The Interfaith Center at the Presidio links the power of interreligious cooperation by welcoming, serving, and celebrating the diverse wisdom and faith traditions of the Bay Area.
REGIONAL INTERFAITH COOPERATION
On February 28, ICP hosted a gathering of the leaders of interfaith organizations around the Bay at the Presidio Chapel as part of our ongoing efforts to serve the diverse traditions of the Bay Area.
The leaders had the opportunity to meet Jaya Reinhalter, a new staffer for the United Religions Initiative, who will be devoting half-time to working with Cooperating Circles in the area. Most of the interfaith organizations in our area are Cooperating Circles of the URI, and so Jaya will be working together with ICP to explore ways to improve communication and cooperation between our several groups to make interfaith collaboration more visible and effective in the Bay Area.
Attendees at the meeting included leaders from Marin Interfaith Council, San Francisco Interfaith Council, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Eden Area Interfaith Council, TriCities Interfaith Council, and the SIlicon Valley Interreligious Council, as well as Islamic Networks Group, a nation-wide educational organization based in San Jose.
THIRD SUNDAY CONCERTS. The Third Sunday Concert for February presented a showcase of musical talent, spirituals, songs, and instrumental music from African-American composers of yesterday and today. Find out more here.
The March concert features Electric Violinist-Composer and Poet
Mary Lou Newmark to celebrate Women’s History Month with “Room to Breathe.” Sunday, March 18th, 4:00 pm at the Presidio Chapel. Details are here.
A BUSY YEAR FOR INTERFAITH. 2018 is shaping up to be a notable year for interfaith gatherings. Among the upcoming national and international events are:
URI North America Assembly: July 27-29, 2018, Baltimore, MD
Each United Religions Initiative North America Cooperation Circle and Affiliate is invited to send one representative to this weekend-long retreat for interfaith peacebuilders. It will provide an opportunity for URI people in the US and Canada to meet one another, share skills, learn new ways of doing things, find inspiration and get refreshed. Registration for the gathering includes food, lodging, programming and transportation to/from the airport (if necessary). Each URI North America Cooperation Circle and Affiliate is invited to send one representative on a “pay what you can” model. Need-based financial assistance for travel is also available. Participants should be able to stay for the entire event (late afternoon of July 27 through 1:00 pm on July 29, 2018). If more than one person from your group would like to attend the gathering, they can add their name to the waiting list. (Please note that financial assistance will not be available for additional representatives.) Registration is due by April 1; see details and registration info here.
Re-Imagining Interfaith: July 29-August 1, 2018, Washington, D.C.
Interfaith work has traditionally been all about bridge building but what are the bridges that we haven’t been so great at building? This gathering will focus not on the academic side of this question but on the practical side. All of our tracks will be focused on equipping and empowering activists working across lines of difference with the skills they need to get us there. Training will be offered in 6 Program Tracks: Cultivating Inclusive Communities in the Face of Religious Discrimination; Community Organizing: Initiating and Sustaining Social Change Movements; Staying “Woke”: Recognizing Privilege, Challenging Systemic Oppression; Interfaith Organizing in a Changing Spiritual Landscape; Making a Movement: Building Skills to Bring Interfaith to the Next Level. Co-sponsored by numerous diverse organizations, including Religions for Peace-USA, Shoulder-to-Shoulder, World Congress of Faith, the Interfaith Funders Group, the International Association for Religious Freedom and multiple faith communities. See details and registration at www.reimagineinterfaith.org/
NAINConnect: 2018 July 31–August 3, Edmonton, Canada
Make a pilgrimage to a 10,000-year-old Indigenous Peoples’ sacred meeting site for the annual gathering of the North American Interfaith Network. This year’s theme is ” Pilgrimage: Journeys of Discovery.” Check out the keynote speakers and program as they are announced at nain2018edmonton.ca/ . Interested young adults, aged 18-35, are encouraged to apply for a Young Adult Summit that will be held the first day of the conference. Details and application here; apply by March 15. Early bird registration for the full conference is available until the end of March.
Parliament of the World’s Religions: November 1-7. 2018, Toronto, Canada
The Parliament will once again bring together from all around the world aiming to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. The theme this time is “The Promise of Inclusion: The Power of Love,” and the Parliament promises to be a memorable mix of more than 500 programs, workshops, and dialogues, alongside music, dance, art and photography exhibitions, and related events presented by the world’s religious communities and cultural institutions. Program proposals still being accepted through April 1; see Call for Proposals. Early bird registration is available until March 31; registration and details are available at parliamentofreligions.org/
PRESIDIO CHAPEL TOURS. Guided tours of the home of the Interfaith Center are again available. Visit the historic Spanish Mission Revival style Presidio Chapel, built by the Army in 1931, with a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay. It is home to a 33 foot mural by Victor Arnautoff, a protégé of Diego Rivera, and stained glass windows by Willemina Ogterop, the first woman stained glass artist west of the Mississippi to be inducted into the Stained Glass Artists Guild. SundayMarch 25, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm.
COMPASSION FILM. The film Risking Light will have its World Premiere in Competition at the 2018 Cinequest Film & VR Festival on March 3, 5, and 9, with screenings in San Jose and Redwood City. The film highlights stories of 3 people from diverse religious backgrounds as they struggle with the question of forgiveness. From the streets of Minneapolis, the aboriginal lands of Australia, and the killing fields of Cambodia come the powerful stories of three people who had the courage to step out of the haunting, tragic darkness of the past, risking everything to reach the light of their own compassion.
Risking Light is a thought-provoking documentary that explores resilience, and the painful process of moving from grief to compassion and forgiveness. Through the unforgettable stories of Mary Johnson, who grieves a murdered son; Debra Hocking, a victim of government-sanctioned genocide; and Kilong Ung, who survived the terror of the Khmer Rouge, Risking Light challenges us to examine our own beliefs about forgiveness and ask “What would the world look like if we could learn to forgive one another?” View trailer here.
The director Dawn Mikkelson, producer Miranda Wilson, and storyteller Kilong Ung will be in attendance at the festival. More information on tickets, screening times, etc. can be found here.
SCARBORO MISSIONS INTERFAITH OFFICE CLOSES. For twenty years, the Interfaith Department of Scarboro MIssions, based in Ontario, Canada is a Society of Canadian Catholics, has sponsored an archive of valuable materials for interfaith relations. The faithful hand behind their Interfaith Office over the years has been Paul McKenna. Sadly, the Interfaith Office was closed at the end of 2017.
In the spring of 2018, their interfaith and golden rule web resources will be transferred to Regis College, a Jesuit theological college in Toronto, Canada. All existing links to their interfaith web resources will remain valid and will be redirected to Regis College.
- Principles and guidelines for interfaith dialogue: explores the goals, types and stages of dialogue and touches on issues such as interfaith etiquette, listening, peace-building, hospitality, respectful presence and dialogue-versus-debate. These principles and guidelines are useful for those who are new to interfaith as well as for veterans of interfaith work.
- Interfaith curriculum and educational resources: online courses, toolkits, best practices, do-it-yourself workshops, activities, multifaith prayer services, how-to-manuals, guidelines, games, starter kits, meditations, slideshows, etc.
- Golden Rule education resources: interactive resources, meditation exercises, videos, multilingual posters, art activities, do-it-yourself workshops, slide programs, discussion questions, Golden Rule websites, books, toolkits, best practices, and school & youth group curricula:
- Church and Dialogue: This collection of resources chronicles the Catholic Church’s 50-year journey of dialogue with other religions, a journey that began with the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.
Our heartfelt thanks to Scarboro Missions and Paul for their significant contribution to interfaith cooperation!
THE INTERFAITH OBSERVER. The Interfaith Observer (TIO) is an independent internet journal about all things interfaith. This month TIO is taking time to review 2017. Below you will find a few of the “best” articles from the past year. They encourage and challenge us, and broaden our perspective. In addition, you will find a tribute to the late bold interfaith visionary Bill Lesher, who died in February, and the most inspiring videos from the year. –TIO Team
NOTES & QUOTES: “from a spiritual perspective—and this is in line with the teachings of most of the world’s religions—a threat of violence should be a last resort, not a first response. – Gudjon Bergmann… [If I had a magic wand, I would …] “Remove assault and automatic weapons from the hands of our citizens.” – Rabbi Beth Singer...”All our faiths are grounded in the common value of compassion. We affirm fair treatment for all and the centrality of “loving our neighbors as ourselves.” Prejudice, animosity, or violence against any group of people is completely antithetical to our religious principles. We promote our national values which declare that we are one nation with ‘liberty and justice for all.’” – TriCities Interfaith Council…
SUPPORT ICP! To be able to provide the services to the interfaith community in the Bay Area and to maintain our facility in a manner that guarantees both its safety and its beauty, we depend on friends like you to share our vision and support our ultimate cause: to bring peace and understanding to humankind, not only in San Francisco, but throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Please join us in our efforts to continue the dialogue with those who are different from us to help lead the way in bringing harmony and peace to our world.
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BAY AREA INTERRELIGIOUS CALENDAR
Our searchable calendar page offers listings of interfaith opportunities for learning, celebration, taking action, and celebrating the diverse religious traditions of the Bay Area. The calendar can be viewed as a list, as a monthly calendar page, or by the week.
INTERFAITH MARCH. On April 29, 2018, people across America will be participating in a coordinated event called the Interfaith March for Peace & Justice – a non-partisan, positive re-assertion of the principles of equal justice and religious liberty. This event was initiated by the Safe Alliance for Interfaith Leaders in Columbus, OH (an aspiring URI Cooperation Circle) and it has the support of a number of organizations including the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio and the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network. We would love for other groups to join in this effort and we invite you to check out our website at interfaithmarch.com or follow us on facebook at facebook.com/interfaithmarch.
INTERFAITH CALENDAR. The San Francisco Interfaith Council has made a 2018 Interfaith Calendar available with listings of religious observances from many traditions. They offer the calendar as an aid to scheduling and avoiding potential conflicts, with apologies for any omissions or oversights that might have occurred. You can find the calendar in .pdf form here.
WOMEN RELIGIOUS LEADERS HIGHLIGHTED. The December issue of Nob Hill Gazette featured an interview with four women who are religious leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area. Writer Janet Reilly interviewed the Reverend Dr. Ellen Clark-King of Grace Cathedral, the Reverend Elizabeth Ekdale of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Rabbi Beth Singer of Congregation Emanu-El and Maha Elgenaidi, executive director of Islamic Networks Group, You can read the article here.
MULTI-RELIGIOUS COOPERATION. Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace International, was invited by Global Connections Television (GCTV) at the United Nations to discuss how multi-religious cooperation among the world’s religions is a unique and powerful way to address urgent challenges. Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition dedicated to advancing common action among the world religious communities for peace. You can watch the video interview here.
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.
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 @. 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.