Alaska Interfaith Power and Light Builds Coalitions to Save Our Common Home

By Robyn Lebron

URI North America is thrilled to welcome one of our newest Cooperation Circles. We know that we are stronger together!

 

ALASKA INTERFAITH POWER & LIGHT, Juneau, AK

Interfaith Power & Light responds to climate change by promoting energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the wise use of Earth’s resources. We want to educate people about global warming with a goal of helping the city and borough of Juneau adopt a plan to reduce its greenhouse gases by 80%.

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Alaska Interfaith Power and Light [AIPL] shows us that you can still make big things happen, even when you are small. With meager beginnings and the power of a dream, Travis Montgomery along with Uyanga “Angie” Mendbayar and a small group of residents in Juneau, Alaska set out to make a difference.

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My URI Trip to New York City: Visiting the UN, Meeting Fellow Leaders and Understanding the Global Power of Interfaith Work

Anjaana Bhairo traveled to the United Nations as part of a URI North America program to help connect young adult interfaith leaders to the United Nations and each other and to promote World Interfaith Harmony Week, International Day of Peace. Bhairo is a member of the University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel, a Cooperation Circle member of the United Religions Initiative.

By Anjaana Bhairo

It’s amazing to think that it has already been a week since I met some of the most amazing people in New York City! I have so many memories from this trip that it is going to be hard to summarize all the experiences, feelings and lessons I learned during my three days in New York City. However, I hope that this travel journal can at least share a snippet of how impactful, exciting and transformative the trip has been for me.

Thinking back now, I have realized that I have so many memories from this trip that were both amusing and inspiring. My favorite memory was watching Rico, a participant from Las Vegas, eat Indian food for first time. Another favorite of mine was observing Hassan, a participant from Tri-City Interfaith Council in the San Francisco area, experience snow for the first time. Both experiences reminded me of how each of us came from different walks of life, yet we all shared a similar vision and desire to achieve interfaith cooperation and acceptance. While, Rico’s and Hassan’s experience definitely left an imprint on my memory, a moment that I will always remember and cherish was learning about what each participant had accomplished back at home. Continue reading “My URI Trip to New York City: Visiting the UN, Meeting Fellow Leaders and Understanding the Global Power of Interfaith Work”

Kids4Peace Seattle Helps Show Religion As A Force For Good

Kids4peace seattle

This piece was written by URI North America Storytelling Intern Robyn Lebron. You can read more of her work here.

URI North America is thrilled to welcome one of our newest Cooperation Circles. We know that we are stronger together!

 

KIDS4PEACE, Seattle, WA

  • Contact Person: Jordan Goldwarg, Northwest Regional Director, info@k4p.org
  • Mission Statement: Transforming Divided Societies into Communities of Lasting Peace. Kids4Peace is a grassroots interfaith youth movement dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hopein Jerusalem and other divided societies around the world. To achieve this mission, our programs build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. [For complete Mission Statement visit “Mission” ]
  • Website: www.k4p.org/chapters/seattle/
  • Areas of Focus: Youth, youth leadership development, youth diversity education
  • Program Areas: K4P Seattle runs three programs that focus on four key areas: 1) Interfaith education 2) Dialogue & Leadership skills 3) Social change 4) Community building.

Continue reading “Kids4Peace Seattle Helps Show Religion As A Force For Good”

Martin Luther King Celebrations Bring Together People from All Walks of Life

By Robyn Lebron

As we ponder all the different messages that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left as his legacy, there is so much to learn from: his call for freedom and justice for all people, his comments about peaceful protests for a righteous cause, and his profound quote about unity. “We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

There were countless celebrations and activities honoring the different facets of Dr. King’s legacy on Martin Luther King Day this year, but we will focus on two events that focused on his call for unity.

The Interfaith Roundtable of Kaua’i (IROK), a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, commemorated with a celebration of cultural diversity with the theme One Garden, Many Flowers. Al Albergate, co-chair of IROK, shared that the planning team chose this theme because of a desire to focus on unity.

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Podcast features interview on the Golden Rule: “See the other as a gift.”

This month, the URI North America Affiliate Scarboro Mission officially closed its doors. But that does not mean that their work has stopped!

Scarboro Mission’s r incredible resource libraries on the Golden Rule and Interfaith Dialogue are still accessible via their website.

In addition, the former director of the Scarboro Mission, Paul McKenna, was recently interviewed on the Legacy Cafe Podcast where he shares about the iterations of the Golden Rule in different religious traditions, the spread of the Golden Rule poster around the world and the power of this ethical cornerstone to improve our world.

Click the play button below to listen to this fabulous interview!

Continue reading “Podcast features interview on the Golden Rule: “See the other as a gift.””

Honoring the Female Principle in the (Male-Female) Dance of Life

Every year, Unity and Diversity World Council, a URI Cooperation Circle based in Los Angeles, CA, holds an Interfaith Celebration of light.  This year, the theme for 2017 was “Honoring the Female Principle in the (Male-Female) Dance of Life.” The event was a full-fledged celebration with food, music, and speakers.  We were honored to send in the following reflection, written by URI North America Leadership Council members Adeola Fearon and Valeria Vergani, to be read that evening. To see more photos from the event, click here

The purpose of URI is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing  among all life in our Earth community. One of URIʼs principles states, “We practice equitable participation of women and men in all aspects of URI.” Why is this equitable participation of women and men fundamental to achieving URIʼs mission? There is a Divine balance given to humanity in both the male and the female. It is the glue for lifeʼs concert for the enrichment, empowerment and healing of community. Continue reading “Honoring the Female Principle in the (Male-Female) Dance of Life”

Rothko Chapel hosts conversation on “Concept of the Divine: A Navajo Perspective on Reverence for Life”

Suzanne Benally, the first Indigenous Executive Director of Cultural Survival. Photo Credit: Runaway Productions

In a recent event at the Rothko Chapel, a Cooperation Circle member of the United Religions Initiative, hosted Suzanne Benally, the first Indigenous Executive Director of Cultural Survival to share her personal spiritual journey as a Navajo and Santa Clara from New Mexico and how this shapes her understanding of the concept of the divine. Benally explored the meaning of the Navajo concept “Hozho,” which is centered on living responsibly in a web of relationships emphasizing reciprocity with and reverence for all beings.

Suzanne Benally is the first Indigenous Executive Director of Cultural Survival, an organization that advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience since 1972. She is Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa from New Mexico.

Continue reading “Rothko Chapel hosts conversation on “Concept of the Divine: A Navajo Perspective on Reverence for Life””

Joy to the World: Chair of URI North America Shares Holiday Greetings

Joy to the World! Joy to you and your families and friends!

As I sit with these words, I reflect on how much joy it gives me as a person and as the Chair of the North America Region to say these words to you! You are making the difference in our world in this time of great change. So, I say thank you for your caring and thoughtfulness!

In a compilation of Interfaith Dialogue Quotations sent to me by Paul McKenna, one of the quotes was by Cuban-American author, Anais Nin (1903-1971):

“Each friend represents a world to us, a world possibly not born until he or she arrives, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.’

Continue reading “Joy to the World: Chair of URI North America Shares Holiday Greetings”

Laughter, Learning and Listening: Stories from a Gathering of Southern Peacebuilders

laughter southeast URI gathering

Laughter, listening and learning — these are the three things that came flooding back to me as I looked at photos from the weekend  I spent at Kashi with peacebuilders from half a dozen southern states. This gathering was convened by the United Religions Initiative and brought together nearly 30 grassroots activists from  12 different URI member organizations, called Cooperation Circles, and from a handful of groups that were just finding out about URI. I invite you to come along as I tell you about our weekend of laughing, learning and listening!

 

Sari Heidenreich, North America Regional Coordinator

Laughing

As the weekend began, many of us were meeting each other for the first time and what brought us together was a shared passion for peacebuilding in the southeast United States.

From the very beginning, it was clear this group of people was special. There was so much laughter, and oh was it good! It was good for our souls. It opened our hearts to one another.  It set the stage for an environment in which learning was meaningful — but far from boring.

Continue reading “Laughter, Learning and Listening: Stories from a Gathering of Southern Peacebuilders”

URI members from US, Canada gather to reflect on 2017 and look forward to 2018!

With 2017 nearing an end, URI’s Executive Director and North American Regional Coordinator convened a call with URI members in Canada and the US to share highlights from 2017 and a few sneak peeks of what’s ahead in 2018.

A few of the highlights:

  • Globally:
    • URI launched a new website in 2017. Check it out at www.uri.org
    • 4 strategic planning working groups have been active globally, looking at growth and impact, capacity building and leadership, global connectivity and visibility and organization sustainability. You can learn more about their work here.
  • In Canada and the US:

To hear all of the updates, check out the full video below!

During the call, participants also moved into small group discussions, where they were invited to share what they were most proud of in 2017 and what they were most energized to do in 2018.

“It was absolutely delightful,” said Ardey Turner, who participated on the call and is also the chair of the URI North America Leadership Council.