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Don Frew

When Wiccans & Evangelical Christians Become Friends

When Wiccans & Evangelical Christians Become Friends

by Don Frew

A year into my public information work, I saw notice of a conference called “Deception & Discernment: Exposing the Dangers of the Occult.” I thought I should attend and see what ‘the other side’ was up to.

Voices of Hope

Voices of  Hope

by URI Members

The United Religions Initiative enjoys a kind of latitude and scope that invites the whole world in, but does so while honoring each of us and where we come from. That approach makes it a very personal

Hearing the Interfaith Voices Least Often Heard

Hearing the Interfaith Voices Least Often Heard

by Don Frew

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone in a group say “We even have a Witch” and point to me to emphasize how inclusive they are. So, in terms of diversity, I occupy a place at one extreme end of the interfaith spectrum.

Hearing the Interfaith Voices Least Often Heard

Hearing the Interfaith Voices Least Often Heard

by Don Frew

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone in a group say “We even have a Witch” and point to me to emphasize how inclusive they are. So, in terms of diversity, I occupy a place at one extreme end of the interfaith spectrum.

A Pagan's Adventures in Egypt

A Pagan's Adventures in Egypt

by Don Frew

In 2005, I attended the annual meeting of the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative. That year, it was held at a retreat center near Seoul, South Korea. One day, we took a long bus ride to the Buddhist monastery of Haensa, during which I sat with Monica Willard, URI’s representative at the United Nations.

Creating Sacred Space for All of Us

Creating Sacred Space for All of Us
What might a space designed to accommodate the needs of all faiths look like? In 2004, an international ideas competition was held to design sacred spaces where people from all religious traditions could feel comfortable, safe, and respected.

The Dark Side of the Golden Rule and Other ‘Universals’

The Dark Side of the Golden Rule and Other ‘Universals’
The following reflection is excerpted from a longer presentation Donald Frew delivered at the August 2011 annual gathering of the North American Interfaith Network in Phoenix, Arizona, dedicated to exploring the Golden Rule

When Nature Talks Back

Several years ago, I attended a North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) “Connect” in Las Vegas. The program was organized in three tracks, including one called “Caring for Creation.” As might be expected, all of the Pagans and indigenous people gravitated towards that track.

Saving Pagan Lives

Serving on the global council of the United Religions Initiative (URI) for 15 years has given me a new perspective on my own spiritual family. URI has grown to become the largest grassroots interfaith organization in the world, with more than 650 local groups in over 85 countries. Through URI, I have seen the power that comes with the “indigenous, tribal, polytheistic, Nature-based, Earth-centered, and/or Pagan religions” being understood as a single group. One story makes the point.

Opening the Indigenous Door

Opening the Indigenous Door
Full Disclosure – Don Frew and Paul Chaffee have been friends and colleagues in the interfaith vineyard for more than 15 years, and Don has been a TIO supporter from the time the idea first glimmered. However close this association, though, devoting a credible exploration of “Indigenous Traditions in the Modern World” and leaving him out would be impossible. For 30 years Elder Don Frew has been the official interfaith representative of Covenant of the Goddess, the world’s largest Wiccan tradition. Don is a witch, a misunderstood word which can repel those unacquainted with paganism. But his relations with leaders from all traditions, established and indigenous, and within his own community are a perfect antidote to that discomfort. A grassroots bridge-builder with a global reach, he has championed indigenous, Earth and Nature-based traditions around the world, developing ways for them to be in dialogue with the rest of the global interfaith/interspiritual community. If you are interested in pagan and indigenous interfaith relations, you need to know about Don Frew. Ed.

Finding Light in the Midst of “Devil-worshippers”

Finding Light in the Midst of “Devil-worshippers”

As we’ve watched horrific reports of the “Islamic State” terrorist organization this year, most Americans have heard about a religious/ethnic group called the Yezidis1 for the first time. However, the stories of Yezidi refugee families being displaced and attacked by ISIS fighters leave out an important fact: across the Near East, Yezidis are known as “Devil-worshippers.” Perhaps editors assumed this would be too difficult to explain to American audiences.

The Rudiments of My Neopagan Spiritual Practice

Meditation, Magic, and Invocation

“Interfaith 3.0” from the Outside

In the December 2011 issue of The Interfaith Observer, Bettina Gray wrote about the recent changes in the interfaith movement. Her piece is impressive and inspiring, an optimistic view of our interfaith future. She wrote as one with significant experience and a long history in interfaith work; but she also wrote from the perspective of someone embedded in the “mainstream” religions that have dominated interfaith work since its beginnings. Once restricted to Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), the administrative core of interfaith work gradually expanded to include the other two members – Buddhism and Hinduism – of what have been called “the big five” religions.

Wicca, Indigenous Traditions, and the Interfaith Movement

The interfaith movement has an illustrious history of bringing the major religions together to compare similarities, share differences, build relationships, and discover new ways to work together for the betterment of humanity and the world. Collateral benefits that often go unnoticed include a multitude of meetings among smaller groups, communities included in global interfaith organizing efforts, who are now able to come together in their own smaller meetings, creating new networks of friendships where few existed before.

The People Who Write for TIO

This posting marks TIO’s sixth issue. Half a year in seems a good time to catch a breath and see where we’ve come. More than 100 articles, news items, interfaith reports, and calendar events have gone to TIO subscribers and can now be found at www.theinterfaithobserver.org. In sum, this material underlines the assumption which motivated this venture in the first place – that those who embrace interfaith culture need to know more about each other, the manifold resources that are surfacing, and the ways healthy interfaith collaboration can contribute to peace, justice, and care for the Earth.

When Wiccans & Evangelical Christians Become Friends

For more than 26 years I’ve been doing interfaith work on behalf of Neopagan Witchcraft (often called “Wicca” or “the Craft”). In 1985 I was elected National Public Information Officer for the Covenant of the Goddess (www.cog.org). The job entailed serving as a liaison between CoG and the media, law enforcement, the government, and the interfaith community. I attended my first meeting of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council, one of the oldest, most diverse interfaith groups in the country, and gradually found myself hooked on interfaith work. Terming out as Public Information Officer, the Covenant created the appointed position of National Interfaith Representative. That has been my role ever since.

Guidelines for Engaging in Productive Interfaith Dialogue

First, why are you involved with interfaith dialogue? Are you promoting an understanding of your own faith in an interfaith venue or promoting interfaith itself?