IN THIS ISSUE: Happy World Interfaith Harmony Week | Interim ICP Director | Four Chaplains Sunday | Third Sunday Concerts | Presidio Chapel Tours | Interfaith Calendar | Farewell, Bill Lesher | The Interfaith Observer| Notes & Quotes | Support ICP | Send Us Your News | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Subscribe to BAIC
HAPPY WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK!
This first week of February is World Interfaith Harmony Week, offering a time for interfaith groups around the world to showcase and celebrate the power of interreligious cooperation. So much interfaith cooperation goes on quietly, beneath the notice of many in their own communities, but makes significant contributions to the peace and well-being of those communities.
In a declaration on November 2010, the UN General Assembly noted “the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people,” and that “the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding.” They reaffirmed that “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace,” and proclaimed “the first week of February every year the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.” You can find out more about the initiative, learn how people around the world plan to honor the Week, or register your own event at worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com/
INTERIM ICP DIRECTOR. The Interfaith center at the Presidio has appointed Rev. Gerald Caprio as the new Interim Executive Director of the ICP. Gerry is currently Vice President and Secretary of the ICP Board and has a long history of association with the Main Post Chapel. Gerry will work closely with the ICP Board, staff, and volunteers. ICP has currently embarked on a mission to provide enhanced collaboration and communication among the Bay Area Interfaith Councils and organizations. ICP continues to help care for the Presidio Chapel with plans for renovating and expanding this sacred space, while upholding it’s historic purpose of welcoming people of all beliefs.
FOUR CHAPLAINS SUNDAY FEBRUARY 4. Do you recognize these names: Father John Washington, Reverend Clark Poling , Rabbi Alexander Goode and Rev. George Fox? They are the “Four Chaplains,” the honorees of what is perhaps the longest-standing interfaith observance in the United States— Four Chaplains Day on February 4. The chaplains were all aboard the USAT Dorchester on February 3, 1943 when it was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. They worked together to help evacuate the ship, kept the men calm, and assisted the wounded. Finally, they gave their life jackets to men who didn’t have them. As the ship sank, survivors recalled the four chaplains (Catholic, Jewish, Dutch Reformed, and Methodist) standing arm in arm on the deck, praying together.
The Four Chaplains were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart posthumously, and received a Special Medal for Heroism (equivalent of the Medal of Honor) in 1961. They were honored with a US stamp in 1948, and Congress proclaimed the Sunday closest to February 4 as Four Chaplains Day in 1988. You can find out more about them online at the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, and Wikipedia.
THIRD SUNDAY CONCERTS. The Amaranth Quartet of San Francisco, including violinists Emily Botel and Abigail Shiman, violist Julie Michael, and cellist Helen Newby, shared a moving afternoon of chamber music at the Presidio Chapel as part of the Third Sunday Concert Series. See some photos here.
The next concert in the series will be a showcase of musical talent, spirituals, songs, and instrumental music from African-American composers of yesterday and today. Sunday, February 18 at 4:00 pm at the ICP Chapel. See details here.
PRESIDIO CHAPEL TOURS. Guided tours of the home of the Interfaith Center are again available. Visit the historic Spanish Mission Revival style Presidio Chapel, built by the Army in 1931, with a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay. It is home to a 33 foot mural by Victor Arnautoff, a protégé of Diego Rivera, and stained glass windows by Willemina Ogterop, the first woman stained glass artist west of the Mississippi to be inducted into the Stained Glass Artists Guild. Sundays, February 25 and March 25, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm.
INTERFAITH CALENDAR. The San Francisco Interfaith Council has made a 2018 Interfaith Calendar available with listings of religious observances from many traditions. They offer the calendar as an aid to scheduling and avoiding potential conflicts, with apologies for any omissions or oversights that might have occurred. You can find the calendar in .pdf form here.
FAREWELL TO BILL LESHER. We were saddened to learn of the death last month of Rev. Bill Lesher, Chair Emeritus of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, a significant champion of the global interfaith movement. A tribute from the Parliament quotes Bill as saying:
“I think of the inter-religious movement as the spiritual expression of the globalized world. The very existence of the interreligious movement is a massive change in the religious landscape of the world, brought about by the technological advances that have created this age of globalization. The movement itself is a necessary response to the “marbleization” of the religions (to use an expression coined by Diana Eck) in a world where the different religions are not neatly separated on different continents, but flow together like the colors in a polished piece of marble. The interreligious movement is providing the occasions for believers of various religious traditions to engage one another, to respect and better understand each other. Out of these encounters, friendships are being formed and common action is being undertaken to address local and global needs. The movement is an essential force for good that is helping humanity meet the challenges of the modern world.”
See tributes to Bill at the Parliament website; an article about Bill, his wife Jean, and their work together appeared in The Interfaith Observer in April of last year. He will be greatly missed.
THE INTERFAITH OBSERVER. The Interfaith Observer (TIO) is an independent internet journal about all things interfaith. This month’s issue highlights the thoughts and experiences of some of our young interfaith leaders. These articles challenge our assumptions about interfaith and demand that we work harder to be more inclusive and intentional in our work. While not always easy to hear, their messages are necessary ones. How lucky we are to have such fiery spirits providing leadership in our movement! –TIO Team
- Why Religious Diversity is the Pathway to Peace by Victor Kazanjian
- Spirituality & Practice – Part 2 by Paul Chaffee
- God With(in) the World by Diana Butler Bass
- Reimagining the Interfaith Movement by Tahil Sharma and Megan Anderson
- Relinquishing Taboos by Miranda Hovemeyer
- Courage from the Other Side by Johnny Martin
- Fardosa Hassan: Creating Space for Questions by Ibrahim Hirsi
- Interspiritual Fraternity in Mexico City by Elías González
- Transforming Our Differences by Tahil Sharma
- Interreligious Wherewithal by Hans Gustafson
- Model Programs for Teens/Tweens/Young Adults by Vicki Garlock
- An Interfaith Vision for the Future of Faith by Jennifer Bailey
- A Letter to Myself Seven Generations Into Our Future by Ta’Kaiya Blaney
NOTES & QUOTES: “Diversity of any kind — whether it be religious, cultural or ideological — comes with a degree of disagreement and tension. Recognizing that this tension, and even resulting conflict, are necessary and healthy parts of a diverse democracy seems to be particularly difficult for those who view difference as a threat to their own identity.” – Victor Kazanjian… “Bad as things may be at times, fear really is our greatest enemy. It’s still a wonderful life, a wonderful creation, full of possibilities and potential.” – Bill Lesher…“If the religious community is going to make an impact, they need to do it together. The Christian community can’t do it by themselves, because of the number of faith traditions that are out there.” – Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards…
SUPPORT ICP! To be able to provide the services to the interfaith community in the Bay Area and to maintain our facility in a manner that guarantees both its safety and its beauty, we depend on friends like you to share our vision and support our ultimate cause: to bring peace and understanding to humankind, not only in San Francisco, but throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Please join us in our efforts to continue the dialogue with those who are different from us to help lead the way in bringing harmony and peace to our world.
SEND US YOUR NEWS! We at Bay Area Interfaith Connect make every effort to include upcoming interfaith events in our monthly calendar (which is always available on our website). Please be sure to send information about your upcoming events to @. We’d also like to share what happened at your events or celebrations with the wider interfaith community. Got a story you’d like to share? Pictures from that latest gathering? Send them along and let everyone know what’s happening!
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.
INTERFAITH MARCH. On April 29, 2018, people across America will be participating in a coordinated event called the Interfaith March for Peace & Justice – a non-partisan, positive re-assertion of the principles of equal justice and religious liberty. This event was initiated by the Safe Alliance for Interfaith Leaders in Columbus, OH (an aspiring URI Cooperation Circle) and it has the support of a number of organizations including the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio and the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network. We would love for other groups to join in this effort and we invite you to check out our website at interfaithmarch.com or follow us on facebook at facebook.com/interfaithmarch.
RE-IMAGINING INTERFAITH. A conference in Washington, D.C., July 29-August 1, 2018, Re-Imagining Interfaith is a global gathering for grassroots activists and interfaith peacebuilders focused on skill-building, networking, and organizing. Training will be offered in 6 Program Tracks: Cultivating Inclusive Communities in the Face of Religious Discrimination; Community Organizing: Initiating and Sustaining Social Change Movements; Staying “Woke”: Recognizing Privilege, Challenging Systemic Oppression; Interfaith Organizing in a Changing Spiritual Landscape; Making a Movement: Building Skills to Bring Interfaith to the Next Level. Co-sponsored by numerous diverse organizations, including Religions for Peace-USA, Shoulder-to-Shoulder, World Congress of Faith, the Interfaith Funders Group, the International Association for Religious Freedom and multiple faith communities. See details and registration at www.reimagineinterfaith.org/
MULTIFAITH CALENDAR. The 2018 Multifaith Calendar offers a quick and accurate reference to dates and descriptions of approx 240 culturally relevant observances and holidays for 14 world religions (including religious accommodation references), plus many additional public holidays, UN events, etc. The MFC also includes a carefully selected collection of stunning original art. It’s available from the Interfaith Marketplace for $14.95 plus shipping.
About the Editor: D. Andrew Kille is director of Interfaith Space in San Jose, working to develop and strengthen interfaith relations throughout the Bay Area. Send your calendar items, comments and suggestions to @. We try to keep the ICP Update and Calendar as current as we can, but if you want your item included in the monthly newsletter, it needs to be in our hands a week before the end of the month.