Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) builds interreligious harmony and understanding so as to promote a just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.
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On Recent Attacks on Muslims and Hindus
February 15, 2015
A week ago, people around the world were celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week, a week dedicated to building peaceful relationships among the diverse religious communities of the world. SiVIC chose to observe that week with efforts to build compassion. We encouraged people in our community to reach out to one another across boundaries that separate us from each other, and celebrated those compassionate actions, as part of SiVIC's commitment to build a more just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.
So it is that we are especially stunned and saddened by the senseless shootings in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and by the persistent negative depictions of Islam and attacks on Muslims, both verbal and physical. We are grieved by the police beating of an elderly Indian man in Alabama, because he “looked black.” Nearly every day comes world of yet another act of violence, fueled by hatred of those who are marked as different.
The first week of February each year is designated as World Interfaith Harmony Week, “when all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement they are.” Its goals are to highlight Love of God and Love of the Neighbor and/or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor. Here are eight things you can do during this week.
Inspired by 1 Billion Acts of Peace, a global initiative seeking to record an unprecedented number of acts of kindness and altruism, coupled with the challenge put forth by Compassion Games International to inspire compassionate competition through a collaborative and cooperative model, a 3 part initiative emerged:
- "Like" the Global March for Humanity page on Facebook. Our goal is a million people
- Encouraging marches, flash mobs, candle lightings (limited only by your creativity) and acts of compassion during World Interfaith Harmony Week (February 1-7)
- Check the Global March website for more information and to report what's happening
Compassion Games Challenge for World Interfaith Harmony Week
Every year the first week of February has been designated by the United Nations since 2010 as a week to showcase and celebrate the ongoing work of interreligious harmony and peacemaking. Groups and individuals are encouraged to sponsor events during this week and to share the information on the World Interfaith Harmony Week website.
This year, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC), a URI Cooperation Circle, is partnering with the Compassion Games' Interfaith League to bring the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week Coopetition to life. SiVIC is participating in the Compassion Games and challenges all URI CC's to join them to be the most compassionate URI Cooperation Circle...... Game On!
SiVIC Becomes a Partner of the Charter for Compassion
SiVIC is now a partner in the network of "Compassionate Communities" called together by the Charter for Compassion. In their words, "We envision a richly diverse 'network of networks,' people from every sector—business, healthcare, education, government, faith and interfaith, peace and non-violence, the arts, and those working to preserve the environment—who will bring compassion to everything they do, and who will take responsibility for igniting the compassion of the general community to care for each other and for the well-being of all members of the community from birth through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to old age and death." Watch for ways that you can get involved in working to make Silicon Valley "a more just and compassionate society."
12th Annual Coat Giveaway Saturday, December 13
We Need Your Help!! A Collaborative Effort Sponsored by the Emmanuel Baptist Church Music & Arts Ministry In partnership with Grace Baptist Church to provide warm coats, other vital supplies and a warm meal to the poor in San Jose. Find out how...
Join SiVIC, Carry the Vision, and other community groups in a "coopetition" to make Silicon Valley a more compassionate society!
You are invited to participate in the 2014 Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. Challenge and inspire your neighbors to make our community a safer, kinder, more just and better place to live by participating in the Compassion Games! Find out how...
On the Gaza Conflict
July 22, 2014
... Regardless of our individual stances, we share a recognition of our common humanity and a conviction that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must cease, that there is no violent solution to that conflict, that all human life is valued, and that all parties must cooperate to achieve a just and lasting peace on behalf of God’s children who reside in the land that many of us call holy.
Join the Silicon Valley Interfaith Book Club!
SiVIC has created a new opportunity for those interested in reading together with people of differing religious traditions. Find out how you can take part.
Mitty Students Visit Turkey
In a cooperative effort between Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose and the Pacifica Institute, a group of 14 students from Mitty traveled to Turkey, where they learned about interfaith dialogue and appreciation of religious differences, and dissolved their stereotypes about Muslims. Here are some of their remarks:
See our listing of upcoming interreligious opportunities in the South Bay.
Sustainable, Just and Healthy Food Campaign
Shir Hadash already does a lot to support eating that is healthy and socially responsible. Within each of the four areas of the SiViC pledge, there are multiple options, and a congregation chooses one from each area to constitute its pledge. We found that our existing activities already met at least one option in each area. We made a conscious decision to pick another pledge activity in each area, one that we did not already do, to ensure that our pledge was a motivation for continuing to improve what we do – to paraphrase Lo Alecha from Pirke Avot, we must continue to improve upon the work we are doing. Read more . . .
Join congregations across Silicon Valley in making a pledge to better connect our food choices with our values. Faith institutions are becoming the front lines of health and sustainability movements, for many reasons. We are communities of people that care deeply about each other and about our responsibilities as stewards of the earth. We gather regularly for celebrations, meetings and rituals which involve food. We can become the force that turns around the obesity epidemic and creates the cultural shift needed to make our food system more sustainable. Find out how . . .
Our Religious Neighbor Next Door: Photo Project
Today's Silicon Valley is home to communities from virtually all of the world's religions. Indigenous peoples, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Jains, Baha'i, Jews, Mormons, Sikhs, and many others have put down roots here, making our region a microcosm of the globe's diverse religious landscape.
This year, SiVIC invited local congregations and organizations to submit photos that capture their distinctive identities. The resulting collection – or better, collective snapshot of religion in the Valley in 2012 – made its debut at the closing event for this year's Silicon Valley Reads. Eventually it will be posted online. Although the original deadline is now past, we still invite communities to participate in expanding the exhibit.
Find out more . . .
Several members of the SiVIC board attended the "Bathing the Buddha" ceremony at the Zen Center of Sunnyvale; Chair Andrew Kille and Outreach coordinator Diane Fisher were invited to speak at the inclusive interfaith service.
The Interreligious Leaders Forum met at the Jain Center of Northern California and featured a discussion on "Religious Education and Middle Schools," with Samir Kalra of the Hindu-American Foundation and SiVIC Board member Garth Pickett, interfaith coordinator for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in San Jose.
The second Interreligious Leaders Forum met at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, and featured SiVIC Board member Hank Millstein on the topic of "Religion and Empire."
The Interreligious Leaders Forum was restarted. The session on "End of Life and Religious Faith" featured Prof. Dale Larson of the Counseling and Education Department at Santa Clara University, and Tandy Beal, producer of “Here After Here,” an exploration of what happens after death which was presented at SCU.
SiVIC began an Interfaith Book Club on Goodreads. The group is open to any interested people. To join, simply go to the Club Page, and click the button "Join Group."
SiVIC became a Cooperating Circle of the United Religions Initiative (URI), a global network of people committed to "promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings."
The Dalai Lama visited Santa Clara University and many SiVIC members were involved in the sessions.
Video of the sessions is available online.
See more of the activities of SiVIC on our News page.
SiVIC emerged from discussions among a varied coalition of religious communities, non-profit agencies, educational institutions, and governmental offices in Santa Clara County that has been meeting since the beginning of 2010. Download our brochure.
We invite you to become a part of creating this new interreligious network!
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