Inter Religious Federation for World Peace, and the Founding of Twelve Gates Foundation

The myriad accomplishments of IRFWP under the leadership of its founder, founding director, and close family of devoted world leaders, eventually led to founding Twelve Gates Foundation in 2019.

Twelve Gates Foundation generates resources, provides consultation and support, and strengthens leaders, people, and communities to live harmoniously in an interfaith world. Furthermore, Twelve Gates Foundation holds that enduring peace is possible. Harmony among people and with nature arises from the experience of life as sacred, and manifests in thriving cultures and societies.

To learn more about Twelve Gates Foundation, please visit:

The vast investment and accomplishments of IRFWP have been memorialized in beautiful timelines, which remain under construction, as ever more of this remarkable history is entered and reported on the sites.

IRFWP was founded to bring under a single umbrella interfaith work, investment, networks, organizations, and projects that flourished from 1959 until the founding of IRFWP in 1991. This work became global once headquartered in the West with work beginning in 1977.

Please be sure to visit these timelines to familiarize yourself with IRFWP interfaith that flourishes not in the world of Twelve Gates Foundation

Inter Religious Foundation for World Peace 1983-1996

Inter Religious Foundation for World Peace 1997-2006

Christian groups gift Torah to German Jewish community of Thuringia

Jewish leader says the gift represents an ‘important symbol of solidarity and support’ for their community

The Jewish Community of Thuringia in central Germany will receive a new Torah scroll from Christian groups.

The gift comes a year ahead of the launch of “Nine Centuries of Jewish life in Thuringia.”


Alte Synagoge, Erfurt, Thüringen, (Tilman2007/Wikipedia)

The state also will submit an application for a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the Old Synagogue in Erfurt, one of Europe’s best preserved medieval synagogues. It has housed a museum of local Jewish history since 2009.

Read the entire article here


Spirituality: For Some, or For All?

On 10-9-19 I I spoke on Spirituality to a student group at the New Jersey Institute of Technology

I examined whether spirituality is optional or necessary for human life?

This is a link to pictures from the meeting:

Here is link to the pdf of the ppt of the presentation

Here’s the pdf itself:

Here is a link to the the slides from the presentation:

Here are the slides themselves:

Repairing a Denominational Divide

The ancient Holy Sepulchre has long been a source of tension between the Christian churches sharing it. Now, preserving the building is forging new cooperation.

Ottoman Turkish sultan’s 1852 declaration about which Christian denominations control which parts of the sprawling church – originally made to calm tensions between the world’s powers in the Holy Land – is still essential today to preserve peace between the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Syrian Orthodox churches, all which have convents and chapels and conduct myriad daily liturgies here.

Francesco Patton (left) custos of Franciscan friars, Theophilos III (center) Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and Nourhan Manoughian (right) Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem toast after signing an agreement to initiate a project for the restoration and rehabilitation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, on May 27, 2019.(THOMAS COEX/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

This so-called status quo declaration essentially froze the church in time. The times and places of the dozens of daily religious services haven’t changed in more than a century, and seemingly mundane objects – such as that ladder – have also remained in place, especially in areas shared by denominations.

Perceived violations of the status quo over the years have resulted in verbal arguments, fistfights and strained relations between the churches. In fact, the fighting among the various churches has become part of the Holy Sepulchre’s story, along with the events of the crucifixion and burial and resurrection of Jesus that many Christians believe happened here. The delicate relations have also meant that much of the building has fallen into disrepair, as agreeing to fix or upgrade shared spaces has proven difficult.

But now this appears to be changing. In May, the local leaders of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox churches – the denominations given primary control in the status-quo declaration – signed an agreement to renovate the floor, foundations and sewage system of the church. It is the latest sign of growing cooperation among the denominations in the face of the urgent need to preserve their ancient properties, a growing influx of pilgrims and tourists and an increased need for self-preservation as local communities shrink and there is no resolution in sight for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read the entire article here

A church, a synagogue and a mosque to share interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi

The Abrahamic Family House to be built in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (PRNewsfoto/The Higher Committee for Human Fraternity)

The United Arab Emirates unveiled plans this weekend for an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi that will unite a church, a synagogue and a mosque.

The announcement of the three houses of worship, collectively known as the “Abrahamic Family House,” follows Pope Francis’ February visit to the UAE, the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula. During the visit, Pope Francis and the grand imam of al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, signed a declaration to form an interfaith council called The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.

The Abrahamic Family House, set to be completed on 2022, is the first initiative by the new committee, according to media reports.

The complex, whose name alludes to the Abrahamic religions, will bring the first public Jewish house of worship to the UAE, Jerusalem Post reports.

“This is an important opportunity for all who believe in the power of faith and humanity,” Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation and a Higher Committee member, said in a statement. “It will help build bridges between religious leaders and communities as well as foster peace and harmony in an era that is too often defined by difference.”

Read the full article here.

Community of Faith: Let’s talk about religion

This brief article provides simple guidelines and ideas, not only that it is good to converse openly about religion, but also, simple ways to do so in healthy and constructive ways

photo credit:

Christopher Anderson writes the following:

First, I identify and build on common beliefs. Truth is, when we compare our beliefs with those of others, we often find more similarities than we do differences. If we can discover and focus on common belief, our chances of having a successful conversation about religion increase.

Next, I listen to learn. I approach religious conversations with the intent to learn something new. I try hard to set aside preconceived ideas or notions about other faith traditions. Unfortunately, religious beliefs and practices are often misrepresented by the media who often has just part of the story. Thoughtful questions often result in new insights, knowledge and understanding.

Finally, and most importantly, I strive to be respectful. Our beliefs develop over time and are shaped by personal experiences. I appreciate when I can openly share a point of view or belief that others may not agree with. That respect goes both ways. We all come from different backgrounds and have learned truths in different ways.

Read the entire article here

New Study: How Faith is Indispensable in Preventing and Recovering from Substance Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 5, 2019 — A new study authored by father-daughter research duo, Brian & Melissa Grim, and published in the Journal of Religion and Health looks at the role of religious and spiritual faith in preventing and recovering from substance use disorder.

At any given time, there are 20 million Americans afflicted with a substance use disorder (SUD). And tragically, each year, about 158,000 die from alcohol or drug-related deaths.  However, as we head further into National Recovery Month, one of the most effective tools to prevent and/or recover from addiction is often overlooked— faith. And when it comes to long-term recovery, faith-based programs are a driving force.

Read the entire article here

Rare 2,000-Year-Old Text of Early Buddhism Now Online

Portion of the Gandhara scroll.

The Library of Congress has restored and made available online the Gandhara Scroll, a manuscript dating back to around the first century B.C., that offers insight into early Buddhist history. The scroll is one of the world’s oldest Buddhist manuscripts.

The scroll originates from Gandhara, an ancient Buddhist region located in what is now the northern border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The scroll tells the story of buddhas who came before and after Siddhartha Gautama, the sage who reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in eastern India around the fifth century B.C. and the religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

The scroll is available for viewing at

Read the entire article here