The Interfaith Center's mission is to welcome, serve, and celebrate the diverse spiritual wisdom and faith traditions of the Bay Area.
Interfaith Center at the Presidio
We continue to work closely with the Presidio Trust, the government agency that is responsible for this magnificent National Park, the Presidio of San Francisco, and therefore, the Presidio Chapel. We have worked with the Trust for several years now on restoring the Chapel and adding a wing to provide accessible bathrooms, an elevator, and a gallery for the McDonald Windows (see the plans here).
Much design work has been done,-and we are waiting for final approvals at the state and national level. In the meantime, this 81-year-old Spanish Mission Revival Chapel continues to need maintenance and repair. Much to our delight, the Presidio Trust will commence to repair the roof (historical tile by historical tile), replace the heating system, mitigate water damage, and provide cosmetic upgrades.
In exchange for these building improvements, the Trust will take over the event business in order to recoup some of these investments. While the Interfaith Center will be losing the income from weddings, memorials, concerts, etc., we will be able to focus on our mission without the expenses involved in running outside events.
We are thrilled with this new arrangement, especially since we will be able to continue using the Chapel not only for our offices on the ground floor but also the upstairs for our own events such as the annual Memorial Day interfaith service.
Interfaith Prayer Service
for San Francisco Mayor-Elect Edwin Lee
On January 7, 2012, ICP and the San Francisco Interfaith Council hosted an Interfaith Prayer Service for San Francisco Mayor Lee on the Eve of his Inauguration at the Presidio Chapel. For highlights from this service, click here.
Memorial Day 2012
To Honor the Fallen, Heal and Celebrate the Living. That was the purpose of the interfaith Memorial Day service at the Presidio Interfaith Chapel on May 28. Following the annual parade and program at the San Francisco National Cemetery, ICP held a service of prayer and remembrance. The service included music from the organ, trumpet, and bagpipe, and prayers from several traditions: Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Buddhist. A U.S. Army Color Guard from Camp Parks presented the colors, and the final blessing was given by Chaplain Captain Alner Nambatac of Camp Parks. The Rev. Kirsten Hedlund, CPT, Chaplain, Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area gave the homily. See photos here.
Chapel Clean-Up Day
Every year on the same day, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California and Hawaii chooses a major project in their communities and, members spend a half-day on a Saturday doing whatever it takes to make the project a success. This year the San Francisco Stake (similar to a diocese or local judicatory) of the LDS church came to the Presidio Chapel to clean, paint, polish, and plant as well as clean the gravestones at the San Francisco National Cemetery next door. It was quite exciting to see all these great people pulling together; adults, teenagers and children in their yellow vests and t-shirts. There were even plumbers and carpenters to overhaul the kitchen and bathrooms. We are so grateful to all these wonderful volunteers. See photos here.
Interfaith Blood Drive
Religious communities from Ukiah to Santa Cruz held an interfaith blood drive last July. There were over 80 individual blood drives scheduled, the largest ever in the history of the Northern California Blood Services Region and most likely the largest religiously-based effort in the history of the national Red Cross. Cooperating in the interfaith effort_ were five Roman Catholic Dioceses (Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Monterey), 30 stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Interfaith Councils throughout Northern California, and other religious communities, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The Interfaith Center at the Presidio was proud to have participated in the 2nd Annual Interfaith Community Red Cross Blood Drive.
Many of our board members are on the boards of other interfaith organizations such as the Marin Interfaith Council, the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, and the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley). They teach, speak at seminars and serve on panels. Rev. Dr. Susan Strouse, 2012 Board President, recently participated on a panel at the University of San Francisco as part of the book launch for Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, and Quran by Brian Arthur Brown.
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
HISTORY AND MISSION
OF INTERF AITH CENTER AT THE PRESIDIO
"Swords to Plowshares." That was a major theme that emerged during citizen meetings in the early 1990s as San Francisco and the nation planned the turnover of the Presidio from military to ciyilian use. The Interfaith Center at the Presidio was formed as the Bay Area interfaith community's response to religious leaders from different faiths calling for an interfaith presence in the new park to address religious intolerance, injustice, and violence.
Since 1996 when the Center moved into the Presidio Chapel, more than 150,000 visitors have attended over 1,500 weddings and memorials and more than 1,000 faith and interfaith meetings, workshops, programs, exhibits, concerts, and celebrations.
The Interfaith Center is a regional interfaith organization for the Bay Area. Twenty-two interfaith entities with 15 different religions have been represented on the board over the years. The Center is a practical expression of people from different beliefs talking to and building relationships.