Opportunities & Resources
Interfaith Bridges Research Project
An Invitation to Participate
How can more people become engaged in interfaith? This question guides a research study led by Jennifer Hosler, doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. By learning how and why people become involved in interfaith engagement, it is possible to recruit others more effectively into the crucial work of building bridges between religions.
The Interfaith Bridges study consists of an online survey and in-depth interviews. A brief online survey asks participants to describe themselves and the interfaith activities or events they have participated in. Respondents also have an opportunity to express interest in a follow up interview to share their experiences more in-depth. Interview questions explore motivations and pathways into interfaith engagement, looking at personal experiences, family, faith community, religious tradition, and societal or global issues.
The survey can be accessed here. All participants must be based in the U.S. and over 18 years of age (UMBC IRB Protocol Number: Y20KM20012, Valid through Date: 04/01/2020). The survey front page provides more information on the project. Questions can be addressed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Hosler is a Doctoral Candidate in Community Psychology at UMBC and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. She serves as a pastor in Washington, DC. Starting with an interfaith field trip in high school and iftar meals with Somali refugees she tutored during college, Jennifer's interfaith work eventually expanded into capacity building and community organizing in northern Nigeria, where she worked for more than two years, prior to moving to DC. Today, she represents her congregation at interfaith activities in Washington, DC. Additionally, Jennifer recently co-authored a denominational paper for the Church of the Brethren, which puts forth guidance for the denomination's interfaith engagement at local, regional, and denominational levels.
Delving Deep Into The Climate Crisis
Every Page is a Study Guide
Religica, a new online interfaith resource, has posted a massive set of resources, curricula and guidelines for dealing with climate change. It is a deep dive that includes podcasts, videos, and articles, and in-depth ways to get involved. The resource is divided into three sections: Introducing a Changing Climate, Roots of a Changing Climate, and Culture and a Changing Climate. Superb material for anyone learning and/or teaching climate change. Go here to start exploring it!
Golden Rule Day 2020: Call for Submissions
Filming the Golden Rule in Action
Golden Rule Day is April 5th, but the time to get involved is now! As it has been done in the past, the day will be celebrated with a 24-hour webcast highlighting what the Golden Rule means to people and cultures around the world. The event organizers, which include the United Religions Initiative and several Cooperation Circles, are looking for unique video content to feature in the webcast, and that's where you come in! The theme of 2020 Golden Rule Day webcast is on how we can apply the Golden Rule in daily life, utilizing our different beliefs and cultures to build bridges and connect people. Contributing to the webcast provides a great opportunity to share your ideas and incredible work with a global network of peacebuilders, teaching and learning from one another and working towards making a better life on Earth for all.
The Golden Rule Day planning team will be accepting your video contributions from now until December 15, 2020. For criteria and to submit your video go here.
What do you believe now?
Exploring the Spiritual Journeys of American Millennials
What happens to your spiritual and religious beliefs over time? Seventeen years ago the 2002 documentary What Do You Believe? showed six diverse American teenagers shared their spiritual struggles and aspirations. Now we revisit them in a new “before and after” film What Do You Believe Now? - The spiritual journeys of American Millennials (2019), documenting how their beliefs have changed. Coming from Catholic, Pagan, Jew, Muslim, Lakota and Buddhist backgrounds, they offer their deeply personal faith journeys, life challenges, and evolving ideas about higher powers, life purpose, the nature of suffering, religious intolerance, and death. They do so against the backdrop of a society in flux and amidst growing religious polarization and disengagement. Designed to be a stand alone film, What Do You Believe Now? is an invaluable addition to any discussion on religious diversity and millennial spirituality in America.
Go here to learn more about the film.
If you are interested in hosting a screening, contact GOOD DOCS: email@example.com
Communicating Faith in the Public Square
March 17-21, 2020: Religion Communication Congress Gathering in Washington D.C.
The Religion Communication Congress is a once-a-decade gathering of professional religion communicators from a wide range of faith traditions.
RCCongress 2020 will take place March 17-21 in Washington D.C. and is a forum where religion communicators learn cutting edge strategies and skills through a wide variety of plenaries, workshops, and networking opportunities. It is a space to broaden perspectives and learn across different faith traditions to foster greater understanding and cooperation in our local and global communities. The program boasts an impressive line-up of speakers, performers, and workshop leaders to instruct and inspire us.
Go here to learn more about the event, its speakers, and to register.
Tools for Supporting Asylum Seekers and Refugees
A KAICIID Resource
KAICIID has put together a free toolkit to help those who are working to support asylum seekers and refugees in Europe. It focuses on integrating newcomers into all aspects of their host country – creating a safe space for dialogue to help them understand their rights, learn a new language and engage with their host country’s culture.
The Toolkit has 13 modules on different subjects, for instance, dealing with prejudice, gender roles in their new society, school, visiting the doctor, shopping, and a number of other important things. Though lighthearted, they inspire informative dialogue activities and handouts.
It comprises the following three resources:
A Handbook which includes a facilitation guide, project methodology, and module design.
Activity Materials which include interactive games to reinforce learning objectives from each of the modules
Sample Handouts which provide a list of resources on topics such as health services, help for abuse, and training and education opportunities.
Although the content was developed for project participants in Austria, each of the modules can be easily adapted for universal use. Learn more and download it here!
Addressing the pressing issues of our time
Sept 21-26: Global Week for Peace, Climate Protection, SDG's, Nuclear Abolition
The week of September 21-26 already includes the separate events:
Sep 21: UN International Day for Peace;
Sep 23: UN Climate Summit;
Sep 24-25: Summit on SDGs;
The idea of bringing the days together in a Global Week for peace, climate protection, SDGs and nuclear abolition, would help to reinforce the connections between these issues and would mean that anyone organising an event for any one of these issues during the week, could also use the event to promote the other issues/days/events.
To this end, Abolition 2000, during its Annual Assembly in New York on May 5, 2019, established a new working group on Peace, climate protection, nuclear abolition and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to: a) build cooperation between the constituencies working on these issues, and b) promote this Global Week.
The working group was proposed by Anselmo Lee, one of the main organisers of the PeoyongChang Global Peace Forum (PGPF), which was held in February 2019 on the first anniversary of the Korean Olympic Peace initiative. The PGPF adopted a Five-Point Action Plan which recommended the establishment of a Global Week for Peace, SDGS and Nuclear Disarmament. See the PGPF 2019 Outcome Document which includes the Five-Point Action Plan.
If you’d like to learn more about this collaborative initiative or join the working group, go to Peace, disarmament and SDGs: Global week of action Sep 21 – 26.
Exploring the sounds of religion in america
An Impressive Audio Resource
What does religion in the United States sound like? This question animates the American Religious Sounds Project (ARSP), a collaborative research initiative which aims to offer new resources for documenting and interpreting the diversity of American religious life by attending to its varied sonic cultures. To date, the Project has centered on: (1) the construction of a unique sonic archive, documenting the diversity of everyday religious life through newly produced field recordings, interviews, oral histories, and related materials; and (2) the development of a digital platform and website, which draws on materials in our archive to engage users in telling new stories about religious diversity in the US.
The ARSP website is intended for multiple audiences. For scholars, they hope it will serve as a suggestive tool for research and as a platform for presenting your own interpretive work. For educators and students, they hope to offer valuable pedagogical resources that can be integrated directly into the classroom. For the media, they hope their materials will inform the stories you tell about religion in the United States. And for all audiences, they hope their site will educate you, engage you, and inspire you to think in new ways about religion and its place in American life.
Check it out here.
As you spend time exploring the site, consider this question: How does our understanding of religion change when we begin by listening for it?
Religious Accommodations and Policies on Campus
Interfaith Youth Core has produced a great resource outlining examples of policies and accommodations that colleges and universities can institute to make themselves welcoming and respectful of all their students and staff.
Their curated compilation provides actual examples of accommodations and policies across campus life, from physical spaces, to dining services, to holiday absence policies. Representing the broad swath of American colleges and universities, these examples come from public and private institutions, religiously-affiliated and nonsectarian schools, and small colleges and massive universities. The policies that accommodate, support, and foster religious diversity should be considered throughout an institution’s general culture. The collection tries to highlight accommodations that are not only respectful to a particular religious or campus group, but also promote engagement among differing groups.
Go here to check out this resource.
Tips for Engaging Young Adults in Your Work
One of the questions most often asked by interfaith groups is:
“How do we get young adults involved in our work?”
Sensing the need for insight, members of United Religions Initiative from North America (and around the world) gathered for a call to discuss this question. Through presentations and group discussion, they shared methods and strategies for engaging and supporting young adults in interfaith work and leadership. You can watch the meeting here.
The toolkit “Why Don't They Come?” 9 Tools to Engage Youth in Interfaith Efforts was developed out of the meeting and can be downloaded for free. Check it out here!
Film: “Two Rivers”
A Model of Truth and Reconciliation
“Two Rivers” documents the true story of a Native American Reconciliation group that began in a couple’s home in Northern Washington State. Within five years many more had joined, and together they launched social and political reconciliation initiatives that changed their community, and race relations across the Northwest.
But “Two Rivers”, more than anything else, is an award winning film, and a fascinating human story with large implications: A true story of how people from different worlds have created profound, lasting friendships, because they were willing to adopt an open attitude, experiment with new ways of connecting, and learn to speak, listen, and act from their hearts.
Interactive Video Conferencing for the Interfaith Community
This January, 2018 the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) launched a new series of online virtual conversations: “NAINChat.” Making use of exciting new video conferencing technology, NAIN plans to enhance interfaith networking, highlight existing interfaith programs, and address issues of concern as they arise in North America. Hosted by Emmy nominated broadcast journalist and interfaith leader, Bettina Gray, these monthly interactive conversations have explored topics such as polarization in our communities, young adult interfaith leadership, interfaith communications and social media.
NAINChat is held every 3rd Wednesday of the month online via Zoom.com at 3:30 pm Pacific time zone, 4:30 Mountain, 5:30 Central and 6:30 pm Eastern time. On Wednesday July 18th the conversation will focus on the world-wide refugee crisis response with special guests Beverly Weise and Jewish filmmaker and interfaith leader Ruth Broyde Sharone. Bev Weise has been a refugee activist since September 2016, when she traveled to Chios Island, Greece as an independent volunteer in the Souda Refugee Camp. She started the IKAR synagogue’s Refugee Support Group, organized two interfaith World Refugee Day events (2017 and 2018), and hosted an event for synagogues across Los Angeles (Jews for Refugees Assembly) to learn about the refugee crisis.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of NAIN. Interfaith leaders and member organizations of the North American Interfaith Network continue through this and other programs to address polarization and build community in North America.
How to join the next NAINChat:
From PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/135517651
iPhone one-tap : US: +16699006833,,135517651# or +16465588656,,135517651#
Telephone: Dial: US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 135 517 651
introducing kidspirit shorts!
Opening Up a New World for Youth Voices
We're thrilled to announce the launch of KidSpirit Shorts! Now youth around the world can share their perspectives on life's big questions through a new and vital medium: video. With the help of a professional filmmaker, editors and contributors write and shoot creative performances, interviews, dramatic scenes, and more.
To the left is one of the Shorts in the collection. New York KidSpirit editor Maya Mesh tells of her grandmother's and mother's journeys to thrive in the United States after immigrating from Ecuador. Her moving speech reminds us all of the importance of listening to each other's stories with open hearts. Go here to check the rest of them out!
Beyond Dialogue? Interfaith Engagement in Delhi, Doha & London
Responding to a Changing Social and Political Climate
How do interfaith initiatives respond to the social and political challenges affecting relations among people and groups in an increasingly religiously diverse world? This question was at the heart of a three-year research project carried out by John Fahy and Jan-Jonathan Bock. Using ethnographic research, observation, and interviews, they studied the emergence and development of the interfaith movement in three urban contexts: Delhi, Doha, and London. In an article published by The Woolf Institute the authors reflect on their project:
We hope that the report, and subsequent publications, including the edited volume, will contribute to and catalyse discussions on religious pluralism and its implications for social relations and policy. One of our key findings has been that interfaith initiatives still struggle to engage meaningfully with difference, and this occurs across the three sites. A somewhat forced emphasis on similarity and shared values often suggests that differences are a mere surface quality and do not demand serious attention. We suggest, however, that many differences in belief, worldview, or outlook are real and matter for the processes through which individuals and groups generate their identities. If interfaith initiatives want to be successful in reaching out beyond religious circles, they need to become better at approaching difference without fear of disharmony. Perhaps our report and related events can contribute to the discussion.
Their report is available for free and can be accessed here.
Groundbreaking New Biography of Paramahansa Yogananda
The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru
Written by TIO Board Member Philip Goldberg, The Life of Yogananda, a biography of “the 20th century’s first superstar guru” (Los Angeles Times), is long-overdue. Ninety-seven years after his arrival in the United States, and sixty-five years after his death, Paramahansa Yogananda remains the best known and most beloved of all the Indian spiritual teachers who came to the West. His influence is unsurpassed, because of the durability of his teachings and the institutions he created or inspired (more than 600 centers worldwide; 200 in the US), and mainly because of his landmark memoir, Autobiography of a Yogi. That text has sold millions of copies since its publication in 1946, but there are huge gaps in the story it tells. Yogananda spent more than 30 of his 59 years in America, yet that period takes up less than 10 percent of his book. Huge chunks of his life—challenges, controversies, relationships, formative experiences—are unknown to even his most ardent devotees. With this book, readers will finally have a complete and compelling account of Yogananda’s remarkable life, in all its detail, nuance, and complex humanity.
Wanted: kidspirit editorial board coordinators
Mentoring Young Writers and Editors
KidSpirit, an award-winning magazine and online community by and for youth, seeks a reliable, experienced teacher or youth mentor to start and facilitate an Editorial Board in your community. KidSpirit is an online quarterly magazine for 11- to 17-year-olds to tackle life’s big questions in an open and inclusive spirit. The magazine is peer edited and currently has nine Editorial Boards in the United States, Australia, China, Ghana, India, Pakistan, and New Zealand. Editorial Boards consist of four or more students (ages 11 to 17) who meet regularly to write and discuss articles, poetry, and artwork they submit to KidSpirit. Among many other activities, they collaboratively revise the articles of their fellow editors and discuss ideas for quarterly themes.
To establish a new group, KidSpirit is looking for a teacher or mentor who is experienced in helping youth develop their writing skills to act as Editorial Board Coordinator. The Coordinator will be expected to spend approximately 25-40 hours per month recruiting editors, organizing and facilitating meetings, communicating with editors and KidSpirit staff, and helping contributors draft and revise their articles. The Coordinator will receive a stipend each academic semester (the exact amount will be determined based on skills and experience). Coordinators who are interested in a greater time commitment would have the option to expand beyond their local communities into regional outreach in their part of the country.
To apply for the editorial board coordinator position or for the regional outreach position, please send a cover letter and resume to Elizabeth Dabney Hochman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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…
Tools for how to interpret the roles religions play in contemporary and historic contexts;
How religions are internally diverse
How religions evolve and change
How religions are embedded in all human cultures
The strengths and limitations of learning about religions through their scriptures.
Go here for details and to register.
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 Anderson 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.
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!
A Treasure Trove Of Interfaith/Interreligious Information
Harvard’s Pluralism Project
The Pluralism Project at Harvard University is full of compelling visuals and a treasure chest for any one interested in interfaith. It’s multitude of resources includes:
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.
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.
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.
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 Ground is 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,
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.