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Saturday, July 30, 2016 Interfaith Center at the Presidio

July- Religious Liberty

Bill of RightsAs the people of the United States celebrate Independence Day, recalling the dedication and sacrifice of the pioneers and founders of our nation, it is also a time to remember and lift up the unique vision of liberty that emerged as those founders shaped the laws and institutions that would serve to guarantee the "unalienable Rights" invoked in the Declaration of Independence — "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It took a while to hammer all this out, but soon the founders came to understand that religious freedom was essential to all, and not just to a few. James Madison wrote in 1785:

What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not. Such a Government will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another. (Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments)

Rather than stifling religious life, the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion has enabled a flourishing of religious life in all its diversity and is one of the reasons that Americans are known as among the most religiously committed people in the world. It has also offered us the challenge and opportunity to learn how to work together across our differences to work together for the good of our nation.

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NAINConnect 2016NAIN CONNECT 2016. The annual NAINConnect will take place Sunday, July 10- Wednesday, July 13 in Guadalajara, Mexico, exploring the many dimensions of Espacio Segrado (Sacred Space). ICP will be represented by Board Chair Fred Fielding and Executive Director Linda Crawford. Linda will be on the Environment and World Peace panel where she will present the Presidio Chapel and "Remembered Light: the McDonald Peace Windows" project. Former ICP Interim Director Susan Strouse will lead a session based on her recent book, The INTRAfaith Conversation, and ICP founding Executive Director, Paul Chaffee, will present “Interfaith Realities in the U.S.” and, jointly with Ruth Broyde Sharone, "How to Create Sacred Spaces for Yourself and Your Community." We look forward to hearing about this rich time of engagement and learning. For more information, go to the NAIN website.

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RamadanRAMADAN IFTAR A GREAT SUCCESS. The iftar (fast-breaking) dinner co-sponored by Pacifica Institute, Calvary Presbyterian Church and ICP brought some 250 people of differing religious background together to share conversations, a meal, and a chance to hear from Dr. Scott Alexander, Assistant Professor of Muslim Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Fran Moreland Johns, a local author and blogger, wrote about celebrating her birthday at the iftar at The Huffington Post.

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GHOST ARMY DINNER. A group of 30 folks attended a lovely evening at the Foreign Cinema, co-owned by Bruce McDonald, grandnephew of Chaplain Fred McDonald of the McDonald Windows. They enjoyed a four-course meal and watched the film "The Ghost Army" with producer Rick Beyers. The Ghost Army was the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. From June 1944 to March 1945 it staged 20 battlefield deceptions. The existence of this unit was kept secret for 40 plus years during the cold war in case the U.S. went to war with the Soviet Union and wanted to use its methods again. Guests also received copies of the book "The Ghost Army of WWII" by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles. Net proceeds will benefit The Ghost Army Legacy Project and the McDonald Peace Project.

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Presidio ChapelDOCENT TOURS OF PRESIDIO CHAPEL. The weekly Open House/Docent Tours at the Presidio Chapel on Sundays from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm have proven quite popular. An average of 10 people come each week to view the 33' fresco painted by Victor Arnautoff, a protege 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. Comments have praised the Chapel and the docent, Daniel Johnson. 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.

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Peace in the ParkPEACE 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.  On September 17th, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, the 4th 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 Parks Alliance, Institute of Noetic Sciences, United Religions Initiative, Creative Canopy, Interfaith Center at the Presidio and SF Vegetarian Society. More information at www.PeaceInTheParkSF.org. Watch a 1-minute video at YouTube.

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San Francisco Interfaith CouncilON TERRORISM AND SOLIDARITY. Following the terrorist attack in Istanbul, the San Francisco Interfaith Council released this statement:

The Board of Directors and member congregations of the San Francisco Interfaith Council join with people of good will all over the world in mourning the death of innocent victims of terrorism in Istanbul. Tragically, this terrorist attack occurred during the Muslim sacred observance of Ramadan. We cannot let these acts of terror stop us from working together to make a safer and better world for all. They must strengthen our resolve to work together to solve the problems which we face. In unity there is strength. While we mourn for these innocent men and women, we vow to honor their memory by increasing our efforts at meaningful understanding of the values we share and the work we have to do together.

SFIC has also compiled expressions of grief and support for the victims of the shootings in Orlando earlier in June published by religious communities and organizations locally and nationally. You can find them on their website.

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DEFUSING HATE GUIDE The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has worked with fellow Rachel Brown to produce Defusing Hate: A Strategic Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech. Informed by history and drawing from a range of disciplines—from political science to communications, from marketing to neuropsychology—the guide offers activists, religious and civil society leaders, and their supporters the strategies and tools they need to prevent hate speech that has the potential to influence people to accept, condone, or commit violence against targeted groups. It's available as a free download.

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TIOThe Interfaith Observer (TIO) is an independent internet journal about all things interfaith. Each month it goes to more than 16,000 faith and interfaith leaders, including about 2,300 outside the U.S. More than 300 writers have contributed articles. Download back issues. TIO is free.

Last month TIO began a five-month focus on writers from different religious traditions who have contributed a particularly rich stream of articles to this publication. This month features Eboo Patel, a Muslim and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core.

     By Eboo Patel …

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NOTES & QUOTES: A warm welcome to Rev. Jessica Shine, who began as Community Minister at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley at the end of May... “Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes.” - George Carlin... “If a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission.” - Flemming Rose... “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."- Robert H. Jackson..."The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg."- Thomas Jefferson..."One of America’s continuing needs is to develop, out of our differences, a common vision for the common good. Today that common vision must embrace a shared understanding of the place of religion in public life and of the guiding principles by which people with deep religious differences can contend robustly but civilly with each other." - The Williamsburg Charter

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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

Open House and Docent Tours
Sundays, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Tour the Chapel building, see the murals, stained glass windows and other features of this historic building.



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.


Peace in the Park
WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2016, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
WHERE: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Free event.
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 4th 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.

The festival is offered free of charge by a coalition including Brahma Kumaris, SF Parks Alliance, Institute of Noetic Sciences, United Religions Initiative, Creative Canopy, Interfaith Center at the Presidio and SF Vegetarian Society. More information and registration at www.PeaceInTheParkSF.org.

WinterFaith Shelter Walk 2016
WHEN: Sunday, October 30, 2016, 1:30 pm
WHERE: Lake Merced in San Francisco (meet at Parking Circle at intersection of Lake Merced and Sunset Blvds). Fundraiser walk.
Walk proceeds benefit the Interfaith Winter Shelter - Register and/or Donate Today! To register and/or donate please visit: winterfaithshelterwalk.dojiggy.com.


SWO Women’s Wisdom: Jessica Sloan
WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2016, 9:30-11:30 am
WHERE: The Club at McInnis Park, 350 Smith Ranch Rd., San Rafael. $30; $25 student/senior.
Years ago, Jessica Jackson Sloan’s life and family were significantly affected when her first husband was sent to prison for a non-violent, drug-related offense. Due to his incarceration she became a criminal defense attorney, dedicating her life to ending the death penalty and advocating for human rights. Jessica is now the National Director and Co-Founder of #cut50, a bipartisan effort to cut the U.S. prison population in half.

Sponsored by Sufi Women's Organization Women's Wisdom. For more information and registration, see ias.org/swo/womens-wisdom-in-action-sloan/.


Gandhi and Nonviolence Today
WHEN: Sunday, August 14, 2016, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
WHERE: Pacifica Institute, 1257 Tasman Dr., Unit A-B, Sunnyvale. Free event.
A SiVIC Forum featuring Dr. Subba Rao, Chairman, National Youth Project India; Professor Michael Nagler, Founder and President of The Metta Center for Nonviolence, Berkeley; and Maha Elgenaidi, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Islamic Networks Group.

See www.sivicouncil.org for details.

New Item! Nonviolence in Today’s Violent World
WHEN: Sunday, August 14, 2016, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
WHERE: Pacifica Institute, 1257 Tasman Avenue, Suite A-B, Sunnyvale. Free event.
A SiVIC Interfaith Forum featuring Dr. Subba Rao, Chairman, National Youth Project India; Professor Michael Nagler, Founder and President of The Metta Center for Nonviolence, Berkeley; and Maha Elgenaidi, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Islamic Networks Group. Their conversation will be moderated by Dr. Prasad Kaipa, researcher and consultant and followed by an interactive discussion with the audience. Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to sulolulla@gmail.com, 408 530 2733 , 669 292 1457

     ...IN TIBURON

Religious Leaders Gathering
WHEN: Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 12:00 noon- 2:00 pm
WHERE: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 240 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon. Free event: donations welcome.
Speakers include: Rev. Fu Schroeder ~ Abbess Green Gulch Zen Center; Rev. Rob McClellan ~ Senior Pastor, Westminster; Moina Shaiq ~ President of the Tri-City Interfaith Council. Topic: how we can speak from our different faith perspectives in a way that not only honors our similarities, but also honors our diversity and places of disagreement. Bring a bag lunch. Simple snacks will be provided.


Lunch and Learn at Sufism Reoriented
WHEN: Friday, August 5, 2016, 12:00 noon
WHERE: Sufism Reoriented, 1300 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek. Brown bag lunch.
Pack a brown bag lunch and meet us at Sufism Reoriented. We will get a tour and then hear about their beliefs and traditions. Their new worship space will be dedicated some time this fall. Beverages and homemade cookies will be provided and that members of Sufism Reoriented are looking forward to welcoming our Interfaith neighbors!


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.

INTERFAITH CURRICULUM & EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Scarboro Missions recently re-designed and re-organized the Interfaith Curriculum Resourcessection of their website to be more user-friendly. Explore this rich collection in nine theme areas: schools & youth groups, peace–building, ecology & social justice, prayer & meditation, colleges & universities, interfaith toolkits, young adults, Golden Rule and bi-lateral dialogues. Resources include online courses, best practices, do-it-yourself workshops, activities, multifaith prayer services, starter kits, guidelines, games, how-to manuals, meditations and slideshows, and most can be downloaded free of charge: www.scarboromissions.ca/Interfaith_dialogue/student_resources.php

ONLINE GLOBAL COMPASSION SUMMIT July 13-14, 2016. The Global Compassion Summit is a no-cost online event produced by The Shift Network in partnership with The Center for Compassion Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University as part of the 5th annual Summer of Peace — the largest online peace event on the planet! You’ll hear from global leaders from around the world — teachers bringing mindfulness to at-risk youth, attorneys using mindfulness and compassion to shift our legal system, physicians putting “care” back into health care, and activists who are using compassion to anchor their communities together. Learn more, or register at theglobalcompassionsummit.com/.

The INTRAfaith ConversationTHE INTRAFAITH CONVERSATION. "I'm worried that I'm betraying Jesus." Elsie L. Many who have been involved in cooperative engagements with people of other faith traditions discover that it is often easier to talk with people of a different religion than it is with the person sitting next to you in your own congregation. In her new book, The INTRAfaith Conversation: How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves about INTERfaith Matters?, the Rev. Dr. Susan Strouse addresses the challenges that the increasingly interfaith realities of our day present for Christians, and invites reflection on how Christian theology and identity might be shaped by the interfaith encounter. Susan is a long-time associate of ICP, served as the Interim Director in 2011 and is currently Pastor of the First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco. For more about the book and an interview with Susan Strouse, click here.

COMPASSION BOOK CLUB. The Charter for Compassion has a Compassion Book Club inspired by and built around Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. They are hoping to energize and broaden the Compassionate Book Club by inviting members to join in an All-Charter-Book-Read. You are invited to read the books individually or with a group, and then to join an online discussion with the author. Upcoiming discussions include September 17, 2016, 9:00 am PDT: The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide by Mark Gerzon [register]; and October 22, 2016, 9:00 am PDT: Great Tide Rising by Kathleen Dean Moore [register].

IFYC PODCAST. Interfaith Youth Core has added a series of podcasts on interfaith issues at Soundcloud. In the most recent installment, "A Catholic Response to the Refugee Crisis," they talk with Bill Canny, the head of refugee support at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, about how Catholics serve people fleeing conflicts across the globe.




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