pop quiz. Plus six plenaries, 40 off-site events… So – follow your personal compass and let the feast at hand serve you!

More than a hundred Bay Area registrants in Australia faced that assignment. Their stories tumble out afterwards. Islam and the West, climate change, the divine feminine, the indigenous role in interfaith culture, conflict resolution, and interreligious education were among the hot-button issues raised up in dozens of contexts by 1500 presenters from 80 countries.  And bumping into new friends and old in the halls between sessions can trump the workshops.

In 2004, the Interfaith Center’s Interfaith Design Competition was featured in Barcelona. Last month the Lost and Endangered Religions Project was given a featured workshop. And the Center’s new webcasting capacity was highlighted in one workshop with a live feed from the web on a screen behind the panel – an interview with young adult leaders in the hotel next door to the convention center. That took doing. . .

The Interfaith Center at the Presidio produced two dozen hours of live webcasting last month, bringing home interviews with three dozen leaders attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, December 3-9. Read more . . .

BRINGING IT BACK. The webcast that I myself hosted was on "Bringing it back home," but even as I was interviewing my guests, I realized that many people all across the Parliament weren't waiting until they got back to share experiences and learning. The ICP webcasts took their place alongside Blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube- a rich cross-section of reporting.

Now that we are back, there are many stories yet to be shared, and we invite both those who attended the Parliament and those who just want to know more to get together at the Interfaith Center Post Chapel on Sunday, January 31st, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Bring your photos and your stories, and we'll have a chance to see clips of some of the ICP webcasts.

PEACENEXT.ORG. So, do we need to wait another five years to connect with people from around the world, to share our wisdom and understanding, and to have our souls touched? In Melbourne, the Parliament of the World's Religions announced the creation of PeaceNext.org, an online social network that can bring together the global interreligious community. Take a look and join the conversation!

ABRAHAMIC SHOWCASE POSTPONED. A number of circumstances led the Interfaith Center to postpone the previously announced set of webcasts titled An Abrahamic Showcase. Details and a new schedule will follow in February.

NOT IN OUR TOWN. Informational events have been scheduled in San Francisco (January 11th) and another in Contra Costa County (TBA) to introduce the new Not In Our Town website. NIOT, a national movement that encourages and connects people who are responding to hate and working to build more inclusive communities, has completely revamped the site. Supporters, organizations with a shared mission, community groups, educators, and people with a passion for standing up for inclusion, are invited to to help make NIOT.org not just a website, but a thriving online community. (see the article by Rev. Brian Stein-Webber, director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, on the recent gang rape in Richmond.)


BECOME A STAKEHOLDER IN THE INTERFAITH CENTER
Consider becoming an Interfaith Center Associate! Being an Associate or Affiliate comes with the understanding that you have a voice in this work, that your suggestions are welcomed and your engagement encouraged.

For more information about becoming an Associate or Affiliate, please contact Paul Chaffee, Executive Director, at 415-775-XXXX or at paul@interfaith-presidio.org. A flyer with more information is available on the ICP website (pdf).


Bay Area Interfaith Connect is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website. If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

Andrew Kille

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