This coming week is a busy one for interfaith gatherings around the San Francisco Bay. To begin with, we are in the midst of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25), an annual time devoted to affirming the oneness of those in the Christian community. This is a time when Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians share together in worship and prayers that the deep divisions between them may end.
On Sunday afternoon (January 21), the Interfaith Center at the Presidio will be dedicating its display of the McDonald Windows. Twenty-five stained glass windows have been created around shards of stained glass collected from the rubble of houses of worship during World War II by U.S. Army Chaplain Frederick Alexander McDonald. After six years of work by a team of stained-glass artists, the shards are now featured in 25 new windows, a peace memorial to those who died opposing tyranny and defending freedom, family, and nation. The windows will be on display Wednesdays-Sundays 11:00-5:00 at the Presidio Officers Club.
Tuesday through Thursday (January 23-25) in Berkeley, the Earl Lectures, a pastoral conference sponsored annually by the Pacific School of Religion, is devoted this year to “Christian Responsibility in an Interfaith World.” Public speakers will include Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, Muslim scholar at Temple University; Bernice Powell Jackson, former president of the World Council of Churches for North America; Tat-siong Benny Liew, Asian-American New Testament Scholar, and Choan-Seng Song, expert in Christan interaction with Asian cultures. There will also be an Interfaith worship celebration on Tuesday evening and a panel on Scenarios for an Interfaith Future which will include, among others, Paul Chaffee, director of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco and Maha ElGenaidi, director of Islamic Networks Group, based in San Jose.
Thursday, January 25, will see two significant events. In San Mateo, the first in a new series of Interfaith Dialogue Circles will address the question “Is there Value in Faith in Our Modern Society?” A panel will feature local religious leaders Rabbi Alan Berg(Jewish), Rev. Shirley Macemon (Christian), Imam Zaid Shakir (Muslim), Ven. Jian Hu (Buddhist), and Jayarami Reddy (Hindu). Peninsula Temple Beth-El is the host.
Nearer to the South Bay, Stanford University presents an interfaith roundtable discussion on the relation of spiritual practice and social change to celebrate the publication of Advocate of the Social Gospel, volume VI of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and to probe the meaning of Dr. King’s preaching. The roundtable will be moderated by Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann of Stanford’s Office for Religious Life and will includes representatives from a range of faith traditions. In Kresge Auditorium at Stanford.
Rounding out the week, on Sunday, January 28th, First Unitarian Church of San Jose and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Silicon Valley will offer a panel and discussion on Relationships & the Holy Land: How people can change. Speakers include David Pine, Americans for Peace Now, Reyad Katwan, Arab-Jewish Dialogue Group of the South Bay, and Nazih Malak, Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group.Whatever your interest in interfaith discussion, celebration, and dialogue, you”ll find something in the richness of our Bay Area diversity!