Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups join together for ’21 for 21′ interfaith collaboration

Photo and Media Credit: Pewforum

Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups have joined together to celebrate the way young people are promoting interfaith collaboration.

In a world first, three media outlets serving the three Abrahamic faiths have joined forces to set up the 21 for 21 project, which is aimed at finding “21 leaders for the 21st century”.

The project is looking for 21 young people who have made a significant difference to understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths.

The project is looking for 21 young people who have made a significant difference to understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths.

“There is a widely held perception that faith communities in this country and elsewhere are in constant conflict. I think that’s actually not the case,” Justin Cohen, the news editor at Jewish News who set up the project, told The Independent.

The 21 young people – seven Christians, seven Muslims and seven Jews – will be chosen from a range of nominees.

Read the full article here.

 

2018 Interfaith Leadership Institute – August 3-5, 2018

Photo and Media Credit: IFYC.org

The Interfaith Leadership Institute (ILI) is the largest gathering of students and educators with a commitment to American religious pluralism. Each year, hundreds of people who care about the future of our religiously diverse society converge in Chicago to learn, train, share, and get inspired to bring the movement for interfaith cooperation back to their campuses and communities.  Over the course of three days, participants learn to bridge divides and forge friendships across lines of religious and worldview differences. Come to the ILI with the passion to bring people together and leave equipped with the knowledge and skills to make it happen.

Who can come to an ILI?

Any undergraduate student, graduate student, or educator at a college or university within the United States is eligible to attend. Please note that graduate students are considered educators at IFYC and cannot register for student tracks. This is because our student tracks are designed with undergraduate student experiences in mind.

While educators are welcome to attend without their students, IFYC recommends that campuses bring multiple students and educators to the ILI so that when you return to campus, you have a network already established to implement the skills gained. For this reason, there is no cap on how many participants from one campus can attend. We recommend sending mixed group of students and educators from various faiths and traditions, majors, and levels of involvement with interfaith cooperation.

ILI INFORMATION

  • WHEN

  • Friday, August 3, 2018 – Sunday, August 5, 2018
    12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
    Central Time
  • WHERE

  • Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza River North
    350 West Mart Center Drive
    Chicago, Illinois 60654
    USA

Read the full event here.

Opening the Door to Collaboration

Photo and Media Credit: Reimagining Interfaith

Somehow along the way, interfaith groups lost sight of their own core purpose and mission, themselves degenerating into yet another layer of vying, and rigid and dogmatic attachment to beliefs, not religious beliefs this time, but beliefs about how, and who’s better at “how to do interfaith.” How ironic.

IRFWP salutes the upcoming RI conference (announced below) for catching this tragic and obvious trap, and making it a central theme in their upcoming conference. We wish all concerned great luck and blessings to awaken us from the constant human habit to separate and compete, rather than integrate and cooperate (IRFWP ed.)

The most important thing to know about Reimagining Interfaith (RI), the upcoming conference in Washington DC (July 28-August 1), is how collaborative it is. There are 22 faith and interfaith organizations (including TIO) – contributing to the effort.

Considering the state of the world, a growing feeling throughout religious communities focused on peace, justice, and healing is that none of us can successfully address these issues alone. To have any hope for getting where we want to go, we have to be collaborative in a culture where competition so freqently trumps collaboration.

When I reimagine interfaith, it has to do with bringing the ‘left and the right’ together in friendly conversation, whatever the tradition(s), whatever the differences. Whether you and I agree philosophically or theologically has nothing to do with what we might do together to feed starving children or deliver refugees from war.

Personal collaboration can lead us to organizational collaboration, which is what we most need in addressing climate, race, war and nuclear weapons, polarization, poverty, and so much more. The fact is, we already live in a thoroughly interfaith world. Our task now is to reimagine this world as a kinder, gentler place where justice and peace prevail for all.

Read the full article here.

Religious groups host interfaith conference to bridge gaps

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) — As a way to bring people together and learn about other faiths leaders from several different religions held an interfaith conference Sunday afternoon to bridge the gap between them and build relationships.

The Rockford Interfaith Council held the conference at the Sikh temple. Organizers spoke about racism and other hate crimes that can occur between certain religions. Some say our community can be better by coming together, exchanging views and making a bridge of peace between different faiths and communities.

“Religion never tells us to do something wrong, to fight with each other, to hate,” said president of the Sikh Temple Baba Ji.

Read the full article here.

Reimagining Interfaith: Taking Our Lead from Kids

Photo and Media Credit: Wikipedia and The Interfaith Observer

In the article below, writer Ms. Vicki Garlock of The Interfaith Observer envisions a path toward improving interfaith results, accomplishments, and effectiveness recommending engagement with children, and offering observations about how children are in the world as a resource to guide our interfaith mindset. Perhaps inadvertently, or by habit, Ms. Garlock reverts quickly to a list of commonalities among us in our faith traditions that do not necessarily arise from observing the behavior of children. This non-children derived list is a good one, but it seems something is needed to weave her gentle and insightful thoughts together into a more seamless essay.

IRFWP thanks Ms. Garlock, and all at TIO for these important and uplifting thoughts, and we pray together for  peace and cooperative world. (IRFWP ed.)

The interfaith movement is all about bringing people together. Most of the time we focus on adults and social justice issues. Don’t get me wrong. I fully support any and all interfaith efforts. But we need to do more, and we need to do it better. That’s why, when I reimagine interfaith, I see the world’s children. I see open minds, friendly hearts, and playful attitudes. I see eyes full of hope and love. I see a future generation of adults that recognizes the value of all faith traditions – a generation that has moved beyond mere tolerance toward deep appreciation. I see a path forward.

There is certainly a role for adults in this scenario. Grown-ups have the means to bring kids of different faiths together. Adults can also facilitate meaningful dialogue and help hold the space for differing worldviews. But adults need to avoid handing down their fears and insecurities to the next generation. The Earth gets smaller by the day, our interconnectedness increasingly apparent. To thrive in this emerging world, kids need to know something about the basic faith practices and beliefs of others, for the health of our planet and the well-being of our species.

Being More Alike than Different

Interestingly, when adults engage in multifaith dialogue, a near-universal refrain emerges: “I realized we are more alike than different.” In my experience, this sentiment is even more common in kids. Kids around the world like to do the same things! They like to play, listen to stories, create things, eat special food, celebrate special occasions, be part of a community, and have fun. All of these can and do happen in multi-faith settings, especially when kids are involved.

Stepping Back

If we take a step back, we can begin to see fundamental similarities: we’re all attempting to articulate the ineffable, we all celebrate important dates in our history, we all have revered writings or oral narratives that guide us, and we all have special ceremonies that help us to embody our beliefs. There are even commonalities across major themes and teachings: being kind to one another, helping those in need, welcoming the stranger, appreciating the wonders of the world around us, and recognizing the miraculous essence of connecting with the Sacred.

Read the full article here.

Making a Difference by Sharing Lives: The “Partnership” and Mutual Growth of Interfaith Mentoring

Photo and Media Credit: The Interfaith Center of New York

I’ve never really put much thought behind mentoring and how much it can affect the youth in our community, it’s likely because I’ve always been fortunate enough to have family members to look up to and guide me. Once I became a big sister at Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers (CBSBB) and built a real relationship with my little sister, I started to understand the importance of mentoring. It wasn’t just about seeing each other and sharing laughs, but more about sharing our lives. The moment we began to discuss her dreams, aspirations, and things going on in her life, I started to feel I was making a difference. I also began to realize how much I was learning from her as well; our “partnership” as she would call it has taught me that our youth have more to share than we may think.

Photo and Media Credit: The Interfaith Center of New York

Having the opportunity to become a big sister at CBSBB has been such an amazing journey. Sharing my views, beliefs, passions and outlook on life with someone younger has been immensely rewarding. Reflecting back on my time with my little sister, discussing her plans after high school, dreams and goals make me realize the time spent with her has been well worth it.

Read the full article here. 

After 20-year military standoff, Ethiopia and Eritrea agree to normalize ties in historic breakthrough

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, facing camera, is welcomed Sunday by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki at the airport in Asmara, Eritrea. (ERITV/AP)

 Ethio­pian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled Sunday to Eritrea, once a bitter adversary, and agreed to normalize ties after an unprecedented summit.

The rapprochement between the two neighbors could have far-reaching consequences for improving the stability of the Horn of Africa, which is home to several conflicts and environmental crises.

The two countries will reopen embassies, restore flight links and allow direct telephone calls. Landlocked Ethi­o­pia will look to start using Eritrea’s Red Sea ports.

“We have agreed to open up embassies in our respective countries, allow our people to visit each other’s cities, and allow our airlines and ports to operate freely,” Abiy said. “Love is greater than modern weapons like tanks and missiles. Love can win hearts, and we have seen a great deal of it today here in Asmara.”

Read the full article here.

Vatican cricket team tours UK to strengthen interfaith relations

Photo and Media Credit: Vatican News

The Vatican’s cricket team takes off on a fourth UK tour on Tuesday, with the goal of strengthening interfaith relations high on their action-packed agenda.

The team, officially known as St Peter’s Cricket Club, was established in 2013 and is made up of young men who are studying for the priesthood in Rome.

It operates under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Culture and was set up to promote ecumenical and interfaith relations through a shared love of cricket.

As well as their sporting fixtures, the Vatican team will be visiting a London mosque, a Sikh gurdwara, a Hindu temple and a Jewish synagogue to strengthen interreligious relations and to highlight the vital role of faith in contemporary society.

Read the full article here.

International Center for Religion and Diplomacy Monthly Update: July 3, 2018

Photo and Media Credit: ICRD

Dear friends,

After generations of strife, there are promising signs of change in Pakistan. Last year, the country saw a decrease in the number of terrorism-related deaths, and experienced no major attacks during the Shi’a holy day of Ashura. In January, the government announced the release of a fatwa signed by 1,800 scholars that condemns sectarianism and other forms of extremist hatred and violence. Over the last 15 years, ICRD has been blessed to work with Pakistani religious peacebuilders across many faith traditions who have taken a leading role in challenging prejudice and extremism.

Most recently, ICRD and its partners supported a powerful transformation in the decades-long hostilities between Islamic sects by supporting a messaging campaign led by local religious actors. This campaign seeks to combat divisive sectarian rhetoric with a theologically-grounded counter-narrative that was designed by religious leaders from all major sects and facilitated by ICRD.

Read the full article here.

Interfaith breakfast looks at moving from prayer to action

LEADOPTION Gurdeep Singh, from left, Manpreet Singh and Gurpreet Singh of the Sikh Center of Oregon share scriptural singing with the crowd during the 2018 Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at St. Andrew Lutheran Church on Thursday morning, June 28, 2018. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

The Interfaith Coalition of Southwest Washington hosts the breakfast at a different church each year and also holds an interfaith Thanksgiving service.

“Coming together, breaking bread together, really brings that community feeling,” said Khalid Khan, who’s part of the Interfaith Coalition and the Islamic Society.

Sermet said she regularly advocates for Muslims, typically an insular group, to get more involved in the broader community and cooperate with other groups. She invited others to do the same — to reach out to Muslims or people of different faiths and work together. Removing evil is imperative to not just the Muslim faith but all faiths, she said.

Pawneet Sethi of the Oregon and Southwest Washington Sikh community spoke about fulfilling humanity’s basic needs as a stepping stone to spiritual growth. What kind of society would we be if our neighbors’ basic needs were met and they could “fulfill their divine potential,” he said.

Read the full article here.