Family Fun Day 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. Come and join us, and bring the whole family!

Fun Day banners Fun Day Banners Fun Day Banners Welcome to Fun Day

People of Faith Need to Share Wisdom

We as a society are in a tumultuous moment—not only politically but morally. Millions of people find the actions of the Administration, and of Congress also, deeply immoral, and they are taking to the streets to voice their discontent. People of faith, individually and as communities, are prominent among them.

But do people of faith have anything unique to bring to the struggles of the present moment? Can they do more than simply swell the multitudes protesting in the street or overwhelming Capitol telephone lines?

Yes, they can. In a moment where the latest executive order or the latest protest threatens to suck up all the world’s attention, people of faith have resources and wisdom that reach back millennia, and we need to bring them to bear on our current struggles. Here are some of them:

  • Religious and ethical resources bearing on today’s contentious questions: The questions roiling the public today touch directly on issues about which our various traditions have much to say. This rests on the wisdom of centuries and cannot be written off as manifestations of modern liberalism. People of faith have rich spiritual and ethical resources that speak to today’s debates, including traditions and teachings addressing peace, nonviolence, mutual respect, hospitality, charity, and pluralism; and these resources point to basic values shared by all major world religions and also by humanists and other non-religious people. In the current climate, where certain religions (primarily, of course, Islam and Judaism) are openly or implicitly demonized, it is vital to point out these shared values and to use them as a starting point for addressing the ethical issues entailed in today’s conflicts. The issue of the reception of refugees, for instance, touches directly on questions of hospitality and care for the vulnerable that virtually all religious and ethical traditions address.
  • Spiritual resources for self–care: Dealing with deeply-felt political and moral issues can easily lead to burn-out or, worse yet, to self-righteousness and anger that trigger speech and action that violate the very values we are trying to inculcate. Here, too, our traditions have rich resources to offer, including approaches to prayer and meditation, sacred texts that profoundly and powerfully express the truths and values that should inform our grappling with current issues, and the examples of adherents past and present who have lived by the virtues that we wish to see emulated. People of faith and spirit need to avail themselves of these resources and encourage fellow activists to draw on them.
  • Hope: This could have been included under either of the two preceding points, but it so undergirds and completes everything we seek to say here that it deserves consideration on its own. Particularly when one is, politically speaking, the underdog, it’s easy to be overcome by frustration and even despair. But whether one believes in a beneficent deity or divine reality or simply in the potential of the human mind and spirit, our religious and ethical traditions offer assurance that evil does not have the final word—that, as Martin Luther King said, echoing words from a long tradition, “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.” Our spiritual traditions empower us to see that long arc beyond any current defeats. The current moment requires people who can draw on those traditions to kindle hope as we tread a challenging path of resistance.

Merely having these resources is not enough. We need to be both media-savvy and organizationally savvy—media savvy to draw media attention to our presence and our message, and organizationally savvy to initiate prayerful and spiritual events that build awareness of our values and resources among a broader public and inject them into current debates. The current Administration appears to be listening to the voices of only one segment of our country’s broad spectrum of faiths and faith communities. We, who on the basis of our faith share the moral concerns of so many of our fellow citizens, need to raise our voices to ensure that the values we seek to live by are heard above the din.

Signed:

  • Rev. Ken Chambers, Interim Board President , Interfaith Council of Alameda County
  • Linda L. Crawford, Executive Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
  • Rev. Kristi Denham, Co-President, Peninsula Multifaith Coalition
  • Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
  • Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
  • Diane Fisher, Director, Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley
  • Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Chair, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC)
  • Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
  • Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, Peninsula Solidarity Network
  • Michael G. Pappas, M.Div, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council (SFIC)
  • Rev. Steven A. Pinkston, Director of Christian Service, Bellarmine College Prep
  • Rev. Scott Quinn, Acting Director, Marin Interfaith Council
  • Rita R. Semel, Founder and past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Moina Shaiq, President, Tri-City Interfaith Council
  • Stephanie S. Spencer, President-elect, Eden Area Interfaith Council
  • Jessica Trubowitch, Director, Public Policy and Community Building, Jewish Community Relations Council – San Francisco Bay Area
  • Ardisanne Turner, Chair, United Religions Initiative North America

See the latest version of the statement at the ING website; if your congregation or community would like to sign on, contact .img@.img.

ICP joins call to reaffirm American values

Faith-based and humanist groups call on government to reaffirm American values

“Although the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and has a long history of welcoming refugees from diverse lands, we also have a history of different periods of xenophobia and exclusion, including the Chinese Exclusion Act, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the rejection of Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution and genocide. None of these actions made our country more secure, and we can be certain that the great majority of our people do not support a repeat of such episodes.”
—Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director of the Islamic Networks Group

“Any attempt to ban Muslim refugees based on their religion betrays our values and sends the un-American message that there are second-class faiths. Our country, founded by immigrants who established religious freedom as a bedrock principle, is better than this. A threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone’s religious liberty, and we as Baptists stand with those facing religious persecution around the world, regardless of their faith.”
—Amanda Tyler, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

San Jose – The Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters campaign, a program of the Islamic Networks Group (ING), released the following statement today in reaction to executive orders signed by President Donald Trump restricting immigration from a number of Middle Eastern and African countries.

The executive orders issued today and earlier this week by President Donald Trump require us to reaffirm basic values that we share with the great majority of Americans:

  • Respect for diversity, pluralism, and religious freedom: Although the executive orders do not explicitly mention Muslims or their faith, several provisions target Muslims. As such, they violate the principles embodied in the First Amendment and our country’s commitment to religious neutrality.
  • Care for the stranger and the needy: Except for the native peoples, since its founding the United States has been a nation of immigrants. Our country has a long tradition of welcoming and supporting immigrants and the needy; the rejection of refugees fleeing horrific violence flies in the face of the obligation to help and the hospitality that the American people have traditionally shown to those in need.
  • Civil liberties: While these orders do not explicitly target particular groups, they clearly impact primarily one religion (Muslim) and one ethnicity (Latino). Singling out these groups reinforces and encourages existing prejudice and discrimination against them, including U.S. citizens and documented immigrants belonging to these groups.
  • Unity and solidarity: Policies whose effect is to single out specific religious or ethnic groups violate the sense of national unity and solidarity that allows the diverse people of our nation to live in peace and harmony.

Although these measures purport to deal with the threat of terrorism, there is little evidence to support this claim. What they do, however, is to cast a dark cloud over the entire American Muslim population, making it all too clear that their significant contributions to American life are not welcomed. This impacts women in headscarves who have been the object of increased harassment and students in schools who have seen a rise in bullying in recent years due to anti-Muslim rhetoric which will increase with these policies. In response to the Executive Orders, we faith-based and humanist organizations call for an increase in:

  • Interfaith engagement, including both interfaith dialogues and events bringing people of diverse traditions together for mutual encounter and learning. To get started, see this page.
  • Education about Muslims and Islam, including presentations by Muslim speakers and “meet a Muslim” events in houses of worship or other public venues. To get started, see this page.
  • Commitment to and training in being “upstanders” who respond supportively to incidents of hate and bigotry.

This is a time to come together as a community and uphold our sacred values. Therefore, in responding to the current situation, and to prepare for possible actions in the future that may likewise call our fundamental values into question, we commit ourselves, and call on all who share our concerns, to respect the principle of nonviolence in thought, word, and deed.

  • We will maintain an attitude of charity and openness to all, including those with whom we most profoundly disagree. We will seek to understand their motivations and assume that they are sincerely seeking what is right unless presented with clear evidence to the contrary. If we are people of prayer, then we will pray for their well-being and for wisdom for them and for ourselves.
  • In our statements, we will condemn actions but not persons. We will speak firmly but respectfully of and with those whose words and actions we oppose.

Signed:

  • American Muslim Advisory Council
  • Arizona Jews for Justice
  • Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
  • Bay Area Interfaith Connect
  • Bridges of Faith Trialogue, Cincinnati
  • California Institute for Human Science Interfaith Circle
  • Center for Inquiry
  • Colorado Muslim Speakers Bureau
  • Council of Islamic Organizations of Kentucky
  • Delaware Valley Speakers Bureau
  • Euphrates Institute
  • Global Immersion Project
  • Interfaith Alliance
  • Interfaith Arkansas
  • Interfaith Center at the Presidio
  • Interfaith Center of New York
  • Interfaith Council of Central Florida
  • Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor
  • Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
  • Interfaith Paths to Peace
  • Interfaith Youth Core
  • Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati
  • Islamic Education & Resources Network (ILearn)
  • Islamic Networks Group
  • Islamic Society of Greater Houston
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Alabama
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Edmonton, Canada
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Greater Houston
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Saint Louis
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of San Diego
  • Islamic Speakers Bureau of Santa Barbara
  • Jewish Council for Public Affairs
  • Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest
  • Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
  • Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought
  • Muslim Coalition of Connecticut
  • Muslim Community Center, East Bay
  • National Council of Churches
  • National Sikh Campaign
  • Network of Spiritual Progressives
  • New Jersey Islamic Networks Group
  • Religions for Peace USA
  • Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism
  • San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Seattle Islamic Speakers Bureau
  • Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign
  • Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
  • Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom
  • South Coast Interfaith Council
  • Speakers Bureau of Nebraska
  • Spokane Interfaith Council
  • Tikkun Magazine
  • Tri City Interfaith Council
  • United Religions Initiative
  • United We Dream Houston
  • Uri L’Tzedek: The Jewish Orthodox Social Justice Movement
  • Valley Beit Midrash: The Jewish Pluralistic Center
  • Washington Ethical Society
  • Welcoming Gainesville
  • Wisdom Circle Ministry
Veterans Day 2016

Veterans Day Service 2016

On Friday, November 11, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio held a Veterans Day service in the Main Post Chapel at the Presidio that included veterans and those who work for and serve veterans. A message from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was shared by her aide Alex Lazar, Sensei Elaine Donlin of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco led the meditation. A dramatic note was offered by Brian Vouglas, a local actor, who proclaimed Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with a response. Erich Sylvester, Musician and Presidio resident, provided music; Chaplain Willard Bolden of the VA gave a benediction. ICP Executive Linda Crawford and board President Fred Fielding also spoke.

Veterans Day 2016    Veterans Day 2016

Save Us From Genocide Program Recognized

Linda Crawford and Diana Conan of URI

Linda Crawford and Diana Conan

Since last year, a coalition of interfaith groups in the Bay Area has been supporting efforts to call attention to the plight of Yezidis, Assyrians, and other religious minorities who continue to be forced from their homes in Iraq and Syria, their women and girls kidnapped and raped. Thousands have been murdered and more thousands now live in refugee camps. The Yezidis are a Kurdish people who share an ancient religious tradition, while the Assyrian Church is one of the oldest Christian traditions. The Interfaith Center at the Presidio, along with the Marin Interfaith Council, the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, and the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, has been working with Rabbi Pamela Frydman to bring the situation to the attention of governmental leaders, elected officials, and United Nations representatives. All four groups are Cooperating Circles of the United Religions Initiative, and you can find out more at the URI website.

On October 23rd, the United Nations Association East Bay Chapter awarded their Global Citizen Award to the “Save Us from Genocide” Campaign  at the International Center at UC Berkeley. ICP Executive Linda Crawford was present to receive the award on behalf of the councils.

un-association-linda-speech    un-association-award

To learn more about the Save Us from Genocide project, go to yezidis-assyrians.org/ or go to www.norcalrabbis.org/yezidi-fundraiser/ to contribute to the Beyond Genocide project to assist Yezidi resettlement.

The following note was sent by Rabbi Pam Frydman, coordinator of the project.

Dear All,

The Interfaith Center at the Presidio and its partner organizations have earned the United Nations Association (UNA) Global Citizen Award from UNA’s Bay Area Chapter for its Save Us From Genocide campaign to raise consciousness about the plight of Yezidis and Assyrians facing genocide in Iraq and Syria.

The awards ceremony dinner took place in Berkeley last night at the International House at UCB. Unfortunately, the time posed a conflict for those who hold worship on Sunday evenings, as well as for all of our Jewish colleagues because that evening begins Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. (Pam was unable to attend due to these holidays. She submitted a video instead.)

Thanks to Linda Crawford for her leadership and support of the Save Us From Genocide campaign.

Rabbi Pamela Frydman

Sacred Space- NAINConnect 2016

ICP Board Chair Fred Fielding and Executive Director Linda Crawford attended NAINConnect 2016, hosted by the Carpe Diem Interfaith Foundation in Guadalajara,
Mexico, July 10-13.

This year’s theme was “Sacred Space/ Espacio Sagrado,” and thus it was more than appropriate that Linda and Fred twice made a presentation on the Presidio Chapel and the McDonald Windows.

Linda Crawford- NAIN 2016 Linda Crawford- NAIN 2016 Linda Crawford- NAIN 2016 Fred Fielding- NAIN 2016 Fred Fielding- NAIN 2016

2015 Parliament

Photos from the Parliament

As we continue to unpack the sixth Parliament of the World’s Religions, here are just a few photos from Salt Lake City.

Note; photos were taken by Linda Crawford, Fred Fielding, and Andrew Kille.

Remembered Light: The McDonald Windows exhibit

Remembered Light banner

The banner for the Remembered Light exhibit

banner at entrance

The banner at the entrance of the Remembered Light exhibit at the Parliament (LC)

Remembered Light

The main entrance to the McDonald Windows exhibit at the Parliament (LC)

Remembered Light exhibit

Parliament attendees view the McDonald Windows displays (LC)

Remembered Light Exhibit

McDonald Windows at the Parliament (LC)

Remembered Light exhibit

People were deeply moved by the windows and what they represent (LC)

Here and there around the Parliament:

Sand Mandala

Sand mandala created by Buddhist monks during the Parliament (AK)

Goddess banners

One hall was lined on both sides by banners of goddess images from around the world (AK)

Mother goddess

One of the goddess banners, depicting a mother and child (AK)

Masked dancers

Dancers wearing masks of goddesses from many cultures (AK)

performers

One of several groups performing at the Mormon Tabernacle for the Parliament (FF)

Sikh performers

When the Sikh group played, they asked those present to cover their heads. Some made do with program booklets. (FF)

Circle Group at the Parliament

Chanting together

A group at the Parliament

People circle around musicians at the center in the entrance area (AK)

Musicians at the Parliament (AK)

Music at the center

2015 Parliament

A week? Already?

Sunday- a week later

Things just got moving faster and faster at the Parliament, leaving no time for blogging. I returned home on Tuesday, with a pile of notes, impressions, and pictures that it will take a while to unload.

On Sunday of the Parliament, I passed through the lobby, where Beyond Words, a dance ritual incorporating greetings of peace, chants, and movement from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Native traditions was underway. I was headed for a session on the Compassion Games. The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) has participated in the Compassion Games for the past couple of years, and I was delighted to find that the presenters were from Menlo Park. We made connections to consult further. Jon Ramer, the creator of Compassion Games, was there, and took the opportunity to “pass the torch” to me and the SiVIC team.

Passing the Torch

Jon Ramer of Compassion Games passes the torch to D. Andrew Kille of SiVIC

At noon, Linda Crawford and Fred Fielding of ICP met together with Will McGarvey of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Michael Pappas of San Francisco Interfaith Council, Carol Hovis of Marin Interfaith Council and with heads of interfaith groups from New York City, Washington, DC,. Wichita Kansas, and Maryland to explore how we might network with one another and share our experience and methods.  We in the Bay Area have been meeting together about three times a year at ICP for several years. It was good to extend our connections across the country.

Leaders group @ Parliament

Michael Pappas (SFIC), Linda Crawford and Fred Fielding (ICP), unidentified, Chloe Breyer (New York City)

Interfaith Leaders @ Parliament

Chloe Breyer (NYC), Jan Reynolds (MIC), Paul Chaffee, (The Interfaith Observer)

Interfaith Leaders @ Parliament

Rabbi Gerry Serotta (Washington, DC), Rev. Sam Muyskens (Wichita, KS), Rev. Clark Lobenstine (DC), Mansfield Kaseman (Montgomery County, MD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Kille
Editor, Bay Area Interfaith Connect

 

 

 

Sand Mandala

From Toxic Texts to Violence and War- and a few things in between

Saturday-

The day began with a session entitled “Kill Them (Qur’an), Do Not Spare Them (Torah), and Cast Them Into Everlasting Fire (New Testament): Context of Difficult Religious Texts” with Karen Armstrong, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, and Jonathan Brown. All three spoke of how their religious traditions dealt with violence in their sacred texts. “Every generation is equidistant from God” said Brown; every generation has to look at scripture and tradition and it’s current situation and choose for itself how to live.

In the evening we gathered for the evening plenary on “War, Violence and Hate Speech,” with Alan Boesak, Karen Armstrong, Tariq Ramadan, John Esposito, Medea Benjamin, Jane Goodall, and more. What a day!

Lest you think that a day bookended by a discussion of toxic sacred texts and examination of war and violence was all grim and ugly, I also:

  • attended a session on electronic connections for the interfaith movement moderated by ICP founding Director Paul Chaffee, which detailed online resources like The Center for Spirituality and Practice, Kid Spirit, and Paul’s The Interfaith Observer,
  • met an old friend from a dialogue group sponsored back in the 1980’s by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The group was formed to get younger people involved in Jewish/Christian relations; now, after some 30 years, we’re both more than a little grey,
  • learned about what helps in mobilizing a movement from three generations: Joan Brown Campbell (who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr.), Alan Boesak (who worked with Nelson Mandela), and Eboo Patel (founder of Interfaith Youth Corps). In introducing herself, Dr. Campbell said, “whatever I was doing, I was the first woman to do it.”
  • attended a reception for the United Religions Initiative, met people from around the world who are all working for the good of all. A brief program MC’d by ICP Board President Fred Fielding included singing, guided meditation, and Appreciative Inquiry conversations among the folks.

A full day, by any measure!

Andrew Kille
BAIC Editor