BAIC September 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 Day of Peace | Responding to HateChapel Tours Around the Bay| Parliament 2018 | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Subscribe to BAIC

dove and ICP logoINTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

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/

ICPRESPONDING TO HATRED

Love Lives in MarinThe events in Charlottesville in August, potential demonstrations by “alt-right” groups in San Francisco and Berkeley, and vandalism against a synagogue in Alameda all prompted responses by the wider interfaith community. They declared their continued commitment to the work of building relationships of trust, respect and appreciation among the diverse communities of the Bay Area and across the nation. See more on the ICP website about these stories:

Responding to Charlottesville” – statements from the Interfaith Council of Alameda County, the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, ING (Islamic Networks Group), Marin Interfaith Council, San Francisco Interfaith Council, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and the United Religions Initiative.

A vigil in Alameda offered support after the synagogue was vandalized.

An Interfaith Gathering for Peace and Against Hate drew over 1,000 people to Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.

Over 350 people gathered for “Love Lives In Marin,” an interfaith prayer service.

In San Jose, interfaith leaders gathered with the Mayor of San Jose, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, US Representative Zoe Lofgren and other civic leaders for a Unity Prayer Service. See video here.

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.

ICPAROUND THE BAY AREA:

  • San Francisco Interfaith Council Executive Director Michael Pappas received a delegation from City College of San Francisco’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department to discuss ways in which the SFIC might be a resource, collaborate and promote course study of religion at this academic institution. Pictured left to right: Professor Emeritus Abdul Jabbar; Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance; Professor Lauren Muller, Chair of the CCSF Interdisciplinary Studies Department; SFIC Executive Director Michael Pappas; and Professor Steve Georgiou, who teaches comparative religion and spirituality at CCSF.

  • The current issue of “Argonaut,” the Journal of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society features an article about Victor Arnautoff, the creator of the mural in the Presidio Chapel, and his work at another San Francisco landmark- Coit Tower.

Victor Arnautoff

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

Toronto,  Canada
November 1-7, 2018

“The Promise of Inclusion & the Power of Love” will be the theme for the 125th anniversary gathering of the Parliament, Program proposals will be sought soon. Super-saver pre-registration fees are available until September 30. 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.

ICPNOTES & QUOTES:  Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering ~Parker Palmer… “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war” – Maria Montessori…”‘We call each other Dear brother,’ and it’s not just a saying. We have such open, deep and affectionate conversations. We understand each other”- Rabbi Abraham Skorka, the “Pope’s Rabbi,” speaking of his friend Pope Francis…

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!

ICPBAY 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.

ICPSPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES

CHARTER FOR COMPASSION WEBINAR: Global Read: Arun Wakhlu — One Wholesome World Arun is a Charter for Compassion partner and founder of Compassionate Pune, India. Our identification with limited notions of who we are is at the roots of the present global crisis. We have forgotten our intrinsic Wholeness. The time has now come for a new paradigm of development. When we awaken to wholeness and live and work from a space of love, creative intelligence, freedom, and peace; we become instrumental in manifesting joy, peace, and abundance in our life and in the collective. This astonishingly simple and universally accessible discovery will transform lives in miraculous ways. September 19, 2017 8:00 AM, Pacific Standard Time. Register here.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SEEKS FAITH RELATIONS COORDINATOR.  Habitat for Humanity of the San Francisco Bay Area is seeking a Resource Development VISTA, with a focus area of Faith Relations. The primary responsibility will be to complete the development of their interfaith program. To find out more, go to www.habitat.org/about/careers/hfh-greater-san-francisco-vista-resource-dev-faith-relations
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

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.

Subscribe to BAIC

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.

Love Lives in Marin

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.

Interfaith Gathering Against Hate in San Francisco

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.

See coverage from the Jewish News of Northern California

Vigil in Alameda following vandalism

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.
 
Sincerely,
Amy Seefeldt

Gathering for Peace and against Hate

Interfaith Gathering Against Hate

Friday, August 25, 2017
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Congregation Emanu-El
2 Lake Street
San Francisco

In collaboration with our partners at the San Francisco Interfaith Council, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, and the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, we are planning a response to the gathering in San Francisco on Saturday, August 26th at Crissy field. This is not a reaction, not a confrontation, but a response of love, community, and diversity. We invite all our members, along with the entire San Francisco Jewish and interfaith community, to join us for a very special interfaith peace and justice Shabbat service in the Emanu-El Main Sanctuary on Friday, August 25th.

We warmly invite all who wish to join us for this celebration of who we are:

Friday, August 25th, Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street

  • 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm hors d’oeuvres & refreshments
  • 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm Interfaith Sabbath Service followed by dessert reception

Interfaith Gathering for Peace

August 26, 2017
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Grace Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of California, in collaboration with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, are holding an interfaith gathering as a peaceful but pointed response to the Patriot Prayer rallies taking place in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend.

There will be a service of readings and prayers that will begin at 12:30 pm with a welcome by our dean, Malcolm Clemens Young. The service will include three speakers who have worked for peace and justice: Rita Semel, the Rev. Amos Brown and the Rev. Vicki Gray. At the end of the service, the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California, will bless a group that will walk together from the cathedral to the “Peace, Music and Laughter” event at Civic Center, billed as a family-friendly arts festival headlined by singer Michael Franti.

While the service is taking place inside the cathedral, there will be craft activities and a labyrinth walk for peace for children and families outside on the cathedral plaza.

Our dean and other clergy will also be present for the Interfaith Gathering Against Hate at Congregation Emanu-El on Friday, August 25.

 

Berkeley CA  Demonstration to Say NO to the Nazis and Fascist Extremists the day before they arrive in Berkeley

Tikkun magazine, the Network of Spiritual Progressives and Beyt Tikkun Synagogue will hold an interfaith family-friendly gathering Saturday Aug. 26th at 3pm at the same location where Nazis and fascist extremists plan to gather on Sunday in Berkeley – Civic Center park (Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Center Street)

In a statement released by Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun, and Cat Zavis, executive director of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives said: “This will be an alternative to the potential violence on Sunday for people who want to publicly oppose the Nazis, do not want to be part of violent struggles that may develop on Sunday, and do want to affirm our vision for a nonviolent world of love, justice, and environmental sanity.”

Rabbi Lerner added: “The Nazis coming to Berkeley on Sunday are hoping to get public exposure and press. Their movement is strengthened when violence erupts between them and those opposing them. When standing in close proximity to people who are yelling verbal attacks and threatening you, it is extremely difficult for some to remain calm and nonviolent. Rather than risk the possibility of confrontation that will only bolster the Nazis cause and give the President an excuse to equate the Nazis with those who oppose them, we are providing a family-friendly space for people to nonviolently express their disgust and disapproval of the Nazis and white supremacists and to promote a vision of a loving and just world.”

Here is the full statement inviting participation in Saturday August 26th event which could provide a model for future ways to respond to the demonstrations by the ultra-Right-wing racists and anti-Semites.

The Network of Spiritual Progressives, Tikkun magazine and Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls invite interfaith and secular humanist individuals and organizations to join us this coming Saturday, August 26 at 3:00pm to create sacred space at the location where Neo-Nazis plan to rally the following day. Our goal is to provide a safe space for those who are concerned about the violence that may happen the next day when the right-wing extremists are scheduled to rally in that same location, do not want to be part of that scene, and do want to affirm our solidarity with those who will be nonviolently protesting the Nazis and other variants of fascism the next day. We will sanctify the location with our prayers and expressions of solidarity with all those who want a world of love and justice for all.

When: Saturday, August 26th from 3:00 p.m. till about 4:30 p.m.

Where: Civic Center Park in Berkeley (near Center Street crossing Martin Luther King. Jr.)

We will lead with some traditional Jewish prayers (in English and Hebrew) and invite other religious/spiritual communities and atheists and secular-humanists to bring prayers, songs, music, poetry, and anything else of beauty reflecting our values of love, justice, environmental sustainability, nonviolence and awe, wonder, and radical amazement at the grandeur and mystery of the universe. Please bring your own contributions to the program which will also include some reflections on long-range strategy for strengthening the progressive and love-and-justice-oriented forces in the U.S. This event will hopefully be a model for other events around the U.S. in the coming months as right-wing-extremists bring their message of hate to a wide variety of communities.

This gathering is not meant in any way to detract from the importance of those who will be assembling or demonstrating the next day for precisely what we seek also–a world without racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and religiophobia.

Check our Facebook Event for updates

Responding to Charlottesville

 Many local Interfaith Councils around the Bay have responded to the recent events in Charlottesville. See statements below from the Interfaith Council of Alameda County, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Islamic Networks Group, Marin Interfaith Council, San Francisco Interfaith Council, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, and the United Religions Initiative.

Interfaith Council of Alameda County

A press release issued by the Washington D.C based Interfaith Alliance begins, “The bigotry and violence on display in Charlottesville, Virginia must be denounced by all political leaders in no uncertain terms. It’s unthinkable that in 2017 we would see crowds of torch-wielding white supremacists and neo-Nazis proudly displaying their swastikas and Confederate flags on the University of Virginia campus.”

We, the Interfaith Council of Alameda County, concur with this statement and broaden it to include a call to all religious leaders to denounce both radicalized violence and all theologies of white supremacy.

Unlike some who blame “many sides” for the violence between the anti-racist protestors and white supremacist in Charlottesville, ICAC repudiates the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan who organized the “Unite the Right rally for their violent tactics.

As we repudiate the abhorrent beliefs and actions of the white supremacists we call on our own communities to embody the commitments to justice, humility, service and diversity that are at the heart of our faith traditions.

Further, we mourn the deaths of Heather Heyer, who was protesting the presence of the hateful groups in her community, and Virginia state troopers, Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, who died in the line of service.

Together, let us call on the resources of our spiritual traditions and work for a county, state and nation in which there is indeed liberty and justice for all.

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County expresses its sorrow and outrage at the recent events of racial hatred and bigotry that have erupted in Charlottesville, VA.  Our prayers and concerns are with the injured and our deepest sympathy to the families of those who have died.  The attack on peaceful counter-demonstrators was no less than an act of terror against the basic civil rights of all citizens of our nation.  White Nationalism has no legitimate claim in our civil society.  We stand with the Interfaith Community of Charlottesville who were among those assaulted by the White Nationalists.  We applaud our Interfaith sisters and brothers who not only stood up against the hate groups that invaded Charlottesville but also stood up for the equality and dignity of all of our citizens.

We have warned for months that divisive and hostile language leads to and fosters hatred, intolerance and violence.  Our political rhetoric must be salted with the demands of justice.  We reject the idea that there are “sides” when it comes to racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance and hatred.  The time has come once again for us as an Interfaith Community to uncompromisingly witness to the rights of all people to live in peace and security.

We call upon our membership to engage in and support programs that address the racism that still infects our society and culture.  We must understand what motivates hatred as we seek to confront such movements as White Nationalists.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

–  Nelson Mandela

Racism is America’s “original sin” and the time has come upon us once again to address this issue with the seriousness of legislation that ensures the voting rights and freedom of all of our citizens to live with a sense of self-respect and dignity.  Our religious and cultural leaders must take the lead in demanding our governmental leaders live up to their obligations to pass legislation that encourage every sector of our society to confront the issues of prejudice, racism, segregation, and intolerance.

We call upon our membership to pray for peace in our hearts and streets as together we find the courage to do what must be done before anyone else is hurt or killed.

Signed,

The Governing Board of the
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

ING Responds to Charlottesville Violence With Call to Know Your Neighbor

Like all Americans, the staff and volunteers at ING were shocked and horrified to learn of violence and fatalities at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. We offer our deep condolences to the families of those hurt or dead — regardless of their ideology. Heather Heyer, the young woman who lost her life at the hands of an even younger man, appears to be a citizen committed to social justice. And the Virginia State Police officers Berke Bates and Jay Cullen, who perished when their helicopter crashed while observing the rally, proved their dedication as public servants.

We like to place blame after public tragedies. The neo-Nazis and racists who — emboldened by tacit acceptance of their beliefs by far too many people in public office — organized the rally in a town that didn’t want them. The Black Bloc and Antifa counterprotesters who attacked and pepper-sprayed Confederate-flag-waving protesters, raising the general tension at the event. The Charlottesville and Virginia State police who stood by when things turned dangerous.

Ourselves, for letting things get to a point where hundreds of our fellow citizens felt it necessary to boldly and proudly declare that “Jews will not replace us” or “Blood and soil” or “America is for white people”. We, too, are complicit. We need to speak out (as the counterprotesters tried to do) with a prophetic voice against racism and xenophobia — but without dehumanizing and demonizing (let alone physically attacking) the human beings who are swayed by these attitudes.

Widening Polarization Impedes Rational Discourse

This widening polarization in our country dissolves friendships and family relationships and fractures communities across lines of difference. Perhaps worst of all, it impedes rational discourse about the problems that afflict our society. And as we witnessed in Charlottesville, when it involves hate groups calling for race supremacy, it can be deadly. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to scream and beat and murder each other in the name of ideology. We can disagree without dehumanizing.

The events in Charlottesville should be a call to action for reaching out across our deep divisions with civility, especially with those whose views we find abhorrent. You can’t scan a major newspaper these days without reading a headline like “Racist meets with people he once hated, finds out they both love the same hobby.” We can and do change our minds about our fellow citizens but it takes commitment to both the means and the end. The means is respectful dialogue, which is critical in strong, pluralistic democracies like ours. The end is addressing differences of opinion and debating policy, but that can only happen after establishing a baseline of common humanity. Thankfully, humanity has often occupied itself with thinking about how to do that exact thing, even — or especially in — the face of violence or hate.

What Can We Do? Know Your Neighbor

Our Muslim staff members look to the Qur’an 49:13, which tells humankind that God has “made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other”. ING’s Christian staff members look to the Gospels for an answer and find it in Matthew 5:38-42 and Luke 6:27-31, which call us to “turn the other cheek” and to “love your enemies, do good to them which hate you”. And our agnostic staff members find the answer in the Golden Rule, present in all religious traditions: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”The need for active dialogue won’t go away anytime soon, and the Know Your Neighbor program, a nationwide coalition of faith- and community-based organizations, social justice campaigners, and civil rights activists, has committed itself to this task. The eighty-two members of the coalition based across all fifty United States provide tools, educational programs, interfaith training, dialogue resources, and in-person opportunities to strengthen our social fabric by relating to each other in simple ways. Visit our site to join the effort.

The name of the coalition is itself as a call to action. We must, simply, know our neighbors. When we refuse to reach out across lines of difference and isolate ourselves in our respective silos of race, class, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation, we give our own tacit acceptance to the viewpoints that let tragedies like the rally in Charlottesville unfold.

We must remember core American principles of cooperation despite division, of commitment to the greater good, and of concern for the “other”. That last point is critical, because at some point in our history​, we were all the “other” to someone else. We’re calling everyone to know your neighbor. We are stronger when we unite around these core American values.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter to continue the conversation.

Marin Interfaith Council:

The Marin Interfaith Council invites your prayers for the people of Charlottesville and for our nation after this weekend’s hate-inspired violence. As people of faith, we unequivocally oppose every form of racism and white supremacy, and we wholeheartedly and prayerfully work together for equity, peace, inclusion, reconciliation, and justice for all.

SF Faith Leaders Stand United Against Hate in Charlottesville and Our Backyard

August 15, 2017, San Francisco — First and foremost, we offer our prayers for the victims and the families of the dead in Charlottesville, Virginia and all who were traumatized by the hateful violence that ensued there.

Sometimes when horrific and deadly acts are perpetrated in the name of hate, such as our nation witnessed on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, we are tempted to limit those incidents to the context in which they occurred. Charlottesville is a place intimately identified with our nation’s painful and divisive Civil War history, and it is easy to think that such an event could only happen in that region of the country. Sadly, what happened in Charlottesville is symptomatic of an unprecedented growth of organized hate in our nation that knows no geographic boundaries. We need look no further than the findings of a recent report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org/ hate-map) to face the reality that 917 hate groups exist in the United States of America, 79 of which are found in California, and a significant number calling the Bay Area their home.

As statements and vigils decrying acts of hate and violence in Charlottesville flooded social and other media, a group calling itself “Patriot Prayer,” actively petitioned to host back-to-back rallies in San Francisco’s Crissy Field and Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Park on August 26 and 27, respectively. The former is billed as “Patriot Prayer: Free Speech, Unity and Peace San Francisco,” the latter, a “No to Marxism Rally.”

As people of faith, we stand united to denounce those who use words such as “prayer,” “unity” and “peace” to mask any agenda of hate, intolerance, and bigotry.  In the days ahead, we will use the voices of faith communities – through prayer, the pulpit, and our communications networks – to educate and inform, and to fight racism, hatred, and bigotry wherever it may occur, particularly in our City of St. Francis. We will not step aside but will stand strong for our values of inclusivity, respect for all persons, and justice.

Kaushik Roy, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, San Francisco Muslim Community Center
Rev. Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez, Pastor, Jones United Methodist Church
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Apostolic Church
Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
The Rev. Sally Bingham, President, California Interfaith Power & Light
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President, SF Branch-NAACP
Rev. Angela Brown, JD, Associate Pastor, GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church
Rev. Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice, Grace Cathedral
Rev. Staci Current, District Superintendent Bay District, CA-NV Annual Conference UMC
Sister Chandru Desai, Director, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, SF
Pastor Elizabeth Ekdale, Lead Pastor, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Fred Fielding, Board President, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco
Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director Emeritus, Board of Rabbis of No. California
Rev. Jisan Tova Green, San Francisco Zen Center
Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Deacon G.L. Hodge, Providence Baptist Church
The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA
Most Reverend William Justice, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of San Francisco
The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director, United Religions Initiative
Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Chair, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Fr. Stephen Kyriacou, Dean, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Rev. Deborah Lee, (UCC) Program Director, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Rev. Junchol Lee, Senior Pastor, San Francisco Swedenborgian Church
Rev. Dr. James McCray, Jr., Executive Director, Tabernacle Community Development Corp.
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Rev. Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola, Pastor, Pine United Methodist Church
Abby Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Rev. Scott Quinn, Executive Director, Marin Interfaith Council
Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Sherith Israel
Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF
Moina Shaiq, President, Tri City Interfaith Council
Rita Shimmin, Executive Director, GLIDE Foundation
Rabbi Beth Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Stephanie Spencer, President, Eden Area Interfaith Council
Rev. Sadie Stone, Pastor, Bethany United Methodist Church
Swami Tattwamayananda, Minister, Vedanta Society of San Francisco
Rev. John Weems, Pastor & Head of Staff, Calvary Presbyterian Church
Rev. Dr. Jay Williams, Lead Pastor, GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel

Congregation leaders are encouraged to share this message with their congregants.

For additional information please contact Michael G. Pappas at (415) 425-9631

PDF: SF Faith Leaders Stand United Against Hate

Silicon Valley Interreligious Council

From its formation, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council has devoted itself to building interreligious understanding and harmony in order to seek a more just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.

We, as people seeking compassion and reconciliation, are grieved and stunned by the activities over this past weekend by those who value neither. We lament the loss of life and disruption of the community. We of diverse faiths stand together unified against Hate. We grieve the murder of Heather Heyer who was standing up for our values. We will not stand idly by, as all our faiths compel us to raise our voices clearly against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia of any kind.

We commit ourselves anew to the task of bringing all people together for the good of the whole community. Hate is not welcome here.

United Religions Initiative

We are heartbroken about the events that are unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. We stand against the ideology and harmful actions of white supremacy. We stand against any and all acts of violence.
In the United Religions Initiative community, we believe there is a better way. We stand firmly in our organizational charter, which is affirmed by nearly 100 members organizations across the U.S., and hundreds more around the world. Today, we reaffirm the values contained in this document, which include a commitment to “practice healing and reconciliation to resolve conflict without resorting to violence,” to not discriminate and “to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community.”
In this difficult time, we encourage communities around the United States and world to provide places for nonviolent gatherings to continue to build cultures of peace, justice, and healing for all people.

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.

ICPAROUND THE BAY AREA:

  • 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.

ICPThe Interfaith ObserverTHE INTERFAITH OBSERVER

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!

ICPBAY 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.

ICPSPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES

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.

Subscribe to BAIC

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.

Know Your Neighbor: Share Your Story

Know Your Neighbor (KYN) is an effort of compassionate resistance against increasing polarization in the country along political, religious, and cultural divisions. Decades of social science research have shown that personal contact with members of groups you are unfamiliar with is the most effective way to dispel prejudice, and the Know Your Neighbor campaign offers tips, tools, and guides, to help with that exchange. We can do better as a nation, and it begins with us! 

From July 20th-27th, Know Your Neighbor’s “Share Your Story” campaign will bring diverse voices together to answer three important questions related to knowing our neighbors — and ourselves: ​

  1. What do you want your neighbors to know about you?
  2. What experience changed  the way you think about your neighbors or how they thought of you?
  3. What do you find important about interfaith work?

You can share your own posts and videos answering these questions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #KnowYourNeighbor, or #KYN on Twitter. Share your story and get to know your neighbors, too!

If you’re not comfortable with social media or this particular campaign, you can always utilize the resources on the main campaign page: www.ing.org/KYN 

BAIC July 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: America’s Sacred Ground| Arnautoff Book | NAINConnect 2017 | Around the Bay| GTU Exhibits Vestments | Parliament 2018 | The Interfaith Observer | Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Subscribe to BAIC

Interfaith Center at the PresidioCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .
First Amendment, United States Constitution

The Fourth of July is not only a time for picnics, barbecues, and fireworks. It is also a time when the people of the United States give thanks for the freedoms that we enjoy. Among those is the freedom to believe and worship freely. In these days, freedom of worship and the necessary respect for all religious traditions is being sorely tried.

According to Barbara A. McGraw, what lies at the core of the American experience is freedom of conscience– she calls it “America’s Sacred Ground.” McGraw, director of the Center for Engaged Pluralism at St. Mary’s College in Moraga and a familiar participant in interfaith conversations in the Bay Area, writes in her book Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground (SUNY Press, 2003):

It is safe to say that freedom of conscience generally was considered by the founders to be the most important of the inalienable rights. In fact, freedom of conscience had been recognized as inalienable in the state constitutions and declarations of rights even before freedom of speech had been so recognized [81].

Some still argue that the Founders of this nation had only Christians in mind when securing religious liberty, but it is clear that many understood, like Richard Henry Lee, that “. . . we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion: but when we are making a constitution, it is to be hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact?” Such freedom “embraces the Mahomitan [Moslem] and the Gentoo [Hindu] as well as the Christian religion” [83].

So how ever you may celebrate this July 4th, take a moment to give thanks for the gift of religious freedom established by those whose vision was broad enough to enable us to seek our own consciences and to explore ways to work together for the good of all.

ICPVICTOR ARNAUTOFF BOOK

Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of ArtA new book has been published about Victor Arnautoff, the artist who created the mural in the Post Chapel. Written by California historian Robert Cherney, Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art is not only a biography of the muralist who created many projects at the Presidio, Coit Tower and elswhere, but places his art in the context of the social and political tenor of the times.

Commissioned in 1935, the Chapel mural shows an image of St. Francis, patron saint of San Francisco, flanked by panels devoted to the early history of California and activities of the Army of the day, along with development of the Golden Gate Bridge. Find out more about Arnautoff and the Chapel mural in this brochure.

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Bay Area Joint Statement Against Hate

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area benefit from both individuals and institutions whose faith motivates them to provide food to the hungry, shelter to the needy, inexpensive or free health care, and other humanitarian services.

Our history includes episodes of injustice and harmful conduct based on ethnicity, race, and nationality, but also a strong history of opposing bigotry and embracing all people of good conscience. We also value our history of embracing individuals’ right to practice the faith tradition of their choice.

While some isolated individuals in our community may sometimes hold events designed to foster hatred and fear, those involved in legally expressing their political opinions must enjoy the protection of our nation’s laws. However, we similarly exercise our speech rights to reject and marginalize hate speech and attempts to divide our communities.

Islamic societies, organizations, places of worship, and communities enrich and benefit the spiritual, moral and cultural life of our community. We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the equal moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

We find abhorrent all forms of discrimination, including those forms of discrimination targeting religion or belief. We oppose any expression of bigotry towards Muslims with the same full moral, legal and practical force that we oppose other forms of discrimination.

Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Together with dozens of local religious and community groups

See Facebook for updates