Topics

Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • 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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Thoughts & Prayers - or Isaiah? A Response to the High School Shooting in Florida

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In response to the horrific shooting at a high school in Floriday, MVPJ member Craig Wiesner wrote an article for Tikkun Daily Blog. Start it here then go to the Tikkun website to read the whole piece.

"Thoughts and Prayers? What the Prophet Isaiah Said"
by Craig Wiesner

17 more dead. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Sackcloth, ashes, bowing your head… Actually, on the night 17 people were killed in Florida, I thought to myself that maybe my husband and I should fast. We didn’t. We did sit and watch the news as details of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida were slowly revealed. We closed our eyes in prayer, feeling helpless, angry, sad.

17 dead, the shooter in custody, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, neighbors, grieving. A chorus rings out “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Two words come to mind when I hear or read that phrase coming from people in power who could do so much more than think and pray. Then, yesterday, the pastor of our church asked me if I would lead the Time for the Child in us all at church this Sunday. “What’s the scripture?” I asked. Curious? Read on!


Isaiah 58:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)

True and False Fasting

“Cry aloud; do not hold back;

lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

to the house of Jacob their sins.

 
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"Let My People Stay!" 86 Jewish Leaders Arrested on Capitol Hill

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On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 86 rabbis and Jewish leaders were arrested in the Capitol during a solidarity vigil for Dreamers. Among them was Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, a local faith leader and cofounder of Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice.

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice was one of the organizers of the event. Click here to visit their Facebook report and watch the video. If you look carefully about 45 seconds in you will see Rabbi Lewis!

 
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State Assembly Members Berman & Low on Sensible Firearm Safety Legislation

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Join this roundtable discussion hosted by faith leaders with State Assembly Members Mark Berman and Evan Low. They will present options for action that are currently underway for sensible firearm legislation, as well as future legislation that we can support.

Saturday, January 20, 3-4:30pm
Westhope Presbyterian Church

12850 Saratoga Ave.
Saratoga 95070 

If possible, please RSVP to esfishrev@gmail.com. RSVP helpful but not required.

 
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No "war on Christmas" but Opportunities to Learn, Respect and Love

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Fr. Kevin O'Brien, a Jesuit priest and Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley (part of Santa Clara University) is featured in this video, inviting us all to a culture of encounter, not confrontation.

"Jesus was concerned about promoting what he called the 'reign of God.' This reign, this community of justice, peace and love -- that to him was more important than any title for himself."

In a pluralistic society, we need to listen, respect and learn from people who are different than us. Quoting Pope Francis, O'Brien claims, "Whenever we encounter another person in love, we learn something about God."

 
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Watch "The Sultan and the Saint" on PBS on Dec. 26, 8pm

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PBS will broadcast "The Sultan and the Saint" nationwide on Tuesday, December 16. The film is a powerful depiction of Muslim-Christian peace, telling the story of St. Francis of Assisi’s trip to Egypt during the wars of the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221).  Francis enters Sultan al-Kamil’s military camp, and through dialogue and prayer, the two lay the groundwork for an end to the bloodshed. Narrated by Jeremy Irons, the film also includes interviews by scholars, historians and religious leaders.

"The Sultan and the Saint" will show on the local PBS station KQED from 8pm-9pm, Tuesday, Dec. 26. Check local listing for other times.

Islamic Scholar Homayra Ziad observes, "These two were indeed seeking peace in the midst of war, so they were open to being transformed by the person who was alledgedly their enemy." Set in the past, the film speaks with urgency to our present world.

You are also encouraged to host a broadcast viewing party in your home, congregation or community. Sign-up by clicking here and a discussion guide will be provided.

 
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Statement of Solidarity and Protest

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As persons of faith representing diverse religious traditions and commitments, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice stands in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and decries any effort to divide communities, intimidate adherents of Islam, and propagate hatred, racism, and disunity. Together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders throughout the world, we believe God calls on us to love one another and to support the flourishing of all peoples and nations on earth. 

We therefore call on the government of the United States and the President in particular to disavow the extremist propaganda of Britain First and other hate-mongering organizations. We urge Mr. Trump to remove his recent retweets of this group and make clear his opposition to all acts of bigotry and attempts to intimidate and increase divisions. We appeal to our government, faith communities, and all people to work ardently for healing, respect and unity.

 
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Friday Statewide Call to Action!

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California Religious Freedom Act, SB 31 has been signed by Governor Brown!  Thanks to all who helped make sure this happened! 

SB 31 WILL prohibit a state or local agency from participating in a federal program to create a database based on a person’s religious beliefs, national origin, or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes.  SB 31 WILL also prevent state and local law enforcement agencies from collecting information on the religious beliefs, practices, or affiliations of an individual except under certain circumstances. SB 31 will bar state and local agencies from participating in ineffective and harmful programs that undermine public safety and diminish public trust in law enforcement, while also fulfilling California’s duty to ensure equal treatment under the law, regardless of race, religion, or national origin. The bill is co-sponsored by the ACLU of California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - California, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations California.

SB 54, the California Values Act, has been signed by Governor Brown!  This bill will ban the use of state and local resources from carrying out the work of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in deportation actions, essentially making California a Sanctuary state. This is a huge step in standing up for immigrants and those who could become targets of the Trump administration.

Contact information for Gov. Brown and local Senators and Assemblymembers can be found below.

 
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CAIR Information about new Muslim Ban

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Our colleagues at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) California/San Francisco Bay Area have issued a very helpful Community Advisory on the new discriminatory ban signed on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Click here to download.

What you can do:

Join the Bay Area No Muslim Ban Ever vigil in San Francisco on Monday, Oct. 9, 6-8pm. 

Submit comments on "Extreme Visa Vetting" to Trump Administration. Click here for CAIR's helpful background and suggested comment prompts. Please join us in a loud and clear message that we people of faith we stand against this anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee proposal.

 
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Sept. 11, 2017 Peaceful Presence

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Over 200 people braved the thunder and rain on King Plaza in Palo Alto for a Peace Picnic followed by Multifaith Prayers for Peace & Justice. (For the words of the poem read at the picnic, click here.) The program included all ages, many faith traditions and people from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.  

Gathering songs were led by Chris Lundin of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic parish, and the Mitzvah Singers from Congregation Etz Chaim, both in Palo Alto.


Other musical offerings came from Baha'i singers Mahrou Derakshani and Chris French, young adults from the Sathya Sai International Organization, Region 7, and a children's choir from Congregation Beth Am.


 

The Sound of the Shofar, an Islamic Call to Prayer, a Christian Call to Worship and a Buddhist invitation to silence called us together, and Rabbi Amy Eilberg welcomed us into community and prayer. Speakers included Cantor Jaime Shpall from Congregation Beth Am (pictured with the children's choir above), Farha Andrabi Navaid (pictured right) who is President of the MVPA Musalla, a worship and community center for Muslims in the Palo Alto area, Rev. Fa Jun, a Buddhist/Interfaith minister from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos (pictured left), and Rev. Annanda Barclay from the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto (pictured below in the closing circle). A Prayer of Lament was led by Farukh Basrai, from Anjuman-e-Jamali and MVPJ, and Rev. Mark Arevalo from Spark Church, Palo Alto.


Episcopal priest Rev. Frannie Hall Kieschnick led us in a closing ritual of circle, candlelight, song.  Rev. Kaloma Smith of University AME Zion Church, along with Rev. Annanda Barclay, sent us out with the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 

MVPJ holds Peaceful Presence Prayer gatherings on the 11th of every month.
On October 11 the Baha'i Community of Palo Alto will host the service. Click here for more information.

We thank Chris Cassell and Alfred Leung, afflicates of Pro-Bono Photography for the wonderful photos!  To see more great pictures taken by them, click here and here. If you share these photos, please be sure to give them credit!

 
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Taking the War Out of Our Words

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A four-hour workshop with Sharon Strand Ellison
Sunday, Sept. 24, 1-5pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto
$20 donation requested; no one turned away for lack of funds

Sharon Strand Ellison is an author and communication consultant who will introduce participants to the art of powerful nondefensive communication. This is not a technique for winning arguments, but a path to verbal disarmament.

Click here to download a flyer.

 
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