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2011
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December- Pilgrimage of Peace

IN THIS ISSUE: Assisi 2011 | Holiday Concert | Support ICP | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News

This month, we feature a report from Loel Bartlett Miller, a Board Member of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio who represents the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, about her October pilgrimage to Assisi for a day of prayer hosted by Pope Benedict XVI.

NonviolenceI have just returned from Assisi and offer my greetings to the broad community of workers in our area who, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “are always searching for God… men and women, both believers and non-believers, pilgrims traveling towards the fullness of Truth.”  My name is Loel Bartlett Miller, and I serve on the boards of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County and the Interfaith Center of the Presidio as a representative of Sufism Reoriented, a spiritual organization chartered in America by Meher Baba in 1952 for American seekers.

Earlier this year, Pope Benedict announced his intentions to travel to Assisi, the town blessed by the life and example of St. Francis, to join with representatives of many religions and non-believers on October 27 for a day of dialogue and prayer. He chose as his theme “Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace.”  I learned of the Pope’s welcoming invitation to join him from my spiritual director, Murshida Carol Weyland Conner, who invited me to consider attending to take another step in my interfaith work.

Eager to educate myself about the interfaith movement worldwide and to further prepare myself for service on interfaith boards in my community, I accepted this suggestion, welcoming the opportunity to gather with people who are deeply concerned about interfaith matters and the interfaith movement. Who would not wish to make a personal journey of the heart at a time when others would be joining in Assisi for pilgrimage?  I feel I have been blessed to participate in something significant that affects all who endeavor to work in the interfaith movement, all with a particular faith or of no faith, who are earnest seekers for peace. . .

On January 1, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI noted in his World Day of Peace Message that “the great religions can be an important factor in the promotion of unity and peace for the human family.” He referred to the historic World Day of Prayer that Pope John Paul II convoked in Assisi in 1986. He went on to say, “For this reason, I intend to travel in October as a pilgrim to the city of St. Francis. I invite my Christian brothers and sisters from different confessions, the representatives of the different religious traditions and, ideally, all men and women of good will, to commemorate the historic gesture of my predecessor and to renew in a solemn way the commitment of believers of every religion to live their religious belief as a service to the cause of peace”.  He offered this inspiring thought: “Whoever is on the path towards God cannot fail to transmit peace; and who builds up peace cannot fail to draw close to God.” He specified October 27, 2011, the silver anniversary of John Paul II’s visit in 1986, as his date of pilgrimage. . .

In the afternoon, the quiet, meditative atmosphere of the morning shifted to that of joyful celebration up on the hillside in Assisi. Pilgrims of all ages, awaiting the arrival of the Pope, were entertained by young dancers and singers drawing their lyrics from the prayers offered at the 1986 meeting. Cheering crowds tucked into every crevice of the old piazza waved flags, sang, clapped, and greeted fellow pilgrims and new acquaintances. When the Pope, the last in the procession, finally joined his guests on the large platform built in front of the church, he invited thirteen of the delegates to make a solemn renewal of their commitments to peace. 

Pope Benedict spoke last, saying: “We will continue to meet and to be united in this journey of dialogue for the good of the world”.  White doves released above the cheering crowd caught the apricot light of the setting sun as they circled above the Basilica. The Pope and his assembly then departed, descending into the lower Basilica in silence to visit the resting place of that great pilgrim of peace, St. Francis, who dedicated his life to peace and to loving and serving all creatures . . .

Read all of Loel's report and see more pictures on the ICP website.

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Musaic: Star of WonderHOLIDAY CONCERT AT THE PRESIDIO CHAPEL. Join Musaic on Saturday, December 17th at 8:00 pm as we discover the wonder of the season, enlightened through melodies and harmonies from around the world. From reverent classical anthems to joyful jazz carols, let our spirited men's voices lift you into Christmas. $15 general admission. Students with ID free.

Musaic's mission is to share beautiful men's a cappella singing with our Bay Area community. Our music is rooted in classical choral traditions, through a repertoire that includes a variety of genres and languages. The members of Musaic are passionate about men's ensemble singing, and enjoy the artistic balance and musical fellowship it brings to our lives. For more info and to order tickets, visit www.musaicsf.org.

Presidio Interfaith Chapel, 130 Fisher Loop, Presidio, San Francisco - see map.

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Support ICPSUPPORT THE INTERFAITH CENTER. Bay Area Interfaith Connect goes out to over 1,800 subscribers each month, and is just one of the ways that the Interfaith Center at the Presidio serves the interfaith community in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the country, and around the world. We invite you to contribute to keep this newsletter and the other activities of ICP available (see a list of the ICP accomplishments in the coming months). You can make a contribution online, or send your check made out to "Interfaith Center at the Presidio" to Interfaith Center at the Presidio, P.O. Box 29055, San Francisco, CA 94129.

During our year-end fundraising effort, Board Vice-President Camilla Smith has announced that she will match contributions dollar for dollar up to $15,000. Your donation will do twice as much to support ICP as it welcomes, serves, and celebrates the diverse relgious traditions of our Bay Area and beyond.

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SFIC Thanksgiving serviceNOTES & QUOTES: Several ICP Board members attended the 7th Annual SFIC Interfaith Thanksgiving Day Service, hosted by the Konko Church (Japantown, SF). The service comprised of readings, hymns/chants, prayers, blessings andreflections. An offering was received for the SFIC Interfaith Winter Shelter. Participantsincluded: Interfaith Center at the Presidio Executive Director Rev. Susan Strouse (First United Lutheran Church), Rabbi Carla Fenves (Congregation EmanuEL), SFIC Executive Vice Chair and ICP Board Chair Rita Semel, Pastor Maggie Henderson (Old First Presbyterian Church), Rev. Joanne Tolosa (Konko Church), Alice Kawahatsu (Konko Church), Rev. Masato Kawahatsu (Konko Church), SFIC Executive Director Michael Pappas, ICP Board Member Rev. Ronald Kobata (SF Buddhist Church), Rev. Mark Stanger (Grace Cathedral), Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin (SF Muslim Community Center), Rabbi David Frommer (Military Chaplain), Fr. John Coleman (St. Ignatius Church), Noah Griffin (Afro Solo), Rev. Jim Kitchens (Calvary Presbyterian Church), ICP CFO Paul Andrews and SFIC Chair Rev. James DeLange. Not appearing in the photograph were Rev. Paul Brenner (St. Mark's Lutheran Church) and student readers and ushers from Stuart Hall High School.

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SEND US YOUR NEWS! We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We'd also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you'd like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what's happening!


 

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.

 

interfaith symbols

BAIC ARCHIVES

In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

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November- Never Forget

IN THIS ISSUE: Veterans Day | From the Interim Director | In the News | Grant Opportunity | Interfaith Speakers Bureau | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | Support ICP |Subscription information

Nonviolence

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. That was when the Armistice ending World War I– the "War to End All Wars"– was signed in 1918. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as "Armistice Day," a day to remember those who had given their lives in service to the country. In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday "to be dedicated to the cause of world peace."

Sadly, that war did not end all wars, and in the 1950's Armistice Day became Veterans Day, dedicated to all those who have served. In many traditions, remembering is a sacred duty. Remembering is not only about the past; it is also acknowledging the challenges of the present and looking to the future. As the Presidio Chapel has faced the challenges of moving from military to civilian use, the Interfaith Center is aware of the challenges faced by so many of our veterans as they make that same transition.

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FROM THE INTERIM DIRECTOR REV. SUSAN STROUSE. As Veterans Day approaches, we recognize our unique place within the Presidio in San Francisco. Our home, the Presidio Chapel, was built in 1931 by the U.S. Sixth Army and has always been a sanctuary available to all religions. Since 1992 the Interfaith Center has carried on that tradition, offering sacred space to the entire Bay Area.

Rev. Susan StrouseThis year, as we continue to move through our process of evaluating our mission as a regional interfaith organization, we recognize the imperative to address the needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Plans are underway to use our website to list resources for clergy and other religious leaders and organizations. For example, my denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has a DVD, workshop materials, and other materials available on their website.

Swords to Plowshares and the Coming Home Project are two other excellent resources. In the coming days, stay tuned for more resources and more details about our work on behalf of veterans and their families.

Blessings,
Susan

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IN THE NEWS. An article by Marilyn Damon Diamond about the Presidio Chapel and the Interfaith Center is set to appear in the November issue of the Marina Times. It begins:

“There will be no peace among nations unless there is peace among religions. And there will be no peace among religions unless there is authentic dialogue among religions.”
      Hans Kung, Catholic theologian

In an age when religions the world over are literally at war with each other, there is a gem in the Presidio that houses a little-known program perpetuating the words and concepts of Hans Kung.

Located in the Presidio Chapel, the Interfaith Center has worked with multiple interfaith agencies in the Bay Area since 1996, two years after the United States Army turned the Presidio over to the National Parks Service. Its mission is to bring people of many religions together to foster understanding and peace among the peoples of the world.

The article goes on to describe the history of the Chapel and how it became a regional center for interfaith cooperation. In conversations with ICP Board Chair Rita Semel and Development Director Linda Crawford, the writer highlights the activities that take place at the Chapel, artistic features like the Arnautoff mural, the Ogterop windows, and the McDonald Windows Project, and the plans for future expansion.

The article was not yet online at publication time, but you should be able to see it soon at www.marinatimes.com/.

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GRANT OPPORTUNITY. The San Francisco Foundation announces the launch of the One Nation Bay Area Project. This collaborative project is in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP).  The One Nation Bay Area Project is part of a national effort funded by the One Nation Foundation to strengthen relationships between the American Muslim and non-Muslim communities through a combination of strategies that reduce prejudicial attitudes, increase interfaith understanding, and promote civic engagement.  This grantmaking opportunity will focus on creative community solutions and partnerships between American Muslim and non-Muslim communities that address social, educational, cultural and economic issues in the Bay Area.

The Grant Cycle will be open from Monday, November 7, 2011 until Friday, December 9, 2011 by 5:00 p.m., and applications will be accepted from organizations serving Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco Counties. For organizations in Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties applications must be submitted via email to Silicon Valley Community Foundation by 5:00 p.m. on December 9, 2011 at grantproposals@siliconvalleycf.org.

The San Francisco Foundation will be hosting a "One Nation Bay Area Project Orientation Workshop" on November 3, 2011. The orientation is designed to answer content and application related questions. Organizations planning to submit an application are strongly encouraged to attend. Please RSVP using our online registration. For additional questions about the orientation workshop, please contact Maria Healey at 415.733.8572 or mxh@sff.org.

For more information, or questions, about the One Nation Bay Area Project, please contact me at trc@sff.org, Prasi Gupta at pgupta@sff.org, or Emily Rosenberg at err@sff.org.

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INTERFAITH SPEAKERS BUREAU. For several years now ING (Islamic Networks Group), noted for training skilled speakers on Islam for schools, governmental agencies, and congrgations, has also offered an Interfaith Speakers Bureau with representatives from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. They will be offering a training event on Thursday, November 10, 2011, 6:45 - 8:30 pm at their home office in San Jose. If you are interested in participating as a speaker, learn more about the program at the ING website. or contact ING programs coordinator Henry Millstein at henry@ing.org.

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NOTES AND QUOTES: "Seems to me that this was a perfect Presidio lecture—it tied events at the Presidio into a bigger context, and illuminated the life story of a very interesting individual. So often we get caught up in the Presidio's unique history and forget to connect it to events within San Francisco, and in the world at large. The story of the WPA and other New Deal programs is extremely interesting and plays out in many areas of the Presidio. It was all the more interesting because we don't often see Presidio history connected to artists like Arnautoff and Diego Rivera or to art movements. Anyway congratulations to both the Interfaith Center and PHA for a job well done!!" - Attendee at the October 30 lecture on the Presidio Chapel Mural.

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SEND US YOUR NEWS! We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We'd also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you'd like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what's happening!


Support ICP

SUPPORT THE INTERFAITH CENTER! We truly depend on your ongoing support. See the ICP website for Information about making contributions to support the Center and its programs. You can even contribute online!

 

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.

 

interfaith symbols

BAIC ARCHIVES

In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

top

October- Forgiveness

IN THIS ISSUE: On Forgiveness | Chapel Mural Lecture | Money & Soul | Interfaith Art Exhibit | Disaster Network | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | Support ICP | Subscription information

Nonviolence

As I write this, the Jewish observance of Rosh Hashanah has just begun. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, marks the beginning of the "High Holy Days," or, as they are sometimes known, the "Days of Awe," ten days of repentance and preparation for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During this time, it is customary for people to go to those whom they might have offended and ask forgiveness. The Mishna, part of Jewish traditional commentary, says, "The Day of Atonement atones for sins against God, not for sins against people, unless the injured person has been appeased."

Many religious traditions emphasize the importance of forgiveness. Last month, the Jain community observed the week-long festival of Paryusana. During this time, Jains ask one another for forgiveness for any offense they might have incurred, knowingly or unknowingly.

Other traditions as well call for both personal and community efforts to seek and grant forgiveness. Forgiveness is essential to maintaining relationships among individuals and within communities. How much more might forgiveness be an essential quality in relations between religious traditions! When we are relating to those whose religious commitments and view of the world is by defintiion different from ours in many ways, we may be even more likely to experience misunderstanding or misinterpretation of actions or motives.

A colleague of mine, Rev. Tom McCoy, used to talk about what he called the "theory of knives." It is as if all of us make our way through the world with little knives sticking out of us- the result of all the ways we have been hurt, misunderstood, or undervalued. When we first meet, we frequently bump into each other in painful ways, because we do not know where the knives are. As our relationships grow, however, we can begin to come close to one another while avoiding the knives. The ultimate goal, however, is to become close enough that we can not only avoid the knives, but find ways to help remove them and to bring about healing.

So it is in interreligious encounters we move from conflict to tolerance, to understanding and acceptance. And making that journey requires us to recognize how we may have harmed others and to seek forgiveness, even as we hope to find forgiveness from them.

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Detail of Chapel MuralPRESIDIO CHAPEL MURAL LECTURE. The Presidio's Interfaith Center invites you to a lecture entitled Presidio Chapel Mural, Victor Arnautoff, and Public Art in the 1930s, with Professor Robert W. Cherny of San Francisco State University. The event will be held on Sunday, October 30, at 3:00 pm, at the Presidio Chapel. Learn about New Deal–era public art, including work by Diego Rivera, the great Mexican muralist, and Victor Arnautoff, the artist of the Presidio Chapel mural. The program considers Arnautoff and his work in the context of the time. See details here.

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Swanee HuntVIDEO OF MONEY & SOUL. On September 13, Lynne Twist, Author of The Soul of Money and Founder of The Pachamama Alliance joined in conversation with Charles Gibbs, Executive Director of URI. With her extensive work as a worldwide fundraiser, Twist offered unique perspectives on the purpose of money and its use in the community. A video of the discussion about the intersection of money and spirit as a rich and fertile place, suggesting new ways for giving and receiving money in the social-profit arena is now available on the ICP website.

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INTERFAITH ART EXHIBIT. The Islamic Cultural Center of Northern Californis is hosting an interfaith art exhibit, featuring 100 works of art from 40 Muslim, Christian, and Jewish artists. The organizers of this exhibit have invited artists of all faiths to submit artwork that expresses a commitment to interfaith understanding, coexistence, peace and cultural exchange. Many beautiful and heartfelt works of art have been submitted to this exhibit by a wide variety of artists. The exhibit is open Thursday - Saturday until October 22, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (or by appointment) at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, 1433 Madison Street Oakland, CA. 94612. For more information, contact: (510) 832-7600, email info@iccnc.org, or see the ICC website. The exhibit was featured in a recent story in Oakland North.

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THE NATIONAL DISASTER INTERFAITHS NETWORK (NDIN) is a national network of disaster interfaith organizations working together to reduce disaster-caused human suffering through the exchange of information and cooperative support. Recognized nationally and internationally for innovations in faith-based and interfaith urban emergency management, training, and recovery program development, NDIN offers information and resources for training for disaster preparedness. In May, NDIN launched its Be A Ready Congregation program and offers Disaster Tip Sheets for U.S. Religious Leaders, which cover many aspects of the role of religious communities in times of disaster. Learn more or subscribe to their newsletter at www.n-din.org/

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NOTES AND QUOTES: From around the web: Rev. Carol Hovis, director of Marin Interfaith Council, comments on the meaning of September 11th; former ICP Board member Iftekhar Hai on change in the Muslim world; Margaret Jones describes the work of the Peninsula URI Circle; NAIN Chair Bettina Gray comments on conflict in interreligious dialogue. Take a look at video from the Transforming Community event in Saratoga on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and photos and a story from the 9/11 dinner held by Campbell United Methodist Church and the Pacifica Institute, and learn about the "From Fear to Friendship" dinner and candlelight vigil. Finally, read ICP Interim Director Rev. Susan Strouse's comments before and after the San Francisco commemoration, and take a look at some of photos of the event.

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SEND US YOUR NEWS! We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We'd also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you'd like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what's happening!


Support ICP

SUPPORT THE INTERFAITH CENTER! We truly depend on your ongoing support. See the ICP website for Information about making contributions to support the Center and its programs. You can even contribute online!

 

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.

 

interfaith symbols

BAIC ARCHIVES

In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

top

September-Interfaith Strides

IN THIS ISSUE: Interfaith Strides | September 11 | Money & Soul | 1000Kalema | Interfaith Observer | | Send Us Your News | Support ICP

Nonviolence

On September 11, 2001 I was on vacation on the Jersey shore—far enough away from Ground Zero to be physically unaffected by the fall of the towers. But I was also in a part of the country where the "melting pot" diversity includes large Muslim and Sikh communities. As the days following the attacks unfolded, and we pried ourselves away from our TV sets, I began to hear conversations and comments about who Muslims are, what they believe and what the Qur'an says, usually with incorrect information and oftentimes with ethnic slurs. Not everyone joined in with these sentiments, but enough for me to know how important it would be for the religious communities to respond.

Susan StrouseSo writes Interfaith Center Interim Director Rev. Susan Strouse in a reflection on the ten years following the tragic events of September 11, 2001 which was recently published on Patheos, the online site devoted to information and conversation about religion. She notes three significant responses that came out of that time: a desire by other religious traditions to learn something about Islam; the increased outreach by Muslim communities, and the expansion in interfaith cooperation, building and expanding on interfaith relationships that had already been established. Susan goes on to describe the lively interfaith work taking place around the San Francisco Bay and some of the events being planned here for September 11. You can read more of what she has to say in her article, "Interfaith Strides: Moving Forward Together Since 9/11." (While you're there, you might want to read her commentary on a text in her own Christian tradition which often proves problematic in an interfaith world, "Is Jesus the Only Way?"

Also on Patheos, you can find "Pagans in Interfaith Dialogue," ICP Board Secretary Don Frew's exploration of the Pagan experience of Interfaith Dialogue. Don also provides a brief introduction to what distinguishes Pagan traditions among religious groups, and answers many of the common questions people have about Neo-Pagan religion. It's part of the Patheos section on Interfaith Dialogue, and it's worth taking a look at the other articles, from a variety of religious perspectives.

And for a new resource for information and commentary on interfaith work, don't miss The Interfaith Observer, which is described below.

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SEPTEMBER 11-TEN YEARS LATER. As September 11th approaches, people across the country are working to ensure that it will be a day to honor and support efforts to bring people together across religious boundaries, rather than a time to inflame suspicion and hostility, especially against Muslims. Online sources of information about gatherings and activities for building community can be found at Prepare New York, 11 Days, 11 Ways, Groundswell and 9-11-11: A Day of National Reconciliation. You'll find resources, news links, organizations working for interfaith understanding, and local events. Several events in the Bay Area are listed on the calendar below. And don't forget the URI Toolkit of Actions for Interfaith Solidarity, an interfaith guide to help individuals and groups counter rising hostility toward Muslims and other religious minorities in North America and beyond.

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Swanee HuntMONEY & SOUL. In our culture, more of anything and everything is considered better. Join us for a provocative evening of re-examining our relationship to money. Lynne Twist, Author of The Soul of Money and Founder of The Pachamama Alliance will join in conversation with Charles Gibbs, Executive Director of URI. Lynne Twist's extensive work as a worldwide fundraiser offers unique perspectives on the purpose of money and its use in the community. When infused with expressions of our heart and soul, our money and its use can become a truly meaningful part of our lives and communities. Lynne & Charles will discuss the intersection of money and spirit as a rich and fertile place, suggesting new ways for giving and receiving money in the social-profit arena. Dessert, coffee and tea will follow. Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, Presidio Main Post Interfaith Chapel. RSVP to Erica Ernst at ebernst.sfic@gmail.com or call (415) 474 - 1321 $20 Suggested Donation Sponsored by: Interfaith Center at the Presidio The Presidio Trust San Francisco Interfaith Council Thrivent Financial for Lutherans United Religions Initiative . You can download a flyer from our website.

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1000KALEMA PHOTO COMPETITION. Don Frew, Secretary of the ICP Board, recently called our attention to 1000kalema.org. This is an international, interfaith photography competition open to individuals of all ages who are a part of, work with, organize and/or participate in peacemaking activities. Based on the idea that "a picture is worth a thousand words," photographs should tell one distinct story based on these areas of peacemaking: Respect/ Faith / Service • Answering the Call • Respecting Our Earth • Dialogues and Conversations • Sacred Spaces/ Ceremony • Celebration • Transforming Acts of Violence and Conflict • People • Places • Cultures • Moments of Inspiration • Poignancy • Epiphany The full guidelines and rules are on the website. Don and another long-time ICP supporter, Rachael Watcher (who has fed us at many of our meetings) are on the Council that was created to oversee this project by the organization holding the competition - the "Think Peace Media & Communications CC" of the URI.

If you are impressed by this project and want to help it come to fruition, the organizers could really use your financial assistance with the final costs as the contest is coming to a close. Take a look at the website, and if you are so moved, donate some money (sooner, rather than later). Please make your check out to: "Think Peace Media & Communications" (with "for 1000kalema" in the subject line). Think Peace Media & Communications 1408 Creekside Dr. #3 Walnut Creek CA 94596. Don and the other organizers would be most grateful.

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The Interfaith ObserverTHE INTERFAITH OBSERVER. Former director of the Interfaith Center Paul Chaffee is not one to rest on his laurels. Since retiring from ICP, Paul and his wife Jan have been developing a new e-journal titled The Interfaith Observer(TIO). Sixty-eight seasoned interfaith activists, among them ICP Board members Fr. Tom Bonacci, Vanessa Gomez Brake, Don Frew, Rev. D. Andrew Kille, and Emeritus Board members Iftakhar Hai and Fr. Gerard O'Rourke, have signed up to date as a braintrust, advising, contributing, and promoting the journal. You can see their photos and read their short bios at TIO's website, www.theinterfaithobserver.org. The hope is to survey global interfaith activities and provide a forum where a host of interfaith subjects can be explored. Each month's issue will unpack a particular facet of interfaith culture. The launch issue, to post on September 15, focuses on deepening interfaith dialogue. The issue will have two dozen articles, a video clip, international interfaith news, interreligious and major-event calendars, and profiles of exemplary resources. To subscribe, simply go to the website and fill in the SUBSCRIBE form on the right hand side.

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SEND US YOUR NEWS! We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We'd also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you'd like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what's happening!


Support ICP

SUPPORT THE INTERFAITH CENTER! We truly depend on your ongoing support. See the ICP website for Information about making contributions to support the Center and its programs. You can even contribute online!

 

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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August- To Hate or Heal?

IN THIS ISSUE: Making Peace | NAINConnect 2011 | Money & Soul | Send Us Your News | Support ICP |

Nonviolence

Who was not stunned by the recent events in Norway, as news of the bombing in Oslo and the subsequent massacre of some 69 young people at a camp on an island nearby broke on the world? As details followed, it appeared that the man responsible for the attacks believed he was fighting for a "Christian Europe" against Islam, Marxism, and multiculturalism.

In his odd manifesto running to over 1500 pages published before the attacks, Anders Breivik descrbed his vision for the future. Although claiming to act on behalf of "European Christianity," he welcomed allies from other faiths: “All individuals of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish or otherwise ‘friendly faiths/ideologies will be regarded as friends/allies/brothers and sisters of all Europeans and may not be subject to the same assimilation demands now or in the future.”

The enemy, in his mind, is Islam, and he cites the prominent promoters of Islamophobia Pam Geller and Robert Spencer each over 50 times in his writings. While it is impossible to prove direct connections between hateful words and violent action, one cannot help but wonder. Sadly, we are reminded once again of the power of religion not only to heal and bring people together, but to divide us, setting one community against another. How can we respond?

We can make statements, sign petitions, condemn hateful speech, call for more civil discourse, and all these are good. But in the long run, it is by building personal relationships with each other that we weave the fabric of a community that can withstand the attacks of the like of Anders Brevik.

In a 2009 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 58% of the respondents said they believed Mulims face more discrimination in the US than other groups. Since that time, we have seen the vocal opposition to mosques and Muslim community centers in New York, Tennessee, and California, threats to burn the Qur'an in Florida, and Congressional hearings into "domestic terrorism" in Muslim communities. Things don't seem to be getting better. However, the study indicated that when an individual had a personal relationship with a neighbor, co-worker, or friend who was Muslim, their attitudes and opinions of Islam changed.

The month of Ramadan begins today and extends through the month of August. Muslims will be fasting from food and water from dawn to sunset, joining in prayers, and doing acts of charity. The daily fast is broken in the evening with the eating of a date and an iftar meal. Often, friends, neighbors, and community members are invited to share in the iftar, and many Muslim communities hold special interfaith iftars. Some of the Bay Area events are listed below.

Several groups are also anticipating the tenth anniversary of September 11th and inviting people to create and share events that will serve to build connections among people and counter the voices of hatred and suspicion. In the June issue of Bay Area Interfaith Connect, we mentioned Prepare New York and 11 Days, 11 Ways. Two others which specifically focus on 9/11 events are Groundswell and 9-11-11: A Day of National Reconciliation. You'll find resources, news links, organizations working for interfaith understanding, and local events. And don't forget to check below for events in the Bay Area.

Healing comes when we wish a neighbor Ramadan Mubarak (a blessed Ramadan), when we break bread together and join conversations around the table, when we stand together with those who suffer discrimination, when we witness to the power of religion to unite, even in the face of disagreement, and to extend a welcome to all, even those who may not claim a religious tradition.

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NAINNAINCONNECT 2011 Newly elected ICP Board member Vanessa Gomez Brake was selected as one of the Young Adult Scholars to attend NAINConnect 2011 in Phoenix at the end of July. Vanessa is Director of Operations & Outreach at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries (ChI) in Berkeley. She is active in the Bay Area as a community educator, peacemaker and participant in a variety of interfaith activities.The annual meeting of NAIN (North American Interfaith Network). Reflecting on her experience, she writes:

Last weekend, I returned to my home town of Phoenix, Arizona to attend the 2011 Connect of the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN). Since 1988, such gatherings have taken place across the U.S. and Canada to 'build bridges of interfaith understanding, cooperation and service.' Each year, a different interfaith organization hosts the three-day event. This year, the Arizona InterFaith Movement (AIFM) invited participants from across the continent to explore the theme: 'Many People, Many Faiths, One Common Principle – The Golden Rule.' 

. . .[W]hat stood out for me most during the Connect was the betwixt and between. The connections made in the hallway, over meals or on the bus in transit to a site visit. The opportunity to network with other interfaith activists is invaluable. NAIN intentionally chose a networking organizational structure, to offer these opportunities for building relationships with those doing similar work and facing similar challenges.

On my last night with my interfaith peers, I had somewhat of a revelation. For so long I have felt a tension between my worldview and the work I am engaged in. In fact, as an outspoken interfaith enthusiast and secular humanist, I commonly throw people into a bout of cognitive dissonance. I have grown used to this creative tension, which I think, evokes a healthy discomfort in myself and others. Why interfaith? -- is a question both the religious and non-religious are quick to ask me. People may assume 'atheists hate religion' or that 'interfaith work is only for believers.' But the presence of atheists, agnostics, and humanists is not rare in the field. With the Pew Research Center reporting atheists as the highest-scoring group on their survey of religious knowledge; and the fact that I met several atheists in my religious studies college courses; I should have known I was not the only one on the interfaith track.

Read more . . .

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Swanee HuntMONEY & SOUL. In our culture, more of anything and everything is considered better. Join us for a provocative evening of re-examining our relationship to money. Lynne Twist, Author of The Soul of Money and Founder of The Pachamama Alliance will join in conversation with Charles Gibbs, Executive Director of URI. Lynne Twist's extensive work as a worldwide fundraiser offers unique perspectives on the purpose of money and its use in the community. When infused with expressions of our heart and soul, our money and its use can become a truly meaningful part of our lives and communities. Lynne & Charles will discuss the intersection of money and spirit as a rich and fertile place, suggesting new ways for giving and receiving money in the social-profit arena. Dessert, coffee and tea will follow. Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, Presidio Main Post Interfaith Chapel. RSVP to Erica Ernst at ebernst.sfic@gmail.com or call (415) 474 - 1321 $20 Suggested Donation Sponsored by: Interfaith Center at the Presidio The Presidio Trust San Francisco Interfaith Council Thrivent Financial for Lutherans United Religions Initiative . You can download a flyer from our website.

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SEND US YOUR NEWS! We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We'd also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you'd like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what's happening!


Support ICP

SUPPORT THE INTERFAITH CENTER! We truly depend on your ongoing support.
See the ICP website for Information about making contributions to support the Center and its programs. You can even contribute online!

 

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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July- Annual Meeting

IN THIS ISSUE: ICP Annual Meeting | Ambassador Swanee Hunt | NAINConnect 2011 | How Did it Go?

Nonviolence

We didn't expect the downpour this last week in San Francisco, but the record-breaking 3/4 inch of rain didn't deter the dedicated group of supporters who gathered at the Presidio Chapel for the Interfaith Center Annual Meeting on June 28.

This is the one time each year when representatives of the Sponsoring Organizations of ICP come together to share what their own organizations are up to, catch up on news about ICP activities, and elect the Interfaith Center Board for the coming year.

Rita SemelRepresentatives from around the Bay– from Marin County to Santa Clara County, from the Peninsula to Contra Costa County across the Bay– were welcomed by Board Chair Rita Semel and Interim Director Rev. Susan Strouse. From the beginning meditation led by Wiccan Don Frew to the closing blessing by Rev. Carol Hovis, director of the Marin Interfaith Council, there was energy and enthusiasm to face the challenges of being a regional center for interfaith education and action.

Each of the groups was given time to share about their organization: Ahimsa, EURIMA (Expressing the URI in Music and Art), the Graduate Theological Union, Ik Onkar Peace Community, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Marin Interfaith Council, San Francisco Interfaith Council, San Francisco Peninsula URI CC, and the Women's Interfaith Circle of Service. Also present were two representatives of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council. (We'll share about these organizations in upcoming issues of Bay Area Interfaith Connect; see the full list of Sponsoring Organizations on our website.)

Annual MeetingThe Interfaith Center is very much in a transition time following Paul Chaffee's retirement at the end of last year. Susan Strouse noted that the tasks to be addressed during this time include dealing with the ICP's history, defining its identity, broadening leadership, strengthening relationships with other organizations, and shaping the new directions for ministry and mission.

Small group discussions allowed participants to share thoughtfully and perceptively their visions for the potential and importance of ICP, and how it can work productively with local groups to strengthen and sustain interfaith efforts all around the Bay and to connect to national and global projects.

Finally, the Board for the coming year was elected. Continuing members include chair Rita Semel, Paul Andrews, Henry Baer, Don Frew, David Rickey, Camille Smith, and John Young. Joining them will be Tom Bonacci, Vanessa Brake, Michelle Favreault, Fred Fielding, Abby Fuller, Ron Kabato, Andrew Kille, and Loel Miller. We'll have brief bios of each of them on the website soon.

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Swanee HuntSWANEE HUNT Join us at the Presidio Chapel on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm for a conversation with former US Ambassador to Austria, Swanee Hunt. Long-time television journalist and radio host Belva Davis will talk with Ambassador Hunt, who was posted to Vienna during the Bosnian War, about the disconnect between policy-makers and grassroots actors who, Hunt believes, can be a powerful force in stabilizing their communities and their nations. This is the first in a series at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio on "Resetting Our Moral Compass." To reserve a space, contact Sandi Pilon at (415) 561-3930 or sandi@interfaith-presidio.org Sponsored by: Interfaith Center at the Presidio, The Presidio Trust, San Francisco Interfaith Council , and United Religions Initiative. You can download a flyer from our website.

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NAINNAINCONNECT 2011 The annual meeting of NAIN (North American Interfaith Network) is nearly here! Gathering in Phoenix, July 24-26, 2011, interfaith activists from across North America will focus on Many People, Many Faiths - One Common Principle, THE GOLDEN RULE. The keynote speakers include Mussie Hailu, leading peacemaker and Golden Rule advocate from Ethiopia and Dr. Harry Gensler, SJ, Golden Rule scholar from John Carroll University in Cleveland. Workshop offerings include "Women Transcending Boundaries,""The Golden Rule Curriculum for Schools," "The Golden Rule and the U.N,." "The State of Interfaith Education," "The Golden Rule, Using It Wisely and Avoiding Fallacies of the Golden Rule, " and a workshop by ICP Board Member Don Frew on "Weaknesses of the Golden Rule."

Newly elected ICP Board member Vanessa Gomez Brake was selected as one of the Young Adult Scholars to attend the conference this year. Vanessa is Director of Operations & Outreach at the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts & Interfaith Ministries (ChI) in Berkeley. She is active in the Bay Area as a community educator, peacemaker and participant in a variety of interfaith activities.

Registration and more information can be found at http://nain.org/connect11reg.htm. For more information, contact Dr. Paul Eppinger, Executive Director, Arizona Interfaith Movement - 602-261-6704 or paul@interfaitharizona.com.

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HOW DID IT GO? We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. We'd also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you'd like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what's happening!


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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@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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June- Ten Years Later

IN THIS ISSUE: Tenth Anniversary of September 11 | Interfaith Spiritual Direction | Interfaith Speakers Bureau | NAINConnect 2011 |

Nonviolence

This coming September will mark ten years since the attack on the twin towers in New York City on September 11th, 2001. Over the years, 9/11 has come to mean many things to people in this nation and around the world. For some, it has been a time to recall and honor the sacrifice of public service workers–first responders such as firefighters, law-enforcement officers, and emergency medical personnel– and the public safety officers, construction workers, and community leaders who spent years clearing away the debris. For some, it has been a time to remember the victims, and a call to vigilance in a dangerous world.

In an unexpected way, the events of September 11th have also inspired a remarkable flowering of interfaith cooperation and understanding, as people of diverse religious traditions have come to understand how vital relationships of respect, honesty, and collaboration are to strengtheing the bonds within our communities, locally and nationally. Many new interfaith organizations and projects have come into being during the past ten years, and the religious landscape of our nation is very different.

As we approach September 11, we recognize that the ten-year anniversary is likely to be a deeply fraught commemoration for many. With the rise in interreligious cooperation, we have also seen a rise in hostility to immigrants, especially Muslims. It is vital for those of us who are committed to furthering compassionate relationships be visible and active in the months ahead.

Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First have joined together to ask worship communities across the US to organize events in which clergy read from each other's sacred texts. It's especially important that representatives from Muslim communities be involved, given the mistrust and suspicion of Muslims over the past year. On their website, Faith Shared: United in Prayer and Understanding (faithshared.org/) you can find resources for creating such an event and an opportunity to list your service.

A coalition of New York-based interfaith organizations have joined together to create Prepare New York (prepareny.com/) as a staging ground for "promoting civil dialogue, education about religious pluralism, support for the Muslim community, and coordinating events on the day of the anniversary." Although focused on New York City, the site offers curriculum for education about religious diversity, models for coffee house conversations, and forum discussions on various topics.

Since 2004, the days between September 11th and the International Day of Peace on September 21 have been known as the 11 Days of Global Unity. This year, the 11 Days, 11 Waysprogram will highlight 11 ways to change the world during the 11 Days of Global Unity. The organization invites groups around the world to create events that celebrate one or more of the key values: Unity, Interdependence, Environment, Economic Justice, Health, Children & Youth, Women, Human Rights, Freedom, Disarmament, and The International Day of Peace. Sponsors include We, The World, United Religions Initiative in North America, Pathways To Peace and the World Peace Prayer Society. See we.net for details.

Finally, don't forget the Toolkit available from the United Religions Initiative, "Responses to Hostility Against Faith Communities," which includes some ideas from the National Day of Unity and Healing on 9/11 of 2010.

Now is the time to be planning how you will commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11th, if you have not already done so. And if you do organize an event, please be sure to let us know so that we can list it in our calendar of interfaith events. Send information to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org.

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INTERFAITH SPIRITUAL DIRECTION. Across the Bay in Berkeley, the Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministries has been educating people for ministry in interfaith contexts such as hospitals, hospice programs, community ministry and spiritual direction since 1999. The next certificate program in Spiritual Direction will begin in July 2011. Classes meet from 9:00 am to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 pm on July 25-29, October 24-28, 2010 and January 23-27, and April 23-27, 2012. For more information, see their website, or contact the Chaplaincy Institute office at 510-843-1422 or chioffice@chaplaincyinstitute.org. If you have questions, contact John Mabry, at 510-290-4349 or jmabry@apocryphile.org.

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INTERFAITH SPEAKERS BUREAU. For several years now, ING, based in San Jose, has provided speaker panels consisting of two or more representatives from the five major religious groups speaking on a variety of topics to schools, colleges, universities and other organizations. ING speakers in the Interfaith Speakers Bureau program are volunteers who are certified after a rigorous process of professional development, testing and observation in a live setting by veteran speakers, who collectively have more than 50 years of experience in public speaking. If you are interested in learning about the program and possibly serving as a volunteer, there will be a training on June 22, 2011, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the ING offices, located at 3031 Tisch Way, San Jose. Cost is $5.00 per attendee; details and registration are availabe on the ING website.

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NAINCONNECT 2011 The annual meeting of NAIN (North American Interfaith Network) will be held in Phoenix, July 24-26, 2011, and the theme will be Many People, Many Faiths - One Common Principle, THE GOLDEN RULE. Keynote Speaker: Mussie Hailu, Golden Rule World leader from Ethiopia. Registration and information at http://nain.org/connect11reg.htm. For more information, contact Dr. Paul Eppinger, Executive Director, Arizona Interfaith Movement - 602-261-6704 or paul@interfaitharizona.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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@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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May- A National Day of Prayer?

IN THIS ISSUE: National Day of Prayer | Interfaith Memorial Day Service | Parliament of World's Religions | Bridge Builders undergoes a change | Join the Interfaith Center

NonviolenceIn 1952, the United States Congress passed a bill that was signed by then President Harry S. Truman to proclaim a National Day of Prayer. The bill instructed each President to declare a Day of Prayer on the day of his own choosing. Later, in 1988, the bill was amended to fix the day of the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May each year. This year, that day will fall on Thursday, May 5.

The origins of the National Day of Prayer were decidedly Christian and conservative Christian at that. The original movement to pass the bill was in part inspired by a crusade led by the Rev. Billy Graham in Washington, D.C., and for many years the most visible organization encouraging observance of the Day has been the National Day of Prayer Task Force, chaired by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family's James Dobson.

The religious diversity of this nation has increased tremendously over the past several years, a fact that might invite us to reflect on what the meaning of a National Day of Prayer could be in the "new religious America." How might prayer reflect that diversity? How might we affirm the rights of those who pray differently, or not at all? Alas, for the most part, efforts related to the National Day of Prayer have taken on a militant and politicized tone. Barack Obama has been criticized for not holding White House services to mark the day, but Bill Clinton did not do so, and Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush each only held one event during their administrations. Only George W. Bush made it an annual event.

Many have declared that a National Day of Prayer runs counter to the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Prayer is a worthwhile activity, and our religious commitments are an essential part of our lives as citizens. But, goes the argument, Congress has no place in declaring when or how prayer should take place. James Madison wrote in 1822:

"There has been another deviation from the strict principle in the Executive Proclamations of fasts & festivals, so far, at least, as they have spoken the language of injunction, or have lost sight of the equality of all religious sects in the eye of the Constitution. Whilst I was honored with the Executive Trust I found it necessary on more than one occasion to follow the example of predecessors. But I was always careful to make the Proclamations absolutely indiscriminate, and merely recommendatory; or rather mere designations of a day, on which all who thought proper might unite in consecrating it to religious purposes, according to their own faith & forms. In this sense, I presume you reserve to the Govt. a right to appoint particular days for religious worship throughout the State, without any penal sanction enforcing the worship."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State have published a thoughtful article on their website, What's wrong with the National Day of Prayer?

There certainly is no reason not to pray on May 5th, if you or your community are so inspired. And there is certainly no reason that those prayers cannot include the many ways of praying that reflect our different religious traditions and practices. And, if you do pray, you might include thanksgiving for the religious freedom granted to all of us by the First Amendment, and for those who continue to work so that freedom will not be compromised.

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Memorial DayINTERFAITH MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE. San Francisco's biggest Memorial Day events are the gala parade and ceremony at the National Cemetery in the Presidio from 10:30 am -12:00 noon on Monday, May 30th. Rev. Dr. John L. Young, a member of the ICP Board, will deliver the Benediction and invite people to come to the Presidio Chapel. Built in 1931, the Chapel served the diverse religious needs of military personnel at the Presidio until 1995, when it was placed in the care of the Interfaith Center.

This year on the grounds of the Presidio Chapel, directly east of the Cemetery, ICP will be hosting groups who serve veterans today. There will be information tables and representatives to help veterans and their families get connected with these services and to provide opportunities for citizens to volunteer with those who have served our country. There will also be free refreshments.

From 12:45-1:30 pm, the Interfaith Center will present an inspiring rainbow of interfaith voices and soulful music in the Chapel, and will feature outstanding groups serving veterans like the Coming Home Project, Swords to Plowshares,and Troops to College. Be with us to honor and help those who serve our nation. Make this Memorial Day a continuing living memorial!

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Parliament of the World's ReligionsPARLIAMENT OF WORLD'S RELIGIONS 2014 IN BRUSSELS. The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions has announced that the 2014 Parliament will take place in Brussels, Belgium, the capital of the European Union. The runners-up for the meeting were the cities of Guadalajara in Mexico and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Watch for updates on the Parliament of Religions website. The Parliament is also beginning a series of webinars. The first, "Greening Your Religious Community," will be held on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, at 10:00- 11:00 am Central Time. The webinar will provide training in basic approaches to organizing your religious community to be more sustainable in its own practices and to promote sustainability in the homes of members and in the public square. Leader is Rev. Dr. Clare Butterfield, Executive Director of Faith in Place Details and registration on the Parliament website.

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IFYC CLOSES BRIDGE BUILDERS. Last June, Bay Area Interfaith Connect featured social networking communities centered on building interfaith relationships. One of those groups has now morphed into a different format. The Bridge-builders’ Network created by the Interfaith Youth Core to link interfaith workers among youth is now no longer active. They are moving their efforts to their own website and to Facebook. You can register to be a member on ifyc.org and like IFYC’s Facebook page to join the conversation and network with other people in the interfaith youth movement.


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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@interfaith-presidio.org.


 

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BAIC ARCHIVES

In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

INTERFAITH RESOURCES

With the revision of the Interfaith Center website, it is easier to find resources and information about the ongoing work of the Center. Take a look at the major projects sponsored by ICP, including the Interfaith Design Competition, the Lost and Endangered Religions Project, the McDonald Windows, and Spiritual Resources interviews.

Find a wealth of interfaith links, including books, calendars, Podcasts and more on the Interfaith Resources Page.

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April- Serve and Heal

IN THIS ISSUE: Serve and Heal | Spirituality and Justice | Women's Conference | Western Regional Interfaith Leaders | Japan Earthquake Relief | Silicon Valley "Sparkplug" | Join the Interfaith Center

NonviolenceThe Presidio Chapel, home to the Interfaith Center, served for many years the diverse religious needs of the military personnel who passed through the Presidio. With the help of a new ministry intern, Dr. Caroline Knowles, M.Div., a monthly interfaith service, Serve and Heal, brings together veterans, active military and their families with members of the community who are interested in serving them as they re-integrate into their civilian lives. Serve and Heal began February 16th and is held on the third Wednesday of each month in the Presidio Chapel.

Carrie Knowles, a graduate of the Starr King School of Ministry (part of the Graduate Theological Union), coordinates the worship service, with the assistance of Board member Rev. Dr. John L. Young. The service includes readings, the singing of hymns, live music performance, a homily, and benediction. A coffee time for networking follows the service. Before the service, a small group of veterans meets with Dr. Knowles, for Sharing MyStory, to reflect in conversation and writing on the challenges and change points in their lives, and their search for meaning.

February's service centered on the affirmation "You Are a Miracle," exploring the wisdom of the body in its power of healing the physical self, and the wisdom of community in healing the spirit. In March, the theme was, "When God Troubles the Waters," a reflection on crisis, distress, and creative resolution. Future services are planned to deal with themes such as the experience of transformation, the creative task of memory, the power of hope, and forgiveness.

The services feature music by vocalists, pianists and other instrumentalists who donate their time and talent. Christine Noble, soprano, and Peter Vasilev, pianist, performed at the opening service in February; Rev. John Young of the ICP Board was the pianist in March; Paul Goercke, Chaplain of the Alexander Hamilton Post of the American Legion, a musicologist and accomplished organist, is featured at the April service; Octavio Carrasco, on the guitar, will perform in May, along with seminary colleagues.

As yet, the number of attendees has been small, primarily veterans who are residents at Swords to Plowshares in the Presidio. Our hope is that, in having this program in place, we can continue outreach to other veterans' groups and draw in men and women who have served their country over different times and conflicts.

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SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE SERIES. Robert McDermott, Ph.D, president emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies will speak on "From Gandhi to King," Tuesday, April 12, 2011 7:00 - 9:00 pm in the Presidio Chapel. Both Gandhi and King extended their religious roots, Hinduism and Christianity respectively, in the service of social justice world wide. The public is welcome to this free event; suggested donation of $10 would be welcome. The series is co-sponsored by ICP, The Chaudhuri Center for Contemplative Practice, Interreligious Dialogue, and Social Justice, and Knights of Saint Francis of the Porziuncola Nuova. More details here.

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mandalaTHE ALCHEMY OF OUR SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP:
WOMEN REDEFINING POWER
, a conference on Women's Spirituality, is being held from Thursday, April 28 to Sunday, May 1st at the Hotel Sofitel San Francisco Bay in Redwood City. The conference, sponsored by Women of Spirit and Faith, will include inspiring Keynote wisdom from Sister Joan Chittister, Valarie Kaur and Naomi Tutu; stimulating Leadership Conversations featuring the wisdom and experience of a dozen diverse women leaders; informative workshops with a focus on building practical skills and new models for collaborative leadership; circle dialogues and structured conversations; the Alchemy Marketplace where you can shop for books, jewelry, art and music; a beautiful Meditation and Prayer Room for silence and reflection; and Art, music, poetry, laughter and lots of right-brain fun and stimulation. For more information and to register, go to the Women of Spirit and Faith website. ICP is a partner with Women of Spirit and Faith, which arose from encounters at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne in 2009.

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WESTERN REGIONAL INTERFAITH LEADERS. In March, a group of leaders from interfaith organizations in Northern and Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona met in the beautiful surroundings of the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville. Susan Strouse, Interim Director of ICP, along with two Board members, Chair Rita Semel and Michael Pappas, and Bay Area Interfaith Connect Editor Andrew Kille were there. The gathering began following conversations at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne in December of 2009. Several people from the Western US had the opportunity to meet and felt that there was a special context for doing interfaith in the region that might be enhanced by meeting together and learning from one another. A small gathering in 2010 led to this year’s event, which included some 30 people in conversation.

The group included directors and board members of interfaith groups of all kinds. There were people from long-established organizations: The San Francisco Interfaith Council, Marin Interfaith Council, the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, the Nevada Clergy Association, and the Arizona Interfaith Movement. The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council had been formally created only the day before, and another person represented a group in San Diego that was still in formation. There were representatives of regional and global interfaith organizations like ICP, Interfaith Space in San Jose, Peninsula Clergy Network, and the United Religions Initiative.There were representatives of community coalitions like the Interfaith Bureau of Sacramento and Interfaith Outreach of Carmel, and the Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope (S.A.R.A.H.) in Orange County. Finally, there were people from religious communities that define themselves as interfaith, including The Interfaith Circle of Alameda and the Spiritual Life Center in Sacramento.

Although there was a stated program of addressing the shared needs of interfaith organizations, especially funding, the best part of the time was the opportunity for talking informally, for sharing our experiences and our insights into the challenges and rewards of interfaith work, and for telling our stories (which we did Monday evening in front of the fire). Interfaith activities and organizations have existed for many years, and have come together around different concerns, crises, and opportunties, but it is clear that relationshps among differing religious traditions has come more to the forefront of people's concerns and interests. This gathering was a reflection of the richness and vitality of religious cooperation in the Western U.S.

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JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF: The tragedy in Japan is going to require a lot of help and support over a long period of time. There has been a lot of interest to help in some way. Various groups are trying to organize donation drives or fund raisers. You can find a list of ways to get involved at the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council website (thanks to the San Francisco Interfaith Council, which developed the list of relief agencies).

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A SILICON VALLEY "SPARKPLUG." Bay Area Interfaith Connect Editor Andrew Kille was recently identified as a "Silicon Valley Sparkplug" for his work with Interfaith Space and helping to develop the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council. The overall goal of the project is "to start a conversation about how to support change in our organizations, schools and communities by looking at how some people were already doing it." You can find the video interviews, along with much more information about connecting community in Silicon Valley at www.sparkplugsproject.org. The interview with Andrew Kille (which includes footage of the kickoff event for the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council) can be found here.


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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@interfaith-presidio.org.


 

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BAIC ARCHIVES

In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

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March- A New Council is Born

IN THIS ISSUE: Silicon Valley Interreligious Council | Interfaith Cooperation in Egypt | Interfaith and the iPad | Spirituality and Justice | Abrahamic Showcase Video | Don Frew on Patheos | Join the Interfaith Center

NonviolenceOn Sunday, March 6, the San Francisco Bay Area will welcome its newest interfaith organization, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council. Though the South Bay has a long history of collaborative work and mutual appreciation among the varied religious communities in the area, there has not been a broadly inclusive and ongoing formal organization to encourage interfaith cooperation.

The first Annual Assembly of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council will take place from 2:30 – 5:00 pm in the California Mission Room, located in the lower level of the Benson Center at Santa Clara University. The theme for the day is “Transforming the (Inter?)religious Landscape of Silicon Valley,” exploring what role diverse religious communities can and should play in shaping life in the South Bay..

The Council’s aim is to “build interreligious harmony and understanding so as to promote a just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.” It will work to build relationships among religious communities, encouraging shared action and service, promoting education about religious diversity, and serving as a communications resource both to and from the interreligious community. Throughout this past year, there have been gatherings with representatives of other councils in the area, including Marin Interfaith Council, San Francisco Interfaith Council, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, and Peninsula Clergy Network to learn about their experiences of interfaith work in the Bay Area.

To find out more, or to register for the March 6th assembly, go to the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) website at www.sivicouncil.org.

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INTERFAITH COOPERATION IN EGYPT. Many in the interfaith movement worldwide observed how the demonstrations in Egypt that ultimately unseated President Mubarak displayed both a committment to nonviolence and striking interfaith cooperation. Frank Fredericks of World Faith wrote in the Washington Post:

The protests have demonstrated explicit interfaith components. It was only a few weeks ago that Egyptian Muslims attended Christmas mass with their Christian neighbors and friends as human shields after the deadly attack on a Coptic church. Mohamed El-Sawy, whose cultural center has hosted World Faith Cairo events, said of faith relations in Egypt, "We either live together or we die together." Returning the favor, Christians stood guard at mosques across Egypt while their Muslim friends finished their Friday prayers before the day's protests. When a few demonstrators began chanting "Allahu Akbar," others convinced them to join together: "Muslim, Christian, we're all Egyptian!"

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INTERFAITH COMES TO THE iPAD. A recent article in the San Jose Mercury highlighted the ways that the iPad and iPhone are now being used by religious people from the controversial Roman Catholic Confession app, to sacred scriptures, to the Sabbath Manifesto, which uses smart phones to allow users to tweet and text their contacts to allow users to observe a "Sabbath" unplugged from the high-tech whirlwind. But what may be the first truly interfaith app has just been released by ING, the San Jose-based educational outreach organization with affiliates throughout the U.S. that promotes interfaith dialogue and education about world religions with their Muslim and Interfaith Speakers Bureaus. FaithNews - Multifaith News and Events provides updated news on religious pluralism, a calendar indicating religious observances of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, and brief introductions to the basics of each of those traditions. Links to sources like Wikipedia and Beliefnet allow more in-depth learning. It's a must-have for anyone in interfaith work who uses iPhone or iPad (and it's FREE!).

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SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE SERIES CONTINUES. In The Renewal of Dialogue: the Religious Renewal of Interreligious Relations, presenter Jacob Sherman Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute for Integral Studies will consider the way that interreligious dialogue is being reinvigorated in the 21st century by a new appeal to the particularity of religious traditions. Tuesday, March 15, 2010, 7:00 - 9:00 pm at the Presidio Chapel. The Spirituality and Social Justice Series is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Center, the California Institute of Integral Studies Chadhuri Center for Contemplative Practice and the Knights of Saint Francis Porziuncola Nuova. Additional details here.

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ABRAHAMIC SHOWCASE. Two more videos from the Abrahamic Showcase series last year have been added to the ICP website. Paul Andrews, a member of the ICP Board, made a film profiling two friendships between people who had been absolute enemies. Finding Improbable Pairs tells the story of the film's creation, how to use it, and what it has meant to some of the millions who have seen it. Len and Libby Traubman's peacebuilding work began small, in living rooms. It has gone global, addresses all ages, and focuses on teaching the rights, responsibilities, and skills of dialogue that makes a difference in our lives. In Building a Common Future, Len and Libby talk about their work and what it takes to become engaged peacemakers. You can find both videos, and more, on the Abrahamic Showcase page.

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ICP BOARD MEMBER ON PATHEOS. Many of you know Don Frew, who has served for many years on the Board of ICP, representing Covenant of the Goddess, and active in projects like the Sacred Design Competition and the Lost and Endangered Religions Project. Last month, Don had an article published in the Paganism Portal at Patheos.com, the online religious dialogue site. His article, Methodological Flaws in Recent Studies of Historical and Modern Witchcraft, discusses some of the issues in how scholars have dealt with the history of Witchcraft. Congratulations, Don!


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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@interfaith-presidio.org.


 

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February- A Season for Nonviolence

IN THIS ISSUE: Season for Nonviolence | World Interfaith Harmony Week | From the Interim Director | Abrahamic Showcase Video | Join the Interfaith Center

NonviolenceThe Season for Nonviolence– a time dedicated to learning, teaching, and practicing nonviolence– is now in its 14th year. During the 64 days between January 30 and April 4, people around the world will be dedicating themselves to educational, media, and service activities that will show nonviolence to be a tranforming and powerful force in our families, our communities, our nation and our world. The Season is marked by the memory of two tragic events– the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. Yet it is the memory of the lives and commitment of these visionaries that the Season now celebrates. This year, the name of another great advocate of nonviolence, Cesar Chavez, has been added. The theme of the Gandhi King Chavez Season for Nonviolence this year is The Spirit of Peace-building.

During these 64 days, individuals and communities are invited and encouraged to discover ways to deepen their own commitment to nonviolent ways of living, and to encourage others to do the same. A website with information about the history, purposes, and activities related to the Season can be found at www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence. The season is sponsored by Association for Global New Thought, in association with the M.K. Gandhi Institute, the Martin Luther King, Jr., International Chapel, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, and other groups advancing nonviolence in our world.

Back in 2008, Karen Jandorf decided to observe the Season by sending out daily e-mail messages containing quotes and practices related to nonviolence. As the Season was drawing to an end, many of her subscribers requested that she continue throughout the year. She has now started her third year, and you can subscribe and view archives at Seasons for Nonviolence

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World Interfaith Harmony Week

WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK. It seems entirely appropriate that the first United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week should take place during the Season for Nonviolence, on February 1-7, 2011. In a declaration in November 2010, the UN General Assembly noted "the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people," and that "the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding." They reaffirmed that "mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace," and proclaimed "the first week of February every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs." You can find out more about the initiative, learn how people around the world plan to honor the Week, or register your own event at worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com/. In support of World Interfaith Harmony Week, the URI has created a page of resources, including a downloadable tool card with suggestions for how to observe the Week.

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Rev. Susan StrouseGREETINGS FROM THE INTERIM DIRECTOR. Rev. Susan Strouse, D. Min, who began as Interim Director of the Interfaith Center on January 1, 2011 writes:

I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself and let you know some of the ways we are continuing the work of the Interfaith Center. 

I have been involved with ICP in some capacity for almost the entire time I’ve been in California. I arrived in Berkeley in the fall of 2002 to begin work on my Doctor of Ministry degree at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. My area of interest: interfaith dialogue! Almost immediately I found myself being introduced to Paul and Jan Chaffee, and before I knew it, I was an intern at ICP.  I’ve served on the board of directors since then, and now am honored to be able to serve as interim executive director.

I am also privileged to serve as the pastor of First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco and as Dean of the San Francisco Conference of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (quite a mouthful, I know!). Fulfilling the demands of all three positions will obviously involve some serious juggling of time and energy. I am very grateful for the support of board members and staff as we begin this time together.

Now – what are we up to?  In January we spent a good bit of time just adjusting to the transition: banking business, staffing questions, policies and procedures. But there are also a few interesting program items to bring to your attention.

Our program committee is exploring ways to build on the success of An Evening with Michael Krasny. We were especially delighted that it was a collaborative venture with United Religions Initiative and the San Francisco Interfaith Council. We hope to do more events together.

Our team of technology wizards has been busy redesigning and upgrading our website. Especially noteworthy is our capability to now broadcast videos, such as the Abrahamic Showcase Series and An Evening with Michael Krasny.

Another area in development is providing service to and with veterans. On the third Wednesday of each month, beginning in February, Carrie Knowles, a recent graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry, will hold a spiritual support service at the Chapel.  Attendees with meet at the Chapel in the evening from 6-7PM for the writing group, “Sharing My Story,” followed by the service from 7:15 to 7:45, and then a coffee time for networking. 

Stay tuned for more updates on our journey together into the future.

Blessings,
Susan

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ABRAHAMIC SHOWCASE. The Interfaith Center has added the first of the videos from last year's Abrahamic Showcase webcasts. It features ICP Board President Rita Semel interviewing Aaron Tapper and Huda Abu Arquob, co-directors of Abraham's Vision, a project that takes students through intensive interreligious education, state-of-the-art peacemaking theory and implementation, before visiting war zones where peacemaking is making a difference. You can watch it on the ICP Video page.

 


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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@interfaith-presidio.org.


 

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January- Happy New Year!

IN THIS ISSUE: New Year | Electronic Facelift | Welcome Susan Strouse | Theatre Anew at the Presidio Chapel | Join the Interfaith Center

ICP 2011Some years ago as I was driving, I noticed that my odometer had reached 99999 miles. This was in the days before cars routinely added a digit to mark the hundred thousands, so it meant the car was about to turn over to 00000- to get a new start, as it were. I watched closely as the digits slowly rotated, and then pulled to the side of the road to ponder for a few moments. What was it that made this event so extraordinary? In a sense, it was no different from any other time a digit on the odometer changed from 9 to 0, or, for that matter, from 0 to 1 or 7 to 8. The miles leading up to this point had each been unique; the ones to follow would reveal new opportunities. But there was something about turning over the odometer that called for a moment to stop and reflect.

That's very much what New Year's Day is about. There are no celestial signs- no solstice or full moon- or historical commemorations to mark this particular day. It arrives simply because those who follow the Gregorian Calendar have agreed that the year will begin on January 1. Yet the traditions surrounding its celebration call us to stop for a moment in the ongoing flow of time, to give thanks for what has been, and to anticipate what will be.

New Year's is often a day for making changes, and offers a useful target date for accomplishing tasks that have needed to be done for a while, or for taking steps that bring significant changes. And so it is that this New Year brings with it a new look and some new leadership at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio.

ICP webELECTRONIC FACELIFT. You will already have noticed the first change this year- the heading for the Bay Area Interfaith Connect newsletter has changed. It's part of a complete revision of the Interfaith Center website that has been long needed. The website has been the product of many hours of labor by staff and volunteers from the early days of hand-coded HTML. Each individual has reworked, reused, and modified sections of the site until it became something of a mess. Take a look at www.interfaith-presidio.org; we think you will find the new layout more attractive and easier to use. With a more consistent and updated framework, we'll be adding more information and capabilities as we move forward. We're still working out some of the bugs, and we welcome your comments to webmaster@interfaith-presidio.org.

Presidio Chapel

 

As part of the update, the Presidio Chapel now has its own site, which can be reached either through the Interfaith Center site, or at its own address: www.presidiochapel.org. The Interfaith Center has served as the steward of the Presidio Chapel since 1996. In addition to its role as a meeting place for interfaith programs, the Chapel has also served the wider community as a wedding chapel and a place for memorials, concerts, and other gatherings. Take a look to find out about the history of the chapel, and some of the plans for renovation in the future.

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Rev. Susan StrouseWELCOME SUSAN STROUSE. The Rev. Susan Strouse, D. Min, began as Interim Director of the Interfaith Center on January 1. Susan is a Lutheran Pastor, serving at the First United Lutheran Church of San Francisco since 2004. She has previously served congregations in Buffalo, NY and Novato, CA. She earned her Doctor of Ministry degree in interfaith theology from the Pacific School of Religion in 2005, and has served at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio as a Board member, member of the Interfaith Academy Board, and conference planner. She also serves as Dean of the San Francisco Conference of the Sierra Pacific Synod (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).

So it is that January 1 also marks the day that we give our heartfelt thanks to the Rev. Paul Chaffe for his faithful service as the Executive Director of the Interfaith Center since its founding. He and his wife Jan (who worked behind the scenes as Chief Financial Officer) intend to remain in the area, and will continue to work on interfaith projects. Watch for news about a gathering soon to thank them for all their work.

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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). For information about membership, go to the Membership page on our website. Fill out the form and send it back. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us at 415-775-XXXX or email sandi@interfaith-presidio.org.


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