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)
  • 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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MVPJ Responds to Paris Attacks

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As in 9/11, the terrorists responsible for the tragic events in Paris are succeeding far beyond their wildest dreams of sowing fear and hatred among all the nations in the West.  The various responses – such French President François Hollande calling the attacks an "an act of war" to which France will respond without pity – are understandable, but play directly into the terrorists' hands.

What is really hard to understand are the calls to block the entry of Syrian refugees – particularly Muslim refugees.  What better way could be imagined to demonstrate that terrorists claim that the West is waging a "War on Islam", thereby recruiting an even larger number of disaffected Muslim youth?

Even worse, if we succumb to Islamophobia to the extent that we actually close our doors and our hearts to people at a time of great need, we will be betraying the love of mercy and justice that is at the core of our country's Judeo-Christian tradition.  From time to time, every nation faces a test to see if it can live up to its ideals.  This is one such test.  We call upon everyone to resist the xenophobic fear-mongering and stand for the principle that our country proclaims so solemnly that all people are created equal.

A Prayer for this Week

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Holy One,

We pray for all people and places that have experienced the terror of violence this week as the aftershocks of fear and grief reverberate through bodies and buildings:

For the 43 people in Beirut and the 129 in Paris who were killed by Daesh;

For the people who survived and are now grieving the loss of people they love—parents, children, lovers, spouses, friends, siblings;

For the untold number of Syrians who have died in retaliation attacks;

For Muslims around the world who are targets of renewed and vicious Islamaphobia; 

We want peace for these people and places, but we do not know how to achieve it. Help us to see with clarity how our own country’s actions have contributed to the violence we see and mourn in the world this week. Let our collective mourning and sense of solidarity drive us deeper into the work for peace in our own country, and let us not feel angry only at Daesh, but also at the political policies and realities that engender extremism.

by Emily Brewer of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

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Some Actions for this Week

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"A time comes when silence is betrayal, and that time has come for us."

As people of faith and goodwill, we cannot remain silent when violence leads to more violence, tragedy leads to more suffering, and fear leads to injustice and hatred. As people of faith and goodwill, we are called to compassion, to courage, to solidarity, and to peace. In the midst of retaliatory bombing, hatefilled rhetoric and egregious calls to close our borders in the midst of one of history's most tragic human refugee crisis, organizations with whom MVPJ has long worked suggest some of the following actions.

  • The Friends Committee on National Legislation reminds us that a response based on fear will not lead to security or peace. As we hear calls from members of Congress, governors and candidates to shut the door on Syrian refugees, FCNL invites us to urge all of our elected officials to welcome Syrian refugees who are fleeing violence at home.  Call, write, email, or use this online letter-writing form provided by FCNL.
  • The Fellowship of Reconciliation writes, "In the face of such a global crisis of violence, we may be tempted to give up our agency to larger actors of states,... If we were to do this, not just our democracy but also our souls would be at stake." FOR directs us to George Lakey's fascinating article, 8 ways to defend against terror nonviolently, published in Waging Nonviolence (a website worth knowing about!).
  • Peninsula Peace & Justice has an Urgent Action Alert in response to Senator Dianne Feinstein's statements calling for increased military action and troops in Syria and Iraq.  PPJC invites us to email Senator Feinstein personally, and to sign PPJC's letter, urging strong statements instead for sanctuary and care for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
  • Letters to the Editor and op-eds are other very important ways to lift up voices of compassion and peace. Don't be shy!

As we mourn and pray for the people of Paris, let us also pray for Beirut, where 43 people were killed in a terrorist attack the day before those in Paris, for Bagdad, where 26 people were killed in violent bombings, and Syria, where children, women and men are now facing drastically increased deadly air strikes.

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9/11 Peace Picnic in San Jose

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Let us unite to honor the victims of 9/11, their families and first responders as we strive to transform this tragic day into one of peace & community building.

The ability to make our country safe, secure, peaceful and harmonious lies in our hands.

Please join us with your family and friends for this Peace Picnic on Friday September 11th, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at 70 W. Hedding St, San Jose.

This event is free and open to ALL. You will enjoy gourmet vegetarian, cheese and halal chicken pizza, a Multifaith Service and children’s performances. We invite you, your friends and family members to be a part of this peace and community building event.

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Campaign Nonviolence Week of Action: September 20-27

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Abolish War
End Povery and Racism
Reverse the Climate Change

Take action this week to build a better world by participating in any of these local events:

Sermon: "Whose Lives Matter?" - Sunday, Sept. 20, 10am, First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Rd., Palo Alto. This sermon by the Rev. Eileen Altman will begin Campaign Nonviolence local Week of Action by exploring issues of justice.

"White Like Me" Documentary and Discussion: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7pm, First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. This 1 hour film by Tim Wise on race and privilege will be followed by a discussion on issues of race, racism and white privilege.

Climate Justice: Response to Pope's Congressional Address: Thursday, Sept. 24, 12Noon, Midpeninsula Media Center, 900 San Antonio Rd., Palo Alto. Join the studio audience immediately following Pope Francis' message to the U.S. Congress. Hear a panel of local and religious climate activists, and live reports from Washington D.C.'s Catholic Climate Covenant activists and members of the Moral Action on Climate team.

Protest Nuclear Weapons at Lockheed Vigil: Friday, Sept. 25, 12-1pm, Lockheed Space Systems at Mathilda Ave. and Lockheed Martin Way, Sunnyvale.  In this silent, nonviolent vigil we will stand in witness against the destruction and death perpetrated by Lockheed Martin - the largest manufacturer and exporter of military weapons.

Quaker Harvest Festival: Saturday, Sept. 26, 9am-4pm, 957 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. This annual fair with music, food, plant and book sales benefits the Friends Committee on Legislation for California, which advocates for peace and justice issues in our state.

Sermon: "A Subtle Voice" - Sunday, Sept. 27, 9:30 & 11am, Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston, Palo Alto. Recognizing that religion can both stimulate and counteract violence, Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern will ask, what are our religion's resources for un-making violence.

Labyrinth Peace Walk: Sunday, Sept. 27, 10:30am-12:45pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston, Palo Alto. In honor of the U.N. Peace Day (9/21) and concluding Campaign Nonviolence Week of action, come walk the labyrinth with your wish for peace and nonviolence.

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Climate Justice: Responses to Pope Francis' Address to Congress

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Pope Francis will speak to a joint session of Congress on Thursday, September 24.  Join the studio audience with local and national religious and environmental activists to discuss his address.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 12 Noon
Midpeninsula Media Center
900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto

Local panelists in the studio will include Debbie Mytels, Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action; Katia Reeves, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish Green Committee; and Paul George, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.  Live reports from Washington D.C. will come via Skype or conference calls with members of the "Catholic Climate Covenant" and "Moral Action for Climate" directly following the Pope's address.

Pope Francis' encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, challenges us all to hear both "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." 

"The entire material universe speaks of God's love....  Soil, water, mountains - everything is, as it were, a caress of God." 

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Protest Nuclear Weapons during Campaign Nonviolence Week of Action

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Friday, September 25, 12Noon
Lockheed Space Systems in Sunnyvale
Mathilda Avenue and Lockheed Martin Way, Sunnyvale

September's Week of Action will see hundreds of Campaign Nonviolence actions across the nation. Those of us who live near San Francisco need look no further than Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale to find one of the world's deadliest purveyors of destruction - the largest manufacturer and exporter of military weapons, proudly providing the tools necessary for today's "warfighter."

The Pacific Life Community, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice and others invite you to attend this vigil where people will silently and nonviolently stand in witness against the violence, destruction and death perpetrated from this place. 

Click here to download a flyer with more information.

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September 26: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

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As part of Campaign Nonviolence Week of Action join people around the world in celebrating the vision of a nuclear weapons free world, raising awareness and calling on our leaders to advance nuclear disarmament.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly, the aim of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is to enhance "public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination, in order to mobilize international efforts towards achieving the common goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world."

This year, on Sept. 26, the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND) will present a statement calling for A Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World: Our Common Good, endorsed by parliamentarians, mayors and religious leaders to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the onset of the nuclear age and the foundation of the United Nations.

"Nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world's arsenals costing $100 billion annually - funds that could instead be used to implement the Sustainable Development Goals," said Mr. Saber Chowdhurgy MP, Co-President of PNND. "We reaffirm UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's description of the abolition of nuclear weapons as a "common good of the highest order."

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Campaign Nonviolence: Global Actions & Regional Events

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Campaign Nonviolence (CNV) 2015 Week of Action now has over 285 events taking place around the world. CNV actions are planned in each of the 50 states plus Afghanistan, Colombia, Canada and beyond. Click here to learn about local, mid-peninsula events.

Global Opportunites to Mainstream Nonviolence include (but are NOT limited to!):
International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, September 26 - Spread the word about this day through social media, letters to the editor, and telling your friends, family and faith communities!  Invite your local mayor or religious leader to sign the joint statement on A Nuclear-Weapon-Free-World: Our Common Good.

#Enough: Follow the lead of the Afghan Peace Volunteers as together we build a critical mass of nonviolent relationships for a green and equal world without war.

Tell President Obama to recommend unarmed approaches to conflict: Email or call the White House and tell the President that you want the Peacekeeping Summit which he will convene on Sept. 28 to take seriously the recommendations of the U.N. panel that unarmed civilian protection be a prominant aspect of U.N. Peace Operations. Click here for background from "Nonviolent Peaceforce", and then send a message to the White House.

Take the Campaign Nonviolence Pledge to strive to practice nonviolence toward yourself, others, and to join the global movement.

Regional opportunites also include:
Evening of Prayer for Victims of Violence, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 7:30pm, Cathedral Basilical of St. Joseph, 80 South Market St., San Jose

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Campaign Nonviolence Pledge

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I solemnly swear to take a stand against violence and
help build a culture of active nonviolence.
I will strive to:
practice nonviolence toward myself;
practice nonviolence toward all others;
practice nonviolence by joining the global movement to
abolish war,
end poverty,
stop the destruction of the earth and
foster a just and peaceful world for all.

Click here to sign the Campaign Nonviolence pledge, and join the movement to build a peaceful world for all! 

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