About 130 people gathered on the corners of El Camino & Embarcadero on Sunday, March 6 as part of a GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION FOR PEACE IN UKRAINE!
At the conclusion of the vigil, MVPJ steering committee members Rev. Eileen Altman and Ellen Stromberg offered prayer.
"Comfort the children and heed their cries... Make us a people who love our children, all of our children, more than we love greed, power and control." Click here to read Eileen's full prayer.
Ellen spoke of a conversation she had that morning (3/6/22) with Ukrainian Rabbi Julia Gris who had just escaped to Poland. While Gris has very little with her now, "What she does have is her understanding that the world is also made up of good people, who are kind and caring. Her hope is in the humanity of everyone reaching out." Click here to read Ellen's words and prayer.
Click here for regularly updated actions, donations, prayers and reflections in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Click here to view a growing album of photos of Global Day of Actions from across the nation and around the world!
On January 11, 2022 MVPJ hosted Pastor Danielle Parish of Spark Church, an official UN Observer of the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. She inspired us again to do our part to support environmental justice, and particularly to connect you with faith-based local opportunities for action.
Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Wester from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, issued a pastoral letter, "Living in the Light of Christ's Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament," on January 11, 2022.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special role to play in advocating for nuclear disarmament given the presence of two nuclear weapons laboratories and the United States of America’s largest repository of warheads located within its boundaries. Archbishop Wester states, “The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special responsibility not only to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but also to encourage its active implementation.” He goes on to “…invite us to have a conversation together about what it means to follow the risen, nonviolent Jesus who calls us to be peacemakers, put down the sword, and love everyone, even the enemies of our nation.”
Click here to see a one-page summary of the letter.
At our December 11, 2021 Peaceful Presence, Eric Sabelman of the Palo Alto Friends Meeting (Quarker) and MVPJ Steering Committee, offered the attached "Guided Meditation on Being Whole."
Simple -- and profound -- we offer it to you for whenever you need it.
"When you are done, what is left will be you, and only you.
On the Eve of World Human Rights Day:
We came together from diverse faith and spiritual traditions to stand in solidarity for the human rights of all people, locally and globally.
Missed it? Want to hear it again? Watch the event on youtube anytime!
Click here to view the wonderful pictures by ProBono Photo. Thank you ProBono!!
Click here to see ABC7 News coverage and interviews.
In light of multiple hate messages and incidents in our local community, including some personally threatening individuals and community leaders, we gathered on the Eve of World Human Rights Day to say NO to hate and YES to the dignity and worth of every human being.
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?
Sunday, August 29, 2021, people gathered to "Surround the City with Light and Love" in response to a series of hateful and racist incidents in our community, escalating in racist and threatening signs targeting the Rev. Dr. Debra Murray, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto. We came together to pray - with our words and feet, our hearts and our lives - that we can be a community devoted to respect, dignity and safety for all people. You can download the inclusive prayer handout here.
Organized by Palo Alto faith leaders, people of many diverse traditions participated. While there is still much work to be done to foster a truly anti-racist, welcoming and liberating community, there is no doubt that, in Pastor Debra's words, "we set some powerful love and energy loose in the world" that afternoon!
The J-Weekly (Jewish News of Northern California) covered the event with this article.
We greatly appreciate Jack Owicki, ProBonoPhoto.org for the wonderful photographs documenting the event, including the one to the left, and those below in this article. Click here for the full photo gallery on the Pro Bono Photo website.
Fr. Bryan Massingale, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, theologian, scholar, activist and professor, insisted that, "the greatest threat to peace in our time, both nationally and even internationally, is the rise of white nationalism." He explained this is so because white nationalism, "is intersectional, threatening social stability and human flourishing on multiple levels and fronts."
Massingale challenged Pax Christi -- and challenges all of us -- that we must not only be anti-war and pro-nonviolence. "You must also make explicit linkage between peacemaking, racism, consumerism, and ecological justice. And you have to be LGBTQ inclusive."
Referring to a quote from Albert Einstein, Massingale concludes his speech, "No problem can be solved from the level of consciousness that created it. We need new ways of thinking, living, loving. New ways of praying and being. This is the deepest call of our faith. We need to be contemplative witnesses of the possibilities of human transformation. ... For that to happen we need to be grounded in the Truly Real, in that Infinite Radical Love Who is deeper and bigger than we are." Finally, he invites us to recommit ourselves to what Martin Luther King, Jr. called, "the long and bitter - but beautiful - struggle for a new world."
Many of us are watching the news about the people of Afghanistan with horror and broken hearts. As people of faith committed to peace and justice, we want to reach out to help, knowing we are one global family.
Below is a brief list of links for possible responses compiled by members of the MVPJ steering committee, a useful article from the New York Times with ways to help refugees, as well as one faith-based response to the U.S. recent drone attacks.
Islamic Relief USA - This page from their website has a very thorough and detailed list of Afghan charities and NGOs offering everything from medical service to legal aid, all of which have a proven, positive track record working in Afghanistan. As explained on the website, Islamic Relief itself is coordinating efforts with other on-the-ground organizations for emergency food, shelter, water, and hygiene.
HIAS - A Jewish organization that supports with refugees, is working to advocate for resettlement rights for Afghans, and working directly with newly arrived Afghan families in the United States.
This New York Time article lists charities, organizations and funds to help Afghans resettle.
Women for Afghan Women is the largest women's organization in the country. Its ultimate goal is to transform the norms of violence and oppression into those of peace and equality. Donations help keep clients and staff safe and provide emergency support for others.
Pax Christi USA (Roman Catholic) has a Pray-Study-Act page with good resources, and also issued this statement condemning the U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan, which only furthers the cycle of violence.
Read below for some local, bay area efforts that you can support.
Once again, our hearts break at the eruption of violence afflicting Israel/Palestine and Gaza. At the heart of the conflict is Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Injustice on the level of home confiscation and restriction of assembly and worship for Palestinians have given rise to the latest round of violence, with missiles killing large numbers in Gaza, killing smaller numbers in Israel but nonetheless spreading terror and trauma. Extremist elements among Jewish and Arab Israelis are engaging in rioting and personal combat that could tragically set back the goal of shared society for a very long time.
As people of faith, we know that violence begets more violence and hatred begets more hatred. We pray that the power of love and justice will somehow prevail over the precious Holy Land, healing the long-standing wounds of injustice, hatred, and war.
We call for an immediate halt to hostilities—on the part of individuals, nationalistic groups, and governments. More combat will only engender more trauma and hatred in populations long battered by war and injustice.
Our prayers are with all those in the region, and all of our neighbors, family, and friends who are deeply connected to Israel and Palestine. May God’s peace and justice soon conquer the forces of violence and oppression.
For fuller statements from a variety of multifaith organizations and partners, click "read more" below.
Coming from many faith traditions, Multifaith Voices of Peace & Justice’s Steering Committee offers this Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action.
Our neighbors who are Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) are often targets of racist taunts and violence. While these expressions of hate are not new – California has a long history of anti-Asian racism – over the last year these attacks have increased in frequency, vitriol, and violence.
For the Christians among us, there is particular need to acknowledge that the murders in the Atlanta area on March 16, 2021 emerged from a distortion of Christian theology which promotes unhealthy sexuality, white supremacy, misogyny, and stereotypes of Asian women.
As people of diverse religious and spiritual traditions, we unite in prayer for the families of the eight people who were murdered, including six Asian women. And we unite in prayer for the Asian American victims of hate crimes in our own area, those whose pain and trauma is too often ignored or cast aside.
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice calls on all people of faith to confront the roots of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia in our midst, and within ourselves, so that we might find new ways to work together to build Beloved Community.
An important TRAINING for you to consider:
You can attend a free, one-hour on-line Bystander Intervention to Stop Anti-Asian/American and Xenophobic Harassment Workshop presented by Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ). Registration required. Workshops scheduled for several different times throughout April.
AND learn more about SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) in the South Bay and beyond visiting the SURJ at Sacred Heart website.