December- Vivekananda & the Parliament
IN THIS ISSUE: Parliament Gathering in Chicago | Year-End Donations | Celebrating Sikhs | Edmonton to Host Parliament Meeting | Scarboro Missions | Healthcare Education| Notes & Quotes | Send Us Your News | At the Presidio Chapel | Bay Area Interreligious Calendar | Special Opportunities | Unsubscribe
COUNCIL FOR A PARLIAMENT
OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS;
A GATHERING IN CHICAGO, NOVEMBER 16, 2013
Loel Bartlett Miller
In 1893 Chicago witnessed the birth of the interfaith movement when representatives of the major religions gathered there for the first Parliament of World’s Religions. More than 6,000 people crowded into an assembly hall (now the Art Institute of Chicago) to hear an opening address delivered by a 30-year-old monk, Swami Vivekananda. His electrifying address, delivered with passion and eloquence, in which he called for the end of religious bigotry and intolerance, brought the assembled representatives to their feet. In this galvanizing moment, Vivekananda’s fiery message forged a pathway for the previously separated faith streams of East and West to meld their currents for the first time. With this dynamic call for unity, he initiated a global interfaith dialogue and established himself as a leading religious figure worldwide.
|Loel Bartlett Miller
ICP Board Member
The year 2013 marks the 120th anniversary of Vivekananda’s speech as well as the 150th celebration of his birth. To commemorate these events and to refresh the interfaith community’s awareness of its work between Parliaments, the Chicago-based Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) invited interfaith workers to Chicago for a program on November 16. They entitled their program “Living Out the Vision – Celebrating the Anniversary of a Movement: 1893 Parliament, 1993 Parliament, and our Dynamic Future.” As can be gleaned from this broad-ranging title, the Council invited participants to join them not only in a review of that breathtaking moment in 1893, but to share the anticipation of the exciting potential of interfaith in America in the years to come. I was fortunate to attend this November’s Chicago celebration, participating as a representative of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio.
In 2013 the interfaith movement is gaining momentum around the world. In the United States, interfaith activism has tripled in the last ten years. Governments at home and abroad are investing in interfaith work because it brings people together. Interfaith is good for societies everywhere – and it’s catching on. And, as I write this in the Chicago airport awaiting my flight home, I smile to myself as I hear over the airport public address system, “The interfaith airport chapel is located on level two. Everyone is welcome.” Case in point! Read more . . .
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YEAR-END DONATIONS. It's that time of year again, and you may find in your mail the annual appeal letter from ICP. This year has seen two conferences focusing on helping religious communities address the needs of returning veterans, both men and women, extensive reconstruction at the Post Chapel building and a new relationship with the Presidio Trust that frees our Board and staff to focus more on interfaith work, a marvelous musical celebration of the International Day of Peace in September, and, of course, the monthly issues of Bay Area Interfaith Connect, keeping the wider interfaith community aware of activities and opportunities around the Bay and around the world. Thanks to all of you who have offered your support to the work of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in the past; we hope that you will choose to continue that good work. If you have not previously done so, we invite you to consider a gift to support ICP. We appreciate your fully tax-deductible donation, supporting its mission to welcome, serve, and celebrate the diverse spiritual wisdom and faith traditions of the San Francisco Bay Area. For information on how to contribute online or by mail, see our website.
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CELEBRATING SIKHS. We missed this one before the fact, but the California State Legislature proclaimed November 2013 as "Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month," close on the heels of Hindu American Awareness Month. In the official declaration, you can learn that there are approximately a quarter million Sikhs in California, that Sikhs began coming to California more than 100 years ago and that the first Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) was founded in Stockton in 1912, and that Sikhs have distinguished themselves in agriculture, medicine, high-tech science, government and more.
It was not part of the California observance, but President Obama sent special greetings to the Sikh American community on the occasion of Guru Nanak's birthday. (Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism in the 15th century.) Obama said, "This sacred time is an occasion to reflect on Guru Nanak's timeless teachings and the principles that are at the heart of Sikhism, including the equality of all human beings, the pluralism we cherish in diverse societies and the compassion we owe one another."
Even though it is no longer the official month, take a moment to greet and thank a Sikh neighbor!
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EDMONTON TO HOST PARLIAMENT CITY EVENT. This coming May 1-4, 2014, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada will be the host for a Parliament of the World's Religions Partner City Event around the theme “Faiths Coming Together Through Awareness, Compassion, and Justice.” Go "like" their Facebook page to get details and more information as they develop. If you are interested in finding out more, or have a suggestion for a workshop you would like to offer, contact Rob Hankinson, Executive Director, ECPWR 780-413-6159, firstname.lastname@example.org or Betty Marlin, Program Committee, ECPWR 780-413-6159, email@example.com. A copy of the current brochure is here.
Rob Hankinson, current chair of the North American Interfaith Network, will be directing the project on behalf of Edmonton’s Interfaith Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action. You can reach Rob here. For a “Faith Coming Together” brochure, go here.
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SCARBORO MISSIONS. Scarcely a month goes by without an announcement from Paul McKenna of a new (or revised) resource for interfaith encounters from Scarboro Missions , a society of priests and laity in Ontario, Canada. Two projects in particular offer unique resources for interreligious dialogue and relationship -building: Interfaith Dialogue and the Golden Rule program. In the former area you can discover "Principles and Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue" (23 different documents), "Teaching Models," "Learning Resources" (including how to design a multifaith prayer service, guidelines for arranging visits at Houses of Worship, Milestones in Catholic-Jewish Relations, and interfaith peacemaking). Resources centered on the Golden Rule range from workshop outlines and school curricula to business and global ethics to commentaries on the Golden Rule from different religious traditions. It's an amazing body of material, and well worth taking some time to explore.
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HEALTH CARE EDUCATION BAY AREA. The “Covered California” health exchange is already operational, and the California Council of Churches Educator for the Bay Area is Marijke Fakasiieiki. She will be leading presentations in November to offer basic information on how the new health care exchange operates, how to obtain subsidies and supports for the costs of individual and family health care, how to obtain enrollment assistance during the Open Enrollment period starting October 1 through the end of next March 2014, and she is available to answer many of your questions. You can contact Marijke Fakasiieiki at (510) 529-5011, firstname.lastname@example.org
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NOTES & QUOTES: ... (From a Patheos Public Square conversation on Civil Religion) "To say 'we're all in this together' is to say that we are all connected, dependent upon one another and accountable to one another and responsible for the web of all life, human and otherwise, that stretches across our fragile planet" Rev. Anne Howard... "Hope rests with a new spiritual sensibility that is not necessarily a new religion, but rather can shape the way in which many spiritual traditions are practiced. This sensibility emphasizes divine immanence and the importance of the Sacred Feminine as well as the Masculine" Gus diZerega... "Civil religion is good as far as it goes—it does encourage a modicum of order—but it does not go far enough to bring health to a nation. Compare it to any great religion, and it tastes like stale water" Mark Galli.
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About the Editor: D. Andrew Kille is director
Space in San Jose, working to develop and strengthen interfaith
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