Topics

Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Bahá'í Community of Palo Alto
  • 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
  • Mountain View Buddhist Temple
  • Palo Alto Buddhist Temple
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palo Alto
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Social Action Committee of the Redwood City Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
  • Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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Statements and Actions on Israel/Palestine Violence

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.

Recommended Actions:
1. Sign this "Urgent US Leadership is Needed on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" statement from J Street
2. Call or write your members of Congress, demanding U.S. action to pressure both sides to adopt a halt to hostilities.

For fuller statements from a variety of multifaith organizations and partners, click "read more" below.


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Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action

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.


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No more of this! Statement on hate and healing

The following statement was coauthored by two members of MVPJ's steering committee in response to the racist zoom bombing of Christian congregations during their Holy Week.

There is a sickness infecting our nation, visible in the news every day, but which some of us don't personally encounter in our everyday lives. That changed last week when a group of peninsula progressive Christian congregations were attacked by "zoom bombers" spewing racist hateful messages and streaming obscene images, disrupting worship for hundreds of people. This hate and othering is all too familiar to people of color, including Asian-American-Pacific-Islanders (AAPI) and others in BIPOC communities, including Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, as well as Jews. It made its way into the living rooms and sanctuaries of Christians during their Holy Week in April, specifically aimed at those followers of Jesus who happen to be among the most welcoming of diversity, fighters for social justice, and protectors of the environment. As a grassroots organization made up of many people of all faiths working for a more peaceful, sustainable, and inclusive world, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice raises its voice of support for these congregations and calls on the rest of the community to stand up for them and each other.


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March Peaceful Presence 2021

Hosted by Congregation Etz Chayim, our March 11 Peaceful Presence included wonderful music and prayers as well as contributions from Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders. The theme was Compassion and Justice. 

Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky from Congregation Etz Chayim focused on "March" and turned our attention to the March 25, 1965 "March on Montgomery." He read from a letter by Rabbi Jacob Pressman, a colleague of his who, along with other rabbis across the nation, had responded to Dr. King's call and joined the march. Pressman's impressions are personal, vivid and moving. Click here to download the full text. Some excerpts are particularly relevant for us today:

"At one point we reached a hilltop in the road, and I was able to look back behind me at a solid column of chanting humanity at least a half-mile long. Then I looked down the hill in front of us and again I saw a half-mile of solid humanity, united from everywhere by a common concern for other people, for human decency. I must confess as I stood on that hilltop and saw myself and felt myself surrounded by these decent, caring persons, I burst into tears and never really got my eyes dry for hours afterward. They weren’t tears of sorrow. They weren’t tears of hatred or frustration, but they were tears of pride in the goodness of which man is capable when he tries. ...
None of us who went was a hero, and many of us from time to time were afraid of things that might happen. None of us was a hero, but each of us felt that at least he was, in the fullest sense, a human being. I am glad I went. ... It will get worse before it gets better, but I believe even more now in the goodness of man because I went. And because I went and saw what I saw and heard what I heard, I believe even more in the goodness of God."

Rev. Dr. Eileen Altman from First Congregational Church UCC in Palo Alto and the MVPJ Steering Committee read from Anne Lamott's book, Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy. "Mercy, grace, forgiveness and compassion are synonyms, and the approaches we might consider taking when facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves - our arrogance, greed, poverty, disease, prejudice. It includes everything out there that just makes us sick and makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents itself and doing goodness anyway. ...
In the words of Candi Staton's great gospel song, 'hallelujah anyway.' Hallelujah that in spite of it all, there is love, there is singing, nature, laughing, mercy."
(If you want to buy the book, we encourage you to order from your favorite independent bookstore. Not sure where to start? Try Reach and Teach in San Mateo, which offers an easy, online ordering process and supports many causes about which we all care. Reach and Teach hosts our MVPJ website, too!)

Our Muslim contribution came from Fattin Wekselman. She shared that an acquaintance of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) named Usamah ibn Sharik narrated:
I came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions were sitting (quiet as) if they had birds on their heads. I saluted and sat down. The desert Arabs then came from here and there. They asked: "Messenger of Allah, should we make use of medical treatment?" He replied: "Make use of medical treatment for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely old age."
Fattin Wekelman observed, "Isn't it amazing, thousands of years ago and they believed in science and medicine. Let this be our prayer during this pandemic time: let us pray for a change of heart for those who have doubts or even refuse to get vaccinated. Hopefully there is a good chance that we can all move foward together by embracing the truth in science and medicine for the sake of our loved ones."


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Peaceful Presence Meditation and Story

Two highlights from our February 11 Peaceful Presence, hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, were a moving meditation and an inspiring story!

Rev. Yushi Mukojima from the Mountain View Buddhist Temple led our meditation, which included these words:

There is a saying in Buddhism: Let us cease from wrath and refrain from angry looks. Nor let us be resentful when others differ from us. For all men have hearts, and each heart has its own leanings. Their right is our wrong, and our right is their wrong. We are not unquestionably sages, nor are they unquestionably fools. Both of us are simply ordinary men.

Therefore, our spirit of justice should always be based on wisdom, compassion, and loving kindness, without anger and hatred. Even if we are upset with or even hate another person, we should not dwell on our differences, but just try to let them go. It may be very hard, but do not give into hatred. Hatred can never create anything constructive.

To read the full meditation scroll down or click "Read More" below.



We were also inspired with a reading of the story Kamala and Maya's Big Idea. The book is written by Meena Harris, and illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez. Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi, long time participants with Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice and owners of the independent bookstore Reach and Teach, read the story to us. To purchase the book visit the Reach and Teach website.



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Peaceful Presence January 11, 2021 Recording

On January 11th 2021, MVPJ hosted a Peaceful Presence.
Below is a link to a video of the event which many found to be just the right balm to heal and inspire us. 

 

Click here and use the passcode X9ZwZ@^d


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Let Us Heal

Let Us Heal
by Naiel Chaudry

It is hard to unsee after having seen
Such a painful unforgettable scene

Families being separated and shaken
Children in their mothers arms, being taken

Hearing their calls for help and screams
Watching their teary eyes and broken dreams

They were left with no choice but to give in
This battle for freedom they could not win

I remember the day that led to today
We lost our American soul that day

With a vicious stroke of a powerful pen
Lives were changed of muslim women and men

That is what led to our nation's heartbreak
It was for sure not a trivial mistake

They were left with no choice but to give in
This battle for freedom they could not win

MLK's dream had long been shattered
As if his people had never really mattered

The departed souls leaving behind sadness
All because of someone's raging madness

I walked with hundreds at a rally and cried
For what happened has left us all horrified

They were left with no choice but to give in
This battle for freedom they could not win

As we stand here today, closing one door
We are left with the choice of peace or war

Let us start this new year hand in hand
As we heal ourselves and our beautiful land


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Atherton joins Menlo Park in supporting the 'Back from the Brink' Resolution

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.

Then, on November 18, 2020, through the efforts of MVPJ and two Atherton peace advocates (Les DeWitt and former Mayor Malcolm Dudley), Atherton joined Menlo Park in supporting the call.

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 and Atherton joined Los Angeles and seven other California cities to become the seventh and tenth California cities, respectively, to endorse 'The Call.'

Click here to download a PDF of the 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.

Click here to download a PDF of the Menlo Park Proclamation and the Atherton Proclamation.

If you are a resident of a city that has not signed the Back from the Brink call and would like to work with MVPJ on the best way to approach your city council, please contact us at info@multifaithpeace.org.


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June 11 2020 Peaceful Presence on Racial Justice

Peaceful Presence: Multifaith Prayers for Peace and Strength for the Journey
June 11, 2020

This powerful gathering was hosted by the MVPA Musalla, a Mountain View/Palo Alto Muslim Community, and led by Farha Andrabi Navaid, leader of the Musalla. The focus was on the pressing need for racial justice. Contributions included:

"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. 


The following closing prayer with times of silence after each line was led by Kareem Syed of the MVPA Musalla:
Prayer for the family of George Floyd, and all those killed by violence.
Prayer for the healing of our own wounds from violence.
Prayer for the healing of the scourge of racism.
Prayer for the healing of our country.
Prayer in the face of fear.
Prayer for returning to God and holy ways.
Prayer for people to get to work and inspiration and courage to make a difference.


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Chris Lundin: Presente!

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.


But Chris was so much more than a musician and a liaison, he was a wise leader, insightful colleague, and incredible friend to us all. His warm, inclusive presence was a gift to everyone. His humor was a delight when our work seemed so heavy. His patience and dedication unparalleled. His vibrant and energetic spirit led one MVPJ member to comment that he seemed eternally young. His passion and commitment for justice and peace urged us to move forward with bolder and more faithful words and actions.

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.
"Muslic does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same." 


We express our sincere sympathy to Chris's whole family, and to his church community of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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.


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