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
For a complete description of each event, please check back issues of our monthly enewsletter, Bay Area Interfaith Connect.
AT THE CHAPEL
Girl Scout Sunday Interfaith Service
On Sunday, March 9, the Presidio Chapel was host to the San Francisco Service Unit of the Girl Scouts for an interfaith ceremony honoring those girls who had earned awards in religion. Awards were won by Buddhists, Jews, Presbyterians, and Baptists. The organizers were most grateful to ICP for welcoming them, and appreciated the chance to hold the ceremony in a place that had been dedicated to respect for different religious traditions from its beginning.
Memorial Day 2014
The Interfaith Chapel welcomed visitors on Memorial Day. The Presidio Memorial Day parade began at 10:00 am, followed by the ceremony at the San Francisco National Cemetery next to the Chapel.
URI Global Council Meeting
United Religions Initiative (URI) brought its Global Council and Global Staff to the Bay Area for a weeklong meeting in July. They came from over 25 countries representing over 600 Cooperation Circles and hundreds of initiatives - peacebuilding, saving the environment, stopping religiously motivated violence, addressing poverty and women's issues and so much more. The Interfaith Center was honored to host the welcoming ceremony for the Council in the Presidio Chapel on June 22nd. Gathering in this sacred space, the Council members lit candles, prayed, sang, and celebrated the work URI has been doing to bring people around the world together to address local need for so many wonderful initiatives.
International Day of Peace
September 21 has been celebrated as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations each year since 1982. The Interfaith Center hosted a screening of the film Waking in Oak Creek which profiles a suburban town in Wisconsin rocked by hate after six worshippers at a Sikh Temple were killed by a white supremacist. In the year following the attack, the film highlights a community and law enforcement working together to overcome tragedy, stand up to hate, and create a safe town for all.
ICP held an Interfaith Service of Unity and Peace at the Presidio Chapel, home to the Interfaith Center. The service was adapted from the 1974 Book of Worship for United States Forces, and included leaders from Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim traditions, as well as a representative from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office. Special music included a bagpiper, hymns, chanting, and the ringing of the bell.
Last February 3-7, during Interfaith Harmony week, we posted a question on the Interfaith Center at the Presidio Facebook Page and invited readers to respond with a word, a picture, a quote and the like. We will be doing more of this in the future.
Bay Area Interfaith Connect is our monthly electronic newsletter that lists resources and opportunities that are available in the Bay Area and beyond as well as articles and editorials that address the wide spectrum of religious traditions and communities in the greater Bay Area. Please subscribe by sending an email to email@example.com
AROUND THE BAY AREA AND BEYOND
Coexister Interfaith Tour
"ls interfaith cooperation a means or an end?" "Is there a difference between tolerance, coexistence, cooperation, and appreciation?" and "What message would you give to young people about getting involved in interfaith work?" Those were just a few of the questions local interfaith leaders were asked recently by three French students who traveled around the world to explore and document interfaith cooperation. These young men were part of a five-person world tour sponsored by Coexister, the Youth Interfaith Movement in France. All students in their 20's, an atheist, an agnostic, and a Muslim, they traveled with two others, a Christian and a Jew, on the Interfaith Tour. In less than a year they met with more than 500 activists in more than 60 countries. ICP was instrumental in setting up interviews and connecting them with events in our area; many of the people they met were closely connected with ICP. Their goal was not merely to meet and talk, but to share what they have learned as they travel and to end their journey with a "Tour de France" that will take them throughout their own country.
Peace in the Park
In an effort to bring together the diverse San Francisco and surrounding communities to unplug and explore activities of peace and happiness in an inspiring and healthy atmosphere, the Brahma Kumaris (BK) Meditation Center of San Francisco hosted its second annual peace festival, Peace in the Park, in Golden Gate Park. ICP shared a booth with URI and displays from many Bay Area organizations prompted interest and conversations.
East Bay Stand Down Veterans Event
ICP Board Member Rev. Carrie Knowles served with chaplains of many faiths at the East Bay Stand Down in Sept. The East Bay Stand Down is a consortium of community organizations coming together to provide a four-day event every other year that brings together the nine-county homeless and at-risk military Veterans living in the Bay Area of California, connecting them with services ranging from: VA healthcare, dental, mental health services, clothing, meals, emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, ID/ drivers license's, legal aide, showers and haircuts and myriad other services.
San Francisco Foundation Faiths Program
The FAITHS program of the San Francisco Foundation recently celebrated 20 years of work. The program began when local religious leaders pointed out to the Foundation that religious communities were key partners in community development. FAITHS stands for Foundation Alliance with Interfaith to Heal Society, and supports efforts dealing with education, immigration, and poverty issues. ICP board members and staff serve on various committees of the FAITHS program.
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.