Opportunities & Resources
Empowering Interfaith Activists
Reimagine Interfaith is a global event supporting activists and leaders working together in the face of fear to connect with people across faiths and strengthen activist skills.
Join interfaith leaders and activists from all over the world in Washington D.C. from July 29 - August 1 for:
- Training in 6 Program Tracks
- Diverse Spiritual Practice and Reflection
- Children's Program (for rising 1st graders through rising 6th graders)
- Small Group Connection Teams
- High-Profile Keynote Speakers.
Reimagine Interfaith is organized at the initiative of the International Association for Religious Freedom (incorporating its 45th World Congress) and the Unitarian Universalist Association, and co-sponsored by such renowned organizations as Religions for Peace USA, United Religions Initiatives USA, The Interfaith Observer, United Church of Christ, the Hindu Temple Society of North America, GW Interfaith, Interfaith Youth Core, Fezana and Shoulder to Shoulder, as well as multiple religious communities.
2018 Religion Communicators Council Conference
Peace and Justice Through Communication
The 2018 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) National Convention, themed Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication, will demonstrate how faith groups have used advertising and public relations to reach key populations since the 19th century. The meeting runs April 5-7.
Meeting participants can choose from workshops covering multi-religious activism, enhancing your story with digital media, copyright laws, media monitoring, branding and design, crisis communication, and planning for the “We Are Sikhs” national public service announcement campaign. The 15 workshops are organized into three five-session tracks:
- Management — Sessions related to public relations as a management function and the subjects tested on the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations.
- Communication techniques — Sessions designed to improve storytelling skills and abilities to engage key publics through various media.
- Interfaith issues — Sessions that examine roles communicators play in promoting religious literacy, fostering understanding of various faith traditions and cultivating relations between people of differing faiths.
For more information on the convention, including hotel information and registration, please visit the RCC 2018 Convention page. Full early-bird registration, which includes all programs and scheduled meals, is $395 until March 13. Day rates and specific banquet tickets are available from the event registration site.
Reimagining Religion Conference
New Stories, New Communities
On January 26, 2018 from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, those interested in religion news and communication will have their imaginations stretched as they learn new ways to tell religion stories.
One of the biggest religion stories of today is the rising number of Americans who no longer identify with a particular religion. But disaffiliation is only one side of the story. The current period of flux also is characterized by people and congregations exploring spirituality and experimenting with new forms of religious expression.
For communicators and journalists, today's religious creativity represents opportunities for more complex and compelling narratives of meaning, purpose, and identity that will engage audiences. At this one-day conference, we will explore "reimagined communities” and new forms of storytelling.
We will hear from Hollywood creatives, religion reporters, communications and journalism academics, regional activists and pioneers in emerging communities and innovative storytelling. We seek to highlight how, through storytelling, communicators are instigators for change.
This conference is hosted by the Knight Program in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in cooperation with Religion News Association and Religion Communicators Council, as well as with co-sponsors: the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, Claremont School of Theology, and Los Angeles First United Methodist.
Go here to learn more about the event and register.
New Pages in URI's Story
Website and Internships
In the last two years, URE has gathered feedback from different members of their global community about what is needed from an online platform. Thanks to the time and insight shared by many, they now have a new website that organizes all the information from our previous site in a more user-friendly way.
- Mobile-friendly: designed for phone and tablet access
- Content available in 103 languages
- Improved search features
- Easier ways to connect to Cooperation Circles
- New and improved blog
- Carefully curated resources
- Section showing more ways to support URI
URI is seeking two interns to join their team for the Spring 2018 semester. These interns will provide vital support to their communications work and, specifically to the #TangibleHope campaign. The two open positions are Public Relations/Storytelling Intern and Social Media Intern. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of December 4, 2017. Go here for more information and to apply.
Intern with ICNY’s Interfaith Matters Podcast
Build Skills as the Co-Producer (Host and/or Editor)
The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY), a nonprofit organization, that works to overcome prejudice, violence, and misunderstanding by activating the power of New York City’s grassroots religious and civic leaders and their communities, is seeking an aspiring podcaster, audio journalist, or journalism student to be the Co-Producer of their Interfaith Matters podcast series.
They will play a lead role in setting the style and content of the series. As host, they will serve as the on-air personality of Interfaith Matters, and will need to research the backgrounds of our guests, propose interview topics and questions, and conduct the interviews. As editor, they will work with our sound engineer to edit the interviews down to the desired episode length, while adding music and voiceover narration. The Co-Producer will also be welcome to explore alternative approaches to the podcast series, beyond the current interview format.
Go here learn more about the position and how to apply.
The Multifaith Storytelling Institute Kicks off Another Year of Storytelling Mentorship this March
Retreat for Heart, Mind, and Spirit
The MultiFaith Storytelling Institute – the Home for Sacred Storytelling – begins their next group March 4-8 with a 4 day retreat at the beautiful Franciscan Center in Tampa FL. Learn how to identify, learn, and remember the stories you want to tell, develop a storehouse of stories for various situations, and craft stories for large groups, few people, or one to one. Join the yearlong group after the retreat to further develop these skills! Reflecting on their experience in this group, a previous participant remarked:
"I am looking forward to using the skills I learned – at my church and in my community ...
a deeply moving, joyous, and well thought-out program.
Go here to learn more and apply.
MFSI’s mission is to provide professional development in the use of storytelling to clergy, lay leaders, and students to tell stories more effectively for use in: Sermons • Spiritual direction • Teaching • Performance • Pastoral counseling • Chaplaincy and Life cycle events.
New online resource for women in faith and leadership
Building Capacity for Change
The Center for Women, Faith & Leadership at the Institute for Global Engagement has launched their new educational resource website. It includes an research on the intersection race, gender, and identity in different parts of the globe, a monthly online webinar series called “Lean In to Your Faith: Meeting Professional Challenges with Spiritual Resources,” and an 800+ page leadership toolkit for women who want to advance their leadership in peace and security advocacy. The toolkit is available for a $50 tax-deductible donation, the proceeds going toward fellowships for women of faith currently living in conflict zones to participate in the institutes programming. The kit is comprised of four self-guided tracks: (1) Religion Gender & Identity Exploration; (2) Religion, Gender & Leadership Development; (3) Religion, Gender & Leadership Advancement in Peace and Security; and (4) Religion, Gender & Organizational Planning and Development. Their goal though the website resources and this toolkit is to equip women of faith with the tools and skills they need to engage issues of religious freedom, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.
Voices Together: Pioneers in Jewish-Christian Dialogue
A Video Series
Salt + Light Television is offering four short videos chronicling the contributions of four pioneers in Jewish-Christian dialogue efforts in the past several decades. Featured are Dr. Edward Kessler (England), Sr. Charlotte Klein NDS (Germany), Dr. Victor Goldbloom (Canada) and Sr. Mary Boys SNJM (USA). The videos are an ideal resource for teachers, adult educators, interfaith leaders and congregations and available for downloading and screening free of charge. More resources in Jewish-Christian relations can be found here.
How do you Meditate? Let us Count the Ways...
From the Idea to the Act
Scarboro Missions in Toronto continues providing us with new resources. This time comes a series of meditations from different traditions relating to the Golden Rule. More than two dozen practices are introduced. Here are the resources to teach a course on the various ways people meditate, or simply find your own best practice.
And while you are at the Scarboro Missions site, take the time to wander around and see the host of other resources they provide for interfaith dialogue, the Golden Rule poster, and so much more.
Women and Children Stepping Up at Charter for Compassion
A Charter for Compassion Women and Children program is emerging from among Charter partners with the following vision: We envision a world in which all girls and women reach their fullest potential for global transformation, holding compassion as our driving force.
In a recent email, they detailed the resources they are providing groups which form under this banner:
Think Globally, Act Locally
Become Politically Literate In the United States, many organizations provide training to become educated and trained on anywhere from the basics of public policy to how to run for local, state, or national level government. Two are listed below, yet we are most interested in knowing what other such organizations exist around the world. Please contact us at WomenandGirls@CharterforCompassion.org
(The Charter for Compassion Int'l does not endorse any candidate or any party affiliation)
Advocate to End Violence Against Women, City by City
CEDAW, a UN Treaty that was signed and ratified by most all UN member states except Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Tonga and the United States. Cities for CEDAW (The Convention on Elimination against all forms of Discrimination and violence Against Women) is a US based initiative. What measures are you taking to insure CEDAW is upheld in your country, or if you are in the US, check out what cities are active in your state. www.CitiesforCEDAW.org
This reference guide highlights key international human rights provisions found in CEDAW that are relevant to women’s nationality rights and individuals affected by gender discrimination in nationality laws, including stateless persons. It is addressed to all stakeholders who may wish to use this international human rights instrument to advance gender equal nationality rights and improve the enjoyment of human rights by affected persons.
Are you a City of Compassion organizer and want to include CEDAW in your campaign? Contact us! WomenandGirls@CharterforCompassion.org
Programs that inspire and activate
Reaction to Response
Register now for our next call on April 19th. In honor of International Earth Day, this month’s topic will address issues of climate change and the interconnectedness of the health and well-being of the Earth and all her animate and inanimate inhabitants. Chief Phil Lane Jr. will speak on "Acting Out: The Critical State of Mother Earth" April 19th at 8:00 AM PST Register here... https://www.charterforcompassion.org/april-compassion-for-the-earth
Urgent Call from The Spirit of The Feminine Join us for our next call with Grandmother Flordemayo as we honor the day of I'x (ēesh: feminine rising) according to the teachings of the Mayan calendar: https://www.charterforcompassion.org/urgent-call-from-the-spirit-of-the-feminine
Finding Steady Solutions
Here are 7 behaviors we can use right away to strengthen ourselves so we can keep taking more and more powerful and strategic actions. http://www.findingsteadyground.com/
Compassion in Action
Water is Life Earth Week Compassion Games Join the Team Women and Girls and express your compassion outloud in the upcoming Earth Week coopetition with the Compassion Games! Make sure to name Compassionate Women and Girls as your Team name!
One can note that a number of similarly intended movements are emerging all over the world and hope that they get to know each other and work together. For more about the Charter for Compassion, go here.
Stereotypes "Religious Literacy: Traditions and Scriptures"
Free Online Interfaith Courses at Harvard
Harvard University is offering a free series of online courses in religious literacy in the face of the rise of religious bigotry in recent years. Diane More, director of Harvard’s Religious Literacy Project, says that religious illiteracy “fuels bigotry and prejudice and hinders capacities for cooperative endeavors in local, national, and global arenas.”
What to expect in these six courses on “World Religions through their Scriptures”? Discussions about…
- How to understand religion in general, and scriptures in particular, with an emphasis on social and historical context.
- How “scripture” is defined within each tradition and how those understandings have evolved through time and in differing social and historical locations.
- The diverse ways that “scriptures” are interpreted within each tradition and how the authority to interpret is determined and negotiated.
- Diverse manifestations of scripture that include but are not restricted to texts.
Interfaith Films That Make A Difference
Important Interfaith Films on Public Television
Gerald Krell and his team at Auteur Productions are willing to go where interfaith filmmakers typically fear to tread, taking on tough interfaith issues in a creative, constructive fashion. Three Auteur films are being featured this month on public television, and they are all worth seeing. Check your local listings. If you can’t find these jewels in your public television listings, visit interfaithfilms.com where you can see trailers (one of which you’ll find on this page), get study guides, and rent (for streaming) or buy the films.
“The Asian and Abrahamic Religions: A Divine Encounter in America” is an historic contribution to the long neglected issue of the relationship between Abrahamic and Dharmic religious traditions. Along the way this engaging two-hour presentation explores the beliefs, practices, and rituals of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Examining the similarities and differences with the Abrahamic religions, we witness how they perceive each other, confront prejudice and stereotypes, and how they can understand and respect one another. In a review, the Toronto Globe and Mail said,"Beautifully made and meant to educate solidly about shared religious beliefs.”
Equally important, “Three Faiths One God: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” examines how people of goodwill in the Abrahamic faith communities are coming to terms with historical conflicts that impact our lives today; the crisis of the fundamentalist approach to religious pluralism; and tearing down barriers to understanding and respect. Hundreds of communities across North America are trying to figure out how to cut through religious bigotry; for them this is a gold-standard resource.
“Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith” might seem more familiar territory, but it investigates common beliefs, traditions, and rituals shared by Judaism and Christianity that may surprise most viewers. "As a thoughtful guide to respect and tolerance ‘A Journey of Faith’ may have no peer,” wrote the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
GETTING OUT THE WORD
Using TIO in Your Study and Work
If you teach religion or interreligious studies, or lead a congregation, or are part of interfaith organization, consider subscribing your community to TIO. It’s free – and can provide you with a wealth of interfaith information and opinion, stories from around the world about diverse communities learning to live with and thrive in a multireligious, multicultural environment.
Several ways to do getting connected. Send us the e-mail addresses here and we’ll add them to our subscription list. If you have a newsletter, we can supply you with a list of the titles of each month’s feature articles. Contact Megan Weiss here to be added to that summary monthly posting. At the very least, just list TIO’s homepage – www.theinterfaithobserver.org – in your newsletter. The link takes you to TIO’s most recent issue.
AMPLIFYING STORIES OF HOPE AROUND THE WORLD
URI'S #TANGIBLEHOPE Launches
The #TangibleHope project provides a multi-platform opportunity for interfaith activists everywhere to submit, share, and enjoy stories of hope, stories of positive social change rooted in values and ethics.
Every day people from different racial, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds join in creating positive social change in their communities. These people work together across their differences, defying the stories of fear and hate that dominate the media. It’s time to AMPLIFY the voices of tangible hope. You can participate on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. A Toolkit can get you started. #TangibleHope is a program of United Religions Initiative North America, but all interfaith activists and peacemakers are welcomed to participate in sharing their stories.
You can go to #TangibleHope Diaries to read some of the first stories. The Interfaith Observer (TIO) is a co-sponsor of the project.
ESSENTIAL GUIDELINES FOR INTERFAITH HIGHER EDUCATION
Establishing an Interfaith Studies Program on a University or College Campus
Interfaith studies programs, a rarity not so long ago, have been popping up in college and university curricula with increasing frequency all over the world. Dr. Nathan Kollar, a widely published writer on American religion, has outlined the major issues involved in establishing an interfaith studies program. He proposes eight essential essentials (see below) in creating a mission statement. Dr. Koller’s extended article, “The Interfaith Movement in a Liminal Age: The Institutionalization of a Movement,” which you can find here, explores issues such as diversity of views, resources, challenges, risks, support for marginal voices, and the encouragement of dialogue rather than diatribe. The paper is made available through the good services of Scarboro Missions in Toronto.
1. Interfaith dialogue deals with religions individually and comparatively from the perspective of diverse fields of study such as sociology, political science, literature, theology, and religious studies. It is interdisciplinary.
2. Its purpose is to bring individuals and institutions together in conversation for mutual understanding and action to benefit the common good of which knowledge, peace, and empathy for each other are of primary importance.
3. At a minimum, it studies and seeks to understand this purpose through all the disciplines that now study religion and religions, while hoping to develop new methods of research and bodies of knowledge unique to interfaith to implement this seeking.
4. In such study the acquisition of factual knowledge of religions includes the admission of mystery and paradox as inherent to our understanding of religions in general and each religion in particular.
5. It accepts change as inherent in all religious manifestations and seeks to identify religious change as it occurs within individuals and religious communities.
6. The recognition of equality among all and empathy for all are both necessary and advocated in all religious encounters titled interfaith. This is not an advocacy of easy relativism, for it recognizes, as David Tracy has said: “Conversation is a game with some hard rules: say only what you mean; say it as accurately as you can; listen to and respect what the other says, however different or other; be willing to correct or defend your opinions if challenged by the conversation partner; be willing to argue if necessary, to confront if demanded, to endure necessary conflict, to change your mind if the evidence suggests it.” (Quoted from Plurality and Ambiguity: Hermeneutics, Religion, Hope, by David Tracy, [Chicago: University of Chicago; San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1987], p. 19.)
7. It recognizes and accepts the need for accountability in the manner in which it describes the various religions as well as the content of each description.
8. It is distinguished from other disciplines by its necessary inclusion of the primacy of mystery, paradox, and empathy in its selection, dissemination, and interchanges of information and by methodologies particular to its field of study.
If you are scheduled to give a talk or workshop on interfaith, on turning strangers into friends, you will want to consult these resources. Numerous handouts included here can supplement your workshop or classroom.
Download “Principles and Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue” free of charge. Kudos to Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department for evaluating and collecting the best from a multitude of resources, and for making them available for free!
Spiritual Brothers Join Mysticism with Activism
A Way to God – Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey (2016) by Matthew Fox
Even though he passed away in 1968 at the young age of 53, the pioneering ideas that Trappist monk and social justice activist Thomas Merton shared throughout his lifetime are still very much alive. So much so that Pope Francis recently declared him one of four exemplary Americans who provide wisdom for us today —along with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, and Dorothy Day.
Pope Francis is not alone in his deep regard for the contributions Merton made to the history of spirituality. In A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, bestselling author and theologian Matthew Fox celebrates Merton’s work and explains how thirteenth century mystic Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced both Merton and Creation Spirituality, which Fox has long espoused and written about.
“I would maintain that much of Merton’s spiritual journey parallels the articulation of the Creation Spirituality tradition and its Four Paths, which have proven foundational in my own journey,” writes Fox. “While Merton, as in the citation that opens this book, talks about 'the way to God,' I am happy to talk about his and my journey via Creation Spirituality as being a way to God.”
A Way to God is personal and intellectual, semi-biographical and autobiographical. It creates a methodology for understanding the vast and deep contributions that Merton made to the history of spirituality by demonstrating Merton’s teachings by way of the Cosmic Christ, the divine feminine, eco-justice, and other themes common in Merton’s, Eckhart’s, and Fox’s theologies.
Matthew Fox is the author of more than 30 books including Meister Eckhart, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, Christian Mystics, and most recently A Way to God. A preeminent scholar and popularizer of Western mysticism, he became an Episcopal priest after being expelled from the Dominican Order by Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI.
A Treasure Trove Of Interfaith/Interreligious Information
Harvard’s Pluralism Project Launches Website Redesign
Earlier this year the Pluralism Project launched a new website to coincide with the Project’s 25th anniversary. It is a beautiful site, full of compelling visuals and a treasure chest for any one interested in interfaith.The new pluralism.org features
- dozens of essays about the history and development of 17 traditions in the U.S.;
- more than 40 maps showcasing religious diversity and interfaith initiatives;
- over 35 promising practice profiles of city-based interfaith engagement;
- a repository of over 30,000 news pieces from domestic and international sources; and
- information about dilemma-based case studies for classroom and community use.
The redesign of the award-winning pluralism.org website was made possible by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.
Revisioning the Role of Women in Islam
Women in the Qur’an – An Emancipatory Reading
Today, the issue of Muslim women is held hostage between two perceptions: a conservative Islamic approach and a liberal Western approach. At the heart of this debate Muslim women are seeking to reclaim their right to speak in order to re-appropriate their own destinies, calling for the equality and liberation that is at the heart of the Qur'an.
However, with few female commentators on the meaning of the Qur'an and an overreliance on the readings of the Qur'an compiled centuries ago this message is often lost. In this book Asma Lamrabet demands a rereading of the Qur'an by women that focuses on its spiritual and humanistic messages in order to alter the lived reality on the ground.
By acknowledging the oppression of women, to different degrees, in social systems organized in the name of religion and also rejecting a perspective that seeks to promote Western values as the only means of liberating them, the author is able to define a new way. One in which their refusal to remain silent is an act of devotion and their demand for reform will lead to liberation.
Critical Resource for Faith and Interfaith Climate Activists
How the World's Religions are Responding to Climate Change
People of faith and practice represent a critical constituency in the struggle to address the global challenge of a world getting hotter every year. But the very nature of religious community means that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing, and a fragmented response to climate change is inadequate.
How the World’s Religions are Responding to Climate Change (2014) goes a long way to mitigating our ignorance. Subtitled “Social Scientific Investigations,” its 17 chapters were edited by three academics, Robin Globus Veldman (teaching religion at the University of Florida), Andrew Szasz (teaching environmental studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz), and Randolph Haluza-DeLay (teaching sociology at King’s University College in Alberta, Canada).
Routledge, the publisher, explains why it has published this text:
A growing chorus of voices has suggested that the world’s religions may become critical actors as the climate crisis unfolds, particularly in light of international paralysis on the issue. In recent years, many faiths have begun to address climate change and its consequences for human societies, especially the world’s poor. This is the first volume to use social science to examine how religions are helping to address one of the most significant and far-reaching challenges of our time.
While there is a growing literature in theology and ethics about climate change and religion, little research has been previously published about the ways in which religious institutions, groups and individuals are responding to the problem of climate change. Seventeen research-driven chapters are written by sociologists, anthropologists, geographers and other social scientists. This book explores what effects religions are having, what barriers they are running into or creating, and what this means for the global struggle to address climate change.
Convincing Congress to ratify the agreements made last December in Paris will be preoccupying activists across the globe – which is all to the good. An educated activism cannot help but empower the effort, and hats off to Routledge for this resource.
TALKING WITH INTERFAITH, INTERSPIRITUAL PIONEERS
New Podcast Features Contemporary Spirituality Conversations
Along with Dennis Raimondi, TIO contributor Philip Goldberg co-hosts Spirit Matters, a new series of conversations about contemporary spirituality. The interviews feature a fascinating lineup of guests with the likes of Ellen Grace O’Brian, Marianne Williamson, Mirabai Starr, Charles Tart, and Rami Shapiro.
Their website notes that “The spiritual landscape has never been more diverse, more eclectic, more individualized or more internally focused. Spirit matters, and in our open-source world, matters of the spirit are complex and endlessly fascinating. The Spirit Matters podcast aims to help listeners make sense of it all.”
A Foundational Document for the Interfaith Movement
Unpacking Nostra Aetate 50 Years Later
Nostra Aetate’s fiftieth birthday was noted in last month’s TIO, and included the full text of the historic document. When it was first published, it heralded a new day in interfaith relations, starting with the historically troubled Christian-Jewish relations.
Scarboro Missions has published a stand-alone magazine to add to its library of interfaith resources, with ten articles that drill down deep into this foundational document regarding how religious traditions treat each other. As usual, these resources are free. You can get yours here.
For Newcomers to Interfaith Worship
"Guidelines for Designing a Multifaith Prayer Service Available"
Open-ended guidelines in this resource cover the creation of ‘multifaith worship’ from soup to nuts. It is like a list of must-handle items if you want your event to promote respect, inspire those who gather, and not get blind-sided by something you forgot to do. Yet “Guidelines” is much more than a recipe, more like a curriculum that prepares you to meet the challenge of bringing together strangers with different backgrounds to share a spiritual experience. It is perfect workshop material for congregational leaders. Indeed, above and beyond its practical wisdom, reading the Guidelines is a quick way to get a sense of what interreligious community is all about and what it seeks to achieve.
Download it here.
RfP-El Hibri World Interfaith Harmony Offering Available Online
“Ten Things You Must Know…” Video Series Unpacks Interfaith Culture
“Warm greetings from Religions for Peace-USA! Just a brief update on the RfP USA World Interfaith Harmony Week project. A short (1:47min) composite trailer of the “10 Things You Must Know About…” series, featuring shots of the 11 presenters and brief talking clips is available here.
“Alternatively, you can go here to see any of the 11 presenters who made five to ten minute contributions. They include Paul Chaffee, Dalia Mogahed, Eric Ward, Shamil Idriss, Sam Muyskens, William F. Vendley, Katherine Marshall, Robert P. Jones, Susan Katz Miller, Najeeba Syeed Miller,and Susan Hayward. Their bios are here.”
Empowering Young Adult Leaders
New Resource for Interfaith Youth Groups from Scarboro
As usual, the interfaith folks at Scarboro Missions are going the second mile, in this case promoting youth and young adult interfaith activity. They’ve posted a recently revised compilation of interfaith youth groups in the Great Toronto area designed to facilitate and empower communication among local interfaith initiatives. But it is so much more than that. As they explain: “The youth interfaith movement is a growing international phenomenon. For this reason, we havealso included in this directory, educational and curriculum resources from around the world as well as an international listing of interfaithyouth groups.”
So wherever in the world you are doing interfaith youth work, this free resource is for you! You’ll find it here.
A Pivot Point for All Religions
Do-It-Yourself “Golden Rule Workshop” Now Available
It its continuing mission to promote the Golden Rule globally, Scarboro Missions is making freely available a do-it-yourself curriculum and workshop. In launching the project, Paul McKenna, director of interfaith at Scarboro, wrote:
Growing numbers of educators are discovering that religious and ethical education can no longer be conducted from the perspective of only one religion or culture. Indeed, religious educators of the future will call upon the wisdom and teachings of numerous religious and humanist traditions.
In this do-it-yourself workshop and group discussion experience, participants are invited to reflect from the perspective of a universal moral principle – the Golden Rule – in its many and various expressions across the world's religions.
The workshop has been tested in a number of environments and consistently generated great enthusiasm, reflection, and discussion. Any group or individual who decides to sponsor it, can expect rich and varied responses. Please consider forwarding this announcement and link through your network or posting it on your website or on social media. To view or download this workshop free of charge, click here:
And more good news from Scarboro: their world-famous Golden Rule poster is now available in Hebrew. Approximately 18 different language versions of the poster, ‘approximately’ because Scarboro can’t keep track of those who, on their own, translate the poster into their own languages. Hats off, Scarboro!
Indispensable Resource for Interfaith Dialogue
Downloadable Interfaith Dialogue Curricula and Resources Catalogued Here
Thanksgiving Service last year at Scarboro MissionsScarboro Missions, the go-to internet portal for the Golden Rule, has added a collection of all things having to do with interfaith dialogue. Click here to find dozens of curricula, do-it-yourself workshops, basic principles and best practices, toolkits, games, Powerpoint presentations, and articles, all linked to their source webpages and most free to download.
A broad range of constituencies will find these resources useful, including schools, youth groups, universities, community groups, and grassroots interfaith organizations. They touch a broad range of issues including education, social justice, ecology,peace-building, conflict-resolution, spirituality, diversity, and global consciousness.
How Does Your Neighborhood Respond to Disasters?
New Disaster Preparedness Resources Available
The Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California has published two resources for dealing with religious communities under disaster conditions. The Religious Literacy Primer for Crises, Disasters and Public Health Emergencies, and Working with U.S. Faith Communities During Crises, Disasters and Public Health Emergencies: A Field Guide for Engagement, Partnerships and Religious Competency. Both offer useful information about religious communities, and would be helpful even outside disasters.
INterfaith studies at auburn seminary
Interfaith Resources for Prospective Seminarians
Auburn Seminary in New York City has promoted multireligious education in seminaries for the past ten years. Now they have posted eight resources on a website page titled “Multifaith Education in Seminaries.” The resources are designed for seminary administrators and faculty and will serve them well. But for anyone interested in traditional seminary training with an emphasis on interfaith studies, these documents are a goldmine. They include …
- ATS Accreditation Standard (text of the new standard released in 2012 by the Association of Theological Schools)
- Teaching and Pedagogy (nine tactics for teaching in the classroom and the field from faculty experienced in multifaith education)
- Top 20 Seminaries for Multifaith Education (this list emerged from Auburn’s 2009 study of 150 seminaries in “Beyond World Religions: the State of Multifaith Education in American Theological Schools”)
- Multifaith Education Programs and Conferences (a list of known multifaith education programs and conferences for seminary students and faculty)
- Studies and Evaluations (links to program evaluations and studies on the practice of multifaith education in seminaries)
- Popular Press (links to articles that feature the role of multifaith education in theological education)
- Recommended Resources (recommended educational resources for seminary faculty engaging in multifaith education in the classroom and the field)
For prospective seminarians, the ‘top 20’ interfaith-friendly seminaries might be the most important of these resources. For teachers of interfaith, the nine examples (Teaching and Pedagogy) of how to teach interfaith is a fascinating example of the scope and imagination of interfaith studies being developed in academia.
Rapping for Goodness Sake
Dru Takes on Bullying with the Golden Rule
Scarboro Missions’ interfaith ministry keeps creating wonderful new resources for promoting and teaching the Golden Rule. A treasure trove of 13 videos, for instance, gives teachers and parents excellent starting points for discussing how we treat others.
Getting the most attention now is the Golden Rule Rap performed by leading Canadian rap artist Dru. He challenges young people to “follow the Golden Rule and you’ll be cool.” Producer of the video, Tina Petrova, reports the “Mental Health Services in one of the Arctic territories reached out to us, sharing that teen suicides were high due to bullying, and that the rap may be a great mental health tool to use at school dances. Now other young groups are telling us the same!”
Click on the video and listen! And share!
Free Downloadable Peacemaking Curriculum
For One Great Peace – an Interfaith Curriculum for Abrahamic Peacemaking
This excellent resource enables participants to acquire basic skills in interfaith dialogue and to build bridges across religious and cultural differences. The 74-page curriculum is published by the Abrahamic Faiths Peace Initiative (California, USA) and authored by learned practitioners of three religious traditions. Three of the sessions focus on peacemaking in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Also included are guidelines for interfaith leaders, reflective exercises, background information sources, suggestions for further readings and excellent tips for practising interfaith hospitality. The curriculum is also an important resource for those who are not members of the Abrahamic faiths. This document is also available as a Kindle e-book (96 cents).
To view or download free of charge, click here.
What Has Interfaith Engagement Meant to You?
Vanderbilt Surveying North American Grassroots Interfaith Activists
Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University – Photo: WikipediaIf you participate in an interfaith group in North America, your input is sought in a survey. A study group at Vanderbilt University is researching grassroots interfaith organizations and would love to have your input. (There are plans to expand the study in its next phase to go beyond North America.)
Mark McCormick, a Ph.D. candidate who helped inspire the project, writes, “This research project started as the seed of an idea back in 2010, during the protests against the new Islamic Center in our own backyard in Murfreesboro, TN. Several of us at Vanderbilt have over time become personally involved in the interfaith efforts that have cropped up in MiddleTennessee in response to this controversy, and it struck us that this would also be a very important (and understudied, empirically) topic for research.”
Five interfaith groups in the south have been the subject of case studies, and to this will be added what the research team finds out from this survey. TIO will report on the results next year.
Click here to go to the survey. Vanderbilt scholars thank you!
Interreligious Ecology Resource
Multifaith Green Rule Poster & Study Guide Now Available
Greening Sacred Spaces is a Canadian interfaith organization that supports houses of worship of various religions in efforts to “green” their buildings. Their Green Rule Poster features sacred texts from 14 religious traditions – they are presented against the visual backdrop of “the tree of life.”
This poster is complemented by a useful 20-page study guide. The guide is an imaginative, practical tool to teach youth and adult members of your faith community and school system about the sacredness of creation in your own faith tradition while reflecting on the ecological texts of other religions.
You can order your poster here.
Free to Download
On Common Ground: World Religions in America
From Diana Eck, founder of the Pluralism Project:
Greetings from the Pluralism Project! I am delighted to share with you the launch of an online and updated version of On Common Ground: World Religions in America. You can view the press release on our website.
For fifteen years, the CD-ROM version of On Common Ground(Columbia University Press) has been a go-to resource on religious diversity in America for teachers, professors, students, clergy, community leaders, and media professionals. Over the years, many of you have expressed your hope for an online version of this wonderful resource. We’ve echoed your excitement and are pleased that this new version of On Common Groundis now online and available free of charge.
In the new online version, the time-tested educational structure of the On Common Ground CD-ROM is replicated and enhanced. We have:
- added new sections on Humanism and Unitarian Universalism to America’s Many Religions and developed new content on the experiences of Muslims and Sikhs post-9/11;
- expanded America’s Changing Religious Landscape by including interactive maps of religious diversity in select cities across the U.S. which incorporate both census data and information from the Pluralism Project Directory of Religious Centers (a database that now includes well over 10,000 entries);
- explored new versions of old challenges by integrating new materials and weblinks intoEncountering Religious Diversity, further building on a rich cache of historical examples, documents, news stories, and videos that highlight the many ways in which Americans experience our new multireligious reality.
The Pluralism Project is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. which was a major funder of the original On Common Ground CD-ROM as well as the new version On Common Ground Online. This project would not have been possible without the enthusiasm and dedication of generations of Pluralism Project affiliates, researchers, staff, students, and the communities we both study and seek to serve. Thank you.
We look forward to hearing your responses to OCG!
With all best wishes,
Progressive Theologian Reaches Out to New Pope
Letters to Pope Francis by Matthew Fox
Pope Francis, with a warm heart and iconoclastic attitudes, has caught the attention of the world. Each day new stories emerge, and everyone (talking) seems to approve. A biography is out, along with plenty of pundit opinions.
Now comes a set of heartfelt letters to Fr. Fox’s “brother in Christ about the great challenges facing the church today, drawing from the deep spiritual and theological sources that have been suppressed since Vatican.” The book urges Francis “to restore the sense of the faithful and reshape a church with justice and compassion.”
Matthew Fox has long been persona non grata at the Vatican. Could that change? This book makes you think it could. It is available at Amazon.
New Curricula for Jewish-Christian Congregations
Walking God's Paths: Christians and Jews in Candid Conversation
This new set of videotapes and a study guide allow participants to experience each tradition’s understanding of how it walks God’s path and how the two faith communities can relate to one another in positive ways.
Written by Philip Cunningham, John Michalczyt, and Gibert Rosenthal. Produced by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College on behalf and with the oversight of the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is now made available online through special arrangement with the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations. See here for details.
History of the Golden Rule Free to Download
Excerpted from Ethics and the Golden Rule by Harry Gensler S.J.
This history chronicles the history of the Golden Rule from ancient to modern times. Essentially, the paper charts the ethical history of humanity through the lens of the Golden Rule. This chronology is an ideal teaching tool with the capacity to reach a multitude of diverse audiences. It also has interfaith content.
Download your free copy here.
Fifty Years of Interfaith Activism
Download Braybrooke’s Personal Account of the Interfaith Movement
Marcus, in the middle of a peace march in India.Widening Vision: the World Congress of Faiths and the Growing Interfaith Movementby Marcus Braybrooke is now available for downloading. Marcus, a TIO Correspondent, is known as the historian of the interfaith movement. In this new book, he is as much a participant as an observer. He joined the World Congress of Faiths in 1964 and serves as its president today.
From this vantage point, he has been engaged for nearly 50 years in the burgeoning interfaith movement. In Widening Vision he shares his first-hand account of working with the Temple of Understanding, Religions for Peace, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the North American Interfaith Network, and United Religions Initiative. The book concludes with his vision of a peaceful interfaith future.
Widening Vision is available as an e-book from Kindle at Amazon.
Multifaith Golden Rule Movie Now Available Free Online
Animating the Golden Rule
Toronto’s Scarboro Missions movie, Animating the Golden Rule, is now available free of charge on the Internet. The DVD features students in three Toronto high schools embodying golden rule values by way of skits, artwork, interviews, music, dance & rap. The film eloquently demonstrates how character education can be engendered in young people using play, creativity and the arts. This movie is very useful for teachers and youth leaders because of its themes of youth, global citizenship, multiculturalism, ethics, diversity and the arts.
To view the film, in four sections, click here.