SiVIC Response to Florida Shootings

site icon

– – – #NoMore

The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council joins with millions to voice our horror of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  We have said this so many times, along with our thoughts and prayers. People of faith or no faith need to come together to stop this senseless violence.  High school students are beginning to rally.  Religious communities and NGOs should do the same.  With money being cut from social services programs, perhaps we can make our voices heard above the sound of bullets and cries.  #NoMore deaths of innocent people, young or old, no matter what their race, color, creed, religion or no religion, sexual identity, or national origin.  Make some noise!

SiVIC Forum: Faith and Environment

Thanks to our panel at the SiVIC Forum on Sunday, January 14 at the Center for Spiritual Living. The panel was part of the ING Interfaith Speakers Bureau, and did a wonderful job of describing how each of their traditions encourage care for the world and ecological awareness. The panel included Henry Cornbleet (Jewish), Joy Aspenall (Christian), Azmat Tanauli (Muslim) and Madhu Kopalle (Hindu) along with moderator Kate Chance.

Panel for Environment and Religion

Coat and Soup Event a Great Success

Thanks to all those donors and volunteers who helped to make the Coat and Soup Ministry at Grace Baptist Church on December 10th this year such a great success. 70 volunteers on Friday and 124 on Saturday were able to make 870 warm coats available to the homeless, along with a meal. Among the volunteers were the members of the Teen Interfaith Council.

Teen Interfaith Council

More than 290 people were served and $5,342 was received in donations. The event was sponsored by Grace Baptist and Emmanuel Baptist Church, along with The One Warm Coat Organization, Cityteam Ministries, SJ/SV NAACP, Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, Pacifica Institute, SiVIC, the Catholic Diocese of San Jose, Shoe Palace and more.

Special thanks to our coordinator, Rev. Celinda Miranda, for her efforts in bringing the project together once again.

Thanks to Steve Herrera for video.

Bishop of San Jose responds to attack in Egypt

In November, Islamist militants exploded a bomb at a Sufi mosque in Egypt, killing over 300 people, including women and children. In response to that attack, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose wrote to the community:

Office of the Bishop
December 1,2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With this letter, I wish to add my voice and the voice of the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of San Jose in an expression of deepest sorrow over the brutal act of violence directed at our Sufi brothers and sisters in Egypt.

We live in a time of brutality and undeniable disregard for human life, yet it is in times such as this that the measure of our faith is tried and tested. Although I am not unfamiliar with violence and its deep effect on the families of its victims, I cannot even imagine the anguish you are experiencing. At the same time, over the years my faith has helped me recognize the true power that comes to life when we are able to respond to hate with love and compassion.

The words of the poet, Rumi, came to mind, and have echoed in my heart for the past few days:

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place. 

It is my prayer that we may stand in solidarity with the Sufi community to express our sorrow and acknowledge their – and our – pain. Be assured of my own renewed commitment to end intolerance. Be also assured that I will ask my priests to offer prayers for the Sufi community and for all religious minorities in Egypt so that through acts of solidarity and love, the Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Sufi communities might work together to end intolerance and violence, both here and abroad.

With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Sincerely yours,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose

See original letter: McGrath letter re: Sufis

SiVIC Response to Sutherland Springs Mass Shootings

SiVIC joins with faith communities around the Bay Area who are grieving with the residents of Sutherland Springs, where a sacred space became the site of the deadliest mass shooting at a church in modern American history.   Whether it’s a small Baptist church in rural Texas, or any house of prayer across the country that becomes a place of violence and insecurity, we all feel more vulnerable and unsafe. 


While our hearts are pained, we are strengthened by our local community’s efforts to increase community safety.  Two weeks ago, the San Jose City Council approved a measure that requires gun owners to secure their firearms when they are not at home.  This ordinance was supported by the Safe Cities Coalition which is part of PACT.   Safe Cities Coalition’s mission is “answering the call to take responsibility for our children and neighbors to ensure that all are safe from gun violence.”  Endorsers of this call among the faith community include Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community, Social Justice Council, First Unitarian Church of San Jose, Interfaith Peace Coalition, Women of Shir Hadash Sisterhood, Beth Am Women, Los Altos United Methodist Church, Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, Reverend Nancy Palmer Jones/San Jose First Unitarian Church, Rowan Fairgrove/Own Moon/Northern California Local Council/Covenant of the Goddess, Rabbis Against Gun Violence.


We share the statement issued by the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (


— – The Center for Spiritual Enlightenment joins with other faith communities to pray for the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas following the recent attack at First Baptist Church.

We extend our hearts and prayers, with compassion, for people everywhere who experience grief and loss as a result of violence. May we all experience peace and healing through sharing loving kindness.

We also are sharing the following press release issued by the Evergreen Islamic Center.  

PRESS RELEASE – Sunday, November 5, 2017

2486 Ruby Avenue, San Jose, CA 95148


— Horrific shooting in Texas. We must collectively work to banish the madness of gun culture in America. —

Peaceful worshipers gathered at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, this morning to sing the praise of the Creator when a homicidal gunman walked in and opened fire, killing at least 26 of our fellow-Americans and injuring at least 20 more. We are horrified by this cold-blooded massacre, and while we offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, we recognize how inadequate this gesture has become. We join millions of our fellow-Americans in calling for a strict gun control policy to stop the senseless deaths of innocent Americans that keep occurring with sickening frequency in our country. The times demand a new interpretation of the Second Amendment. There is enough consensus to defeat the gun lobby and the cowardly lawmakers beholden to the NRA. Meanwhile we, members of the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, CA, urge Muslims in and around the San Antonio area in Texas to donate blood for the injured in the deadly shooting today and to bond in solidarity with the families who lost their loved ones. Amen.


Hasan Zillur Rahim
Director of Media Outreach
Evergreen Islamic Center


At this time of loss and sadness, we have deep appreciation for the substantive efforts of the faith community.

SiVIC Executive Board

SiVIC Newsletter- September 2017

Silicon Valley Interreligious CouncilThe newsletter for September 2017 includes 11 Days of Global Unity, the 2017 SiVIC Assembly and Forum, International Day of Peace, Meet a Muslim, Walk to Feed the Hungry, and our Multifaith calendar of religious observances and listing of interfaith opportunities.

See the September issue here.

Subscribe to the newsletter.

SiVIC Annual Assembly and Forum

Assembly 2017Join us for a celebration of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and our work to promote a more just and compassionate community. Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors endorsed the Charter for Compassion and declared our county to be “Compassionate Santa Clara County.” What would a compassionate county look like? Hear a panel discussion with community leaders, governmental officials, and religious leaders engage the theme. We’ll also have a guest choir, awards honoring those people who have helped make SiVIC what it is today and the chance to meet people from across the religious spectrum of Silicon Valley.

Please RSVP for the SiVIC Assembly 2017 and Forum, so that we can accommodate all attendees.

For any questions or further information, please contact Rev. Joy-Ellen Lipsky at

More details here.