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March 2012

New “Interfaith Infrastructure” Website Documents U.S. Interfaith Movement

Cambridge, MA – Harvard University’s Pluralism Project last month launched America’s Interfaith Infrastructure: An Emerging Landscape, a website documenting and resourcing the interfaith movement in the United States. Dr. Diana Eck, a professor at Harvard University and director of the Pluralism Project explains, “While interfaith organizations play a vital role in cities and towns across America, their critical contributions to our multireligious society are often overlooked.”

Reconciling the Blessings and Challenges of Diversity through Ancestral Spiritual Values

In Lak’ech Ala K’in. In my Mayan tradition this sacred greeting serves to honor another and means “I am another yourself” or “I am you, and you are me.” Another meaning is “I bow to the Divine within you.” When this greeting is given, there is always an action of placing the hands over the heart. In the Hindu tradition the greeting Namaste, which I learned through my work and connection with spiritual teachers in India, corresponds and is similar to the Mayan greeting. It is a philosophical statement affirming that the doer of everything is not me but the gods. With these greetings I embrace the blessings of diversity.

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.

Pilgrimage To Jerusalem - A Pilgrimage Of Peace

2011 concluded with an inspiring conference in Jerusalem. The conference, on the above theme, was organized by Elijah in partnership with the Swiss based Lasallhaus. The occasion was unique. Fr. Christian Rutishauser S.J., director of LH had a dream for twenty years - organizing a pilgrimage on foot to Jerusalem. The pilgrimage was to be more than just a walk; it was to be a an opportunity for learning, and above all for interfaith sharing. A priest, a pilgrim, but also an academic, he envisioned the walk culminating with a peace conference, which he asked Elijah to organize.

Security and International Peace Focus of WCC Consultation

Geneva: A consultation on world peace and human security was convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva on Feb. 9. The event preceded a two-day committee meeting charged with following up the report and recommendations of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, which brought 1,000 participants to Kingston, Jamaica in May 2011.

Eboo Patel – Spokesperson in the Making

Born in 1975, Eboo Patel grew up in Chicago, raised in a Muslim family that had immigrated to America’s urban Midwest from central India when he was a toddler. He grew up a high achiever, eventually taking his doctorate in religion from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. His “big idea” of an Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) was conceived in 1998 during a United Religions Initiative planning conference at Stanford University. In 2002 the new organization was incorporated.

Bowled Over by Emerging Interfaith Voices

The cornucopia of interfaith resources coming online each day can be an embarrassment of riches. With so many saying so much, to whom do I turn? The plan for TIO’s March issue was to highlight exemplary “emerging voices” in the global interfaith community. Enough good material showed up to justify dedicating both March and April issues of TIO to important, largely unknown, voices emerging from interfaith sources.

Indigenous Peoples Making an Interfaith Difference

Indigenous peoples were welcomed to the 1993, 1999, and 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions and they enriched those gatherings. But the 2009 Parliament held in Melbourne will be remembered for holding up the significant contributions that Indigenous people are making to the interfaith movement.

Ibtisam Mahameed, Not Afraid to Speak Out

If I consider myself a peace activist, then all my words and actions must be devoted to peace. For me this is Jihad, and if I die doing this I will be considered a martyr.”

- Ibtisam Mahameed

What Do Women Bring to the Interfaith Table?

This month TIO invited five remarkable women, interfaith leaders representing different faiths, to answer the question, “What do Women Bring to the Interfaith Table?” Three of their responses tell us stories – the other two approach the issue more on its own terms. But the result is a rounded, insightful discussion helping explain why women are more engaged as interfaith leaders than ever before.

In Morocco, symposium explores religion, spirituality and education

MARRAKECH, Morocco — What is spirituality? How can religious education encourage it? And what role do both religion and spirituality play in fostering human well-being?

Youth Redefining Interfaith Activism Globally

I’ve never found an easy way to explain how an evangelical Christian from rural America came to found an interfaith youth organization with chapters across the world. It began in the summer of 2006.

Finding My Voice in Interfaith Work

16 Ruth said, "Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”…
22 So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab.”

- The Book of Ruth, Chapter 1