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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July Peaceful Presence Contributions

Our July 2023 Peaceful Presence was hosted by the Mountain View/Palo Alto Musalla (Muslim community). The contributions on the themes of patience and hope were rich and varied!

Our host, Farha Andrabi, told the Muslim story of Hajirah, "Hope, Patience and Perseverance: The Story of Hajirah."  (Some of you may know her as "Hagar." However, the story about her in the Muslim tradition has some significant and surprising differences!)

Ellen Stromberg from Congregations Beth Am and Etz Chayim, read excerpts from this piece called "Praciticing Hope" by Rabbi Betsy Forester.

Eric Sabelman told a story that came to him during a Quaker service. He titled the story "The Courier's Message." The images on the left are illustrations connected with Eric's story. 

Kristi Iverson shared some teachings on "Patience," one of the Ten Paramis (or Ten Perfections) from the Buddhist tradition.

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Tell Congress: NO CLUSTER BOMBS!

Tell Congress: NO CLUSTER BOMBS!!

Cluster bombs are banned internationally by more than 100 countries, yet President Biden says the U.S. will send cluster munitions to Ukraine. Cluster bombs release hundreds to thousands of "bomblets" from the air that spread out over very wide areas. These small bomblets can sit ready to explode -- for decades. Far too often it is when children – thinking they are toys – pick them up - that they explode and rip off limbs of innocent children.

Tell Congress: NO CLUSTER BOMBS!!
Use this ACTION page from
American Friends Service Committee

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MVPJ Stands Against Cluster Bombs

July 17, 2023

Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice’s Steering Committee is compelled to stand with many other Americans and people of faith and goodwill around the world against the President's decision to provide cluster bombs to Ukraine. [1,2]  We find that the arguments given by the President for doing so are based on expediency, flying in the face of universal condemnation of weapons of mass destruction.  To resort to cluster munitions as a "temporary" solution to delayed production of other weapons does not make them less reprehensible. [3]

Major differences exist between cluster munitions and precisely targeted "smart" bombs and artillery shells; cluster bombs are intended to kill over a wide area, and not just a single target.  The claim that only munitions with very low "dud rates" - where unexploded bomblets remain lethal - will be sent to Ukraine is subject to scrutiny, because variations between batches cannot be predicted in advance of use on the battlefield.  Claims that Ukraine would not use these weapons where its own citizens would be endangered and that post-war clearing of landmines and unexploded ordnance is required anyway ignore the change of citizenship in disputed territory and the risk that not all bomblets will be found in time to prevent injury to the innocent.  The argument that Russia has already used cluster munitions is hardly moral justification for the US and its allies to begin using them. [4]

The fact that the US even has large quantities of cluster weapons to give to Ukraine is evidence of American exceptionalism in selective retention of weapons other nations have renounced as morally repugnant - nuclear weapons not least among them. 
Landmines are an example of such rejection of international decisions: despite a UN treaty passed in 1997 [5] the US only in 2022 "aligned" itself with terms of the treaty but still will deploy landmines in Korea [6].  Similarly, in 1997 the US ratified the UN Chemical Weapons Treaty, but only finished destroying its huge stockpile of neuorotoxic bombs and shells this month [7, 8]. It is too coincidental that the White House announced the Ukraine cluster bomb decision and simultaneously proclaimed that the US stock of chemical weapons has been destroyed [9] - as if the latter laundered the ethical stain of the former. 

(click "Read More") for to end of letter. Click here to download a pdf of letter.

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Peaceful Presence Gatherings on 11th of Every Month

Monthly Multifaith Prayers for Peace and Justice
7-7:30pm on 11th of every month

Monday, September 11, 6-8:15pm - Multifaith Peace Picnic hosted by American Muslim Voice Foundation at King Plaza, Palo Alto (Click here for details)

Peaceful Presence is sometimes hosted in-person, sometimes by Zoom, and sometimes hybrid (with both options - to join in person or via Zoom). Watch for updates!

Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice coordinates “Peaceful Presence” gatherings, 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.

Monday, September 11, 6-8:15pm - Multifaith Peace Picnic hosted by American Muslim Voice Foundation at King Plaza, Palo Alto (Click here for details)
Wednesday, October 11 - tba
Saturday, November 11 - tba
Monday, December 11 - hosted by the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple

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May Peaceful Presence Prayer Contribution from Muslim Participant

At our May 11, 2023 Peaceful Presence, hosted by Congregation Etz Chayim, Hilal Cansizoglu from The Pacifica Institute offered a this prayer she wrote drawing from her own Islamic tradition.

She explained, "In our Islamic tradition, when we want to communicate with God through our individual prayers, we like to call Him with His beautiful names and attributes, so I tried to write down a prayer as a believer in dialogue for peace and justice and call God with some of His beautiful names and attributes in my prayer."

The names of God Hilal includes are:

Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim (You are The Most Compassionate and The Most Merciful)

Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir (You are The First and You are The Last)

An-Nur and Al-Hadi (You are the Light and You are the Guide)

Al-Jami'e (You are the Gatherer, You are The Unifier)

Al-'Adl (You are The Utterly Just)

Click here to download a PDF of this beautiful prayer!
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Make Nuclear Disarmament a Priority!

MVPJ has been working for many years to support nuclear disarmament, a principle of peace and justice shared by all of our faith traditions.
A new bill in Congress can move us another step forward!
Sign a letter to Congress today, urging your Representative to become a co-sponsor of this bill!

H. RES. 77 – “Embracing the goals and provisions of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” – was introduced last month by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). The bill calls on the Biden Administration to …

• Make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of the national security policy of the United States

• Renounce the option of using nuclear weapons first

• End the President’s sole authority to launch a nuclear attack

• Take the nuclear weapons of the United States off hair-trigger alert

• Cancel the plan to replace the nuclear arsenal of the United States with modernized, enhanced weapons.


Urge your Representative to become a co-sponsor of H.Res. 77 today! Click here to sign a letter to our local Representatives.

(Many thanks to Peninsula Peace & Justice for setting up this easy way to express our support!)


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Call for Nuclear Arms Control! TELL CONGRESS & THE PRESIDENT: Nuclear Weapons Must Never Be Used!

As people of faith, we must speak out! Nuclear weapons must never be used!

NEW RESOURCE: Read this 1/17/23 article by Frida Berrigan, "How to Avoid Nuclear Standoffs that Threaten the Entire World."  While Berrigan does not avoid the dire consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, in her history and vision she offers hope.

History: "Small, decentralized, broad-based activities added up to the survival of the species. ... It is not hyperbole to assert that these actions drove Reagan and Gorbachev to the negotiating table."

Vision: "Anyone who cares about the future of life on this planet can be an antinuclear activist. ...
We can fill the streets, starting with dozens and building until we are millions.
We did it once. We can again. We have to."


Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats to use nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine are horrifying. While the threats deserve condemnation, more importantly, they require a steady response of de-escalation that pulls us back from the threat of nuclear warfare.


WRITE: Join the Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) letter campaign TODAY by clicking here! Easy pre-scripted letters to send to your Senators and Congressmember, or you can edit to personalize them before sending.

As the Friends Committee on National Legislation reminds us:

"Dialogue with Russia is not capitulation or appeasement. It is, in fact, the only sane response to the threat of nuclear brinksmanship. Congress has a moral responsibility to de-escalate tensions and prevent the use of nuclear weapons to preserve the environment and all humanity.

In the face of nuclear threats, the world must work together deter disaster."

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Multifaith Letter to Pres Biden re Nuclear Danger

In response to the increasing risk of a nuclear disaster, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice's Steering Committee has endorsed a letter to President Biden with an urgent call for the resumption of arms control negotiation. The letter was issued on September 22 by some 29 distinguished and diverse faith leaders in the New York and Washington metropolitan areas. We join with them in imploring President Biden to, for the sake of our whole human family, make the resumption of arms control negotiation his highest priority.

The multifaith letter states, in part:

We affirm the view previously expressed by religious authorities that nuclear weapons are inherently immoral because of their horrific and indiscriminate effects on civilians and on the environment.

and concludes:

Mr. President, for the sake of the entire human family, we urge you to press for the resumption of arms control negotiations without further delay.

Click here to download and read the entire letter.

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Interfaith Statement to Meeting for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Joint Interfaith Statement Welcoming the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (June 22 2022)

"As faith communities from a diversity of traditions and located all over the world, we join together with one voice to mark this first Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohbition of Nuclear Weapons.  We welcome this historic occasion and celebrate this milestone that moves us closer to a world without nuclear weapons."

Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice is honored to be an endorser of this statement along with religious communities of many traditions and from around the world. Click here to download statement and full list of endorsers.

The Statement was read aloud at the opening of the Meeting.

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ACT to End Gun Violence

SPEAK - PRAY - ACT to End Gun Violence
Action Opportunities

  • Click here to download a PDF handout of Actions to End Gun Violence.
  • Text BOLD to 64433 to tell your Senators to take action or share on social using this link.

  • Call, Email, Tweet, Message and Write Postcards to your Senators and other Senators holding them accountable to do their job! Urge them to work for bipartisan common sense gun laws that will protect us all such as enhanced background checks, extreme risk protection orders (or "red flag laws"), banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and equal access to justice for victims of gun violence. Click here for Brady website with helpful specifics. See suggested names of Senators, weblinks and contact information below.

  • Use this Friends Committee on National Legislation website to send easy and quick emails to your Senators to support high-level, bipartisan negotiations for extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs).

  • Support communities that have been victims of violence through contributions to local, on the ground organizations they trust. As a multifaith group ourselves (Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice) we suggest considering Voice Buffalo, an affiliate of Faith in Action, as it seeks to serve their community after the mass shooting in their local supermarket. @VoiceBuffalo

  • Donate to national and trustworthy gun violence prevention organizations.

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