Homelessness Interfaith surpasses goal to house 1,000 homeless, near-homeless

Ryan Hershman, who has struggled with homelessness and addictions in the past, is now in an Escondido apartment where he is getting his life back together. He is hoping to one day have a non-profit to help people in similar situations. (John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Escondido-based Interfaith Community Services has announced it almost doubled the number of homeless and near-homeless people it housed in a year, surpassing a goal set in 2017.

“We’ve been doing a move-in a day,” Interfaith Executive Director Greg Anglea said about the success of the nonprofit’s Housing 1,000 initiative, which over the past 12 months found homes for 1,198 people, including 755 who were homeless.

This was the second consecutive year that an effort to house 1,000 people has been successful.

Interfaith’s initiative did not rely on vouchers, but instead raised money for rental assistance and security deposits through community donations.

Read the full article here.


Pope Francis shakes hands with Brian Grim

Coming on the heels of the first ever 80+ nation Religious Freedom Ministerial hosted at the US State Department, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute/Newseum are pleased to announce a new set of executive seminars and trainings that aim to educate business leaders about the significance of religious diversity, religious inclusion, and religious liberty in business and how those issues impact the bottom line.

The full- and half-day seminars are tailored for middle management executives who want to better understand how religious diversity and inclusion enhance the workplace.

Studies show that the most successful businesses encourage an environment in which employees can bring their “full self” to work. Employees need to feel comfortable, willing, and able to talk about what is most important to them. Employers benefit when they recognize and respect an employee’s religious identity, including their beliefs and practices.

In today’s increasingly competitive global business environment, companies will need to draw upon the unique talent and diverse experience of every employee. Employees that feel free to bring their entire self and identify to work demonstrate higher levels of innovation, creativity, and positive working environments, directly affecting business success. On the other hand, organizations that have environments of exclusion, intentional or not, risk excluding the next great business solution, the next great product idea, or talent retention.

As companies globalize, they’ll need employees who can relate to the daily experience of increasingly diverse customers. For billions of potential customers, including in the world’s fastest-growing economies, religious belief and practice are a part of daily life. Having employees who understand the ways religion manifests in private and public life will help companies avoid costly missteps and develop products and services better tailored to customer needs, and an essential part of being competitive.

Read for more information here.


IRFWP Invited to Interfaith Ceremony & Sai Palaki Yatra Hosted by Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

Photo and Media Credit, IRFWP and Guruji Dileepkumar Thankappan.

On July 28th, 2018 the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple hosted a festival and parade at the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Flushing, New York. IRFWP Director, Dr. Frank Kaufmann was invited as a guest of honor, and to offer prayers among representatives of the world’s faiths.

Below are several photos from the event promoting the phrase, “We all are chosen, holy and divine children of the same universe.”

Interfaith week to bring together different faith groups

An interfaith group stops at the San Diego Mormon Temple near La Jolla as part of a bus tour to various places of worship in the San Diego area. (courtesy California Interfaith Association).

Interfaith Awareness Week is slated to bring together community members of various faith traditions from throughout San Diego County and across the state. Each day from Aug. 5-11, different faith centers will host an event open to the public.

“The idea is for people from different faith groups to come together and learn from each other,” said the Rev. Stephen Albert, president and co-founder of the Poway Interfaith Team and founder of the California Interfaith Association, which connects interfaith groups across the state.

The Interfaith Awareness Week grew out of a five-day interfaith conference last August at UC San Diego — the North American Interfaith Network’s conference, which drew more than 250 people representing 20 faiths. The event was organized by the Poway Interfaith Team formed in 2006 to support interfaith dialogue.

Read the full article here.

Whole Foods Market Community Giving Day to benefit Interfaith Food Pantry, July 26

Photo and Media Credit: Tapinto.net

Morris Plains, NJ –  The Interfaith Food Pantry announced that it will receive five percent of net sales from the Whole Foods Market locations in the Morristown and Madison areas on Thursday, July 26 as part of the company’s quarterly Community Giving Day.

“We’re so grateful to Whole Foods for their partnership in addressing the problem of local hunger and food insecurity”, said Carolyn Lake, Associate Director of the Interfaith Food Pantry.  “Their generosity makes it possible for our programs to reach thousands of people across Morris County… low-income working families, seniors living on fixed incomes, and others in need or crisis who lack access to nutritious food.”

More than 465 Whole Foods Market locations will participate in the Community Giving Day by donating to organizations, projects and programs that support the mission of ensuring access to healthy food for all.

Read the full article here.

Religious education ‘vital for diversity’

Londoners of different faiths and cultures remembered the terror attack on London Bridge. Photo and Media Credit: Getty Images & BBC.co.uk

Religious education is more vital than ever in an increasingly diverse society and needs a higher status, says former home secretary Charles Clarke.

Mr Clarke is co-author of a report calling for better religious education in school and a widening of the subject to include “beliefs and values”.

‘Learning to talk’

“We are becoming more diverse, more individual. That’s a good thing, but children growing up need to understand that society and be able to interpret it,” says Mr Clarke.

The idea that religion would eventually be “discarded as irrelevant” has proved to be mistaken, he says.

Prof Woodhead says understanding about religions such as Islam, Hinduism or Judaism should be part of everyday life.

“These are children in your classroom or your neighbours, we’re all part of the same society and we have to learn to talk to each other more intelligently,” she says.

Read the full article here.


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.


  • WHEN

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

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

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.