NEWS from SCCPWR
SCCPWR Statement in Response to Current Outbreak of Violence in the Middle East and Elsewhere (September 18, 2012)
We of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions are committed to fostering understanding and peace among people of diverse faiths. We therefore denounce the violence being perpetrated in the name of religion in the Middle East and other parts of the world. We stand in solidarity with Muslims, Coptic Christians and other people of faith who share our commitment to respectful dialogue and peaceful protest.
We vigorously condemn the film that sparked this violence. We believe that the Prophet Mohammad, as well as all the world's prophets and religious teachers, are worthy of honor and respect and affirm that this film absolutely misrepresents the tenets of Islam.
We also cherish the ideal of free speech since without it, there cannot be true freedom of religion. Speech that incites hatred or violence is not protected under the US Constitution. We furthermore acknowledge that with freedom comes responsibility: we must not allow lies and bigotry to have the final say. We must speak the truth with love whenever prejudice rears its ugly head.
Our hearts are saddened by the murder of Christopher Stevens and other diplomats who were working for a peaceful resolution of conflicts. We hold in our prayers the families of those who have lost loved ones in the current outbreak of violence.
We call on the world's political leaders to address the root causes of violence: occupation, economic injustice, dictatorial governments, terrorism, and militarism. We call on religious leaders to preach and practice nonviolence because all the great prophets have taught this essential truth: hatred and injustice can be overcome only through loving and just means.
We vow to do what we can to be instruments of peace and justice, and urge all people of conscience to join in this work.
First interfaith Cafe in Pasadena a Success!
Our first interfaith cafe in Pasadena was a success, attracting around 30 participants who all wanted us to organize more gatherings like this in the future.
However, the joy of this event was tempered by the tragedy that took place at the sikh temple in Wisconsin. We were reminded how important it is for people of different faiths to come together to express their solidarity and to stand opposed to all forms of religious bigotry and hatred.
Members of SCCPWR send their condolences to the families of those who were killed, and stand in solidarity with the Sikh community.
Several of us attended a memorial gathering at the Guru Ram Das Sikh temple. Gene Rothman sent this report:
Yesterday evening, I attended a service at the Sikh Dharma on Robertson Blvd. Simran was there , as was John Ishvardas Abdallah, and Simran did a wonderful job of welcoming and orienting us. John and I were introduced at one point and allowed to briefly present our condolences and support. I cited Ruth's visit to the Golden Temple in India and how she felt a personal connection and deep sense of loss after learning of this horrendous event..
It was timely that this event took place on the 6th of the month since this is the time Sikhs commemorate the attack on the Golden Temple and also pray for peace for others.
Councilmember Paul Koretz also spoke briefly and did a commendable job: he was brief, he referenced the attacks on Sikhs historically, and said that--as a Jew--he could personally identify with them given Jewish history and the holocaust. Sergeant MIchael Lockett of the Los Angeles Police Department spoke to reassure the Sikh community that, although there was no evidence whatsoever that there was any larger threat, the LAPD was maintaining patrols and otherwise monitoring the situation.
I was able to stay afterwards and was permitted to volunteer to serve food (see photo). I was honored to reciprocate service to the Sikh community that has served so many others as part of their ongoing religious practice. I cannot overemphasize how warm and hospitable I was made to feel.
Gene Rothman serving food to Sikhs
Simran Kaur Khalsa and Kirtan Singh-Khalsa
SCCPWR is pleased to announce these upcoming events, a Spiritual Salon in Brentwood on July 21 and an Interfaith Cafe in Pasadena on August 5:
News of SCCPWR:
Ruth Broyde Sharone welcomes Archbishop Jose Gomez to Los Angeles on behalf of SCCPWR.At left is Father Alexei Smith, the Catholic interfaith liaison
SCCWR Youth Honored at South Coast Interfaith Council Awards Banquet
Jasmine Hailey (right), the new chair of the SCCPWR youth committee, receives an award from Rini Ghosh of the South Coast Interfaith Council at the Annual Awards Banquet which took place at the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Long Beach on November 14. Jasmine is a college student who attended the Parliament of the World's Religion in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009.
Doris Davis, SCCPWR Advisor Board Member, Joins Nation-wide Walk for the Empowerment of Women
Doris Davis, an interfaith minister and member of the SCCPWR advisory, prepares for a 7-month, 2,700-mile walk across the United States sponsored bySole2soulwalk.com (see http://www.women-walk-the-land.com/. ) The goal of Soul walk is to foster "understanding that women’s participation, contribution and full partnership with men is essential in shaping the decisions that affect our future together." Doris' personal goal is sharing the PeaceWalker Proclamation and Personal Pledge, which she helped develop with the Culver City Area Interfaith Alliance.
Above: Dr. Anthony Manousos, member of the SCCPRW board, carrying banner for the Sept 12 "Interfaith Walk for Freedom and Peace" that took place in Pomona and Claremont, CA.
SCCPWR began its fall program by participating in a Walk for Friendship and Peace, which took place on Sept 12, 2010, in Claremont, CA, and was sponsored by the Interfaith Working Group for Middle East Peace.
Over 500 people from the Inland Valley took part, including 16 members of the SCCPWR Board. The walk started about 5:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Israel, with stops at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Claremont, City of Knowledge School in Pomona and the Islamic Center of Claremont in Pomona where marchers enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the Muslim community.
SCCPWR Board member Rev Jan Chase, minister of the Pomona Unity Church, was one of the organizers. This walk is part of a series of events called "11 Days of Global Unity" (see http://www.unityofpomona.org/).
The goal of this ambitious program is to bring together people of diverse faiths and to demonstrate the community's commitment to religious freedom and pluralism.
Dr. Anthony Manousos, SCCPWR Board member, spoke at the Pomona Unity Church about the importance of interfaith work in helping to deal with religious conflicts.
"Conflicts are an opportunity to put into practice our religious teachings and convictions," noted Dr Manousos. "Look at how the interfaith community has rallied together to respond to the conflict over opposition to the mosque in lower Manhattan. Or plans to build a mosque in Temecula. Or the threat to burn the Quran. Each of these challenges has brought us closer together and strengthened our bonds of friendship and trust." (See http://laquaker.blogspot.com/2010/09/coming-to-unity-through-harmony-dealing.html)
According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Karen Sapio, pastor at Claremont Presbyterian Church, said the gathering sent a clear message.
"This is really great," Sapio said. "It's the community wanting to show their unity."
"We live in a time when the differences among people are strong," said Rabbi Jonathan Kupetz of Temple Beth Israel in Pomona.
"We all have opinions. It's not about this mosque here or that mosque over there. It's important that we be able to build relationships with each other."
For a youtube slideshow of this event by SCCPWR Board member Renee De Palma, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlqr_I1LWYM
The SCCPWR Board is currently planning its program for the upcoming year. Plans are under consideration for an Interfaith Arts Festival and an interfaith conference in conjunction with the Claremont School of Theology. Information will be posted on this page as our plans develop.
Greetings of peace from the SCCPWR board:
Left to right: Elliot Rothman (mayor of Pomona). SCCPWR Board members: Ruth Broyde-Sharone, Linda Groff, Anthony Manousos, Swami Atmatattwananda (Shiva), and Gene Rothman.
Rev Jan Chase and Dr. Anthony Manousos
Renee De Palma and Zach Perlman
Noor Malika Chishti and Debrah Friedland-van Zyl
Simran, Ruth Sharone, Janet Bregar, and Thomas Hedberg
Members of SCCPWR at their annual retreat in January 2010.
AMERICAN VEDA event at the Vedanta Society
by Ruth Sharone
It was an afternoon of perfect synchronicity, which I will soon explain. On December 5, 2010, Phil Goldberg, an interfaith minister, meditation teacher, and author of 19 books, introduced his latest book, AMERICAN VEDA, to an interfaith audience at an event co-sponsored by the Vedanta Society of Hollywood and our group, the SCCPWR.
The subtitle of Phil's book: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West underscores how profoundly Indian spirituality and philosophy have influenced our American way of life. In his talk to the rapt audience, Phil singled out one of the most important Indian personalities to have visited America, Hindu Swami Vivekananda. The Swami was invited to the United States by the Vedanta Society in 1893 to address the very first Parliament of the World's Religions, held in Chicago. It marked the first time in history that religious leaders from the East and the West met to dialogue together and seek ways to bring harmony and peace to the world.
Thus one of the leading Vedantic religious figures at the turn of the 20th century, a "star" at the first Parliament, was brought back to life for the interfaith crowd at the Vedanta Society in Hollywood 117 years later, at an event co-sponsored by the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions, which promotes the global work of the modern-day Parliament and interfaith engagement in the LA area and beyond. A perfect synchronicity, wouldn't you agree?
AMERICAN VEDA, published by Doubleday and named one of the 10 best books on religion in 2010 by the Huffington Post, is a great read with marvelous anecdotes, fascinating historical accounts, rare archival photos, and cogent commentaries on the influence of Indian spirituality in our daily lives. Who has not heard of Yoga or Meditation? Karma or Darma? Shakti or Nirvanna? These words and the concepts they embrace have entered our vernacular and our psyches forever. We owe India and her teachers a great debt.
And thanks to you, Phil Goldberg, for laboring five long years to write AMERICAN VEDA, a wonderful book for the holidays, to enjoy throughout 2011, and for many years to come.
Welcome Peace Cities!
The Partner Cities Network of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions is pleased to announce the launch of Peace Cities. The launch is being held in conjunction with the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21, 2010. Peace Cities is a city-to-city interfaith networking opportunity for self-organized grassroots interfaith groups, made available through the Council's very own social networking site PeaceNext.org. Over 70 international cities are being awarded this designation in recognition of the outstanding organizing efforts of their local interfaith communities.
Because of your city's' partnership with the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, your city is being designated as a Peace City. An official press release for your city will be sent to you during the week-long celebration of events occurring around the UN International Day of Peace. We invite you to share this good news with all your constituents and especially those who attended your local Parliament of Religions-related events in the last few years.
Many designated cities have had long-standing partnerships with the Council and the Partner Cities Network is pleased to honor them with this special designation. Cities that have earned the designation of "Peace City" will be able to post news about local interfaith events and to share resources with other Peace Cities through PeaceNext.org. Peace Cities are eligible to apply to join the Partner Cities Network.
We greatly look forward to providing this networking opportunity in effort to connect, share, and learn from one another and the communities to which we belong.
We are confident that your participation and contributions will help make PeaceNext.org the central online community for Peace Cities and Partner Cities to join forces in progressing the global interfaith movement.
Please contact us for more information on these global initiatives which serve to connect the communities around the globe.
Deputy Director & Partner Cities Director
Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
The launch of Peace Cities coincides with PeaceWeek, a global telesummit for building a culture of peace. A co-production of The Shift Network and The Peace Alliance, Peaceweek is being held in conjunction with the UN International Day of Peace today, Tuesday September 21, 2010. The Partner Cities Network is proud to be a lead sponsor of PeaceWeek.
All are invited to join the PeaceWeek global conversations. Please do so by sharing this news with others and by visiting www.peaceweek.info. Registrants will be able to participate for free in an unlimited number of live discussions and receive free access to the full library of event recordings.
A feature of PeaceWeek is the “Million Minutes for Peace” campaign of the Odyssey Network. Our goal is to collect one million pledges to pray for peace for one minute at noon on the UN International Day of Peace. Please watch the 60-second video, and join us by pledging your prayer for peace. To view the video in Spanish click here.
Tweet for PeaceWeek!
Help us reach our goal of generating 1 million tweets for PeaceWeek. To view existing Peace tweets or post your own click here.
Los Angeles, CA . Check your stereotypes at the door if you're planning to attend the upcoming citywide Latino-Yankee celebration on Sunday, February 10, at the Unity Center of the Baha'i Temple on Rodeo Road, to be hosted by the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions (SCCPWR). You will discover that Latinos span the full religious spectrum and are an increasingly influential cultural and political force in the city.
Established in 2007, the SCCPWR is a dynamic local interfaith group committed to strengthening multi-cultural and inter-religious connections among the diverse communities of Los Angeles. SCCPWR promotes the goals of interreligious harmony and cooperation of the global Parliament of the World's Religions(www.parliamentofreligions.org),which was established in 1893 in Chicago and which convenes the largest interfaith conferences in the world every five years.
Though their mission is broad, on February 10 the SCCPWR group has planned a themed afternoon program that will include Latin music and food and a focus on local Latino-Yankee connections. They will also celebrate their new friendship with the interfaith community of Guadalajara, Mexico, a friendship which developed when a delegation of ten interfaith advocates from Los Angeles participated in a multicultural conference in Guadalajara last August. They returned home with a keen desire to create deeper connections with the Latinos who live in Los Angeles, and they will share highlights of their experiences with Mexican and Indigenous cultures. In addition, one of the key organizers of the Guadalajara conference, Gaby Franco, will be on hand to describe the wide-ranging events in her city that brought together 30 diverse communities and approximately 1,000 participants.
Latinos make up close to 50% of the local population and although many people know that Antonio Villaraigoso was the first Latino mayor to be elected in Los Angeles, what is not well-known is the fact that Latinos may identify religiously as Christians, Jewish, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Baha'is, etc.--dispelling a common misconception that all Latinos are Roman Catholic.
For more information on registration, or to attend the Latino-Yankee Celebration in Los Angeles, on Sunday, February 10, please visit the SCCPWR website: WWW.SOCALPARLIAMENTOFRELIGIONS.ORG or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In August, 2004, four members of SCCPWR attended the interfaith gathering in Guadalajara ("All of us under the same sky") ! Click here for more details.
Interview with Ruth Sharone, Co-Chair of SCCPWR, on her new book Minefields and Miracles: Why God and Allah Need to Talk
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Culver Resident Builds Bridges Of Understanding
By Martin Zucker
Special to the Observer
Relationships between major religious movements have a history characterized by conflict, bloodshed, and intolerance.
The negative past and present, however, has not stopped one longtime Culver City resident from trying to overcome deep-rooted mistrust and enmity between faiths and to build bridges of understanding one person at a time.
For more than two decades, Ruth Sharone, an award-winning filmmaker and internationally-recognized interfaith activist, has taken her one-woman mission to all corners of the earth in an attempt to minimize differences and maximize unity.
Ms. Sharone has now put her experiences into a book – “Minefields and Miracles: Why God and Allah Need to Talk” (www.minefieldsandmiracles.com) – that reads like an adventure story but which also serves as a handbook of do’s and don’ts for anybody interested in bringing people together of different faiths.
The Observer recently asked Ms. Sharone about her unique work.
1. How did you get into interfaith work?
I was raised in a Jewish household in Chicago and went to both public school and Hebrew school. I remember painting a rosy-cheeked, plump Santa Claus on shop windows at Christmas time when I was in grade school. While I was celebrating Hanukkah, my own holiday, I also sang Christmas carols at school. How I loved the melodies – especially Silent Night – even though I realized in my youthful way that they were about someone else's faith. That must have been my first understanding of "interfaith" and how I could appreciate someone else's traditions and still be faithful to my own. Perhaps that even laid the groundwork for my adult entry into interfaith work.
2. How would you describe the minefields, half the title of your book?
I traveled widely in Latin America and Europe in my 20's and was frequently shocked by comments made to me about my own faith, from people who had never met a Jew before. I began realizing that ignorance and bigotry are widespread due to limited education and lack of one-on-one dialogue. My adventurous nature also led me to precarious situations on peace pilgrimages where I was at the mercy of uninformed journalists or people with political agendas pretending to befriend me only later to write lies about me in their newspapers. These were sobering experiences that I describe in my book.
3. How would you describe the miracles, the other half of your title?
When I set off on my mission as a filmmaker to bring people together to share their faith stories and create opportunities for dialogue, I experienced what I consider "heavenly support." People I needed to meet would magically come into my life. One was Delores Gray, a black minister who partnered with me to create "Festival of Freedom" interfaith journeys to Egypt and Israel. Doors would suddenly spring open as if the universe was collaborating to ensure I could pursue my work in spite of tremendous obstacles. But I also came to realize that we ourselves can perform miracles when we are true to our mission. I call them micro-miracles.
4. What do you mean that God and Allah need to talk?
God and Allah need to talk. Those words were the sole content on a billboard I spotted in Hollywood in 2003. The billboard literally changed my life. I knew that God and Allah were just different names for the Creator, but the billboard troubled me because it indicated that after the shock of 9/11 we had not only divided ourselves but God as well. That is why I made the film, "God and Allah Need to Talk," to initiate urgent interfaith dialogue.
5. What has been the most rewarding part of your work?
People. They inspire me wherever I go. In India, Mexico, Argentina, Alaska, Morocco, Egypt, Africa,Israel, the United States.
6. You are one person trying to bridge longstanding enmity. How successful have you been?
I bill myself as the "Interfaith Pilates Coach, promoting a global stretch for peace." I encourage people to take on small projects or large ones if they are up to the challenge. The interfaith dialogue groups and projects I helped create around the world are going strong. I hope that my book will inspire others to get involved in this growing global movement. It has the potential to change the world and even give us a chance to experience peace in our lifetime. I like to say, "There are no strangers, only people we haven't yet met." I believe there is only one degree of separation between us – not six– and even that is an illusion.
7. If people want to get involved in interfaith work, how do they start?
I am Co-Chair of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World's Religions (SCCPWR.org). Anyone interested in attending upcoming events can write to me at: ruth@MinefieldsAndMiracles.com. You will be welcomed into our interfaith community with open arms. I promise when you cross the threshold, your life will be much better and the entire world will benefit.
ALL OF US UNDER THE SAME HEAVEN
The Carpe Diem Interfe Foundation, A,C, would like to invite your community to participate in the activities programmed for a major event: “Universal Multicultural Dialogue 2012”
to be held from August 29th to September 2nd, 2012, in the city of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico.
The objective of this event is to join together in a National and International Forum and to present topics of common interest that allow the promulgation of peace and equality among all peoples. In so doing we can support one other to collectively make our world a better place.
Overview of the Universal Multicultural Dialogue 2012
Following is the range of topics that will be included in the list of activities that will take place during the 5 days of the conference:
1. Faith, Globalization and Interculturality.
2. CulturaI Identity and Migration.
3. Planet Emergency and Respect for Life:
b) Human Rights.
e) Wisdom of the Elders.
4. Where are we heading? Where do we want to head to? A New World is Possible!
5. Earth and Humanity.
6. Women´s role today.
7. Heritage from the Ancient Cultures
8. Building peace through Hope, Harmony and Solidarity
9. Science, Technology and Religion.
10. Spirituality without religion
From the subjects the actual program of events will be developed to include the following:
b) Main Conferences.
c) Simultaneous Conferences.
d) Dialogue tables.
g) Blessing Ceremonies.
g) Artistic and Cultural Expressions: Movies, Cuisine, Rituals and Traditions, Sacred Dances, Sacred Art, Concerts, Theatre, etc..
h) Public Events ( Squares, public venues, etc.).
e) Closing Event.
Fundación Carpe Diem Interfé, A.C.
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Guadalajara Intergroup Group Publishes Online Interfaith Magazine
Aither - La Revista
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, one of three cities bidding to host the 2014 Parliament of the World’s Religions, recently published an online magazine featuring interfaith articles.
AITHER – LA REVISTA, features an entire issue dedicated to the question “Why Guadalajara?” and highlights the recent visit of the site selection team from the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Click here to view the magazine
Thousands of Egyptian Muslims Serve as Human Shields to Protect Coptic Christians
Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word last Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.
|| Coptic Christians Are Neighbors
"This is where the interfaith movement must continue to strengthen itself to connect neighbor with neighbor as individuals, not as objects of some distant foreign policy."
Council Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid reflects on the recent violence in Egypt in the Huffington Post.
From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for the evening mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.
“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.
Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.
“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”
Click here to read the full article from Ahram Online.
Finding Solace After Arizona Shooting
By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield