Monthly Multifaith Prayers for Peace
In the midst of difficult times, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice will host “Peaceful Presence,” a monthly prayer service on the evening of the 11th of each month, offering a time of quiet multifaith prayers for peace and strength for the journey. All are welcome: those of all faith traditions and of no defined faith, those who are suffering at the hands of their own government, those who need a pause in the midst of intensive work on behalf of others, and all who would like to pray with others for the well-being of all. The prayer time will include elements from several religious traditions.
"I'm really asking and encouraging everyone in Wisconsin and abroad to take a moment and examine your hearts. Citizens, police officers, firemen, clergy, politicans: do Jacob justice on this level and examine your hearts.
We need healing.
As I pray for my son's healing - physically and emotionally and spiritually - I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country.
God has placed each and every one of us here in this country because He wanted us to be here."
Click here to watch and hear Julia Jackson's full and very moving speech (August 25, 2020) on youtube.
On May 26, 2020, with the encouragement of Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice working with Menlo Park peace activist Judy Adams, Cecelia Taylor, the mayor of Menlo Park, signed a proclamation supporting a call for the federal government to take five specific steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war.
Entitled "Back from the Brink," this call was created by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility, and has been endorsed by 250 organizations including the California State Legislature. Menlo Park joins Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica to become the seventh California city to endorse 'The Call.'
Click here to read Op-Ed (July 31, 2020 in The Almanac) "Stepping Back from the Brink: Steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war" written by Richard Duda (of MVPJ) and Judy Adams about the call and Menlo Park action. If you are moved, write a comment online to raise awareness!
Click here to download a PDF of the official, signed Proclamation.
Peaceful Presence: Multifaith Prayers for Peace and Strength for the Journey
"Peace and Struggle" remarks by Rev. Amy Morgenstern and inspired by Frederick Douglas. Click here to download and read.
"Hearts of Stones" remarks were shared by Quaker Eric Sabelman from Palo Alto Friends Meeting. Click here to download and read.
Jewish Reading from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Song - presented by Rabbi Amy Eilberg. Click here to download and read.
A Christian prayer led by Rev. Dr. Diana Gibson and inspired by Pope Paul VI, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and the Poor People's Campaign. Click here to download and read.
A song in memory of Chris Lundin, our beloved MVPJ Steering committee member, "music director," colleague and friend. (Click here to see our memory page for Chris.) "This is my song, O God of all the nations" was sung by Chris French from the Baha'i community. This was one of Chris Lundin's favorite songs.
"Our country continues to contend with the horrific killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Across the country, people are exercising their right to protest against these injustices. As a country and a city, we must face the reality that we have systemic issues that disproportionately affect black people and that need to be addressed now," writes Rev. Kaloma A. Smith, pastor of University A.M.E. Zion Church and chair of the Human Relations Commission. (Click here to read the full Guest Opinion piece on Palo Alto Online.)
Rev. Smith's call for change was presented at the Palo Alto City Council Meeting on Monday, June 8. Click here to read the Palo Alto online June 9th article about that meeting.
All of us are asked to pray for our country, our cities, for change and for jusice. AND we are called to act. You can support changes in Palo Alto right now by doing these few simple things:
Week of Action - Month of Action - Life of Action:
Many of us are unsure how to most faithfully protest the egregious atrocities of violence against our black siblings and how to stand up and take action for justice in this tumultuous time. As each of us discerns what we are called to do, let us turn to the best in our own faith tradition that inspires us to be most loving and courageous. Let us learn from others - those in other faith traditions and leaders from the past. And let us remember, and commit, that we are in this struggle for the long haul.
What we do know is this: A time comes when silence is betrayal, and that time has come for us.
Overview of Possibilities
Online: Join or watch vigils; participate in training and education; advocate via social media; gather virtually for prayer and discernment; write emails to people in power; make donations; stay informed; watch movies and documentaries that help broaden your awareness.
Chris Lundin: In Loving Memory
With deep sadness we share the news that Chris Lundin, longtime member of the MVPJ Steering Committee, loyal songleader, passionate and faithful advocate for peace and justice, and incredible friend and colleague, died on Jun 4, 2020.
Many of you will recognize the pictures of Chris leading songs with his guitar at MVPJ events, which he has done wonderfully and regularly ever since 2003 when his father, Walt Lundin, asked him to provide music for our 24-hour vigil in front of Palo Alto City Hall on the weekend before the U.S. attacked Iraq. (Walt Lundin was a founding member of MVPJ.) On countless occasions in the past 17 years, Chris' gentle spirit and gift of music invited us all to participate, and enriched almost every gathering we have had.
Shortly after the 2003 event, Chris "inherited" his father's role on our MVPJ Steering Committee. He has been our primary liaison with St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish. Chris' commitment to peace strengthened our relationship with the Roman Catholic community both locally and beyond.
In rain or shine (we couldn't find pictures of him with umbrellas, but we have the memories), at dawn, dusk or high noon, on Lytton Plaza or King Plaza or marching on University Ave., in churches, synagogues and mosques, at trainings, teach-ins, protests and vigils, and tenaciously at almost every planning and organizing meeting, Chris was always with us.
At Chris' Memorial Mass, Fr. Matthew Stanley shared this quote from John Denver that fits Chris, and the gifts he gave us, so well.
We lift up prayers of profound gratitude for the gift of his presence among us for so many years.
We commit to keep his spirit alive not only in our hearts, but in our continued work, so terribly needed, for justice and peace.
We will all miss him dearly.
In the midst of the moral and humanitarian crisis we are facing in our nation, this image from the Buddhist Peace Fellowship reminds us of our common humanity. The Buddhist Peace Fellowship acknowledges the depth of the struggle for justice, stating, "We know that the karma of slavery, policing, and anti-Blackness is unbearably heavy in this country. And it is our responsibility to burn through this karma with clarity, compassion and willingness to act."
"Racism is a virus. It infects the spirit." (The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III)
Words and actions from other faith traditions:
The United Church of Christ minister Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III's riveting and challenging sermon, "The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery" was preached Sunday, May 17, 2020. While the sermon was delivered before the killing of George Floyd, the critical need for his words is even more apparent now. On Sunday, May 31, Rev. Moss offered another sermon, "When Is Someday?" suggested as a prelude to the May 17 sermon. Both carry messages we as a nation and as people of faith need to hear.
"As people of faith, we must bear witness to this moment. That means that we must name hard truths, but we must also act," states the first line of the pledge the Unitarian Universalist Association is inviting their members to sign. It continues with a reminder of the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorouly as we condemn the riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?" See full statement, suggested organizations to support, and pledge here.
"The brutal murder of George Floyd is the consequence of a racist system that disproportionally targets people of color for violence, imprisonment, and premature death," said Shanene Herbert, American Friends Service Committee's (Quaker) director of the Healing Justice program in Saint Paul, Minn. Read the full statement here.
The organization T'ruah: the rabbinic call for human rights lifts up the Jewish teaching that, "one who sheds blood is considered as having diminished the divine image." "We say once again: Black Lives Matter. And we commit to creating a country that lives by this statement." Read their full "Statement on the Murder of George Floyd and Violence against Protesters."
"As an organization which advocates for the needs of the most marginalized, we do what our Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) taught us: to firmly confront what is hateful and destructive to life, love and community. Our faith is incompatible with systems of racial hierarchy. We are taught to always promote justice, work to end suffering, and seek abolition of that which is cruel and unjust," states "A Letter of Solidarity in Support of Black Rage" from CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) San Francisco Bay Area. Read full statement with concrete suggestions for actions here.
The National Council of Churches' statement acknowledges, "Deplorably, while the coronavirus has infected the U.S. and been the cause of death for more than 101,000 people in less than three months, racism has infected this country since its beginning and this virus has seeped into every aspect of American life."
The Christian Science Daily Lift program offers this perspective in a 4 minute podcast by Trudy Palmer, "Our part in responding to injustice."
Every Sunday, 8-9pm PST
#HonorLivesLost is a network of organizers and advocates dedicated to memorializing and uplifting incarcerated people we lose to COVID-19 & #DeathByIncarceration in CA.
Click here to visit their Facebook page for more information.
"Let me say, as I've always said and I will continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. ... But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality and humanity."
Click here to for youtube video of King delivering this excerpt of his speech.