is the closing of the year, the time of endings and new
primordial self that lives deep within us instinctively
notices the shortening of the days and we feel, to some
degree, the terror our ancient ancestors once felt at
the end of every year.
we go deeper into the darkness we symbolically stand in
fear that the Light may be extinguished forever.
move past the shortest day of the year in the hope
filled belief that the Light will grow stronger and we
and those we love will live and flourish in a rekindled
future. And so we celebrate, ceremoniously create our
own light, and rejoice and give thanks.
is a story as old as time and we retell it in the
symbolism of so many of our religions and our cultural
beliefs. The retelling echoes through our bodies, minds
and our very spirits. It brings us joy and love, hope
and aspiration. And if we allow it, it brings us all
Interfaith Unity join with you and yours as you embrace
the return of the Light and celebrate the gift of life
it brings once again to a waiting and expectant world.
wish you new knowledge, deeper wisdom and greater surety
as you once again embrace the Light in whatever manner
you have come to hold its re-birth!”
and Love to all from all of us at Interfaith Unity!
the interfaith prayer service at
in 2002, ten of the 200 faith representatives
each read one of the following ten
commitments in their own language. In March,
2002 Pope John Paul II sent a copy of the
Decalogue for Peace to all heads of state. In an
accompanying letter, the Pope stated that the
participants at the
gathering were inspired more than ever by one
common conviction — humanity must choose
between love and hatred.CLICK
TO READ THE LETTER
commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm
conviction that violence and terrorism are
opposed to all true religious spirit and we
condemn all recourse to violence and war in
the name of God or religion. We undertake to
do everything possible to eradicate the
causes of terrorism.
commit ourselves to educate people about
respect and mutual esteem in order to
achieve peaceful coexistence and solidarity
among members of different ethnic groups,
cultures and religions.
commit ourselves to promote the culture of
dialogue so that understanding and trust may
develop among individuals and peoples as
these are the conditions of authentic peace.
commit ourselves to defend the right of all
human beings to lead a dignified life, in
accordance with their cultural identity.
commit ourselves to engage in dialogue with
sincerity and patience, without considering
what separates us as an insurmountable wall,
on the contrary, recognizing that facing our
differences can become an occasion for
greater reciprocal understanding.
commit ourselves to pardon each other's
errors and prejudices of the past and
present, and to support one another in the
common struggle against egoism and abuses,
hatred and violence, and in order to learn
from the past that peace without justice is
not true peace.
commit ourselves to stand at the side of
those who suffer poverty and abandonment,
speaking out for those who have no voice and
taking concrete action to overcome such
situations, in the conviction that no one
can be happy alone.
commit ourselves to make our own the cry of
those who do not surrender to violence and
evil, and we wish to contribute with all our
strength to give a real hope of justice and
peace to the humanity of our time.
commit ourselves to encourage all
initiatives that promote friendship between
peoples, in the conviction that, if a solid
understanding between peoples is lacking,
technological progress exposes the world to
increasing dangers of destruction and death.
commit ourselves to ask the leaders of
nations to make every possible effort so as
to build, at both national and international
levels, a world of solidarity and peace
founded on justice.
“You are invited to attend our annual special Universal
Worship service, timed to honour and celebrate the
many festive occasions observing Light at this time of
the year, such as Diwali,
Channukah, Christmas, Kwanza
Please join us as representatives from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian,
First Nations, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Zoroastrian
religions share with us their prayers, poems, songs and
the service there will be light refreshments and an
opportunity to meet each other.Come and
participate in one of the most popular events at this
joyous time of the year. All welcome.”
21 January, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Dances of Universal Peace
you to an
Aramaic Lord’s Prayer workshop
letter of application containing your name, address,
telephone and e-mail to Qahira Jo Oppenheimer, 115
Simpson Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1A1, or leave it at the
MCC Toronto Information Centre, with a cheque for $40*
60) payable to MCCToronto. Work scholarships are
available. For further information e-mail: DUP@MCCToronto.com.
sounds of the Aramaic language, which Jesus spoke, are
rich with ways of knowing the atmosphere within
which 1st century men and women—saints, sinners, rich
and poor, from all walks of life—were welcomed at the
table. The healing ways of Jesus' words are
systematically unveiled in the work of Saadi Neil
Douglas‑Klotz as he opens the door to these
teachings anew, with beauty and renewed hospitality.
This is truly the Good News!
Joanne Murray will be coming to
to lead this workshop. The beauty and profound message
of the prayer drew her to the Dances of Universal Peace.
She has been leading the Dances in eastern
for 18 years.
workshop cost includes a vegetarian lunch. The book,
Prayers of the Cosmos, by Saadi Neil
Douglas‑Klotz, will be available for purchase at
Don Heights Unitarian Congregation,
18 Wynford Drive, Suite 102
first Monday of the month
Time: 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Reverend Michelle Singh, Interfaith Minister,
“This multi-faith Spiritual Dialogue Circle is
committed to bringing diverse people together for
conversation, prayer, sacred music and meditation. In
this Circle, participants are invited to share readings
and experience from their own spiritual traditions. We
encourage everyone to share their personal inner wisdom
connecting spiritual practice and everyday life.
Ultimately, our goal is to foster peace within ourselves
and our world. This is a safe and open community in
which everyone is welcome to explore, grow and be
Where:First Metropolitan United Church,
932 Balmoral Rd.
Cost:$295 full conference; early bird (before Nov. 30)
Borg/Rohrbaugh $25/session; 5 sessions for $99For more
information, or to register, visit the event website
“Celebrate with us the 10th anniversary of the Epiphany Explorations
conference, an annual opportunity for learning,
spiritual nurture and renewal, connecting with new and
old friends, song and laughter! We are joined by Marcus
Borg and Herbert O’Driscoll, two of our presenters
from our first conference in 2003, Martin Brokenleg,
May, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party,
Mary Jo Leddy, Richard Rohrbaugh, and many other
December 3 – Human Book Event at City Centre
Visit the City Centre
on December 3, 2011 for the launch of the “human
books” program. A number of speakers from the
Surrey Neighbouring Faiths Program will be on hand to
discuss perspectives on religious diversity in our
community. For more information please contact David
Dalley or look over some of the media
coverage on the event. We hope to see you there!
February 4, 2012 – Workshop at Children the
Heart of the Matter Conference
The Surrey Neighbouring
Faiths Program will be presenting a workshop to early
childhood educators at the “Children the Heart of the
Matter” conference in
. Visit the website
for more information and to register.
May 10-11, 2012 – Workshop at 2012 “Cities
Fit for Children” Provincial
The 3rd Annual Cities
Fit for Children Provincial Summit is dedicated to
the sustainable development of our cities and urban and
rural areas. The event will bring together local,
municipal and regional leaders involved in policy
decisions and designing and building healthy safe
communities for children and families. Come and hear how
multifaith networks can play an important role in this
International Symposia for Contemplative Studies will
bring together academics and other interested attendees
for presentation, discussion, and collaborative
networking in the emerging field of contemplative
studies, which includes contemplative basic science,
contemplative clinical science, contemplative philosophy
and humanities, contemplative education, and those
domains of contemplative practice that relate to and
interact with these fields of research and
are very pleased to welcome and introduce our new
Oskins will serve as Communications Intern. Skyler
Oberst will be the Membership Intern. Both
will serve from now through the 2012 Connect in
. [Mark your calendars for July 15-18(19) for
NAINConnect 2012.] We are so fortunate to have
these highly qualified interns.
had an impressive field of applications to choose from.
Some of the other applicants have agreed to help us with
NAIN. He is a Graduate student currently pursuing an
M.A. in Interreligious Studies in the first incoming
. He is currently a Board Member of the Academy of
Judaic, Islamic and Christian Studies.
Skyler Oberst, the 2011-2012Membershhip
a senior, pursuing dual degrees in philosophy and
anthropology with an emphasis in religious studies at
SPIRITUALITY, AND TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP: WHERE GRACE
Kathe Schaaf, Kay Lindahl, Kathleen
Publication Date: November 18, 2011
world is in crisis and it seems that many are looking to
women to heal the planet and our human family. Before
women can step into our full potential as leaders and
guides in this moment, we must individually reconnect with
our deepest wisdom and with our spiritual roots;
collectively heal the many dimensions of separation that
keep us fragmented and ineffective as agents of social
change; and globally reclaim our rightful place as
spiritual leaders in service of a balanced and
compassionate new paradigm.
This empowering resource engages women in an interactive
exploration of the challenges and opportunities on the
frontier of women's spiritual leadership. Through the
voices of North American women representing a matrix of
diversity--ethnically, spiritually, religiously,
generationally and geographically--this book will inspire
women to new expressions of their own personal leadership
and invite them into powerful collaborative
* How do our spiritual values inform us about living with
the challenges and blessings of diversity?
* How do we stand for the greatness of each other?
* How do we catalyze our collective transformational power
as women of spirit and faith?
is a truly 21st century story that focuses on a new set
of movements for social change that are bringing
together young people across lines of faith for the work
they can do on behalf of all of us.
Messinger President, American Jewish World Service
publication of their breathtakingly comprehensive and
creative profile of the emergent interfaith youth
movement, Patrice Brodeur and Eboo Patel have both
disclosed and helped to create an increasingly coherent
social force that exemplifies what Brodeur calls
"the global"--the unfolding of global dynamics
in local communities. This volume, glistening with new
ideas and energies, gathers one innovative voice after
another--27 in all--to provide vivid testimony to the
progress and potential of various initiatives that can
eventually produce a truly transnational youth movement.
The world will be the better for the empowerment of
religiously alert, tolerant young people who welcome
diversity and pluralism as an opportunity rather than a
is both an art and a spiritual journey.
It Begin With Me does more than highlight the efforts
of a diverse group of visionaries. It inspires each of
us as readers to truly 'be the change' we wish to see in
---James Twyman, author and peace troubadour, www.jamestwyman.com
peace movement has come a long way since the "make
love, not war" mantra of the 1960s. No longer are
activists solely focused on the end of violence. A new
consciousness is taking hold that realizes the power and
potential of creating a new vision of peace, allowing it
to express in our world. People are living true to this
vision, and a new peace paradigm is growing. Let It Begin With Me features 21 interviews from
Unity Online Radio's Leading Edge series hosted
by Mindy Audlin. Each interview, with best-selling
authors, speakers and visionaries, explores the
possibility of peace from a different perspective. Gain
inspiring ideas for your own spiritual practice, create
your own definition of peace, and discover ways to make
a real difference in your community and in the world. Mindy Audlin, licensed Unity teacher, is the
author of What If It All Goes Right? Creating a New
World of Peace, Prosperity and Possibility and the
founder of Network On Purpose, a business community for
people with purpose. For more information visit www.mindyaudlin.com"
RESOURCE - THE POWER OF A BROKEN-OPEN HEART: LIFE
AFFIRMING WISDOM FROM THE DYING
Interrante, MA, is founder of The Compassionate Arts
Project and has been serving as a chaplain in acute care
and home hospice care settings for more than twenty
years. Building on her decades of work in healthcare
settings, in her latest book, Interrante weaves together
illuminating insights on the importance of embracing
"What if life, beneath
the surface, were composed of a series of transitions
with the potential to break open our hearts? And what if
our broken-open hearts could ease our approach to
PLAN & ART
SCHOOLS AND YOUTH GROUPS
What would the world be like if every
person on the planet lived according to the Golden
Dear interfaith allies:
this newly-published art exercise and lesson plan, young
people are invited to envision a world in which every
person lives according to the golden rule. Next, they
are asked to depict what they have imagined or
envisioned by creating a piece of art.
character education is engendered in young people
using the methods of play, fun, creativity and the arts.
at Scarboro Missions have found this exercise to be very
helpful in supporting young people to imagine and create
a world characterized by cooperation, social justice,
non-violence and a sustainable physical environment.
exercise can easily be adapted to address the Green
Rule: What would the world be like if every person on
the planet made a special effort to protect
and care for the environment? For more information
on this greening exercise, see the art exercise/lesson
appropriate, please forward to educators, youth workers
and interfaith leaders in your network of colleagues.
Please feel free to post a link to your website.
exercise is also available in Word -- this format makes
for a much cleaner and crisper print copy when dowloaded.
For your convenience, the lesson plan is also available
in pdf format.
to both schools and youth groups, this exercise can be
viewed or downloaded free of charge by clicking this
The Multifaith Action Society
is pleased to present the new 2012 MultifaithCalendar
- Heart and Soul, available directly through MAS as well
as through our distributors across north America.
in both printed and electronic versions, the MFC is the
leading source of complete and accurate dates, times,
and descriptions for 370 + observances and events
(including over 180 religious and cultural occasions
from 14 world religions).
BRIDE & GROOM COME FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS Kids and religion
By Jan Wilson, Tuesday, Northjersey.com, November 1,
people of differing religions decide to start a family,
one of the first questions they may ask is: what will
the kids be? Do you choose to follow one faith tradition
exclusively, up to the point of the other parent
converting so that the entire family can go to services
together? Do you dabble in a little of this and a little
of that, maybe with a church service on Easter and
temple on Yom Kippur? Or, if you are not particularly
wed to the faith in which you were raised, do you do
little except participate in Christmas as a secular
holiday? As intermarriage is more common in all segments
of society, these issues are coming to the forefront for
more families, and they are each finding their own ways
of dealing with it.
[Read more ...]
LEADERS FOR RECONCILIATION:
AN AMERICAN JOURNEY OF CLERGY BEYOND BORDERS
Beyond Borders is on the road! This fall's "Religious Leaders
for Reconciliation" caravan, a multi-state campaign to promote
voices for pluralism and counter those of extremism in all
religions, is currently touring the
. The itinerary, includes
Learn more about the Caravan, and subscribe to our News/Views Blog
for updates. For up-to-the-minute updates,
: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims took the pledge against terrorism
at the end of the marathon prayers on Lailat Al-Qadr, the night of
power, overnight Monday.
started pouring into Swalath Nagar in Malappuram district well
before the breaking of fast at a mass iftar after which the prayers
began. The annual event was organized by Ma’dinu Ssaquafathil
Islamiyya, which runs a group of religious and educational
institutions. “We, the servants of Allah and followers of Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh), affirm in good faith that we will strive for the
virtue and well being of our family, friends, teachers and the
entire humanity. We will be in the forefront of giving a helping
hand to the poor and the oppressed,” devotees repeated the pledge
administered by Sayyid Ibrahimul Khaleelul Bukhari, chairman of
On What Constitutes A National Office On Religions
WEIGH IN ON ROLE OF
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OFFICE
think the office will bring a needed prominence to the primary human
rights violation in the world that is both religiously motivated and
religiously directed,” said Mr. Hutchinson, who was part of the
consultations. “There are 60 countries in the world cited for
don’t need it if all you’re going to do is issue press
releases,” said Mr. Farr, now the director of the Religious Freedom
Project at the
for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs in
. “That’s one of the problems with the American office. They put
out good reports on religious freedom but it’s not a policy. It’s
simply rhetorical condemnation.”
Participants, A Sense Of Deeper Crisis In Modern Society
25 YEARS AFTER POPE PAUL’S EVENT
friars free doves during the interfaith peace meeting at the
Basilica of St. Francis in
, Oct. 27. photo/Giampiero Sposito, Reuters))
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
(CNS) — A common thread ran through many of the speeches and
invocations of this year’s “prayer for peace” encounter in
: the uneasy sense that the world is facing not merely conflicts and
wars, but a much broader crisis that affects social and cultural life
in every country.
Environmental damage, the rich-poor divide, erosion of cultural
traditions, terrorism and new threats to society’s weakest members
were cited as increasingly worrisome developments by speakers at the
interfaith gathering in the Italian pilgrimage town Oct. 27.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama light
candles in celebration of the Diwali festival during their visit
to a school in Mumbai. AP File photo
US President Barack Obama celebrated Diwali at the
White House complex by lighting the traditional diya and hosting a
reception for eminent Indian Americans and officials in his
"Diwali is a special holiday for millions across the country",
Obama said in his address to the gathering of Hindu Americans here
"Michelle and I greatly enjoy the occasion and the celebration in
last year," Obama said recollecting the dancing of the First Lady
at the Diwali festival in Mumbai last year, which he too joined.
"Diwali is the time to celebrate victory of light over darkness,
hope over despair. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists consider the day
sacred. The message of this day is truly universal," Obama said
at the event that was closed for the press.
all wish for more. We yearn to find things that are common to all
human beings, around which we can come together: But underlying that
yearning is the desire for people to be the same, to be the same as
us, to affirm our way of life. Trying to find oneness without
accepting those differences can take us on an endless quest that leads
nowhere except to tremendous suffering for all beings.