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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A Reflection on Learning about Christianity through Other Religions

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A former member of MVPJ's steering committee came across this article by Jim Rigby, a Presbyterian Minister in Austin, Texas. It spoke to many of us, no matter our faith tradition, so we are sharing excerpts on our website. To read the full article, click here to go to Rigby's blog.

"Learning about Christianity through a world of religion" by Jim Rigby, January 3, 2015

I was born into a pretty typical version of Christianity. My mom always said, however, that every religion has something to teach us. Mom said we should respect everyone's religion as much as possible.

Until I arrived at college, I had never actually opened the scriptures of any other faith. Once I arrived here in Austin, I started a lifelong practice of respectfully reading the scriptures of other world faiths. ...

... As I read the words of Krishna, it felt like I was hearing a missing track from a familiar song. I could hear for the first time that Jesus, like Krishna, was calling us to something much deeper than traditional religion. ... What had been the comfortable wading pool of sectarian religion was suddenly beginning to feel like the vast open waters of life.

... I began to understand that Jesus wasn't calling us to dogma. Like Buddha, he was calling us to a deeper and wider wakefulness. ... If love is our aim, then awareness, not belief, is our true path.

From Taoism I learned that heaven could be found in the ordinary gifts of nature. ...

From Islam I learned to give myself fully to life, holding back nothing. From Sufi Islam I learned that humor can be a great guide to the sacred. ...

From Judaism I learned that love is inseparable from justice. From the Jewish prophets I learned that I needed to love the people in my religion and nation enough to tell them  when I thought they were being unjust. ...

Finally, from atheism I learned the importance of radical honesty. ...

I am still a Christian after all these years, but I have left the little version of my upbringing and have come to understand my own faith as one voice in a larger choir. Most of all I have come to understand what Christian scripture means when it says, "whoever has love, has God."

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Senate Intelligence Committee Releases Report on CIA's Use of Torture

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Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice has long worked for public access to the Senate Intelligence Committee's Report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program.  On Tuesday, December 9, the eve of the United Nation's Human Rights Day, a 500 page summary of that six year investigation was released. 

Please call or email Senator Dianne Feinstein and thank her for her courageous leadership on the investigation and the release of the report! (Click here for her contact information and an easy email form.)

To read more about the report and further discussion go to the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's page on this issue. NRCAT has been a strong partner with MVPJ in keeping us up to date and educated about this issue.

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25 Years After the UCA Massacre in El Salvador and SOA is Still Open for Business

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SOAWATCH25 years ago, six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her daughter were murdered by the Salvadoran military. On the anniversary of that massacre thousands of people will join a vigil at Fort Benning Georgia, home of the school formerly known as the School of the Americas, where Salvadoran and other Central and Latin American military have for years been trained by the US.

School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) is organizing this gathering and invites you to join them.

Click here to learn more about that vigil.

They are also urging all of us to contact our representatives in Congress and ask them to support legislation to investigate and close the SOA and review the United States' training of Central and Latin American military, as well as another resolution to stop militarizing our own police forces. Rev. Eileen Altman, a member of the MVPJ steering committee reports that local Representative Anna Eshoo is a co-sponsor of HR 2989, The Latin America Military Training Review Act, and Representative Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor of HR 5478, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.  

Click here for ways to support these members of Congress in these decisions and urge other members of Congress to support those bills.

Craig Wiesner, a member of the MVPJ steering committee, has written about the School of the Americas in two posts. He invites you to read those two posts to learn more about SOA, now known as WHINSEC, especially as the anniversary of the massacre approaches.

Rev. Katie Goetz, former member of the MVPJ steering committee, is working on concerns around the militarization of the Redwood City police, where Katie currently resides.  We will soon be posting more information about that effort and how you can get involved.


This Holiday Season: Come join an EID Festival!

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American Muslim Voice invites you to share in a community EID festival,
and discover how Muslims celebrate their holiday.
Friday, December 12, 7-9pm
Stern Ballroom, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, 94301

All great religions encourage their followers to love their neighbors, but to love our neighbors, we must know our neighbors!

Click here for more information.

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The Afghan Peace Duvet Project: Why not warmth?

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Two winters ago in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported the deaths of at least 22 children in refugee camps in Kabul:  Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter Cold.  After 13 years of U.S./NATO intervention in Afghanistan and US$1.172 trillion dollars spent on the Afghan war between 2001 and 2012, the basic needs of ordinary Afghans constantly caught in the crossfire are still poorly met.

The following winter the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV) organized the making and distributing of duvets (blankets) to poor families in Kabul and in the refugee camps.  Thanks to international peacebuilders who raised money from ordinary people around the globe, the APVs were able to distribute more than 2000 duvets, and the Afghan ladies who sewed the blankets were paid a living wage to supplement their families' income.  In the winter of 2013/2014, 60 Afghan seamstresses were paid a living wage for sewing a total of 3000 duvets, again delivered free to poor Afghan families, street kids in Kabul, recovering drug addicts, widows, disabled, and to the refugee camps.

This year, you can help them do it again!

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Redwood City Police Department's Own Military Vehicle

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On July 1, 2014 the Redwood City Police Department received a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle from the Department of Defense's “1033 program.” This program distributes excess military equipment to civilian police departments. The range of material is wide, including medical equipment, tractors, MRAPs, and weapons. Many people do not think that vehicles and weapons designed for war belong with civilian police departments, believing instead that officers in Redwood City and beyond are first and foremost peace officers.

There is already a movement to end part of the 1033 program. Congresswoman Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor of Representative Hank Johnson’s Stop Militarizing of Law Enforcement Act (HR 5478). This act would, among other things, “end the transfer of certain weapons grade military equipment to local law enforcement,” according to a letter from the Congresswoman in early October. Rep. Speier also writes that she is, “deeply troubled that the Pentagon has billions of dollars in excess inventory to give away in the first place.”  

Redwood City officials refer to the MRAP Redwood City received as a rescue vehicle, and state that this vehicle would only be used in extreme circumstances -- citing the tragic movie theater, school, and shopping mall shootings we have seen unfold in recent years. It is difficult to imagine how one would effectively navigate a MRAP inside a movie theater, however.

Read more to find out how you can do something about this issue. 

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Hearts for Justice: Coming Together to Confront Violence Against Women

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Saturday, November 1, 10am-12noon
Trinity Episcopal Church, 330 Ravenswood, Menlo Park, 94025

The Rev. Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms
Carissa Phelps, author of Runaway Girl
David Batstone, founder of Not for Sale
followed by book sale and shared trade market place

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What's an American to do? A conversation about peacemaking

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Sunday, November 2, 2014
Friends Meeting House
957 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto

Our nation seems to be committed to another war in Iraq, in the air if not (yet) on the ground. At the same time we remain militarily engaged in Afghanistan, while we send armed drones into Pakistan and other countries of the Middle East. What convinces our leaders that these actions will result in a just and lasting peace?  What alternatives to military action exist, and why is it so difficult to employ them effectively?

Come meet with fellow citizens who are concerned about these issues. The evening will begin with short prepared statements from a variety of points of view about the current status and history of American involvement in the Middle East. The major part of the evening will be a conversation in the form of a "Quaker dialogue" in which everyone present is given a chance to speak.

Click here to download the flyer with more information

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Hear Dennis Kucinich in Palo Alto

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Dennis Kucinich on
Redefining National Security

Sunday, Oct. 19, 7pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto

Hear Dennis Kucinich, one of our nation's leading advocates for peace, speak about the need to redefine "national security" to include food security, health security, water security, economic security, education security, environmental security -- and peace! 

Kucinich will also address America's latest escalation of war in Iraq and Syria. "ISIS is a western creation to ensure a continuation of perpetual war. We are losing our country to wars based on lies. The Constitution is being destroyed. We need to build a viable, informed and politically aware national movement." -- Dennis Kucinich

Please note: Doors open at 6:30pm.  There is no reserved seating, so arriving early will ensure you get a seat. 

What a great follow-up to our Campaign Nonviolence Week of Action!  When Kucinich heard about Campaign Nonviolence he personally called John Dear, one of CNV's founders, and said, "This is great! What can I do to help?" Read more here.

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Awakening the Heart of Compassion

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Carry the Vision Conference
Sunday, Oct. 19, 10am-4pm

Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center
14855 Oka Road
Los Gatos, CA

Keynote Speaker: Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.

The conference includes inspiration from community leaders, interactive workshops and panels, community dialogue, youth leadership summit (high school age), and a lunch provided by Jain Center of Northern California and San Jose Sikh Gurdwara.

Click here to download a flyer with more information.  To purchase Boyle's book (it is great!) from Reach and Teach, one of our local, independent bookstores, click here.

Tickets: $15 for students; $30 for adults

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