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Thursday, July 31, 2014 Interfaith Center at the Presidio

July-Celebrating Global Connections

Interfaith Center at the Presidio

Global Interfaith Made Visible. Last week, the URI (United Religions Initiative) brought its Global Council and Global Staff to the Bay Area for a week-long meeting. They came from over 25 countries representing over 600 Cooperation Circles and hundreds of initiatives – peacebuilding, saving the environment, stopping religiously motivated violence, addressing poverty and women's issues and so much more. The Interfaith Center was honored to host the welcoming ceremony for the Council in the Presidio Chapel on Sunday, June 22nd. Gathering in this sacred space, the Council members lit candles, prayed, sang, and celebrated the work URI has been doing to bring people around the world together to address local need for peacemaking, environmental action, empowering women and training youth.

ICP and the URI have worked closely together over the years. Many of the early organizational meetings for URI were held at ICP and 9 members of ICP’s Board have served on the URI Global Council, more than from any other organization. Don Frew, ICP Treasurer, currently serves as a URI Council member. The next evening, Welcoming Ceremony for URI at the Presidio ChapelICP Managing Director Linda Crawford and Board Members Rita Semel and Andrew Kille joined Don, the other Council members, Global staff, and local friends for the opening banquet, held in the Mission Gardens at Santa Clara University.

Sitting in the shadow of the adobe buildings and wall that were built in 1822, one could not help wondering what those early missionaries would have made of this gathering of friends and co-workers from around the world, committed to working across boundaries of religion, culture, and geography to make this world a better place for all.

Don Frew has chronicled the events of the week at the COG Interfaith Reports blog; it’s well worth checking out. You can also find photos of the welcoming ceremony on the ICP website.

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ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES AT ICP. When ICP was begun, the founders imagined that membership of the Interfaith Center would consist of scores of Sponsoring Organizations and that these Sponsoring Organizations would send representatives to regular meetings to develop programs of the Center. These Organizations would elect a Board of Directors to handle to "business affairs" of ICP and carry out the directions set by the Sponsoring Organizations. Over time, however, the hoped-for active role of Sponsoring Organizations did not develop, and the Board became the program center. At the Annual Meeting in June, it was voted to change the ICP Bylaws to change the role of Sponsoring Organizations so as to allow ICP to focus on building more dynamic, engaged cooperative relationships with those Organizations without requiring administrative obligations on them. The adopted changes can be found on the ICP website.

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VETERANS EVENT-SAVE THE DATE: ICP is planning for another Veterans’ event in September. "After the Parades" will focus on issues of re·entry, when military men and women return to civilian life. Plans are to include presentations on issues facing married/partnered couples including domestic violence; issues facing children in families where a parent or parents have been deployed multiple times; and rituals that can help in reconnecting with the self, the intimate family and the community. Plans are to hold the event at the headquarters of the East County Veterans Center, 1023 West 2nd Street in Antioch on either Monday or Tuesday, September 15 or 16, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Watch for details.

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NAIN Connect 2014NAIN CONNECT 2014. This year's NAINConnect (North American Interfaith Network) will be in Detroit, MI, Sunday, August 10 through Wednesday, August 13. "Bridging Borders and Boundaries" is the theme of the conference, hosted by the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit. Plenary presentations include “Global Peacemaking: The Interfaith Front," "From Hate to Hope," "City on Edge: Leading the Fight Against Enmity," and “Sacred Storytelling: A Play Created from Diversity Dialogues.” Workshops covering health care, politics and community, and interfaith communications, tours of religious and cultural sites around Detroit, and the chance to meet with interfaith activists from across the country are all highlights. Metro-Detroit has over 25 active interfaith organizations each with their own unique focus. We can be so much more effective in interfaith work if we all work together and learn from one-another! For more information, go to the NAINConnect website.


Peace in the ParkPEACE IN THE PARK FESTIVAL OF SPIRIT. The Brahma Kumaris (BK) Meditation Center of San Francisco will host its second annual peace festival, Peace in the Park, on Saturday, August 23 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm in Golden Gate Park.

Peace in the Park festival brings together the diverse San Francisco and surrounding communities to unplug and explore activities of peace and happiness in a fun, inspiring and healthy atmosphere. The festival was created in response to the growing concern - we are an overly stimulated, ADD-afflicted and tech-saturated culture. After the success the first time (2013) with over 2,000 people from all over the Bay Area in attendance, and rave reviews from the sponsorsperformers and partners, the community has called for it to become an annual event.

On August 23rd, the 2nd annual festival will feature world music and visual artists; tai chi, hatha yoga; life-changer seminars, arts, crafts, exhibits by local non-profits and meditation experience. At the majestic Bandshell of Golden Gate Park, this event will demonstrate how to nurture peace and happiness even while living in a fast-paced urban environment. You'll be among some of the best artists, scientists, peace makers and policy makers in the Bay Area at this event. The festival is offered free of charge by a coalition including Brahma Kumaris, SF Mayor's Office, Stanford University CCARE, Pachamama Alliance, United Religions Initiative, Dalai Lama Foundation and ServiceSpace. More information and registration at www.PeaceInTheParkSF.org..

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RAMADAN IS HERE! The month of Ramadan began on June 28, and throughout this month Muslims will be fasting from food and water from sunup to sundown. Each day’s fast is broken with a special meal known as an iftar, and friends and neighbors are invited to join in the celebration. This is a time of year when many mosques and groups invite their non-Muslim friends to join with them in breaking the fast. Look for some local events in the listings below, and check back during the month for updates.

To begin the month, Patheos is sponsoring a special blog (#30Days30Writers) featuring contributions from Muslim leaders, activists, scholars, writers, youth and more. The first posting was by Bay Area leader Maha ElGenaidi, founder of ING in San Jose. She suggests five basic religious principles that can bring together our diverse religious traditions. They are: Respect for life; Respect for dignity; Respect for freedom of religion and conscience; Respect for freedom of thought and expression; and Respect for others: the Golden Rule. Head on over to Patheos and read it (and the others).

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FAITHS PROGRAM MARKS 20 YEARS. The FAITHS program of the San Francisco Foundation recently celebrated 20 years of work. The program began when local religious leaders pointed out to the Foundation that religious communities were key partners in community development. Among those who helped create the program was Rita Semel, one of the founders and a longtime board member of ICP. FAITHS stands for Foundation Alliance with Interfaith to Heal Society, and supports efforts dealing with education, immigration, and poverty issues. Each year FAITHS offers mini-grants of up to $5,000 for work in the community through faith-based organizations. Linda Crawford, Managing Director at ICP, served on the review committee last year, helping to sift through nearly 100 mini-grant proposals.

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NOTES & QUOTES: Congratulations to the Rev. Carol Hovis on celebrating 10 years as Executive Director at the Marin Interfaith Council... "Religion is lived experience, not a list of doctrines, texts, and beliefs. Religious literacy must therefore be about people and how they live out their tradition, which is going to vary by individual."- Esther Boyd, at State of Formation...“We are an interreligious community dedicated to building relationships, maximizing resources and collaborating through service to the betterment of the Morgan Hill community.”- newly-forming Morgan Hill Interfaith Association..."[Bishop Swing's] intention [in founding URI] had been to get the world’s religious leaders around a big table, but instead we had over 600 Cooperation Circles. So he was a big failure, but out of that failure came a shining star!"- Don Frew.

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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 calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. 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!


BAY AREA INTERFAITH CONNECT is sent each month to nearly 2,000 subscribers, and is available online at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio website.

To Subscribe: If you do not receive the monthly updates and would like to do so, simply write to info@interfaith-presidio.org. Please include your name, and, if you are willing, your street address and phone will help us to keep you up to date on interfaith activities.

To Unsubscribe: If you wish to unsubscribe you can do so by writing info@interfaith-presidio.org and letting us know. Thank you.

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 calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. 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.


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In the Bay Area Interfaith Connect Archives you will find editorials from BAIC beginning with January of 2007, as well as longer articles on issues of interest for interfaith work..

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At the Presidio Chapel
Map and directions to the Presidio’s Main Post Chapel

Presidio Chapel Website: www.presidiochapel.org

Contact the ICP office for information on when the chapel is open for tours.



On the Interfaith Center website at www.interfaith-presidio.org, find resources and information about the ongoing work of ICP. Take a look at our major projects, including the Interfaith Design Competition, the Lost and Endangered Religions Project, the McDonald Windows, and Spiritual Resources interviews.

You can also find a wealth of interfaith links, including books, calendars, Podcasts and more on the Interfaith Resources Page.


Interfaith Center at the PresidioBay Area Interfaith Connect is a monthly newsletter and calendar of interfaith events published by the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. The Center is a regional interfaith hub organization, linking interreligious groups around the Bay, across the nation, and around the world. ICP was incorporated in September 1995 "to welcome, serve, and celebrate the diverse spiritual wisdom and faith traditions of the Bay Area." The Center is a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, networked with hundreds of interfaith communities around the world who share a common commitment: ...to promote daily, enduring interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings.

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Bay Area Interreligious Calendar

We invite you to share programs and exhibits sponsored by Bay Area faith and interfaith groups for the public, provided only that they show respect for traditions other than their own and are not primarily aimed at converting people. 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. Send items to calendar@interfaith-presidio.org. National and international interfaith events that might be of interest to local individuals will be posted under "Special Opportunities," along with useful interfaith resources.

Through the month events are added to this calendar; the current version can be found www.interfaith-presidio.org. Look for the marker New Item! Events disappear within a day or two after they happen. To add or cancel your subscription to Bay Area Interfaith Connect, contact info@interfaith-presidio.org.

The new graphic to the right is inspired by the ICP linked ring logo. Each ring remains whole and maintains its integrity; only the white ribbon holds them together. Each of our religious traditions remains unique; it is the commitment to working together that creates the bond.

     ...IN PALO ALTO

Palo Alto Faith Leaders
WHEN: Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 12:00 noon
WHERE: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Avenue, Palo Alto.
Mark your calendars and watch for more information.


Peace in the Park
WHEN: Saturday, August 23, 2014, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
WHERE: Music Concourse Band Shell, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Free event.
Learn to nurture peace and happiness while living in a fast-paced urban environment. On the festival’s main stage will world music and dance performances from Native American, Zimbabwe, India and Latin America. Also: tai chi; hatha yoga; life-changer seminars; arts; crafts; improv; conscious dance; an art-music peace wall; exhibits by local non-profits specializing in peace initiatives, along with local, organic vegetarian food and beverage concessions (alcohol-free).

More information at http://www.peaceintheparksf.org/ or info@peaceintheparksf.org or 415.860.7879.


BAY AREA INTERFAITH CONNECT ARCHIVE. Some of the items we share each month are not time-limited, but listing them all in each issue becomes too much. We have now created an links page with material from back issues, especially books, web links, and long-term opportunities. Items from past issues are now available on the ICP website in our Interfaith Links Library.

COMPASSION RELAYS. Join the global Compassion Relays today! Anytime, anywhere, anyone can accept, carry, and pass on the Relays torch. Highlight, share, and honor your daily thoughts and acts of compassion for 1 week. Pass on the torch to friends, family, colleagues. The Relays herald and build momentum for the Compassion Games Gift-Giving Festival from September 11 through September 21. Find out more at the Compassion Games website.




Olema (Marin County)
Palo Alto
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