Interfaith

Reparations bill gains momentum as an interfaith cause

July 23, 2021

(RNS) — A pastor in Evanston, Illinois, the first U.S. city to adopt a municipal initiative on reparations, told a gathering of faith leaders on Thursday (July 22) that they can play a key role in moving a community toward action on the long-debated issue, even if it takes a while.

The Rev. Michael C.R. Nabors, a Baptist pastor in Evanston and the president of Evanston’s NAACP chapter, said it took more than two decades for his city to provide reparations.

“Faith leaders have been involved from the beginning,” he told Religion News Service after addressing a webinar...

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Houston imams and rabbis unite for a common goal – peace

June 10, 2021

As clashes continue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, Houston imams and rabbis unite for a common goal — peace.

Together, these faith leaders recently issued a statement, signed by 23 imams and 28 rabbis.

The statement began: “For the past decade, we Imams and Rabbis in the Greater Houston area have found common ground on several issues that have impacted our respective communities and the Houston community at large.

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LGBTQ youth of faith pray, bond at 'Beloved Arise' group

July 4, 2021

Jessika Sessoms grew up in a conservative Black evangelical family, attended Christian schools and often heard that being gay was an abomination, until she understood that she was queer while studying to become a missionary.

The 23-year-old from Florida came out publicly last year and has found healing and a sense of community after joining Beloved Arise, a Christian nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and empowering LGBTQ youth of faith.

Maria Magdalena Gschwind, 20, from Germany, credits the U.S.-based group for inspiring her to study Protestant theology in college...

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For 3 weeks, clergy and immigrants fasted to pressure lawmakers for pathway to citizenship

June 30, 2021

(RNS) — For about two years, Rosa Gutierrez Lopez avoided deportation by taking sanctuary in Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, residing in the Bethesda, Maryland, church just nine miles from the White House.

Now, Gutierrez Lopez — who is living independently with her children after she was granted a stay of removal — is urging lawmakers to enact policies that offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants like herself.

Lately, she’s been back in church — but this time, at Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C., where she has joined...

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Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County is making a difference

June 20, 2021

Washington Co., WI – Check out some of these Interfaith Client’s quotes:

“I would have had to forgo my medical treatments as there was no other alternative. Family and friends could not help anymore. The drivers are so caring and personal, it does not feel like I am imposing.”

“Your drivers are very nice. I am going blind and they make it a point to help me. I feel very safe with your drivers.”

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InterFaith Works To Host “United We End Racism”

June 21, 2021

InterFaith Works has a long tradition of bringing families together to address diversity and understanding, with the annual Duck Race to Beat Racism.  But this year seemed to call for more.  So they’ve added another dimension with United We End Racism.  It’s a family-friendly virtual event that combines the Duck Race and the Racial Justice Awards. 

The event celebrates diverse perspectives and cultures through words, music and dance.  InterFaith Works is encouraging the community to “Try 5,” through a simple guide of five ways you can work to ed racism...

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As Senate convenes hearing, more than 300 faith leaders declare support for DC statehood

June 22, 2021

WASHINGTON (RNS) — More than 300 faith leaders and heads of prominent religious organizations signed a letter sent to Senate leadership on Tuesday (June 22) backing the call to make Washington, D.C., a state, adding religious support to the growing Democratic-led effort.

“As clergy and faith leaders from across our nation, we write to express our strong support for granting the 700,000 residents of Washington, D.C. full equality in our nation,” the letter read. “Voting and representation is a sacred right that should not be denied. We support D.C. statehood, a cause that is...

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Interfaith service honors LGBTQ life, faith for Pride Month

June 18, 2021

CHICO — Open hands and doors welcomed in those celebrating Pride Month and their religious faith together, Thursday night.

First Christian Church Chico opened its doors in person for the first time for the Interfaith service, hosted by Chico Interfaith Alliance, Faith Lutheran Church and promoted by Stonewall Alliance Chico. Each year the service features different faith representatives and practices, with prayer and music, from many local queer and trans-affirming places of worship and spiritual leaders.

As they walked into the sanctuary, Susan and Shari Kimball...

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Enhancing Campus Interfaith Initiatives after BILI

June 8, 2021

Before the Boston Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI), I thought I had a good grasp as to how to facilitate interfaith dialogue and collaboration. This was mainly due to my role as an Interfaith Associate for Northeastern’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service (CSDS), helping plan interfaith dialogues and service events. While my role at CSDS is spiritually rewarding in the context of interfaith programming, BILI has given me a new lens on interfaith event planning, as well as techniques and methods to improve upon my interfaith leadership within and outside of CSDS.

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Senate Passes Bill To Protect Religious Expression For Student Athletes

June 11, 2021

A bill to protect a student's religious expression during school sporting events is on its way to the House after getting unanimous support in the Senate.

Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) says she introduced the bill, SB181, after learning about Noor Abukaram, who was disqualified from a cross country meet in 2019 for wearing a hijab running for Sylvania Northview High School.

Gavarone, while urging support for the bill, commended Abukaram on the Senate floor. 

Source: ...

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Spirituality underpins migrant activism in US borderlands

June 8, 2021

Alvaro Enciso plants three or four crosses each week in Arizona's desert borderlands, amid the yellow-blossomed prickly pear and whip-like ocotillo, in honor of migrants who died on the northbound trek.

Each colorful wooden memorial denotes where a set of bones or a decomposing body was found. Over eight years, the artist has marked more than 1,000 locations across public lands dotted with empty black plastic water jugs and camouflage backpacks beneath circling turkey vultures.

“Anything out here can kill you," Enciso said. "A blister, a snake, not enough water.”...

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Faith leaders concerned about Southern California temporary shelters for migrant children

April 30, 2021

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Faith leaders say they are concerned about new temporary shelters that have been set up at Southern California event centers to house unaccompanied migrant children.

As of Tuesday (April 26), more than 300 children were being housed in an emergency shelter at the Long Beach Convention Center in Los Angeles County. This site is expected to eventually accommodate up to 1,000 kids, according to the Long Beach Post News.

Advocacy groups have been awaiting the arrival of more than 2,000 migrant children at the Fairplex, the former fairgrounds in the L...

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Health experts, faith leaders and White House target the ‘movable’ on vaccines

May 27, 2021

(RNS) — Use your church van to deliver community members who need transportation to a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Canvass the neighborhood near your house of worship to encourage those who have not yet received a shot.

Tell people you’re vaccinated, and if you had to recover a bit from the second shot, share that too.

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Hundreds Run And Walk In Quincy To Stop The Stigma

May 16, 2021

QUINCY, Mass. (May 10, 2021) – Interfaith Social Services’ recent Stop the Stigma Virtual 5K raised a record-breaking $77,000 last month, with more than 400 participants walking and running to support those affected by mental illness and addiction. The annual race brings awareness to social stigmas and breaks down financial barriers surrounding mental health care. Proceeds benefit the New Directions Counseling Center at Interfaith.

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Interfaith efforts strained by Israeli-Palestinian violence

May 14, 2021

The escalation of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dismaying American Muslims and Jews who’ve been working to build bridges between their communities and are now struggling to quell fear and anger in their own circles.

“We’re heartbroken,” said Muslim attorney Atiya Aftab, the New Jersey-based co-founder of a major interfaith group, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. She added that the situation threatens to derail the group’s work.

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