BAIC March 2017

Bay Area Interfaith Connect

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.

IN THIS ISSUE: Regional Interfaith Response | Family Fun at ICP | INTRAFaith Book Study | Speaking Up: Rita Semel | East Bay Cooperation | NAINConnect 2017 | The Interfaith Observer | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Subscription Info

Interfaith Center at the PresidioLeaders of Interfaith Councils from Sonoma to San Jose convened at the Presidio on February 6 to consider ways that we might work together in the future to address the rising concerns about governmental policies and public opinion that seem to be creating an environment of hostility and anger directed at religious minorities, immigrant groups, and others. Convened by the Interfaith Center, the meeting was hosted at the United Religions Initiative headquarters to make use of their teleconferencing capabilities, allowing even more people to check in via phone and computer.

Out of that meeting came several strategies for moving forward. ICP will continue to connect and convene the Interfaith Executives group, setting up channels for sharing information more effectively and seeking coordination of efforts around the Bay Area. We are also improving our tools for sharing Calendar events (you’ll note some differences in this issue of BAIC) and sending out timely notices between our monthly newsletters.

Also from that meeting came a shared statement, “More People of Faith Need to Speak Up,” which points out the unique contributions that people of faith can make in these times: “Religious and ethical resources bearing on today’s contentious questions”; “Spiritual resources for self-care”; and “Hope”. (Click the title link to read the full statement.)


Family FunFAMILY FUN AT ICP. The February Family Fun day was a well-organized huge hit! We showered all our interfaith spirit and love onto about 10 people, young and old. Board member Gerry Caprio provided music for the singalong, assisting leaders Marla Kolman and Mary Zamboukos. They did a fun project about the Golden Rule, made peace flags and shakers like last time, and had a singalong. The Family Fun Day takes place on the last Sunday of every month from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Presidio Chapel, 130 Fisher Circle, Presidio, San Francisco (above the Golden Gate Club) [map]. Come and join us, and bring the whole family!

Welcome to Fun Day   Peace Banners


INTRAfaith ConversationINTERFAITH DISCUSSION GROUP. The ICP Book Study group, composed of mainly Muslims & Christians, will be meeting at First United Lutheran Church Wednesday nights during Lent to discuss the INTRAfaith Conversation, beginning March 8 and going through April 5. Each session will begin with a simple meal of soup, salad, bread and prayer. For the discussion time, we’ll talk about a part of the book assigned for that week. The church is at 2097 Turk St. at Lyon in San Francisco. The book is available through Don’t worry if you can’t read the whole section each week. Pick a chapter that looks interesting and focus on that. Pay particular attention to the reflection questions at the end of the chapter. RSVP (for the meal) to .img@.img.


Rita SemelA MESSAGE FROM RITA SEMEL. The desecration of the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis last week and yesterday in Philadelphia has brought cries of indignation, sorrow and despair. For me, it is a frightening reminder of the past – a past I thought was behind me; the past which brought on World War II and the murder of six million Jews. A vision of things to come happened in 1939 – Krystallnacht – wholesale destruction of Jewish homes, stores, synagogues and cemeteries.

I am not suggesting that the cemetery desecration last week and this week was the American version of that awful night, but I am suggesting it may be a wakeup call for those of us who value everything America has stood for since the signing of the Constitution those hundreds of years ago. Have we always lived up to that Constitution? No, we have not. The history of the African American community in our country provides ample proof of that. But during the last several decades we have proved that we have learned something. We have learned that prejudice against one group or another hurts us all. And the faith community has been at the forefront of that learning, marching with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Selma and in many other ways since then.

And with Muslims under attack, the faith community is leading the way in support of their rights. So it must be with every incident which threatens any of us. The first amendment to the Constitution is our safeguard and we must remain vigilant and protect those rights which are guaranteed under it. And we must do it together – all religions, all races, all of us together. We must hold our government responsible – our City, our State and most important of all, our Federal government. We need to speak out loudly and respectfully, but speak out we must. The future of America is at stake.

— Rita R. Semel
Founder and Past Chair San Francisco Interfaith Council
Co-Founder of ICP


INTERFAITH COOPERATION IN THE EAST BAY. The Tri-City Interfaith Council welcomed some 150 people to their fourth annual World Interfaith Harmony Celebration in Fremont on February 4th. Randomly assigned to small groups, participants were asked to share what there was in their own tradition that offers comfort and peace and leads them to serve in the wider community. Read more and see some photos from the day’s event at the East Bay Times.

At Friday prayers on February 10 at the Muslim Community Center – East Bay, while nearly 200 Muslims were inside praying, Christians and Jews held hands and formed a ring around the mosque. Organized by the Tri-Valley Clergy Association, more than 100 supporters and well-wishers stood with their Tri-Valley Muslim neighbors.

ICPNAINConnect 2017

2017 NAINCONNECT will take place August 6-10 in San Diego, California. This 4-day conference is filled with speakers, workshops, activities and celebrations to cause you to want to stay in San Diego longer. From the Sunday Experience filled with a Bridge for Peace Ceremony, City Proclamations for Interfaith Awareness Week, incredible food, an interfaith choir and being serenaded by Karl Anthony you will go to bed very happy. Keynote speakers include Author Azim Khamisa, Monsignor Dennis Mikulanis, Imam Taha Hassane and a surprise speaker. More than twelve workshops will complement tours of local religious sites and historic Old Town San Diego. Full details and registration can be found at

NAIN is offering a Young Adult Scholarship, open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 who is currently involved in some form of interfaith or other social justice work. Scholarship recipients receive a $500 stipend to attend the annual NAINConnect conference. The application deadline is Wednesday, April 5th; information and application are on the scholarship application page.


THE INTERFAITH OBSERVER. (TIO) is an independent internet journal about all things interfaith. TIO was relaunched from a new website this September. Each month TIO goes to more than 12,000 faith and interfaith leaders, including about 2,300 outside the U.S. More than 350 writers have contributed articles. Download back issues. Subscribe for free.

Food and Faith: how do both of these intersect with things such as poverty and sustainability?

And more interfaith news:


NOTES & QUOTES: “Despite the insurgencies and terrorism in different parts of the world, Christians and Muslims still live together with the conscious or unconscious practice of the dialogue of life, religious experience, friendship, encounter, social engagements, presence and theological exchange.” – Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua…”I endeavor to carry on theology, and only theology, now as previously, and as if nothing had happened. Perhaps there is a slightly increased tone, but without direct allusions: something like the chanting of the hours by the Benedictines nearby in the Maria Laach, which goes on undoubtedly without break or interruption, pursuing the even tenor of its way even in the Third Reich.” – Karl Barth (quoted by Martin Marty)…“Religions don’t shoot through history in pneumatic tubes—they move through history, they accrue things to themselves, they interact with other religions, and bits and pieces of them get stuck together.” – Stephanie A. Paulsell.


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 .img@.img">.img@.img. 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!



We are in the process of shifting our calendar to a new style. You will find all the listings from March 2017 onward on our new calendar page (there’s a link in the menu above as well).



FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE joined ReThink Media for a webinar on counter messaging and opportunities, “Standing with Refugees in Word and Deed.” If you missed it, the link to the recording is here. Please share with faith and community leaders that would benefit from hearing timely research and guidance on countering anti-Muslim attitudes and discrimination. Find out more about Faith In Public Life and its projects at

GLOBAL SISTERHOOD MOVEMENT. Join the Unify Global Sisterhood Movement as we rise together on International Women’s Day! Gather in local Sister Circles world-wide to unite for a global synchronized meditation, prayer, and action to transform, uplift, and inspire the world! Join us for a special meditation and prayer audio broadcast livestreamed from our hub Sister Circle in Austin, Texas. Led by directors of the Global Sisterhood, Lauren Walsh and Emma Juniper, and special guest Mona Polacca, a Hopi elder of the International Council of the 13 indigenous grandmothers.

EARL LECTURES AND BOSWELL LECTURE. Under the theme of “Borders and Identity,” the Earl Lectures presented in partnership with our Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion‘s Boswell Lecture, will explore how migration across all kinds of borders—both physical and metaphorical—is reshaping our understanding of identity across boundaries of race, culture, religion, gender identity, and nationality. Within the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, join us for an engaging weekend of workshops, worship, direct action, and networking in conjunction with Pacific School of Religion’s Alumni/ae Reunion Weekend. Information and registration 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 .img@.img">.img@.img. 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.