BAIC August 2017

Bay Area Interfaith ConnectThe 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: International VIsitors | Chapel Tours  | Yezidi GalaNAINConnect 2017 | Around the Bay| URI Internships | Parliament 2018 | The Interfaith Observer | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Subscribe to BAIC

Interfaith Center at the PresidioBoth because of the beauty of the Presidio Chapel and the uniqueness of the interfaith work that the Center enables, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio is often host to visiting delegations from around the world.That was the case recently when 13 emerging national leaders from 10 African nations were invited to participate in a United States Department of State International Leadership Program to learn about Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Interfaith Dialogue.

Among those who visited ICP on July 26 were representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Mauritania, and a newswoman from France. They were met by Rita Semel of the ICP Board, and Michael Pappas of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, whose office is in the Presidio Chapel.

The International Leadership Program is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Participants are nominated by the staff at U.S. Embassies around the world, and typically visit four U.S. communities over three weeks, meeting with local organizations related to their area of interest.

Delegation from Africa with Rita Semel and Michael Pappas

Rita Semel and Michael Pappas with African delegates.

ICPPresidio ChapelDOCENT 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.


ICPYezidi imageINTERFAITH GALA FOR YEZIDI RELIEF. ICP has been a part of the coalition of interfaith groups around the Bay speaking out for the Yezidis, victims of genocide in Northern Iraq.  There will be a Gala Dessert Reception to raise funds for relief efforts on Tuesday, August 29, 7:00 – 9:00 pm at Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City. We will be honoring Rev. Victor Kazanjian, Jr., Director of the United Religions Initiative; Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Board of Rabbis of Northern California; and Fatih Ates, Pacifica Instititue. The keynote speaker will be Salem Daoud, head Yezidi religious leader for the United States and Canada. Come help the Yezidis! More information


ICPNAINConnect 20172017 NAINCONNECT. ICP Board President Fred Fielding will be attending the 2017 NAINConnect, the annual gathering of the North American Interfaith Network. Representatives of interfaith groups from Canada, the United States, and Mexico will gather in San Diego from August 6-10.

In addition to a distinguished lineup of speakers and workshop leaders, several young adults have been chosen to participate on the young adult panel. This year’s group, representing the upcoming generation of interfaith activists, includes Tavleen Kaur,  Tahil Sharma, Farhana Nizam, Miranda Hovemeyer, Sara Rahim, and Megan Weiss. Find out more about these Young Adult Leaders at the NAIN website.


  • Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice in Palo Alto is organizing a response network to respond quickly with publicly visible acts of solidarity on behalf of any religious, ethnic, or other vulnerable communities in their local area which are being threatened, or which have been harmed or violated in some way. See details at the MVPJ website.
  • Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County has been presenting “The Defusing Hatred Program” to teach nonviolent communication skills in a safe environment and develop tools for responding touneasy situations and hate speech. Find out more at ICCC
  • Marin Interfaith Council offers a Monthly Interfaith Meditation every second Wednesday, featuring a leader from a different spiritual community leading a meditation or spiritual practice and explaining how it flows from the basic tenets of his/her faith tradition. See the calendar listings for specifics.

ICPUnited Religions InitiativeURI INTERNSHIPS. United Religions Initiative North America is seeking exceptionally dynamic and self-motivated individuals to fill two remote internship positions for Fall 2017. Both positions are hands-on and provide practical work experience. There is a possibility of receiving academic credit. Applicants of any age and academic level are welcome. The two available positions are: Public Relations/Storytelling Intern andSocial Media Intern. They are accepting applications for these unpaid internships on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of August 13, 2017. For more information on these internships positions, click here. 

ICPParliament of the World's ReligionsPARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD”S RELIGIONS

Toronto,  Canada
November 1-7, 2018

The Parliament is a unique opportunity to meet people engaged in interfaith work from around the world. Mark the dates now, and watch for more news to come! Find out more at the Parliament website.


No way to capture these articles with a single theme, and that tells you something about the state of interfaith affairs in the world. The past 50 years represent a sea change. We have gone from a time when pundits were still predicting the end of religion, when the word interfaith drew a blank stare from most people, to the current proliferation of stories of about religion and interreligion. In the meantime interfaith has entered the common lexicon. Enjoy the “Potpourri in the Midst of Disruption.”

The Interfaith Observer (TIO) is an independent internet journal about all things interfaith. 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.

ICPNOTES & QUOTES: “Religious diversity in America is not just pluralism, but rather, pluralisms within pluralism. Religions and faith traditions should not just be simply understood as singular entities, but as countless spectra of varied beliefs and practices unto themselves. ” – Anthony Harrison…”God has given us many faiths but only one world in which to co-exist. May your work help all of us cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences.” Lord Jonathan Sacks

ICPSEND 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. 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!


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.


KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS WEBINARS. Know Your Neighbors: Multifaith Encounters has launched a webinar series in an effort to share interfaith ideas and resources within and outside of the coalition. Past webinars and resources shared by the participants are available, as well as links to upcoming webinars that are available to join. Sessions now available include:

  • Grounding, Re-focus, and Living the Best Expressions of our Faiths
  • “Meet a Muslim” and Other Ways to Address Islamophobia in Your Community
  • Interfaith 101: First Steps in Building Interfaith Relations
  • Interfaith Dinner Dialogues: How to Host in Your Community
  • Demystifying Sikhism, Hinduism, and Islam
  • How to Engage in Interfaith Work During Ramadan: Know Your Neighbor Webinar

From July 20-27, Know Your Neighbors conducted a special Social Media project. See what came up at Twitter and Facebook.

TAPPING INTO GOD. Debbie Belmessieri, author of  Tapping Into God: Experiencing the Spiritual Spectrum, is raising funds to produce the second episode of a film series based on her book. The series features practitioners of diverse faith traditions (who were profiled in the book) coming together for a spontaneous dialogue in order to find commonalities. After completing the pilot episode, they were inspired to find that two people of different faiths could interact and support each other in a way where no one was made to feel right or wrong.  Viewers will come away with a better understanding of how deeply our humanity unites us in spite of our apparent differences. More information and a chance to support the effort can be found at GoFundMe.

ICPBAY AREA INTERFAITH CONNECT is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.

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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. 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.