Topics

Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Bahá'í Community of Palo Alto
  • Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • First Baptist Church Palo Alto
  • 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
  • Network of Spiritual Progressives
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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A Prayer to the God of Compassion, Peace and Hope

God of Compassion, this is not normal.
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים
(Eil malei rachamim)
God of Compassion, this is not normal.
It is not normal for weapons to disrupt prayers of freedom and memory.
It is not normal for houses of worship to have protocols for responding to violence.
It is not normal for leaders, partners, and friends to extend thoughts and prayers in the wake of another attack.

אָדוֹן הַשָּׁלוֹם 
(Adon hashalom)
God of Peace,
We refuse to accept this as normal.
We refuse to resign to apathy.
We refuse to give in to forces that seek to divide.
We refuse to allow time to dull our moral outrage.

רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל תִּקוָה 
(Ribono shel tikvah)
Master of Hope,
In the face of hate, strengthen our hearts to insist on love.
In the face of darkness, uncover our eyes to find sparks of Your light.
In the face of violence, open our hands so we might extend them in peace.

To those we have lost, grant perfect rest under the sheltering presence of your love.
To those who are in pain, grant wholeness, comfort, and healing.
To those who survive, grant us the faith, courage, and wisdom we need to build a world of peace.


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Unity and Solidarity Vigil held in Sunnyvale

Unity and Solidarity Vigil
in light of attacks in Sunnyvale and Poway Synagogue
WE ARE ONE!
Was held on Thursday, May 2, 2019
El Camino Real and Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road in Sunnyvale

Marking the terrifying attack on pedestrians on April 23 in which the police say the driver may have targeted the victims based on their race and his belief they were Muslim, and the horrific shooting at Congregation Chabad Synagogue in Poway, CA on April 27, we gathered in Unity and Solidarity at the site of the April 23 incident. The vigil was a quiet, loving presence to acknowledge the pain and suffering of all people targeted by violence and hate, and to declare unequivocally that all lives are precious and we are all part of the same human family.

Thursday, May 2, was the National Day of Prayer*, and at this time our nation surely needs prayers for healing, respect in our diversity, and peace. Thursday was also Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to remember victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and to honor all victims of violence and pledge, "Never Again."

In pain and solidarity at yet more violence, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice offers both words and action. Our words are below, and our actions continue with the Thursday vigil.


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Statement of Soldarity with Muslims Everywhere


3-15-19
Around the world the human family is grieving over the horrific terror attack that killed at least 49 of our Muslim brothers and sisters and wounded dozens more as they worshipped in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We at Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice share our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy with that community, especially the loved ones of the victims, and offer prayers for what comfort and healing they might find.
 
We also intensify our commitment to stand against all forms of hatred, drawing from the wellspring of love that animates the world’s faith traditions to triumph over bigotry based on race, ethnicity, or religion. Our traditions require our constant vigilance in confronting injustice, intolerance, division, and other evils with a love that we know ultimately wins.
 
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that many of the victims were refugees and immigrants. She proclaimed “New Zealand is their home. They are us.” May we all work and pray for the day when humanity’s shared home, the planet Earth, is so full of love and care for all of God’s children that there is no room left for bigoted and hateful acts of violence. Meanwhile, we stand in solidarity with members of the world-wide Muslim community, offer them our ardent love, and hold their well-being in our hearts.
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A Personal Story and Statement from a MVPJ Steering Committee Member

Amidst the rubble of what was once a beautiful mosque in Afghanistan in 2002, a boy was rocking back and forth reciting a portion of the Qur'an. I sat next to him, reminded of how he resembled children in a Jewish synagogue from my childhood, rocking back and forth as they recited Hebrew prayers. The Imam walked over and lightly touched the boy on the shoulder. He stopped praying and looked up. The Imam told the boy that I was Jewish and asked him, "What do we call Jewish people?" The boy smiled at me and responded "People of the Book." "Very good," the Imam replied as he touched his heart. With a nod from the Imam, the boy resumed reciting prayers. Muslims refer to Jews and Christians as people of the book because we share common sacred texts, the Torah, the Bible, and for Muslims, the Qur'an. 

Today, as people of the book, we grieve with our Muslim siblings and the entire human family over the tragic and horrific killings in New Zealand. Apparently inspired by White Supremacist hate exported from the United States, a killer went on a rampage, killing at least 49 people, as they prayed in mosques on Friday. We must stand up against hate and violence with all of our might and do all that we can to change the hearts of those who harbor such hate, while also doing all that we can to prevent such people from being able to cause such mayhem. May we instead be inspired by the smiles of young children, who instead of harboring hate, see our interconnectedness as a human race. We are not born with hate, we are taught hate. Our task, today, tomorrow and every day is doing all that we can to sow the seeds of love, acceptance, and peace, for what we sow we shall reap, Inshallah.

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How do you respond when...

...your dinner guest makes an Islamophobic comment?

...you witness public instances of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Trans or any other form of oppressive interpersonal violence or harassment?

American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) has six thoughtful and helpful tips to counteract anti-Muslim rhetoric in your conversations.

They also have bystander intervention do's and don'ts for how to intervene in public situations while considering the safety of everyone involved.

Both articles provide guidelines that may be contrary to your first instinct, however noble those may be. These are important reads!


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The Rev. Dr. William Barber II at Stanford Memorial Church

The Rev. Dr. William Barber II riveted those gathered at Stanford Memorial Church on January 17, 2019, with a call to not shrink back from the tasks at hand, and to liberate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. so fervently needed in our world today.

Did you miss it? Or hunger to hear it again? Click here for six minutes of excerpts from his speech.

Rev. Barber is the founder of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Renewal and Repairers of the Breach.


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blessed are you... blessed are we

At our October 2018 Peaceful Presence the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett of Trinity Church in Menlo Park led us in this litany. The author, the Rev. Anna Blaedel, Theologian-in-Residence at enfleshed, generously gave us permission to publish it here. May it give us solace, strength and courage for the new year and beyond.


blessed are you who are raging.
blessed are you who are mourning.
blessed are you who feel numb.
blessed are you who feel sick. and tired. and sick and tired.

blessed are you who refuse to turn away.
blessed are you who need to turn away.
blessed are you who keep breathing deep.
blessed are you who are tending to your own needs.
blessed are you who are tending to the needs of another.

blessed are you who have been calling.
blessed are you who have been organizing.
blessed are you who have been testifying.
blessed are you who have been hearing.
blessed are you who have been resisting.


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Stand in Solidarity with People Seeking Asylum

Join Faith in Public Life and people of faith and conscience across the nation in signing the PLEDGE TO STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH PEOPLE SEEKING ASYLUM.

As politicians try to divide us against one another according to race, ethnicity, and  or nationality, we remain united and steadfast in our conviction that all people deserve dignity, respect, and equity, and that together we can make such a world possible. We are people of faith and conscience, coming from a long tradition of welcoming the sojourner and loving our neighbor and, following the example of our sacred texts, pledge our commitment to be good neighbors to those seeking refuge in our community, and to build a community where all are welcome.

Click here to read full statement and sign it.


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Statement of Solidarity and Prayers


Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice stands in sadness and solidarity with our Jewish siblings at the news of the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA.
 
We are all part of the same human family, and the sorrow of one of us is sorrow shared by us all.  Our hearts break at such violence and hatred, and we respond by coming together with courageous peace and tenacious love.

We grieve the lives lost and dreams broken in Pittsburgh, and extend our prayers to the families and friends of those wounded and killed, to Jews around the world, and especially to our own local Jewish communities.

We will stand together, cry together, pray together, and work together to build a world beyond fear and division, a world of compassion, inclusion, justice and peace.


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MVPJ Solidarity Plans in Place

Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice (MVPJ) has set up a process which will allow us to respond quickly with publicly visible acts of solidarity on behalf of any religious, ethnic, or other targeted communities in our local area which are being threatened, or which have been harmed or violated in some way.  Examples of triggers could be receipt of hate mail, defacing of property, threats to the well-being of the community or to a member of the community.   Our goal is to gather in response and public solidarity within 24-48 hours of learning about the incident. These MVPJ solidarity responses will be faithful, peaceful demonstrations of solidarity and friendship, and do not require the training necessary for the Rapid Response teams who will be possibly confronting ICE agents or raids.  Supportive, peaceful, faith-based signs may be brought by participants to these public solidarity events. 
 
When an action is needed, our email subject title will be “IMMEDIATE LOCAL RESPONSE NEEDED”, and the body of the email will include instructions as to where and when to gather.
 
If your community is targeted or threatened in some way, and you want to ask for a public show of solidarity, or simply discuss this possibility, please contact us through this email: solidarity@multifaithpeace.org. You may certainly talk with anyone on the MVPJ steering committee personally if you prefer, however the "solidarity@multifaithpeace.org" email is set up to be checked several times every day, for a quick response.
 
If your community is required to evacuate its premises due to an emergency such as a bomb threat or threatening graffiti and needs an alternate space for worship or study on short notice, we have several congregations who are willing to host you if at all possible. You may inquire about this offer through solidarity@multifaithpeace.org and we will help you connect to these communities as quickly as possible. 
 
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice Non-Violent Commitment
 
In all actions that it takes, members of Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice commit to the principles of non-violence, and pledge that all their actions will be peaceful, respectful, prayerful and non-violent.

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