It was a busy weekend! On Saturday, October 3rd, I attended the Annual Supporters Dinner of ING- the Islamic Networks Group. Based in San Jose, but with chapters around the world, ING is dedicated to promoting religious literacy and mutual respect.
Going into the various places where we are all “waking up in a new religious America,” ING educates students, law enforcement officials, healthcare workers, and community leaders about Islam, dispelling myths and stereotypes, and demonstrating how we are all a part of the American dream.
ING began in 1993, developing an Islamic Speakers Bureau which offered speakers and resources on Islam to supplement curriculum and cultural diversity training. This past year, they have added an Interfaith Speakers Bureau which offers panels including Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim speakers.
Occasionally, ING presents a “Building Bridges” award to a specific community group or leader who has done an extraordinary job in building bridges among people of all faiths and none. This year, I was the recipient of the Building Bridges award.
In presenting the award, Grace Fong, Marketing Director for ING, made these comments:
“ING has known Dr. Kille – or Andy – for the last 9 years as the “go-to”
person for interfaith relations in the Bay Area. He is a participant in the
planning and/or activities of every major interfaith event in the Bay Area.
In fact he served as an important consultant for ING in the development of
the very successful Interfaith Speakers Bureau and is the author of the
Bureau’s Christian content for which we are truly grateful.
“To tell you a bit more about him, Andy is ordained in the American Baptist
tradition, and was on the staff of the Grace Baptist Church for 15 years. He
began his interfaith work as a member of the Interfaith Dialogue group of
Silicon Valley FACES in 1979, when it was still the National Conference for
Christians and Jews. During the same period, he was also a Board member for
Interfaith Concerns of the Santa Clara County Council of Churches.
“In 2003, he founded Interfaith Space and through him and his organization
he worked with others to convene and co-develop three major interfaith
events in the South Bay that changed the landscape of interfaith relations
by establishing an interfaith community beyond one that may have existed
between Christians and Jews. The events were held at the Circle of Palms
and were titled “Fasting and Feasting: A Family Reunion of Abraham’s
Children” in 2005, “Breaking Bread Together: An Interfaith Reunion” in 2006
and “Keep the Diversity; Seek the Harmony” in 2007.
“His additional activities include the much anticipated monthly interfaith
calendar which lists holidays and special events for all the known religious
groups and communities in the Bay Area. This has served to not only increase
our religious literacy, but has also created awareness and build mutual
respect among the diverse religious communities.
“It would be an understatement to say that Dr. Kille’s numerous
contributions and dedication to interfaith has greatly enriched and improved
interfaith work and relations in the Bay Area. We are truly privileged to
know and benefit from your experience and contributions.
“So as a small token of our appreciation for your role as one of the Bay
Area’s leading interfaith leaders we are honored to present you with ING’s
Building Bridges award.
ING is on the front lines of developing the familiarity and understanding that enables people to establish relationships and develop appreciation for not only their Muslim neighbors, but for Americans of many different religious backgrounds. I’m grateful for their ongoing work, and for their gracious recognition of my own.
- ING (Islamic Networks Group)