These remarks were prepared by Michael G. Pappas, the Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, for a community Vigil for Peace held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on Monday, July 11, 2016. In addition to addressing recent events in our nation, they offer as well a history of the SF Interfaith Council’s engagement with civil rights in the past, present, and future.
One of the great mysteries of humanity is our inclination to come together in times of crisis. This evening, Bishop Marc Andrus and Dean Malcolm Young have brought us together to reflect upon the horrific violence that has plagued our nation these past days, weeks and months, but more importantly, to challenge us, as people of faith, to rise to the occasion and offer a fitting response rooted in our collective rich spiritual traditions…for this we are thankful.
Two crises, twenty-seven years ago, our City’s homeless crisis and the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake, in a like way brought religious leaders together and enlisted a response, in this case, to feed and shelter the homeless, prepare for disasters and offer up a unified voice of faith on the most pressing issues challenging our City…and thus, the SFIC, as we know it today, was born.
But the question is begged, was there no interfaith cooperation in our City before the formation of the SFIC? History is punctuated with crises. It is in the DNA of communities of faith to emerge and offer a prophetic voice at those critical moments. The immense crisis in history, then, bringing together religious leaders, was inspired by the tireless and charismatic voice of Civil Rights Martyr the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Continue reading