Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) Palo Alto
  • First Evangelical Lutheran Church Palo Alto
  • First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto
  • First United Methodist Church Palo Alto
  • Holy Trinity Episcopal Menlo Park
  • Network of Spiritual Progressives
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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The Charter of Compassion

Starting as a wish at a TED Conference, spreading across the world, learn about The Charter of Compassion through this video. And, watch this space for news about World Interfaith Harmony Week coming in February 2015.

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Raise the Wage Campaign!

Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice is excited to be a part of the Raise the Wage Campaign! You can join us by signing the Raise the Wage petition and by attending the Raise the Wage Action Forum on Tuesday, January 20th, at 7pm.

No matter what town you come from, click here to sign the petition online and it will be delivered to YOUR city council members. Take it a step further and download and print a copy of the petition and circulate it among your friends, congregation, and community. (Be sure to return the petition to the Peninsula Peace & Justice Center at the address on the bottom of the sheet.) In fact, why not ask your congregation or organization to official support the Raise the Wage campaign!

AND come to the Raise the Wage Action Forum on Tuesday, January 20th, 7pm at Trinity Methodist Church, 748 Mercy St., Mountain View.  San Francisco and the East Bay have minimum wage raises underway, and Sunnyvale and Mountain View have already set their goal to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2018!  All this has happened because of grassroot action -- so join the Action Forum and be part of history! Hear updates on city-to-city efforts, brainstorm and strategize for regional next steps, and meet others to organize and collaborate locally.  Please click here to RSVP.

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A Reflection on Learning about Christianity through Other Religions

A former member of MVPJ's steering committee came across this article by Jim Rigby, a Presbyterian Minister in Austin, Texas. It spoke to many of us, no matter our faith tradition, so we are sharing excerpts on our website. To read the full article, click here to go to Rigby's blog.

"Learning about Christianity through a world of religion" by Jim Rigby, January 3, 2015

I was born into a pretty typical version of Christianity. My mom always said, however, that every religion has something to teach us. Mom said we should respect everyone's religion as much as possible.

Until I arrived at college, I had never actually opened the scriptures of any other faith. Once I arrived here in Austin, I started a lifelong practice of respectfully reading the scriptures of other world faiths. ...

... As I read the words of Krishna, it felt like I was hearing a missing track from a familiar song. I could hear for the first time that Jesus, like Krishna, was calling us to something much deeper than traditional religion. ... What had been the comfortable wading pool of sectarian religion was suddenly beginning to feel like the vast open waters of life.

... I began to understand that Jesus wasn't calling us to dogma. Like Buddha, he was calling us to a deeper and wider wakefulness. ... If love is our aim, then awareness, not belief, is our true path.

From Taoism I learned that heaven could be found in the ordinary gifts of nature. ...

From Islam I learned to give myself fully to life, holding back nothing. From Sufi Islam I learned that humor can be a great guide to the sacred. ...

From Judaism I learned that love is inseparable from justice. From the Jewish prophets I learned that I needed to love the people in my religion and nation enough to tell them  when I thought they were being unjust. ...

Finally, from atheism I learned the importance of radical honesty. ...

I am still a Christian after all these years, but I have left the little version of my upbringing and have come to understand my own faith as one voice in a larger choir. Most of all I have come to understand what Christian scripture means when it says, "whoever has love, has God."

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Senate Intelligence Committee Releases Report on CIA's Use of Torture

Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice has long worked for public access to the Senate Intelligence Committee's Report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program.  On Tuesday, December 9, the eve of the United Nation's Human Rights Day, a 500 page summary of that six year investigation was released. 

Please call or email Senator Dianne Feinstein and thank her for her courageous leadership on the investigation and the release of the report! (Click here for her contact information and an easy email form.)

To read more about the report and further discussion go to the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's page on this issue. NRCAT has been a strong partner with MVPJ in keeping us up to date and educated about this issue.

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Pope Francis Supports Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

On December 8, at a conference in Vienna, Pope Francis issued a new statement on nuclear weapons titled "Nuclear Disarmament: Time for Abolition" that indicates a major change in Roman Catholic policy.  "Nuclear deterrence and the threat of nuclear assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states," the Pope said. While the Roman Catholic Church has long declared the use of nuclear weapons to be immoral, it has, up until now, articulated a "conditional acceptance" of nuclear deterrence as a necessary evil.  This changes with the Pope's message, which was read on the first day of the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons conference in Austria.

The Vatican's statement declares, "The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more....  Peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, ... and the building of trust between people."

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The Afghan Peace Duvet Project: Why not warmth?

Two winters ago in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported the deaths of at least 22 children in refugee camps in Kabul:  Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter Cold.  After 13 years of U.S./NATO intervention in Afghanistan and US$1.172 trillion dollars spent on the Afghan war between 2001 and 2012, the basic needs of ordinary Afghans constantly caught in the crossfire are still poorly met.

The following winter the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV) organized the making and distributing of duvets (blankets) to poor families in Kabul and in the refugee camps.  Thanks to international peacebuilders who raised money from ordinary people around the globe, the APVs were able to distribute more than 2000 duvets, and the Afghan ladies who sewed the blankets were paid a living wage to supplement their families' income.  In the winter of 2013/2014, 60 Afghan seamstresses were paid a living wage for sewing a total of 3000 duvets, again delivered free to poor Afghan families, street kids in Kabul, recovering drug addicts, widows, disabled, and to the refugee camps.

This year, you can help them do it again!

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Redwood City Police Department's Own Military Vehicle

On July 1, 2014 the Redwood City Police Department received a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle from the Department of Defense's “1033 program.” This program distributes excess military equipment to civilian police departments. The range of material is wide, including medical equipment, tractors, MRAPs, and weapons. Many people do not think that vehicles and weapons designed for war belong with civilian police departments, believing instead that officers in Redwood City and beyond are first and foremost peace officers.

There is already a movement to end part of the 1033 program. Congresswoman Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor of Representative Hank Johnson’s Stop Militarizing of Law Enforcement Act (HR 5478). This act would, among other things, “end the transfer of certain weapons grade military equipment to local law enforcement,” according to a letter from the Congresswoman in early October. Rep. Speier also writes that she is, “deeply troubled that the Pentagon has billions of dollars in excess inventory to give away in the first place.”  

Redwood City officials refer to the MRAP Redwood City received as a rescue vehicle, and state that this vehicle would only be used in extreme circumstances -- citing the tragic movie theater, school, and shopping mall shootings we have seen unfold in recent years. It is difficult to imagine how one would effectively navigate a MRAP inside a movie theater, however.

Read more to find out how you can do something about this issue. 

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Campaign Nonviolence Banners Across the Peninsula

From September 20-28, several peninsula congregations displayed a Campaign Nonviolence banner, to build a growing awareness that we can create a world of peace, justice and environmental healing!

The photo at the left shows the Campaign Nonviolence banner that was also hung on the overpass on Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto.



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Campaign Nonviolence: Another World Is Possible!

Peace Potluck Picnic
Sunday, September 28, 4-6:30pm
First Congregational Church
1985 Louis Rd., Palo Alto, 94303

~share what we have learned
~discern how to move forward together
~enjoy food and friendship
~hear inspiring stories of creative nonviolence in Afghanistan
~begin - now - to build another world of peace, justice, and environmental healing

Cosponsored by Peninsula Peace & Justice Center, Pacific Life Community, American Muslim Voice, and the Network for Spiritual Progressives

Featured Speaker:
Kathy Kelly
"Moving Forward with Campaign Nonviolence and Afghanistan"

Peace activist Kathy Kelly has just returned from the summer in Afghanistan as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Grounded in her Catholic upbringing, her courageous actions have long demonstrated a deep passion for peace, justice and human kindness.

Kelly and others lived in Baghdad during the 2003 "Shock and Awe" attack. In 2009 she lived in Gaza during the final days of the Operation Cast Lead bombing. Later that year she was part of a small delegation that went to Pakistan to learn more about the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population. She continues to join activists in various regions of our country to protest drone warfare. 

Kelly is co-founder and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV). She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Perkins Prison (2005). She and VCNV believe that nonviolence necessarily involves simplicity, service, sharing of resources and non-violent direct action in resistance to war and oppression.

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Join the MVPJ Affiliate Circle

Since its founding in 2003, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice has consisted of a small circle of clergy and laypeople who comprise its steering committee and plan peace events attended by a much larger audience.  Over time, members of the committee have felt the press of other obligations and reluctantly left the committee, and members of the audience have expressed interest in greater participation without serving on the steering committee.  So there exists a hitherto unrecognized circle of MVPJ supporters who feel themselves to be part of MVPJ despite no formal connection.

If you are one of these supporters, MVPJ invites you to acknowledge your relationship with us by joining The MVPJ Affiliates Circle. Learn more by clicking here.

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Quote of the Week

My heart is open to all the winds... Wherever God's caravans turn, the religion of love shall be my religion. And my faith.

- Ibn 'Arabi, 13th Century Sufi traveler & mystic