Parliament of the World's Religions E-Newsletter Archive 2012

For other Parliament Newsletter & Eblast archieve, please click here.

Date: 2012-12-31
Title: Eblast - Act today to support interfaith against hate
Details: Interfaith is no longer the domain of a few nice people huddling together. It is a growing movement made more visible every day.  Recently, many of us were able to witness a beautiful video message by campaign; we also received an encouraging email about the United Nation’s ordained Interfaith Harmony week in the first week of February. But millions more of us witnessed the broad embrace of interfaith in action as we watched the televised interfaith service in Newtown, CT, where a speech by President Obama paid tribute not only to those killed, but he also honored the Divine space in us all that shares a common grief.


Date: 2012-12-31
Title: Eblast - December 31 Newsletter: Best of State of Formation in 2012
Details: Recently, all Contributing Scholars were asked to nominate articles they thought were the best in 2012. Here are the results! From everyone at State of Formation, we wish you a Happy New Year! Best wishes to a great 2013!


Date: 2012-12-24
Title: Eblast - December 24 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: On Friday, December 14, 2012,  in Newtown, Connecticut a man used the energy of his life, and he used guns and bullets to take the lives of twenty school children, six school staff, his own mother and finally himself.No one knows what to say in moments like this.  But we utter many things about God. Do we really mean these things?I am devastated to hear how many people, the President included,  have said that God called those children to heaven.


Date: 2012-12-20
Title: Newsletter - An Advent Sermon on Compassion for All of Humanity
Details: The Advent Wreath becomes our focal symbol, with four candles, one lighted each week. There are a variety of values and dynamics that those candles can represent: faith, hope, joy, peace. But the overarching value and dynamic represented by the increasing number of candles burning more brightly each week?That dynamic is enlightenment. Light. The ability to see what is really going on in our lives. The value of alertness, of watchfulness, of consciousness, of awareness...


Date: 2012-12-12
Title: Eblast - Webinar Reminder: Wed. December 19 - A Holiday Sermon for Every Faith: Tools fo
Details: What we know about the state of hate and intolerance in the U.S. is harrowing, but not crippling.  How can holiday sermons transform communal calls for peace into tools for teaching tolerance? Join Lecia Brooks, Southern Poverty Law Center's Director of Outreach, in the in the first webinar installation of our Faiths Against Hate campaign. Faith community and interfaith participants will benefit by this discussion explaining how interfaith measures and religious dialogue can successfully mitigate today's worsening climate of hate in the United States, how to link the lessons of the SPLC's Teaching Tolerance campaign to the holiday sermon as a vehicle, what positive outcomes arose from peace-seeking action this year, and how to train parents to teach tolerance in a holiday season.


Date: 2012-12-13
Title: Eblast - Your Light Matters!
Details: When you give from the heart, your light is shared around the world. For many of us, the holiday season shepherds a promise of peace and hope, but still the fact remains—hate is rising. The extremes grab the headlines. Weakened economies widen the gap between the rich and the poor. The Parliament of the World’s Religions needs your help to continue its work to help bring light and hope for a just, peaceful and sustainable world.


Date: 2012-12-12
Title: Eblast - A Holiday Sermon for Every Faith: Tools for Teaching Tolerance
Details: What we know about the state of hate and intolerance in the U.S. is harrowing, but not crippling.  How can holiday sermons transform communal calls for peace into tools for teaching tolerance? Join Lecia Brooks, Southern Poverty Law Center's Director of Outreach, in the in the first webinar installation of our Faiths Against Hate campaign. Faith community and interfaith participants will benefit by this discussion explaining how interfaith measures and religious dialogue can successfully mitigate today's worsening climate of hate in the United States, how to link the lessons of the SPLC's Teaching Tolerance campaign to the holiday sermon as a vehicle, what positive outcomes arose from peace-seeking action this year, and how to train parents to teach tolerance in a holiday season.


Date: 2012-12-10
Title: Eblast - December 10 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: I really want to build off of the last topic of the week, “Why Are You Here?,” by fostering a conversation of sharing our interests, professional career goals, and other gifts that we bring to this community, understanding that its our gifts that make this community supportive and transformative. All of us are on our own paths and have arrived here to refuel and continue journeying together. What gifts or interests do you bring to this community? Where are you going with these gifts?


Date: 2012-12-04
Title: Newsletter - Win $25,000 for Your Interfaith Program!
Details: In honor of World Interfaith Harmony Week, here is an opportunity to organize the best possible program in your community for interfaith harmony and get three prizes totaling $45,000. The events must be organized in the first week of February commemorating the World Interfaith Harmony Week. The week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan and was unanimously adopted by the UN.


Date: 2012-12-03
Title: Eblast - December 3 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: Last week I was privileged to visit the beautiful island O'ahu in Hawaii. On Tuesday I volunteered with a friend of a friend at the ocean; they say it was actually a pond! For 3 and a-half hours we moved large rocks as a 13 person team to build a rock wall. For me this was labor intensive! The wall was built so that the employees of the pond could see the height of the water as it related to the ocean current. The rain fell upon us on the chilly, yet gorgeous night. As I looked down the shining rock wall and assembly line team I smiled. I saw much beauty in the teamwork happening. The team was passing rocks, building, laughing, joking, and setting a rock foundation. I was inspired.


Date: 2012-11-30
Title: Eblast - Moving Forward
Details: This past week, we had the South African Ambassador to the U.S. in our office.  He was the Premier of Cape Town province in South Africa when the 1999 Parliament of the World's Religions took place in Cape Town.  He remembered how his newborn was being operated on when, from the hospital, he was making calls for the Parliament. Our Chair emeritus, Dr. Howard Sulkin, and Blouke Carus, whose grandfather was responsible for the 1893 Parliament, presented an award to the ambassador for his continued commitment to the interfaith movement.


Date: 2012-11-26
Title: Eblast - November 26 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: Being home this holiday has larger significance than the convenience or the food, however. I would be lying if I were to say it isn't hard, because it is hard to be here. For years now there’s been an elephant suffocating this space, and the phone-lines that run between it and my home in Indiana. This elephant has made her presence known in our national religious discourse and our elections as well.The elephant is this: I am gay. I am gay and joyfully partnered and my parents couldn’t be more devastated. My parents, grandparents, neighbors and many childhood friends are all confused and honestly hurting over my “choice,” and being home—away from my supportive, loving community and partner—reminds me so vividly of the deep divide in my family and the wider American Church.


Date: 2012-11-23
Title: Eblast - You are Invited to an Event honoring Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool


Date: 2012-11-19
Title: Eblast - November 19 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: "Oh, one more thing" said the landlord as I signed the lease, "the couple sharing the house is from Israel." In a split second long hours of interfaith dialogue, community organizing and genuine friendships all flashed before me as I grinned at his apprehension and simply replied, "...that shouldn't be a problem." Relieved, he collected the lease with a proud smile reflecting, "How amazing, an Egyptian and an Israeli couple living under the same roof!" I presume that ten years ago I wouldn't have been as calm about my housemates. But during the past decade I witnessed two transforming crises. The first was when a major mosque project in Boston was halted due to a smear campaign linking it with terrorists. The second was a spiritual crisis. The first ordeal was resolved after numerous community organizations came to the rescue, campaigning against hatred and fear mongering. Most of that support came from Christian and/or Jewish organizations.


Date: 2012-11-14
Title: Eblast - World Congress of Religions
Details: The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is co-sponsoring the World Congress of Religions 2012, an international, interfaith conference. The World Congress of Religions 2012 (WCR) will be held from November 30-December 2 at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel in Washington DC. The conference will feature Keynote addresses by Reverend Martin Luther King III, former US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Congresswoman-Elect Tulsi Gabbard.


Date: 2012-11-12
Title: Eblast - November 12 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: Nicholas Black Elk (1866-1950), the Oglala Lakota visionary and son of Crazy Horse’s cousin, has been the subject of both debate and inspiration. Inspiration comes from his alleged appropriation of his Lakota tradition via Catholicism, his commitment to religious dialogue, and courageous pursuit for religious truth. Debate continues to churn around both the sincerity and circumstances of his alleged “conversion.” I will not dwell on the latter. Instead, I will respect his right to label himself a committed Catholic and Lakota holy man. I focus here on the convergence of the Christian and the Lakota traditions in the life of Black Elk.


Date: 2012-11-12
Title: Newsletter - Women's Task Force Launched; Unanimous Board Resolutions
Details: Five hundred people gathered at the majestic Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago for the largest gathering organized by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago since it’s 2009 event in Melbourne. The Chapel was filled with the dynamic sounds of West African drumming and the ethereal 12th century chants of Hildegard of Bingen. As the combined chants of many different traditions reached a crescendo, the chapel was bathed in light and the ringing of the Rockefeller Carillon, the second-largest musical instrument in the world. The event marked the inauguration of the Women’s Task Force of the Parliament


Date: 2912-11-09
Title: Eblast - CPWR Event: Advance Screening of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi"


Date: 2012-11-05
Title: Eblast - November 5 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: Last week, I sat on a panel of eight students, faculty and religious leaders representing different faith traditions’ views on the subject of religion and politics. More specifically, we discussed how our faiths do or do not determine how we vote.As a practicing Buddhist, I struggled immensely with this question. At first thought, Buddhism and politics simply do not mix. However, in thinking about the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha of our era, I believe Buddhism does in fact play a role in political engagement. Looking to Siddhartha as a guide, I want to make my claim for why and how American Buddhists might engage in political decision-making, with the election just a week away.


Date: 2012-11-01
Title: Eblast - This weekend! "Bearing the Light: Honoring Our Spiritual Foremothers"
Details: We want to invite you and your community to join us on November 3rd at 7:30pm for a powerful interfaith celebration of the courage, wisdom and love of the women who have gone before us.“Bearing the Light: Honoring Our Spiritual Foremothers” marks the inauguration of the Women’s Task Force of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religion. The Women’s Task Force seeks to assure that women's voices are heard at the vital nexus of women's issues, religion, and spiritual leadership.


Date: 2012-10-22
Title: Eblast - October 22 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: Life is a fluid, something that arrests us with wonder, and yet something we often take for granted. Nowhere is this dynamic more evident than in the moments of birth and death. One event in my life bears a combination of the two, the dual power of which changed my life forever and sent me on a collision course with religion itself: my wife's ectopic pregnancy. My wife Heather and I decided after our second daughter was born in 2005 that our family was complete, and so Heather received a tubal ligation, a procedure that closes off the fallopian tubes, making pregnancy a near impossibility.


Date: 2012-10-15
Title: Eblast - October 15 State of Formation Weekly Newsletter
Details: Last week, I was pleased to be an audience member in the first taping of a new series on why Texans have one of the lowest rates of civic participation in the country. This particular taping was specifically focused on young people and was appropriately titled, “Why Bother: Voices of a New Generation.”A wide range of young people from various backgrounds shared their reasons for not voting and outwardly discussed the struggles they encounter when they try to engage. The all too expected words like “cynicism” and “apathy” were mentioned occasionally, but many other reasons were discussed. There was some mention of barriers to voting created by systems like racism, ageism, and classism while other young citizens shared the feeling that their vote just doesn't make a difference, particularly in such a polarized state.


Date: 2012-10-10
Title: Eblast - Challenges and Opportunties
Details: Recent events in the US (Gurdwara shootings, burning of mosques, etc) and in the world, show that we, all of us who participate in the Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, have urgent work to do to inform and activate local interfaith efforts to bring about understanding and to journey towards more peaceful, equitable and just  communities.  Now is the time to redouble our efforts together.There are significant changes in staff at the Parliament, and we, primarily with volunteers, are seeking to do more with less.  Nevertheless, the work of the Parliament goes on with the newsletter, Ambassadors, Interfaith Campaign against Hate and the Listening Campaign.  A recent listening campaign local group attendee said, “Men and women shared their souls in this group” and called the experience an awakening and a resurrection.  So we carry on with this important work.


Date: 2012-10-18
Title: Newsletter - New at the CPWR
Details: Many people in America are poor, due to no fault of their own—and their numbers are growing.If you really know any poor people, you know that to be true. If you don’t, the first sentence of this post runs against the grain of many cultural assumptions in America that tend to blame people for being poor.On the eve of the first Presidential debate, Sojourners premiered The Line — a film about the new faces of poverty in America. In this powerful documentary from award-winning filmmaker Linda Midgett, those popular judgmental assumptions against poor people clearly and convincingly are debunked. Read more...


Date: 2012-10-08
Title: Eblast - October 8 State of Formation Weekly Newsletter
Details: These are just a few of a number of questions I find myself puzzling over with various developmental theories of religious identity, social psychological theories of interfaith relations, and the like. One reading of such theories might suggest that certain paths of religious development are “better” than others, or result in a greater level of “maturity” than others. If I follow a certain normative path of religiosity, so it goes, I will be more open–minded and therefore more accepting of others who are different than me.If, however, I get snagged at a certain point in my religious development and cease growing upward in a positive direction, I might spend my life wallowing in abject fear and hatred as an intolerant, closed–minded bigot who has an immature faith and distaste for diversity.


Date: 2012-10-01
Title: Eblast - October 1 State of Formation Weekly Newsletter
Details: For those of us working in the field of intercultural dialogue and understanding, it has been a frustrating few weeks. Just as you think progress is being made between communities, global events peg you back displaying once again the vulnerability of human endeavours in trying to achieve peaceful coexistence and showing the very challenges that need to be overcome in order to ensure that the wheels are kept on the track.


Date: 2012-09-27
Title: Eblast - Changes at the Parliament Office
Details: It is my difficult task as Chair of our Board of CPWR to announce that the Executive Committee of CPWR has accepted Rev. Dirk Ficca’s resignation as Executive Director of the CPWR.We are thankful to Rev. Dirk Ficca’s contribution to the interreligious movement. I personally remember him rushing around in the Barcelona Parliament, dressed simply, organizing things, instead of dressing up and being on the stage all the time. That left an impression.


Date: 2012-09-18
Title: Eblast - Washington Kali Temple to Host World Congress of Religions 2012
Details: Washington DC: Former (US) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Martin Luther King III, Professor Sakena Yacoobi, Dr. Katherine Marshall, Rabbi Neil Goldstein, Dr. Rajwant Singh, Dr. R. Drew Smith and 15 other eminent leaders are scheduled to speak at a 3-day conference focusing on respect and understanding between world religions, cultures and nations; efforts to eradicate poverty; promoting human rights; education and the empowerment of women.


Date: 2012-09-17
Title: Eblast - September 17 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: In this issue of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, as politics and religious thought intersect again and again across the globe, we once again take the time to highlight and amplify multiple examples and perspectives of inter-religious dialogue. We look forward to continuing to learn from the voices among us, including yours. Read the full journal here.


Date: 2012-09-14
Title: Newsletter - Real Living is Encounter
Details: Why should I engage with people who hold religious beliefs which are different from mine and what difference does interreligious dialogue make when religious intolerance is on the increase? These are questions I have often reflected upon and I have met friends who ask similar questions. However, I notice that it is hardly possible to avoid interreligious relationships because I was born into a mixed family of Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. My paternal relations are Muslims and my maternal relations are Christians and some of my best friends belong to other religious beliefs.


Date: 2012-08-23
Title: Newsletter - The Word of God vs. The Actions of Men
Details: I am neither a Muslim nor a Christian; in fact I do not practice any organized faith. However, I have spent much time in Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist communities, in churches, mosques, synagogues and temples all over the world, from the Ukraine to New York, from Africa to Singapore. Through these experiences I have developed a healthy respect for religion and for spiritual practices and beliefs, a respect that brought me to the subject matter of my first feature film, Kinyarwanda - a film about faith, life, love and hope in midst of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.


Date: 2012-08-17
Title: Eblast - Guadalajara Hosts Universal Multicultural Dialogue Event
Details: The "Universal Multicultural Dialogue" is an international forum, converging the various ways of thinking and beliefs regardless of race, creed or social status. This event is planned to be held biannually, giving us the opportunity to share our vision for issues that are common to us and allow us to bring our collective ideas to solve the problems we face. Its purpose is to meet and open the path to make our planet a home where we can live in peace and harmony in an environment of respect and understanding.


Date: 2012-08-13
Title: Eblast - August 13 State of Formation Newsletter
Details: State of Formation is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for Contributing Scholars! Nominees should be currently enrolled in a seminary, rabbinical school, graduate program, or another institution for theological or philosophical formation -- or up to three years out of their graduate program in a professional setting. (On rare occasions, exceptions will be made to these guidelines in order to increase the diversity of the writers.)  Contributors should be able to commit to post monthly on the forum while showing respect others from different traditions.You can apply here or learn more


Date: 2012-08-08
Title: Newsletter - In Solidarity with the Sikh Community
Details: All those associated with the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions offer our deepest condolences for the members of the Sikh gurdwara of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and our heartfelt concern for the sense of anguish and loss being experienced throughout the Sikh community worldwide, in the wake of the senseless shooting on Sunday, August 5th. Any act of violence is abhorrent. When it targets a religious community—in their sacred space, engaged in worship—it is especially difficult to fathom.


Date: 2012-08-16
Title: Eblast - Auburn Media Training: Top Ten Tips to Speak Prophetically through the Press
Details: Join Auburn Media’s Founding Director Macky Alston for this workshop that will outline the top ten tips you need to remember to get your voice heard through the media. Voices of faith who are interested in using the upcoming news hook of the anniversary of September 11th as an opportunity to bridge religious divides are encouraged to join this special workshop.


Date: 2012-07-26
Title: Newsletter - Faith and Freedom: Religious Minorities in Egypt and the U.S.
Details: As founder and president of Lumiere Productions—a film company that has been creating a diverse array of films that engage hearts and open minds for over 25 years—one of the premises of the films I make is the belief that true freedom of religion—the freedom to worship as one pleases, or not; to change religions if one chooses; and to publicly identify with one’s religion without negative repercussions professionally or economically—is a cornerstone of representative democracy.


Date: 2012-07-19
Title: Eblast - Reimagining Interfaith Conversation: Engaging Your Community Through Multimed
Details: Identity, religion, spirituality, and culture — these topics define our interactions with others but normally are taboo in conversation. How can we create a new normal in which families and communities openly and respectfully learn and share about these important aspects of identity? This webinar offers concrete strategies for doing so and reflects on other lessons learned from Project Interfaith’s most recent program,


Date: 2012-07-12
Title: Newsletter - Why I'm Motivated to Bridge Religious Differences
Details: My passion for bridging religious differences has been shaped not only by my spiritual connection to the Islamic tradition, which promotes striving towards the common good, but also by how I was raised. As a youth, I was privileged to travel abroad with my father, who worked for an agency that promoted trade and commerce.  I was exposed at a young age to people of diverse ethnic backgrounds as well as introduced to people of various faiths.  I met people who practiced indigenous African religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  I visited a Catholic church in West Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and toured the home of Anne Frank in Amsterdam.


Date: 2012-06-28
Title: Newsletter - My Neighbor's Faith: Double-Edged Daggers
Details: Usually on Sunday mornings, my father’s outside on a tractor, my mother’s making aloo pronthas, my brother’s watching cartoons, and I’m sleeping in. Sometimes, my mother crams the whole family into Baba Ji’s room to sing shabads and recite Scripture together. But on this Sunday morning, my grandfather has asked me to come with him to the gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship some miles away. At sixteen years old, I dutifully follow. I'm still rubbing the sleep from my eyes as I slip off my shoes. Wrapped in a long head scarf, I follow my grandfather inside. One step takes us from our small farming town in California's Central Valley into an entire world transported from India


Date: 2012-06-14
Title: Eblast - Unexpected Diversity: Interfaith Organizing from the Bottom Up
Details: The interreligious movement has no road map:  we are creating it as we go.  Effective interfaith work today requires new methods and a new kind of grassroots organizing.  The movement is not static.  It is an experiment. This webinar will seek to address the following questions:  How do we creatively organize religious and spiritual communities when the desired outcome is not a fixed idea and can change?  How can our work be genuinely inclusive of traditions that are more conservative?  How can religious communities better engage with the secular public?


Date: 2012-07-07
Title: Newsletter - The Power of Interfaith-Based Community Organizing
Details: On May 15, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed the Responsible Banking Ordinance, which requires banks seeking city contracts to disclose detailed information about their lending and foreclosure practices. This victory allows people to see which banks are investing in their community or being responsible neighbors and which ones are not. Big banks are incredibly powerful and pay millions of dollars for lobbying to write rules that benefit them. Angelenos won a rule that shifts some power back into the hands of the people. And that rule would not have been won without the power of organized religious communities under a common banner.


Date: 2012-06-01
Title: Eblast - Join us for Sacred Solidarity on June 10!
Details: Join us for the culmination of the “Sharing Sacred Spaces” project! The eight religious and spiritual communities that have been opening their doors to each other and the public over the past eight months will join together publicly to sign a pledge of solidarity, committing to work together to reduce social tension and build bridges of trust and hope in the city of Chicago.In the past eight months, people from different Chicago religious and spiritual communities have forged bonds of friendship and trust through the “Sacred Spaces” series of events. The pledge they sign will symbolize their ongoing effort to honor and respect their different traditions, as well as to spread a spirit of solidarity to the surrounding community.


Date: 2012-05-17
Title: Newsletter - "Why Don't You Just Convert?" The Story Of My Interfaith Family
Details: “Oh Paul, why don’t you just convert to Judaism?”This invitation was extended to me after a book talk in Washington D.C., and I have to admit it took me by surprise. First, I had always heard that Jews aren’t supposed to proselytize. Second, I’m not just a blank slate; I’m a Christian minister by profession, and the book talk I had just given was about a Christian book. And the third reason for my surprise is that two people who posed the question were my cousins.Let me back up a bit and tell you how I arrived at this moment. I’m from an interfaith family. My side of the family is Christian, and my cousins are Jewish


Date: 2012-05-08
Title: Eblast - This Saturday! Sharing Sacred Spaces at the Downtown Islamic Center
Details: The Downtown Islamic Center (DIC) will open its doors to visitors and friends from other religious and spiritual communities on Saturday, May 12 from 1-3 p.m. The event is the eighth and final installment of the Council for the Parliament of World Religions’ “Sharing Sacred Spaces” project, which has brought together eight different religious and spiritual communities in Chicago's Downtown.  Each community has opened its doors on one afternoon during the year to showcase its sacred space and to share the history of its community and traditions.


Date: 2012-05-04
Title: Newsletter - Faith and Race: A Dialogue Worth Having
Details: According to the Abrahamic traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith, the universe itself was spoken into being. This offers a fitting metaphor for the promise of interreligious dialogue, the promise of a new creation. Like the speaking into being of the universe, for interreligious dialogue to fulfill this promise requires attention to detail. We must be attentive not only to what we are dialoguing about but who is engaged in the dialogue. In my experience, interreligious dialogue is too often limited to issues of religious identity. The exception tends to be gender. Given that women represent at least half of the human race, talking about the intersection of faith and gender is time well spent. However, historical forces and contemporary social, political and social realities have conspired to make each of us not only gendered beings but also highly racialized beings. Race is always in the room when interreligious dialogue is going on whether we acknowledge it or not.


Date: 2012-04-26
Title: Eblast - Interfaith Social Media: Interfaith Leadership in the Digital World
Details: This webinar will explore how to think about social media. Using the frameworks of Marshall McLuhan, marketing theory, and media hook, we will explore how to leverage these technologies tactically, to comprise an effective overall strategy in interfaith and religious work. #socialinterfaith Frank Fredericks is the founder of World Faith, Çöñár Records, and Co-Founder of Religious Freedom USA. After graduating from NYU, Frank worked in the music industry, managing artists such as Lady Gaga. In 2006, he founded World Faith, a youth-led interfaith organization active in ten countries. As an active blogger, Frank has contributed to the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Sojourners. Frank has been interviewed on Good Morning America, NPR, New York Magazine, and various international media outlets, and is an IFYC Fellow Alumnus, Soliya Fellow, and YouthActionNet Fellow.


Date: 2012-04-19
Title: Newsletter - Rebranding Interfaith
Details: Inspired. Energized. Confused. Naïve. I had asked a Jewish audience to share a single word to capture their thoughts of my presentation on Muslim-Jewish relations. I had spent the last hour painting a picture of the broken communication between Jews and Muslims over the last 20 years – the public spats, the failed dialogues and the wounded relationships. I devoted the last portion of the session to envisioning a more positive paradigm and cultivating the tools to get us there. Some people entered the session eager to acquire the skills needed to strengthen relationships with the Muslims who share their city. They had witnessed the breakdowns but refused to think of “Muslim-Jewish” as synonymous with “conflict.” They walked away from the session recharged. Inspired. Energized.


Date: 2012-04-17
Title: Eblast - This Sunday! Sharing Sacred Spaces at Old Saint Patrick’s Church
Details: Old St. Patrick’s Church will open its doors to the general public as well as to visitors from other religious and spiritual communities on Sunday, April 22, 2012 between 2-4pm. This event is the seventh installment of the Sharing Sacred Spaces project, in which eight diverse communities of faith and practice in Chicago invite others in for an opportunity to observe, experience and learn what makes their space sacred. Old St. Patrick’s Church has stood at the western gateway of Chicago’s Loop for more than 150 years. Built seven generations ago, this old city Church, a treasure born of the immigrant dream, has a history that reflects the cycles of the city’s industrial growth and economic depression. Old St. Patrick’s is one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which wiped out so much in this city. Old St. Patrick’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Date: 2012-04-05
Title: Newsletter - Finding Common Ground Across Special Needs
Details: by Dilshad D. Ali -I've recently taken up saying prayers on mytasbih – much more so than I ever did in my life before. I sit in the rocking chair in the corner of my son's room fingering mytasbih (something akin to a rosary), doingdhikr while he burrows under the covers on his bed, pulling the weighted blanket over his face as he retreats from the world and takes comfort in the dark, close, muffled space where nothing assaults his senses. My goal is that he should finger the tasbih while I say the prayers, especially when he shows signs that a meltdown is coming, or is in the throes of a meltdown. He likes to play with beads, stim on them. So I’m hoping he’ll grow to play with the tasbih and learn to use thetasbih as a method of grounding routine and ritual – something recently pointed out to me by a very astute Catholic autistic adult who read a recent blog post I wrote about my son's struggles.


Date: 2012-03-29
Title: Eblast - The Sacred Art of Listening
Details: This webinar focuses on the power of sacred listening: the art of becoming a listening presence, someone who can truly hear what the other is saying. To become that presence takes practice, not only to listen to others, but also to listen to ourselves and to listen to God. Just as we take time to write, practice, and polish a speech in preparing to talk, there is value in learning how to practice preparing to listen. We will explore three types of practices in this webinar: cultivating silence, slowing down to reflect, and becoming present. The quality of our listening can make a profound difference in any conversation. It is a sacred art and a spiritual practice. As we open our hearts to deep, attentive listening, we find it transforms all our relationships, nurtures our inner voice, and inspires our spiritual growth.


Date: 2012-03-22
Title: Newsletter - Jimmy Carter, Pope Shenouda III, and the NYPD
Details: This webinar focuses on the power of sacred listening: the art of becoming a listening presence, someone who can truly hear what the other is saying. To become that presence takes practice, not only to listen to others, but also to listen to ourselves and to listen to God. Just as we take time to write, practice, and polish a speech in preparing to talk, there is value in learning how to practice preparing to listen. We will explore three types of practices in this webinar: cultivating silence, slowing down to reflect, and becoming present. The quality of our listening can make a profound difference in any conversation. It is a sacred art and a spiritual practice. As we open our hearts to deep, attentive listening, we find it transforms all our relationships, nurtures our inner voice, and inspires our spiritual growth. Learn More...


Date: 2012-03-14
Title: Eblast - This Sunday! Sharing Sacred Spaces at Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist
Details: The Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, will open its doors to the general public as well as to visitors from other religious and spiritual communities on Sunday, March 18, 2012 between 2-4pm. This event is the sixth installment of the Sharing Sacred Spaces project, in which eight different communities of faith and practice in Chicago are inviting others in for an opportunity to observe, experience and learn what makes their space sacred. Come and learn what Christian Scientists believe and practice. Learn about their focus on spiritual education and healing. Find out what Christian Science Reading Rooms are all about. Explore their distinctive building and spend time in their sacred space, located at the corners of Wacker and Wabash, overlooking the Chicago River. Enjoy this congregation’s hospitality and start up a conversation. Bring questions, engage with others.


Date: 2012-03-06
Title: Eblast - What Is My Responsibility for Peace in the World? Five Steps towards a Peace Process
Details: This webinar offers participants the opportunity to develop a greater awareness of our own responsibility for peace in our lives and to acquire more skills to apply around us. The webinar will address our own responsibility for war and peace and the role forgiveness plays in releasing cycles of violence. Through personal reflection, we can experience those aspects of ourselves that are not fully contributing to peace and harmony and how to release and transform them through forgiveness. By doing so, we can also unblock the gifts we have inherited, in order to use them and appreciate them more fully in our lives. As a witness of the pain of the civil war in Lebanon (1975–1991), Alexandra Asseily decided to explore her own responsibility for war and peace and became a psychotherapist. Her focus is conflict resolution—whether in the individual, family, tribe or nation.


Date: 2012-03-01
Title: Newsletter - Jewish and Christian Seminarians Encounter Texts Together
Details: What happens when rabbinical students partner with Protestant seminarians and commit to a sustained and in-depth study of biblical text? A lot. They seek commonality. They tell stories. They bring their vulnerabilities. They are offered a new lens through which to view their sacred texts. They are challenged to articulate their beliefs and explain aspects of their tradition to their study partners, often helping them to clarify their relationship to their own tradition, to their sacred literature and to God. As a semester progresses and trust develops, they share their challenges. They question their partners. They come to appreciate their differences, and to respect them. As the interactions deepen between the pairs, and among the group, so too does understanding. What results is a broadening of their definitions of “Jew” and “Christian” to include nuance, narrative and diversity.


Date: 2012-02-16
Title: Newsletter - Telling Your Own Story: the Community Mosaic Video Project
Details: "Wait, you’re a Muslim? But you’re not even brown!" This question inspired RavelUnravel, Project Interfaith’s interactive, multimedia project launching this spring about the diversity of religious and spiritual identities that make up our communities and world. Emina, a participant in Project Interfaith’s 2010 Interfaith Youth Service Project, faced this reaction from a fellow college student as she prepared to log her first video blog entry. But instead of lashing out at someone’s ignorant comment, she used the experience as an opportunity to explain her identity as a Muslim and the diversity within Islam. We at Project Interfaith were struck by this as we watched. We thought, “What if we could give more people the chance to define and share their religious or spiritual identity in their own words and confront the misconceptions they face because of this?” Thus, RavelUnravelwas born.


Date: 2012-02-10
Title: Eblast - Sharing Sacred Spaces at Chicago Temple on February 19th
Details: The Chicago Temple, otherwise known as the First United Methodist Church, will open its doors to the general public as well as to visitors from other religious and spiritual communities on Sunday, February 19, 2012 between 2-4pm. This event is the fifth installment of theSharing Sacred Spaces project, in which eight different communities of faith and practice in Chicago are inviting others in for an opportunity to observe, experience and learn what makes their space sacred. Come and learn what it means to be the First United Methodist Church in the city of Chicago. See the history of Chicago etched in wood in the communion tables in the sanctuary and in the Chapel in the Sky. The chapel is considered the tallest Christian sacred space in the world. Come and be introduced to their vibrant mission work reaching out to the business people in the Loop, after school tutoring program serving children of the Ruben Salazar Bilingual Center and their ministry to the families of the nameless who have died in Chicago. The Chicago Temple provides a place of rest and comfort to any seeking it. The sanctuary is open from 7:30am til 9:00pm for this purpose.


Date: 2012-02-01
Title: Eblast - Contemplatives in Conversation: Sufi and Christian Perspectives
Details: Contemplative practice is often lauded as a common trait of many religious and spiritual traditions, yet approaches to contemplation can be as diverse as the traditions in which they are practiced. This webinar features two experts in conversation with each other about the contemplative traditions from Sufism and Christianity. Nahid Angha and Daniel Wolpert share their expertise and compare and contrast the contemplative practices of their respective traditions. Nahid Angha, Ph.D. is the co-director and co-founder of the International Association of Sufism (IAS), founder of the International Sufi Women Organization, and the executive editor of Sufism: An Inquiry. She is an internationally published scholar and one of the major Sufi teachers, scholars, and translators of Sufi literature today, with over fifteen published books. She has lectured throughout the world including at the UN, Smithsonian Institute, CPWR’s conferences, Science and Spirituality, Cortona, Italy, and was among the distinguished Muslim leaders and scholars who was invited to gather for the first annual Shakir World Encounters, an Islamic conference of peace in Marrakech, Morocco.


Date: 2012-01-26
Title: Newsletter - Youth and the Spirit of Pluralism
Details: Take a moment to look back on your youth. Do you remember being 12 or 14? That awkward age on the cusp of adulthood, when you were neither a child nor yet an adult, but alternately identifying with both? Imagine your deepest held values and beliefs at that age; your fledgling sense of self and vulnerability. Did you have opportunities to share what mattered to you? To listen to voices different from your own and marvel at their unique worth and beauty? Flash forward a few years to your late teens and early twenties. How do you recall that sense of self now? Stronger? More settled? Perhaps a bit less open-minded than before? We know that traits we develop as children become the basis of the adults we will become. If a child develops empathy, for example, early in life, we know they are more likely to be empathic later on. Conversely, what happens with negative traits? What about intolerance or its cousins, aggression and fear?


Date: 2012-01-19
Title: Eblast - Sharing Sacred Spaces at Chicago Sinai Congregation on January 29th
Details: Chicago Sinai Congregation will open its doors to the general public as well as to visitors from other religious and spiritual communities on Sunday January 29, 2012 between 1-3pm. This event is the fourth installment of the Sharing Sacred Spaces project, in which eight different religious communities in Chicago are inviting others in for an opportunity to observe, experience and learn what makes their space sacred. Come and learn about what it means to be called a Classical Reform Jewish congregation.  Come and be introduced to Jewish beliefs, rites and practices, this congregation’s theology and its history of social action and advocacy.


Date: 2012-01-13
Title: Newsletter - Studying Each Other's Sacred Texts...Online.
Details: Research consistently shows that people—and I’m thinking primarily of those in my home country of the United States—know alarming little about the basic contours of the world’s religions. Runaway ignorance about the foundational tenets or central writings of religions, whether of other religions or even one’s own, threatens to undermine the prospects for constructive inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. But a corollary ignorance should generate as much concern. Consider how widespread is misunderstanding of or unfamiliarity with the ways that religious beliefs and texts are interpreted or put into practice.


Date: 2012-01-04
Title: Eblast - Changing the Conversation: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolence Efforts
Details: With negotiations stalled, what constructive nonviolent alternatives are Palestinian and Israeli civilians pursuing at the grassroots level to resolve the conflict and end the occupation? This webinar introduces a variety of online multimedia tools and documentary films Just Vision has developed to help communities learn about and connect with Palestinian and Israeli nonviolence leaders and peacebuilders. Recognizing that too often violence, extremism and diplomatic stalemate dominate the headlines on this issue, we will look at ways to shift the conversation from spoilers to solutions, and how our attention as a global audience factors into the growth and success of these efforts. Ronit Avni is an award-winning filmmaker, human rights advocate and media strategist with an expertise in Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution efforts. Ms. Avni is the Founder and Executive Director of Just Vision, a non-profit organization that researches, documents and creates media about Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders in nonviolence and peace building. At Just Vision, she recently produced the documentary film Budrus and directed/produced the film Encounter Point.