We got the name of the month of January from the Romans, who named it in honor of the God Janus, who oversees beginnings and endings, the transitions that mark life as it unfolds. Janus watches over doorways, thresholds, and gates, and especially over the beginning of the new year. Janus is depicted as having two faces: one turned toward the past and the other looking out into the future. It’s appropriate to do the same ourselves as we reflect on the year just past and what may lie ahead.
2013 saw some significant changes around the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, most notably a new relationship between ICP and the Presidio Trust concerning the use of the Post Chapel building. No longer is ICP responsible for hosting weddings, and significant improvements were made to fix long-standing issues with the roof, heating system, and accessibility of the building. Along with more flexible seating, the renovated Chapel includes stunning banners based on drawings of local birds, insects, and flowers made by Ryan Jones, a beloved former worker at the Presidio. ICP co-sponsored two workshops with the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, “Embracing Our Veterans” and “Ministering to Women Who Went to War,”both aimed at preparing religious communities to aid veterans, both men and women, with the spiritual dimensions of re-entry into civilian life. In collaboration with interfaith councils around the Bay and the Presidio Trust, ICP developed “Sounds of Peace,” a concert for the International Day of Peace that showcased several groups from around the area, and also co-sponsored “Paths to Peace” at the Pacific School of Religion. In October, some of the McDonald Peace Windows went on display at the University of Rochester, NY.
Looking forward, we will continue to explore how we can best carry out our role as a regional hub for interfaith collaboration (multifaith? Interreligious? See the discussion on naming the movement). Over the past year, we had several meetings with leaders from San Francisco Interfaith Council, Marin Interfaith Council, ICCCC (Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County), SiVIC (Silicon Valley Interreligious Council), and the Peninsula Clergy Network, together with staff from the United Religions Initiative (URI), the global network also based at the Presidio.
With gratitude for what has been, and hope for what will yet be, we wish you and yours a happy and blessed New Year!