Unleashing the Power of Interreligious Cooperation
The Interfaith Center at the Presidio welcomes, serves, and celebrates the diverse spiritual wisdom and faith traditions of the Bay Area and is networked with interfaith groups locally and globally. Located at the Post Chapel in the Presidio of San Francisco, ICP’s core activities include:
Developing local and global connections, and
Creating interfaith learning environments and resources.
Two key elements of our linking work are:
Bay Area Interfaith Connect: A monthly newsletter of events, opportunities, and reflection on things interfaith here in the Bay Area and around the World
Ordained Clergy/Mental Health Professionals Asked to Self Organize as Pastoral Care Teams for Fire Victims
The City of Santa Rosa has requested help with their repopulation efforts of neighborhoods affected by the recent, and ongoing, catastrophic fires. The City has requested Pastoral Care and Mental Health teams to be made available this Wednesday through Sunday (October 18 – 22), 8 am – 5pm, to be present as areas open up one by one. During this time only residents and approved support personnel will be allowed into neighborhoods.
*Please note that this is a tentative schedule as any opening of affected areas is on approval for safety by CAL Fire.
Teams of 3-5, ordained ministers or licensed mental health professionals moving together through neighborhoods offering emotional support to persons in area. Please note that even those with houses still standing may be deeply affected by this incident.
Teams once formed will register the Emotional and Spiritual Care Officer (contact listed below). They will be given directions and a time to meet for the opening they are assigned to assist with. Teams can register for multiple days. Please register as soon as possible; people must be registered and vetted to be allowed in. Vetting will be a simple verification of the team’s association with the Congregation or Organization they claim affiliation with.
Once the restrictions on neighborhoods have been lifted, and public access is granted, teams can assist as they are moved to do so; many opportunities to help those affected by this fire exist well after this initial effort is concluded.
Fighting ceased at the end of World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars and became Veterans Day.
Please join us for an Interfaith Service of Remembrance
Saturday, November 11, 11:00 am
Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio joins with people across the nation in grieving the victims, offering our prayers, and rededicating ourselves to the task of building relationships of respect and peace among the fractured communities of our nation.
As a Cooperating Circle of the United Religions Initiative, we share the vision expressed by URI Executive Director Rev. Victor Kazanjian, Jr.:
If we do not allow ourselves to feel this sadness, to really grieve, then our fears and pain turn instead to grievance. Who is to blame? How can I get my revenge? The world seems locked in an endless cycle of grievance. Grievance is the fuel of terrorists. One act of violence fuels another act of violence and the cycle continues, day after day, generation after generation.
But we who work for peace are dedicated to breaking this cycle. First we weep, for those whose lives are lost. We weep for their families and friends and communities who grieve. We weep and then we work. Our sadness leads not to paralysis, but to a deeper commitment to work for peace in our communities, in our countries and in our world.
We will post information about any vigils or events that we know of being planned in the Bay Area; if your group is planning an event, please send details to @.
The Interfaith Center was host to two special events in the Presidio Chapel marking the United Nations International Day of Peace. The September 21st service honored the 20th anniversary of “Mines to Vines,” a project of Roots for Peace to convert former battlefields to productive farmland. Heidi Kuhn, Executive Director of Roots for Peace, was the keynote speaker.
She was joined by leaders from Baha’i, Brahma Kumari, Buddhist, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Muslim, and Unitarian communities. The full program is available here. The San Francisco Interfaith Council and United Religions Initiative co-sponsored the event.
On Sunday, September 24, Victoria Rodriguez, Darryl Taylor, and Deon Nielsen Price, accomplished musicians and performers, joined their talents to present “To the Children of War,” based on poetry by Maya Angelou, along with other music by Chopin, Debussy and Deon Price. Their aim was to offer soulful music for voice and piano that addresses society’s unrest and can bring peace to the listener.
URI GLOBAL LEADERSHIP GATHERING ICP Board Chair Fred Fielding attended the 2017 URI Global Leadership Gathering in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina as a Global Council Trustee for North America. There were over 80 attendees including URI Global Council members, URI President’s Council members, and global staff members. The purpose of the gathering was to build stronger relationships among global leadership on all levels, further the URI strategic planning process, and support URI member organizations called Cooperation Circles in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Europe.
Activities and events included Global Council and staff meetings, strategic planning presentations, and opportunities to learn about the cultural and religious history of the area. URI highlighted the work of Youth for Peace, a Cooperation Circle in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This included a public event with local dignitaries and religious leaders speaking to a group of approximately 200 guests. Youth for Peace provides programs for young people from different religious backgrounds to meet, engage in peaceful dialogue and activities.
DOCENT TOURS OF PRESIDIO CHAPEL. Summertime is a great time to enjoy the Open House/Docent Tours at the Presidio Chapel each Sunday from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm. Come and view the historic 33′ fresco painted by Victor Arnautoff, a protegé of Diego Rivera, and the stained glass windows created by Willemina Ogterop, the first woman stained glass artist west of the Mississippi to be inducted into the Stained Glass Artists Guild. Our docent, Daniel Johnson, serves to make your visit memorable and informative. The open house is listed on the Presidio Trust’s website with other guided tours. Learn more about the Presidio Chapel here and then plan to visit us and take a tour.
AROUND THE BAY:
The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County issued a statement for Yom Kippur condemning recent incidences of antisemitism in the Bay Area. It reads in part: “We join the Congregation of Temple Sinai in not allowing the madness and hatred around us to become the World within us. We join Temple Sinai in “writing over” the graffiti of hate with the words and actions of love and hope. We join with all peoples of good will in offering our love, our support, our solidarity.” See the full statement.
The Marin Interfaith Council now has an initiative dealing directly with climate change, the Marin Interfaith Climate Action (MICA). Currently with a membership from 13 faith communities in Marin, and affiliated with local, state, and national environmental and climate groups, MICA is looking to extend its base of membership and increase its connections to Marin faith communities.
NAINCONNECT 2017 PHOTOS. The Poway Interfaith Team, host to this year’s NAIN Connect gathering in August, has posted photos and descriptions of the events that made up this year’s celebration. You can see them at powayinterfaithteam.com/photos/
THE INTERFAITH OBSERVER. The Interfaith Observer (TIO) is an independent internet journal about all things interfaith. The articles this month represent a hint of the remarkable resources available in these days of ripe anxiety – resources to address climate change, accelerating natural disasters, and personal engagement. Enjoy!
PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD”S RELIGIONS Toronto, Canada
November 1-7, 2018
“The Promise of Inclusion & the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change” will be the theme for the 125th anniversary gathering of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The Parliament invites proposals for programs, presentations, and performances at the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions, to be held in November 1 – 7 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Programming for the 2018 Parliament will focus largely, but not exclusively, on:
the broad critical issues of our mission statement (justice, peace and sustainability)
our critical constituencies (Indigenous Peoples, The Next Generations, and Women and Girls)
the signature document of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Declaration Toward a Global Ethic
Programs will also be welcomed focused on additional issues and identities. For details, see the Call for Programs. Find out more about the Parliament at the Parliament website.
NOTES & QUOTES: “Our past shows us that one day, perhaps not too far hence, Muslims will be viewed as just another minority with the same issues as the rest of us: occasional car trouble, hospital bills, births and deaths, graduations and weddings, laughs and tears” – Maha ElGenaidi and Tim Brauhn…“But I also have a better idea. And it’s about our diversity. And its the power of the diversity,…The power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, we come from all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringing. The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful.” – Lieutenant General Jay Silveria speaking to Air Force cadets.
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 @. 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 INTERRELIGIOUS CALENDAR
Our searchable new 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.
COUNTERING THE “MUSLIM BAN.” The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, a national effort to stand against prejudice against Muslims has developed an Interfaith Toolkit with information and guidelines for groups that want to take action against the newest version of the Muslim ban. The toolkit can be found here.
BAY AREA SPIRITUAL DIRECTIORS GATHERING. “Hands and Hearts Connected: Northern California Gathering for Spiritual Directors” will take place on Sunday, October 29, 2017, 2:00 – 5:00 pm at Plymouth Jazz and Justice Church, 424 Monte Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611. Please join us for this free event to meet other spiritual companions and find connection right here where you live. SDI Executive Director Anil Singh-Molares will be joining us for this gathering. Our hope is that from this local gathering, a regional group will emerge to organize ongoing SDI gatherings in the Bay Area as well as other regions in Northern California. Please RSVP by October 15 to @ so we can plan accordingly. More information about Spiritual Directors International at www.sdiworld.org/
FRANK v. GOD FILM: “Frank vs. God” is a comedy that asks the big questions with a light-hearted tone and an open mind. The film is an uplifting story of one man’s search for answers, by taking them to a higher court. “Great for interfaith discussions of all kinds. It sets a wonderful model for interfaith relations, as it shows leaders of all religious groups working together.” –Rabbi Mark Glickman, Congregation Kol Ami. Available on DVD and through streaming video; see details at www.frankvsgod.com/
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.
September 21 again marks the International Day of Peace, declared by the United Nations and observed in many ways all around the world. This year’s theme is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”
A celebration of International Peace Day will take place at the Presidio Chapel, honoring the Roots of Peace “Mines to Vines” project that works to remove landmines and restore the soil with bountiful vineyards & orchards in war-torn regions worldwide. Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm, Presidio Chapel, 130 Fisher Loop, Presidio, San Francisco. Sponsors include ICP, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and United Religions Initiative.
Learn more about the International Day of Peace, see a map of observances planned, and the U.N. “Join Together” program at internationaldayofpeace.org/
On Friday, August 25 over 350 people gathered at Congregation Kol Shofar in
Tiburon for “Love Lives in Marin”, an interfaith prayer service,
co-sponsored by the Marin Interfaith Council. The service included singing,
words of encouragement from local faith leaders, time for attendees to pair
up and offer mutual support, prayer and meditation. The evening concluded
with children lighting candles as participants sang and stood in solidarity
with each other.
The interfaith service was the first “Love Lives in Marin” event, which is
an initiative of the Marin Interfaith Council. It was inspired by a pastoral
visit by 40 rabbis from across the nation, including Rabbi Susan Leider of
Congregation Kol Shofar, to Whitefish, Montana, where a similar initiative
arose in response to anti-Semitic attacks aimed at the local Jewish
community. Businesses, civic leaders, and leaders from other faith
traditions rose up in solidarity with the Jewish community to oppose hate
and promote love and inclusion.
During Friday night’s service, Rabbi Leider said, “What is an attack on one
is an attack on all.” She explained the purpose of Love Lives in Marin is
to change the public discourse, create a community where all are welcome,
and “rise above the fray and speak for those whose voices aren’t uplifted.”
Other faith leaders who spoke or sang at the interfaith prayer services
included Rabbi Chai Levy, Congregation Kol Shofar; Ebrahim Nana, Islamic
Center of Mill Valley; Rev. Bethany Nelson and Rev. Rob McClellan,
Westminster Presbyterian Church; Rev. Scott Quinn, Marin Interfaith Council;
Rev. Yolanda Norton, Professor at San Francisco Theological Seminary; Rev.
Shokuchi Carrigan, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center; and Rev. Veronica Goines,
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
Each faith leader emphasized the evening’s central message that our faithful
response to hate is not only resistance but also to stand up for the values
promoted by all the world’s faith traditions: hope, inclusivity, equality,
compassion, justice and love.
Rev. Norton said, “Love is an active means of resistance.”
“Let love live not merely in the addresses we give, but also in the
addresses where we reside,” said Rev. McClellan.
Love Lives in Marin seeks to inspire more organic acts of compassion, hope,
interfaith connection, solidarity, and justice.
In response to a planned “alt-right” demonstration in San Francisco (which subsequently was cancelled), an interfaith gathering at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco drew a full house for a celebration of love, community, and diversity on August 25. An interfaith Sabbath service was followed by a dessert reception.
The event was sponsored by the San Francisco Interfaith Council, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.
Following vandalism at Temple Israel in Alameda, the wider community joined synagaogue members for a vigil of support on August 18.
One of the members, Amy Seefeldt, wrote:
I wanted to take a minute as a member of Temple Israel and of the Alameda Community to thank everyone who came and showed support at Friday night’s vigil. I can’t say enough about how proud I was of the way that our community and surrounding communities handled the vandalism incident at our synagogue. They approached it with love, respect and grace. People from all around the East Bay, no matter what religion or belief they identified with, gathered in front of our temple. Many of them even came into our synagogue afterwards to unite in prayer.
This year, Temple Israel has endured challenges and changes that have shaped us as a congregation. Whether some of those changes have been for better or worse, we are always resilient. Temple Israel is a small congregation of 100 members that year after year has endeavored to remain a center for Jewish life in Alameda. This isn’t easy on our little island where neighboring cities like Oakland and Berkeley have a greater concentration of Jewish people and significantly larger synagogues. But Temple Israel, which was founded in 1924, is rooted in Alamedan history. Today it serves a group of smart, dedicated, passionate and tenacious people that have put their hearts into sustaining our little synagogue, despite the financial struggles inherent to a small congregation. Our smallness, though, is also also a benefit, bringing a closer sense of community.
This attack came during a time of evolution for Temple Israel. We have been busy shaping our goals, defining our identity and finding our direction. We have been planning new programming for Alameda families, preparing for exciting building renovations and even getting ready for a new rabbi. Basically, we’re trying to better ourselves so that we can reach out more to our community. This past Friday night was both a curse and a blessing; the act of vandalism was tragic, but the subsequent love shown by our community was extraordinary. After attending Friday’s vigil, a friend of mine, Fred Fielding, who is Board President of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio said, “For every one person who wants to hurt people there are hundreds who want to heal.” This past Friday night was a beautiful display of this conviction. Temple Israel, the local Jewish community and Alameda all have the strength to heal.