| BAY VIEW 2011 SUMMER PROGRAM
ABOUT INTERFAITH INTERACTION
Bay View Association of the
United Methodist Church
THURSDAY, JUNE 30th WISDOM WOMEN INTERFAITH PANEL
7:30 – 9:00 PM Voorhies Hall (No Charge)
Five Women of different faith traditions
(Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim)
share their journeys
FRIDAY, JULY 1st COFFEE AND CONVERSATION
WITH THE WISDOM WOMEN
9:30-11:00 AM Evelyn Hall (No Charge)
FRIDAY, JULY 1st EXPLORING THE EMERGING INTERFAITH
1:00 – 2:30 PM Loud Hall, Room 13
$10 members/ $12 others
Gail Katz (WISDOM Co-Founder)
Deb Hanson (Interfaith Chaplain)
will offer their perspectives
and experience in the Interfaith Movement.
Explore how Interfaith Interaction and Celebration
are affecting today’s world!!
WEDNESDAY, JULY 6 FRIENDSHIP AND FAITH:
THE WISDOM OF WOMEN CREATING
ALLIANCES FOR PEACE
A BOOK DISCUSSION
1:00 – 2:30 PM Loud Hall, Room 12
$10 members/$15 others
After having had the opportunity to
meet several of the contributors to WISDOM’s book,
Friendship and Faith, you will now have the chance
to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences
|Why Interfaith Dialogue Doesn’t Work — And What We Can Do About It
By Rabbi Eric Yoffie – President, Union for Reform Judaism
I have been participating in interfaith dialogue as a rabbi and Jewish leader for more than 30 years, and most of the time it just doesn’t work.
Most of the time — and it is painful for me to admit this — it is terribly boring. Most of the time there is a tendency to manufacture consensus, whether it exists or not. Most of the time we go to great lengths to avoid conflict. Most of the time we cover the same ground that we covered last month or the month before. And far too often we finish our session without really knowing the people across the table and what makes them tick religiously.
And most of we time we are satisfied with mouthing a few noble, often-repeated sentiments. Thus, we affirm the importance of mutual understanding, tolerance and dialogue; we assert that all human beings are created in the image of God; we proclaim that despite our differences, all of our traditions preach love of humankind and service to humanity. Nothing is wrong with these sentiments, of course; in conceptual terms, I believe in them all. But if we don’t dig beneath the surface and focus on substance rather than rhetoric, they mean very little.
The result is that most of the time, interfaith discussions are simply excruciating, irrelevant to me and to the world around me. Why then have I been so involved for so many years?
The reason is that very occasionally, something extraordinary happens: One of these conversations changes me, binds me to my colleagues, advances my understanding of myself and others, and adds texture and depth to my own religious beliefs and convictions.
In thinking back on these moments, it seems to me that there are three things that make for a “good” dialogue and that turn tiresome interfaith conversations into meaningful religious moments.
First, meaningful dialogue happens when the conversation turns to our religious differences. Platitudes are set aside when, as representatives of our faith traditions, we cease to be embarrassed by the particular; when we put aside the search for the lowest common denominator that most often characterizes — and trivializes — our discussions; and when we recognize that absent a clear affirmation of who we are, how we are different and what we truly believe, all our conversations are likely to come to nothing.
Second, interreligious exchanges become compelling when my colleagues and partners give expression to their religious passions. I am drawn in when they share with me their deepest beliefs and strangest customs, no matter how radically other they are from my own. And the sharing of religious passions should lead to passionate debate, in which we struggle with the really hard questions: What happens when conflicting beliefs lead to conflicting interests? What do we do about those areas where differences cannot be bridged and must be dealt with?
Third, interreligious dialogue truly touches us when we can discuss what we all know to be true but what we rarely say: that, in some ways at least, we all believe in the exceptionalism of our own traditions. We all tend toward the conviction that there are some elements of our religious beliefs and practice that stand above and apart from what other religions offer, and it is liberating when we are able to acknowledge this and then explain why we think that way, without apology but open to the honest reactions of those around us.
Other high points come from those moments when we all say what it is about our own traditions and communities that we don’t like and then talk frankly about why that it is so. And I am always delighted when we stop focusing on talk and start planning to work together — and really mean it.
As I said, these things happen rarely. I, like others around the interfaith table, am often sitting there just going through the motions, distracted by other things and caught in the same old patterns and clichés that predominate in these settings. Still, from time to time, we find a way to speak from the heart. When we do, God’s presence — variously felt and differently experienced — creates an atmosphere of faith, partnership and common purpose in the room. For those rare moments, I will continue to make the effort, without regrets.
Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield Dedicates a Bible Garden!!
People of all faiths along with gardening enthusiasts gathered on June 5, 2011 at 11:00 am for the dedication of the Louis and Fay Woll Memorial Bible Garden, Michigan’s largest and most meticulously designed Bible Garden. Located on the campus of Congregation Beth Ahm, 5075 West Maple Road in West Bloomfield, the dedication and public opening included tours of the Garden which illustrates many biblical and botanical themes.
This unique Bible Garden not only reflects various biblical stories but is also comprised of actual plant and tree species noted in the Bible. Visitors will experience a series of themes including the Garden of Eden, Abraham and Sarah’s Tent, Parting of the Red Sea, and the giving of the Hebrew Bible at Mt. Sinai. The many species of plants, flowers, and trees included in the Garden are identified by both their biblical references and botanical names. A visit to the Woll Memorial Bible Garden concludes at a replica of the Western Wall, the remnant of the Old Temple and one of Judaism’s holiest sites, in Jerusalem.
Dr. Douglas Woll, the visionary for the project, said his parents were the inspiration for the Bible Garden.
“I wanted to honor the memory of my parents by creating something of beauty, of spirituality, of renewal, and of celebration, which could be connected to the unending living link of the Jewish people,” Woll said. “Designing and building a Bible Garden, with the major themes and plants from the Hebrew Bible, seemed to be a perfect combination of things that are wonderful about Judaism, the Jewish people, and my parents. They lived by the principles of kindness, caring, education and generosity, ” he said.
The Louis and Fay Woll Memorial Bible Garden is a place for inner reflection, education, and social and community gatherings. It is a place to understand and appreciate the beauty and continuity of nature and its connection to the Jewish people and to the Divine.
The Woll Memorial Bible Garden is open in the spring, summer, and fall from sunrise to sunset. Guided visits can be arranged by calling 248.851.6880 and visitors may come at their convenience for self guided tours. The public may also visit the Garden on the internet at wollbiblegarden.org.
- Phone:(248) 851-6880
|Check out Odyssey Networks short video-clip featuring Diana Eck, head of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, and Kathryn Lohre, discuss “Common Ground in the Midst of Differences.”
Another Odyssey Networks video that speaks to each of us working so hard in the interfaith world!!
Another video to see about Interfaith is
“Honorouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities: A Conversational Toolkit”
A Himar Productions Ltd.
|From the Baha’i World News Service
BORDEAUX, France, 31 May 2011
Summit Moderator His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, Co-President of the Council of Churches of France, told participants that they were face-to-face not just as religious leaders but as representatives of humanity, speaking with one voice to the leaders of the G8 and G20 countries. That voice was heard in a unanimously agreed statement drafted at the meeting and later presented to the Secretary General of the G8. In addition to recommendations on five major themes - reforming global governance, the macro-economic situation, climate change, development, and investing in peace - the statement called for representatives from the African continent and the Middle East to be included in the G8 and the G20 meetings.
“We - leaders of diverse religious communities throughout the world - re-commit ourselves to working together across religious lines for the common good and with governments and other partners of good will. We remain convinced - each in accordance with the teachings of their tradition - that justice, compassion and reconciliation are essential for genuine peace,” the statement said. Two Baha’i delegates gathered with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, and Sikh colleagues, as well as members of interfaith organizations at the Religious Summit in Bordeaux to deliberate on matters related to the agendas of the G8 Deauville Summit and the G20 Cannes Summit, scheduled for 3-4 November 2011.
TWO) Iran’s human rights violations: international condemnation spreads
GENEVA, 26 June 2011 (BWNS) - The worldwide outcry against the persecution of Iran’s Baha’i community has been joined by the Chilean Senate, a Muslim Senator in Canada, and prominent Indian organizations. The latest calls - for an end to both the imprisonment of Iran’s seven Baha’i leaders and the continuing detention of 12 staff and faculty members of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) - have coincided with the sending
of a message to the Baha’is of Iran by the Universal House of Justice.
The letter, written in Persian and dated 17 June, dismisses as “baseless” and “absurd” statements by the Iranian authorities that the Baha’i community’s effort to educate its young members is “illegal.” It also upbraids those in Iran who, it says, have shunned true Islamic values,
the laws of their land, and the nation’s proud history of learning and
knowledge, and have allowed themselves - based on ignorant religious prejudice - to deny young citizens of their higher education.
In Chile, the Senate has unanimously asked President Sebastian Pinera to
“strongly condemn” Iran for its “rigorous and systematic persecution of
Baha’is.” In a resolution approved unanimously on 15 June, the Chilean Senate specifically mentioned the arrests last month of BIHE faculty and staff, objecting to the “unjust detention of those individuals.” The Senate noted that, “since 1979 the government of Iran has systematically
denied higher education to young adherents of its largest non-Muslim religious minority, the large Baha’i community of 300,000 believers.
“The government also has sought to suppress the efforts of the Baha’is to
establish their own initiatives, including the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE).”
|YOUTH ASCENDING –
RAISE A JOYOUS SHOUT!
Lift up the youth of Metro Detroit
in prayer and song at an exciting interfaith service
SUNDAY, JULY 17,2011
St. Peter Claver Catholic Community
13305 Grove St
(6 Mile Rd. and Schaefer)
Detroit, MI 48235
Potluck lunch and social hour 2:00 – 3:00pm
Meet and greet, fun and food
Worship service 3:00 – 4:00pm
Youth choirs and bands from all over the Metro Detroit area
For further information contact:
Rabbi Dorit Edut, 248-543-4255
Organized by DION (Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network)
A Project of Interfaith Alliance
and Human Rights First
Tensions around Islam in America have erupted throughout the country in the past year, leading to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases violence. News stories on the rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry and violence abound, with graphic and often searing images of the antagonists, the protagonists and the battlegrounds where they meet. All too often, media coverage simplistically pits Muslims against would-be Qur’an burners, neglecting any substantive representation of where the majority of Americans actually stand: a shared commitment to tolerance and freedom. We are committed to ensuring that the storyline changes dramatically in 2011 by helping to create an environment of mutual understanding and respect for each other’s faith traditions.
Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First offer the Faith Shared event as a way to engage faith leaders on the national and community levels in interfaith events intended to highlight respect among people of different faiths. Through photos, video clips and print coverage distributed around the world, we are looking to display visual images that reflect the mutual respect that is shared by so many Muslims, Christians, Jews and other Americans, standing together as a strong counterpoint to the negative images that have dominated the domestic and international news.
This project will create opportunities across the United States for faith communities to strengthen ties with each other. We will counter the misperception, including in the Arab and Muslim worlds, that the United States is a nation defined by the widely covered images of the marginal few who would burn a Qur’an, rather than by a proud and longstanding tradition of religious freedom, tolerance and pluralism. In communities across the United States, this project will not only serve as a model for tolerance and cooperation and promote local faith leaders as champions of such, but it will also create a concrete opportunity to build and strengthen working ties between faith communities moving forward.
Will You Join Us In Faith Shared?
Faith Shared asks houses of worship across the country to organize events involving clergy reading from each other’s sacred texts. An example would be a Christian Minister, Jewish Rabbi and Muslim Imam participating in a worship service or other event. Suggested readings will be provided from the Torah, the Gospels, and the Qur’an, but communities are encouraged to choose readings that will resonate with their congregations. Involvement of members from the Muslim community is key. We will also provide suggestions on how to incorporate this program into your regular worship services. And we will assist local congregations in their media and communications efforts.
While there is a strong preference for all of the events to happen on the same day, a number of congregations held interfaith services in January and February giving us wonderful examples of how communities can come together in support and fellowship. We will be posting photos, sample programs and audio files from theses services.
Faith Shared will collect images and videos from these events to use in our efforts to spread this message of respect and understanding from America.
For More information go to www.faithshared.org
|The Gift of the Upanayanam
A Hindu Bar Mitzvah? One mother considers her son’s upcoming initiation into the study of the Vedas.
By Padma Kuppa, June 08, 2011
I am going to remember this as the year of the upanayanams. Not only is it the year in which my son’s upanayanam will be performed, it is the first time I will be attending so many, both in the U.S. and in India. While many sacred sacraments, called samskaras, exist for Hindus this one is the initiation of a young boy into one of the profoundest prayers of the Hindu people: the Gayatri or Savitri mantra. This provides the boy the right to pursue wisdom through the study of the Vedas, and is a compound word: upa means “near,” nayanam is “to send.” Before the upanayanam, a boy is still a child. Once his upanayanam is complete, the boy or vatu is supposed to stay with a guru, live a life of regulation, pray three times a day, and spend a good part of his time in acquiring knowledge, particularly from the Vedas, the Hindu scriptures. I have been explaining to friends and colleagues that this is my son’s “Hindu Bar Mitzvah.”
Under Jewish laws, children are not obligated to observe the commandments but they are encouraged to do so as much as possible to learn the obligations they will have as adults. At the age of 13 (12 for girls), boys become obligated to observe the commandments. The words “Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah” actually mean the “son (daughter) of commandment,” and the purpose of the Jewish commandments is to keep one’s life focused on family, community, and a relationship with God. The bar mitzvah ceremony formally, publicly marks the assumption of that obligation, to form binding contracts, to testify before religious courts, and to marry. The popular bar mitzvah ceremony isn’t needed to confer these rights and obligation; it doesn’t make you Jewish.
Similarly, having an upanayanam doesn’t make one a Hindu. To bring in a Christian analogy, it does, however, mean one is born-again. The vatu (a word describing the boy)receives life-through a physical body-from his parents: this is the first birth. While living with the guru after the upanayanam, the guru imparts knowledge of the scriptures and gives him a life of jnana: this
My mother knew that my son and I wanted to know more about what is involved in the ceremony, so she emailed us a list of steps involved. These include: punyahavachana (preparation of the surroundings, the time), prayaschittam (redemption), and performance of the other jaata karmas (life sacraments, such as naming ceremony) that the boy had from birth to now. She explained that the priest who conducts the ceremony will also make my son step on a stone, to tell him that whatever he will be doing from now on-either in doing his duty justly, in leading a disciplined life, or in fulfilling his wishes or desires rightly-he should be like a rock with a firm mind.
I also did some research and landed at Hinduism Today. I was happy to know that this is not a ceremony to exclude, that young boys of all backgrounds are initiated into study of the Vedas. My son and I discovered that Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, also had an upanayanam, and that there are several other words to denote it: janoi (Gujarati/Hindi), poonal (Tamil), Brahmopadesam (Sanskrit), vodugu (Telugu).
Just as a bar mitzvah is called to read the Torah during the Jewish ceremony, a vatu is being initiated into the sacred Vedic mantra, the Gayatri. Literally, Gayatri means that which protects him who chants it. He must then perform sandhyavandanam thrice daily, an exercise to quiet the mind and render it fit for meditation on the highest truth epitomized by the Gayatri. Since the Gayatri mantra is meditation on the Sun (as god), the priest or guru will take him to show him the sun and other stars.
The initiate is also invested with a sacred thread, a reminder of his connection to that which is holy and sacred. The sacred thread is the yajnopaveeta and is symbolic of the trinities found within the Hindu tradition: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva; Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvati; Father, Mother, Supreme Spirit; Teacher, Scriptures, Inner-self. There are three cotton threads prepared in a special way and placed across the vatu’s neck and chest from left to right (there are variants to this depending on occasion and ritual) and worn daily.
During the ceremony, the vatu also takes a vow of celibacy, and seeks alms and blessings, beginning with his mother and father-this step is the Bhikshakaranam. This is done symbolically today, since parents continue to support their children after the event. This ritual is done to imbibe the virtue of humility-the end result is much like the Jewish event-lots of presents!
But the most important gift of the upanayanam is the Gayatri mantra itself; the translation here is from the late Sathya Sai Baba’s site (which also has a fount of information on the Gavatri).
We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross, subtle, and causal. I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence.
Padma Kuppa is a writer, IT professional, community activist,wife, and mother working to build a more pluralistic society within a Hindu and interfaith framework. You can also read her blog A Balancing Act, at padmakuppa.blogspot.com. The views represented in this column are not a reflection of the views of any organization of which she is a part.
An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion
Eboo Patel helped the White House develop its Interfaith and Community Service Challenge.
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: June 13, 2011 in the New York Times
CHICAGO – For a guy who is only 35 and lives in a walk-up apartment, Eboo Patel has already racked up some impressive accomplishments.
A Rhodes scholar with a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, he has four honorary degrees. His autobiography is required freshman reading on 11 college campuses. He runs a nonprofit organization – the Interfaith Youth Core – with 31 employees and a budget of $4 million. And he was tapped by the White House as a key architect of an initiative announced in April by President Obama.
Mr. Patel got there by identifying a sticky problem in American civic life and proposing a concrete solution. The problem? Increased religious diversity is causing increasing religious conflict. And too often, religious extremists are driving events.
He figured that if Muslim radicals and extremists of other religions were recruiting young people, then those who believe in religious tolerance should also enlist the youth.
Interfaith activism could be a cause on college campuses, he argued, as much “a norm” as the environmental or women’s rights movements, as ambitious as Teach for America. The crucial ingredient was to gather students of different religions together not just to talk, he said, but to work together to feed the hungry, tutor children or build housing.
“Interfaith cooperation should be more than five people in a book club,” Mr. Patel said, navigating his compact car to a panel discussion at Elmhurst College just west of downtown Chicago, while answering questions and dictating e-mails to an aide. “You need a critical mass of interfaith leaders who know how to build relationships across religious divides, and see it as a lifelong endeavor.”
Until Mr. Patel came along, the interfaith movement in the United States was largely the province of elders and clergy members hosting dialogues and, yes, book clubs – and drafting documents that had little impact at the grass roots.
For the rest of this article, please go to:
|INTERFAITH HEALTH FAIR
Interfaith Health Fair will be held on July 19th, 2011, in cooperation with the HUDA Clinic, the Muslim Center, the Chaldean community and the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Dr. Zahid Sheikh at email@example.com
Dr. Muzammil Ahmed at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to volunteer either as a medical professional or to help with the CIOM sponsored soup kitchen that day.
Volunteer registration: http://interfaithhealthfairvolunteers.eventbrite.com/
Client registration: http://interfaithhealthfairclients.eventbrite.com/
|A Taste of Asia – China, Philippines, Japan, India, and More!!
Come and enjoy the cuisine, culture, and diversity of Asia through an exotic dining experience! The evening will feature two surprise performances. Travel to each station to taste fine foods from various Asian countries.
SATURDAY, JULY 16, 2011 3pm-6pm
17356 Northland Park Ct.
Southfield, MI 48075
Admission is FREE for all CAPA (Council of Asian Pacific Americans) members and $25 for new members. All current members should bring at least one other new member.
Please send your RSVP to email@example.com by
Monday, July 11, 2011
Registration opens at 2:30pm
Philippine American Community Center
|“What In the World Is Ovarian Cancer and Why Didn’t I know About It?”
Very few of us can answer that question.
On Thursday September 1 at 7:30 P.M. Temple Israel will host a panel of ovarian cancer survivors and caregivers who will discuss the myths, facts, symptoms and risk factors of the disease.
These dynamic women who have “walked the walk” of hearing those dreaded words “you have ovarian cancer” will talk about their lives, how the cancer affected them and those around them, and how they have gone on to live their lives to the fullest.
This year 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 15,000 will die. Those numbers have not changed in the thirty years since the American Cancer Society declared war on cancer. We want those numbers to change as we raise awareness and education of this dreaded disease.
Though once referred to as “The Silent Killer”, this disease is anything but quiet. Our goal is to increase the number of survivors as we raise awareness and education of this dreaded disease.
The outstanding women who will speak are a part of the Survivors Teaching Students program that is sponsored by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance which is based in Washington D.C. The program was originally formulated to speak to third year medical students, however, it (the program) is so successful that the group speaks to residents, nurses, nursing students, p;physician’s assistants as well as social workers.
Now it is time to raise awareness and educate the women of our community – women of all faith traditions – about ovarian cancer.
We urge you to make a reservation for this highly educational and informative evening by calling the Temple Office at: 248-661-5700.
Midwest Regional Coordinator,
Survivors Teaching Students,
Saving Women’s Lives