Friday-As I make my way through the bustling activity at the Salt Palace, I’m struck by the fact that interfaith isn’t just for grey heads any more. For too long, before my own hear started turning grey, I was aware at interfaith gatherings that I was one of the few “young” people there. This time the corridors are filled with young, engaged, excited participants. This is good news for the movement.
I was lined up with others from the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council to do a presentation titled “From Partner City to Interreligious Council: Building a More Just and Compassionate Society.” At the Melbourne Parliament in 2009, many of the same people had made a presentation on what we had learned in the process of applying for Partner City status with the Parliament. We were welcomed in as the “Inaugural Partner City” then. Shortly thereafter, we created the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC). Since our Partner City status had a lot to do with the creation of the Council, we were asked to tell the story at this Parliament.
Those attending the session were a small, but enthusiastic and engaged group. We described the origins of SiVIC, our efforts to create a new council, and some of the challenges we faced in the process. We included an Affirmative Inquiry process, inviting the participants to consider what their own situations offered in terms of interfaith cooperation and possibilities for working together.
Then I found my way to a session sponsored by the Holocaust Museum on what significance the Holocaust might have beyond the Jewish/Christian world. Along with John Pawlikowski, who is legendary in Jewish/Christian relations, there was a second year rabbinical student, a Sikh who teaches Islamic studies and a Muslim woman who teaches religion and Holocaust. Another amazing discussion.
I was invited to join people from Islamic Networks Group (ING) for dinner and we ate at a local restaurant. I talked with people I’ve worked with over the years but whom I don’t see very often, and while sitting there, saw first ICP Board Member Scott Quinn, then ICP Executive Director Linda Crawford and former ICP Interim Director Susan Strouse come in, and later, ICP Board Member Don Frew. Don was with a group of Pagans and Wiccans and Evangelical Christians preparing for what I later learned was a very profitable dialogue.
After dinner, as I was making my way back to the garage, I came upon a Native American ritual in progress. There are two tipis set up in the courtyard, and they had a big fire pit with a sacred fire burning. There was drumming and chanting from several folks. A stirring end to the first day.
This is the archive for the Bay Area Interfaith Connect, the former newsletter for the Interfaith Center at the Presidio .