OPPORTUNITIES & RESOURCES
Pluralism Sunday – Celebrate Religious Diversity Sunday on May 4!
Sunday, May 4, 2014 is a day when certain churches dedicate their worship to a celebration of our interfaith world. Progressive Christians thank God for religious diversity! We don’t claim that our religion is superior to all others. We recognize that other religions can be as good for others as ours is for us. We can grow closer to God and deeper in compassion — and we can understand our own traditions better — through a more intimate awareness of the world’s religions.
On Pluralism Sunday, churches celebrate elements of other world faiths in their sermons, litanies, and music; many feature speakers and singers from other faith traditions. Some congregations have exchanges with other faith communities, going to each other’s houses of worship.
A project of ProgressiveChristianity.org
Faiths Coming Together – May 1-4 – Edmonton, Canada
To Celebrate the Spirit Within Us and Among us
As our awareness of the perils and the promise of our present world grows, we shall recommit ourselves and our communities of faith to following paths of compassion, seeking peace and justice for all. May the gathering inspire and nurture us on our journey.
Go here for details about presenters, workshops, panels, films, and concerts, along with program details, and registration.
A Partner City the Parliament of the World’s Religions program.
Detroit Announces NAINConnect 2014 Program Details
Bridging Borders and Boundaries is the theme for this year’s North America Interfaith Network (NAIN) annual conference, scheduled in Detroit, August 10-13.
Program Highlights include…
Dan Buttry keynote – “Peace and Reconciliation Initiatives Around the World”
Song and Spirit, featuring Br. Al Mascia, OFM, and Maggid Steve Klaper, a Franciscan minstrel and a Jewish troubadour
Monday evening – “Go Back Where You Came From!” Panel of interfaith scholars discussing religious and ethnic hatred.
Tuesday evening – “Beyond Kumbaya” – Responding to difficult issues
Wednesday morning – “Sacred Storytelling”
Ten workshops are planned, including ones on Cities of Compassion; interfaith best practices; bridging faiths with labyrinths; values that unite Americans; creating interfaith art; and interfaith work in healthcare.
Site Visits – Ethnic tours of Dearborn and Hamtramck; the Arab American National Museum; the Holocaust Memorial Center; Detroit and the Underground Railroad; “Grown in Detroit”; Detroit Institute of Arts.
Go here for full details and registration.
NAIN is North America’s oldest and most active network of grassroots interfaith leaders. See TIO’s 2011 profile here.
Project Interfaith’s New “Conversation Kits” Kickstart Interreligious Engagement
Project Interfaith in Omaha, Nebraska made quite a splash in the interfaith world with their ravelUnravel project, posting nearly 1000 short videotaped spiritual journey stories from young and old of all traditions. With new ones each day. Check it out.
Now they have developed new “Congregation Kits,” treating developing interfaith relationships more like a game than a book study. The program, how it works, and all the appropriate questions were developed out of Project Interfaith’s growing work in Omaha.
Five kits are planned. The first is available now. Speed Dialogue focuses on creating a fun, fast-paced conversation with new friends about faith, culture, and belief. Four more kits are in the works, addressing…
Gender and Religion
Politics and Religion
Morality and Belief, and
Science and Religion.
Each kit is downloadable, including exercises and questions. They can be purchased through projectinterfaith.org for $19.99 each. About what a board game might cost you – but much more engaging for people of faith and practice, including no ‘faith’ at all. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the PI office at 402-933-4647.
CIRCLE Interfaith Publications
New Journal of Interreligious Studies Free to Download
The winter issue of Journal of Interreligious Studies (formerly the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue) is now available for downloading. It is full of provocative, academic peer-reviewed essays that, in this issue, focus on all sorts of religious/interreligous education issues. A must for serious students of interfaith.
The Journal is the fruit of religion and ethics graduate students and seminarians, frustrated because so little was being published about their interreligious concerns. Today the publication is hosted by CIRCLE (Center for Interreligious & Communal Leadership Education), a project of Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College.
State of Formation Seeking New Contributing Scholars
State of Formation, another CIRCLE web publication, is a platform for more than 200 students of religion and seminarians who write about one’s spiritual formation in this new interreligious world. State of Formation is currently accepting applications for new Contributing Scholars. You’ll find an application/nomination form here.
Auburn Seminary Surveys Interfaith Resources for Prospective Seminarians
Auburn Seminary in New York City has promoted multireligious education in seminaries for the past ten years. Now they have posted eight resources on a website page titled “Multifaith Education in Seminaries.” The resources are designed for seminary administrators and faculty and will serve them well. But for anyone interested in traditional seminary training with an emphasis on interfaith studies, these documents are a goldmine. They include …
ATS Accreditation Standard (text of the new standard released in 2012 by the Association of Theological Schools)
Teaching and Pedagogy (nine tactics for teaching in the classroom and the field from faculty experienced in multifaith education)
Top 20 Seminaries for Multifaith Education (this list emerged from Auburn’s 2009 study of 150 seminaries in “Beyond World Religions: the State of Multifaith Education in American Theological Schools”)
Multifaith Education Programs and Conferences (a list of known multifaith education programs and conferences for seminary students and faculty)
Studies and Evaluations (links to program evaluations and studies on the practice of multifaith education in seminaries)
Popular Press (links to articles that feature the role of multifaith education in theological education)
Recommended Resources (recommended educational resources for seminary faculty engaging in multifaith education in the classroom and the field)
For prospective seminarians, the ‘top 20’ interfaith-friendly seminaries might be the most important of these resources. For teachers of interfaith, the nine examples (Teaching and Pedagogy) of how to teach interfaith is a fascinating example of the scope and imagination of interfaith studies being developed in academia.
High School Students Reach Out to the World
Call for Submissions to The Compassion Project: An Anthology
The Compassion Project, created by high-school students, is dedicated to bringing awareness to the simple yet often marginalized concept of compassion. In our society, compassion is interpreted as pity and designated to the religious. What if we could bring compassion into the secular mainstream? Will we begin to heal the sufferings endemic to our society?
We are soliciting images of original artwork depicting compassion, be they photographs, or photos of paintings, collages, mixed media, drawings, or sculptures. Poetry, short personal essays and short stories are also welcome. Selections from this collection of work will be displayed in the blog www.meditationblog.blogspot.com and used in readings and presentations to stir the consciousness of others. Should a critical mass of work be achieved, selections will be compiled and an anthology will be printed.
Guidelines for Submissions – All entries should include:
A word document containing an imbedded image (jpg with maximum size of 2000 x 2000 pixels and minimum of 500 x 500 pixels) of the artwork along with a statement (one to three paragraphs) on why the image included represents compassion; or a poem, short essay, or short story on compassion.
Name, address and email included in the heading.
Poetry must be 30 lines or less, single-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font.
Prose must be 1500 words or less, double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font.
If an image is accepted for the anthology, the artist must be able to send it with high resolution.
Artists and writers of all ages and abilities are welcome.
Rapping for Goodness Sake
Dru Takes on Bullying with the Golden Rule
Scarboro Missions’ interfaith ministry keeps creating wonderful new resources for promoting and teaching the Golden Rule. A treasure trove of 13 videos, for instance, gives teachers and parents excellent starting points for discussing how we treat others.
Getting the most attention now is the Golden Rule Rap performed by leading Canadian rap artist Dru. He challenges young people to “follow the Golden Rule and you’ll be cool.” Producer of the video, Tina Petrova, reports the “Mental Health Services in one of the Arctic territories reached out to us, sharing that teen suicides were high due to bullying, and that the rap may be a great mental health tool to use at school dances. Now other young groups are telling us the same!”
Click on the video and listen! And share!
Free Downloadable Peacemaking Curriculum
For One Great Peace – an Interfaith Curriculum for Abrahamic Peacemaking
This excellent resource enables participants to acquire basic skills in interfaith dialogue and to build bridges across religious and cultural differences. The 74-page curriculum is published by the Abrahamic Faiths Peace Initiative (California, USA) and authored by learned practitioners of three religious traditions. Three of the sessions focus on peacemaking in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Also included are guidelines for interfaith leaders, reflective exercises, background information sources, suggestions for further readings and excellent tips for practising interfaith hospitality. The curriculum is also an important resource for those who are not members of the Abrahamic faiths. This document is also available as a Kindle e-book (96 cents).
To view or download free of charge, click here.
What Has Interfaith Engagement Meant to You?
Vanderbilt Surveying North American Grassroots Interfaith Activists
If you participate in an interfaith group in North America, your input is sought in a survey. A study group at Vanderbilt University is researching grassroots interfaith organizations and would love to have your input. (There are plans to expand the study in its next phase to go beyond North America.)
Mark McCormick, a Ph.D. candidate who helped inspire the project, writes, “This research project started as the seed of an idea back in 2010, during the protests against the new Islamic Center in our own backyard in Murfreesboro, TN. Several of us at Vanderbilt have over time become personally involved in the interfaith efforts that have cropped up in MiddleTennessee in response to this controversy, and it struck us that this would also be a very important (and understudied, empirically) topic for research.”
Five interfaith groups in the south have been the subject of case studies, and to this will be added what the research team finds out from this survey. TIO will report on the results next year.
Click here to go to the survey. Vanderbilt scholars thank you!
Interreligious Ecology Resource
Multifaith Green Rule Poster & Study Guide Now Available
Greening Sacred Spaces is a Canadian interfaith organization that supports houses of worship of various religions in efforts to “green” their buildings. Their Green Rule Poster features sacred texts from 14 religious traditions – they are presented against the visual backdrop of “the tree of life.”
This poster is complemented by a useful 20-page study guide. The guide is an imaginative, practical tool to teach youth and adult members of your faith community and school system about the sacredness of creation in your own faith tradition while reflecting on the ecological texts of other religions.
You can order your poster here.
Free to Download
On Common Ground: World Religions in America
Diana Eck, founder of the Pluralism Project, wrote this letter last month:
Greetings from the Pluralism Project! I am delighted to share with you the launch of an online and updated version of On Common Ground: World Religions in America. You can view the press release on our website.
For fifteen years, the CD-ROM version of On Common Ground (Columbia University Press) has been a go-to resource on religious diversity in America for teachers, professors, students, clergy, community leaders, and media professionals. Over the years, many of you have expressed your hope for an online version of this wonderful resource. We’ve echoed your excitement and are pleased that this new version of On Common Ground is now online and available free of charge.
In the new online version, the time-tested educational structure of the On Common Ground CD-ROM is replicated and enhanced. We have:
- added new sections on Humanism and Unitarian Universalism to America’s Many Religions and developed new content on the experiences of Muslims and Sikhs post-9/11;
- expanded America’s Changing Religious Landscape by including interactive maps of religious diversity in select cities across the U.S. which incorporate both census data and information from the Pluralism Project Directory of Religious Centers (a database that now includes well over 10,000 entries);
- explored new versions of old challenges by integrating new materials and weblinks into Encountering Religious Diversity, further building on a rich cache of historical examples, documents, news stories, and videos that highlight the many ways in which Americans experience our new multireligious reality.
The Pluralism Project is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. which was a major funder of the original On Common Ground CD-ROM as well as the new version On Common Ground Online. This project would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and dedication of generations of Pluralism Project affiliates, researchers, staff, students, and the communities we both study and seek to serve. Thank you.
We look forward to hearing your responses to OCG!
With all best wishes,
Progressive Theologian Reaches Out to New Pope
Letters to Pope Francis by Matthew Fox
Pope Francis, with a warm heart and iconoclastic attitudes, has caught the attention of the world. Each day new stories emerge, and everyone (talking) seems to approve. A biography is out, along with plenty of pundit opinions.
Now comes a set of heartfelt letters to Fr. Fox’s “brother in Christ about the great challenges facing the church today, drawing from the deep spiritual and theological sources that have been suppressed since Vatican.” The book urges Francis “to restore the sense of the faithful and reshape a church with justice and compassion.”
Matthew Fox has long been persona non grata at the Vatican. Could that change? This book makes you think it could. It is available at Amazon.
New Curricula for Jewish-Christian Congregations
Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation
This new set of videotapes and a study guide allow participants to experience each tradition’s understanding of how it walks God’s path and how the two faith communities can relate to one another in positive ways.
Written by Philip Cunningham, John Michalczyt, and Gibert Rosenthal. Produced by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College on behalf and with the oversight of the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is now made available online through special arrangement with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations. See here for details.
United Religions Initiative Invites Your Stories and Video
URI “Talking Back to Hate” Campaign Launched
In August United Religions Initiative (URI) launched its “Talking Back to Hate” campaign. Those who visit its website are invited to sign a pledge, make a commitment to work against hate, and to add your stories and videos to those which are already posted on the site. The video on the right is a contribution by high-school student Ayluonne Pereszkiewicz.
The purpose of the campaign is clear: As people of many cultures, faiths and backgrounds, we’re committing today to take specific steps to address hate and discrimination in our communities, and to work for a world< where every person, regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion, culture, gender, orientation or ability, is treated with respect and is safe to be themselves. We call upon our political and community leaders to make new efforts to secure and defend these fundamental human rights for all people, and to speak out together against acts of hate, discrimination and bullying.
Those who take the pledge can download a variety of resources including a “Talking Back to Hate” toolkit that can help you and your community participate and keep up with the campaign.
Start Your Own Faith Journey Campaign
ravelUnravel Goes National
Project Interfaith’s ravelUnravel program in Omaha, Nebraska, has more than 900 short faith statements from people representing the full diversity of religious traditions. It is going national now, and you are being invited to participate by starting your own video campaign, adding faith statements from you and your community. Just go the website and follow the directions.
Magnificent Interactive Exhibit Now Online
Compelling New Exhibit: Portraits in Faith – Photographs and Stories
For almost nine years, Daniel Epstein, a Marketing Director at Procter & Gamble, has been travelling the world for business and for faith. Motivated by his own search to fill the “God-sized hole” in his life, he felt that if he did not develop some type of spiritual faith he would die. Born and raised a Jew, Daniel’s challenges with relationships, work and “life” forced him at age 36 to get on his knees and pray to a God he did not know, a higher power not specific to either his own Judaism or any religion, and ask for help. In order to keep his new found sense of [Shekh Abdul Aziz Bukhari in Portraits of Faith] faith alive and to gain from the experience of others, Daniel created a spiritual exercise out of interviewing people around the world about the role of faith in their lives. As a photographer, Daniel also captured a moment with each person in a black and white portrait meant to evoke their true spirit.
What emerged is “Portraits in Faith,” the world’s most extensive oral history/testimony project conducted by one person on the subject of faith. Daniel has interviewed and made portraits of 400 people from 27 countries representing well over 50 religions, denominations and spiritual followings.
Read the rest of this story, by Frank Fredericks, in Huffington Post, where a number of the photos help tell the story. Or go straight to Portraits In Faith and listen to the stories of those in the photographs.
History of the Golden Rule Free to Download
Excerpted from Ethics and the Golden Rule by Harry Gensler S.J.
This history chronicles the history of the Golden Rule from ancient to modern times. Essentially, the paper charts the ethical history of humanity through the lens of the Golden Rule. This chronology is an ideal teaching tool with the capacity to reach a multitude of diverse audiences. It also has interfaith content.
Download your free copy here.
Fifty Years of Interfaith Activism
Download Braybrooke’s Personal Account of the Interfaith Movement
Widening Vision: the World Congress of Faiths and the Growing Interfaith Movement by Marcus Braybrooke is now available for downloading. Marcus, a TIO Correspondent, is known as the historian of the interfaith movement. In this new book, he is as much a participant as an observer. He joined the World Congress of Faiths in 1964 and serves as its president today.
From this vantage point, he has been engaged for nearly 50 years in the burgeoning interfaith movement. In Widening Vision he shares his first-hand account of working with the Temple of Understanding, Religions for Peace, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the North American Interfaith Network, and United Religions Initiative. The book concludes with his vision of a peaceful interfaith future.
Widening Vision is available as an e-book from Kindle at Amazon.
Multifaith Golden Rule Movie Now Available Free Online
Animating the Golden Rule
Toronto’s Scarboro Missions movie, Animating the Golden Rule, is now available free of charge on the Internet. The DVD features students in three Toronto high schools embodying golden rule values by way of skits, artwork, interviews, music, dance & rap. The film eloquently demonstrates how character education can be engendered in young people using play, creativity and the arts. This movie is very useful for teachers and youth leaders because of its themes of youth, global citizenship, multiculturalism, ethics, diversity and the arts.
To view the film, in four sections, click here.