On Bomb Threats at Bay Area Jewish Schools

The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council joins with other interfaith councils around the Bay Area in condemning the bomb threats that were directed at two Bay Area Jewish schools– one in Marin County and the other in San Mateo- that were part of a nation-wide series of threats that included school across the country.
     Fortunately, the robo-call threats proved to be a hoax, but we want to make it clear that we stand together with our Jewish brothers and sisters and that any attack on any religious community in our midst is unacceptable.
     On January 19th, SiVIC sponsored a Forum on Religious Liberty, highlighting the importance of religious freedom not only for religious practice, but for the health of a democracy and the strength of our economy. We noted that it is vital that we all be ready to defend religious freedom not only for ourselves and our own traditions, but for each other. This is the promise and the possibility of the American vision.

The San Francisco Interfaith Council released this message:
 January 18, 2017, San Francisco — The San Francisco  Interfaith Council was deeply disturbed and saddened to learn today that our Bay Area Jewish community is the latest Jewish community around the nation to receive bomb threats.  This appears to be part of a rash of bomb threats made against 28 Jewish community centers and other Jewish organizations in 17 states in recent days.  On Wednesday morning, the Jewish Community Center of Marin and the Wornick Jewish Day School, both institutions that receive and educate hundreds of young children every day, were evacuated after receiving bomb threats.  “We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and will not allow them to feel intimidated or isolated.  We are here to lend moral support, and to let the Jewish community know it is far from alone; it is an important and valued component of our multi-faith and multi-cultural society,” said Michael Pappas, Executive Director, of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
The San Francisco Interfaith Council represents 800 congregations in the City and County of San Francisco, their respective judicatories, sectarian educational and healthcare institutions, and faith-based social service agencies.  Chair of the Board, G.L. Hodge, stated “Two days ago, we gathered thousands of people of faith and conscience from around the Bay Area in a march and interfaith service to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  The outpouring of mutual interfaith support stands in sharp contrast to these cowardly acts of intimidation against the Jewish community and the division they seek to sow.  In the spirit of all Dr. King stood for and taught us, we come together to support one another, and will support the Jewish community.”

Another Successful Coat Ministry!

Coat Ministry 2016 volunteersWe would like to thank the community for great generosity towards the 14th Annual Coat and Soup Giveaway. Through this collaborative effort with Emmanuel Baptist Church, Grace Baptist Church, SiVIC and several partners of many faiths, we received over 767 coats, served over 343 families/people, raised $3,100, had 216 volunteers assist us both days, had 23 people receive blood pressure checks, 10 received flu shots, 6 showered, and 12 signed up for food.

Coat Ministry 2016Praise God! We had another diverse group of donors and volunteers that came together to serve the community. All of the efforts and donations brought forth a diverse community presence represented by various inter-faith partnerships, college and community fraternal and sorority organizations, community businesses, and other civic and social organizations. We had the Foothill Community Health Center provide the blood pressure checks and had other community service agencies share their community resources for the participants.

Special thanks to SiVIC Board member Rev. Celinda Miranda, who served as primary organizer for the effort.

Coat Ministry 2016

Coat Ministry 2016 Coat Ministry 2016- Pacifica volunteers

Denouncing Hate That Targets Religion

SF Bay Area Faith Leaders Denounce Incidents of Hate Targeting Religion
December 1, 2016

News of a hateful letter received by the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose and at least five other mosques is the most recent of an increasing number of incidents targeting people of different religions across the country.

As religious leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area, we cherish the rich diversity of religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions that comprise the mosaic that is America. Our diversity is a resource rather than a barrier to the democratic nation that we seek to be. Incidents of hate, such as this, seek to dehumanize “the other” and contradict the most basic principles common to our age-old faith teachings and those religious liberties enshrined in the American Constitution.

The rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in our country, catalyzed in part by the divisive rhetoric of the current political climate, is of great concern to all who seek cohesive and peaceful communities. When any one religion comes under attack, all religions come under attack. Therefore, we unite in condemning such acts. We stand together to denounce this and all acts that seek to marginalize and target entire faith communities.

G.L. Hodge, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council

Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, SF Muslim Community Center
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Church
Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
The Rev. Sally Bingham, Canon for the Environment, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President, SF Branch-NAACP
Rev. Angela Brown, JD, Associate Pastor, GLIDE
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., Interim Senior Pastor, GLIDE
Rev. John Buehrens, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF Ken Chambers, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Alameda County
Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco
Linda L. Crawford, Executive Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Sister Chandrika Desai, Director, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, SF
Pastor Elizabeth Ekdale, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
Maha Elgenaidi, Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Networks Group (ING)
Fred Fielding, Board President, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director, No. California Board of Rabbis
Julie Greenfield, Facilitator, Eden Area Interfaith Council
Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Sari Heidenreich, Regional Coordinator, URI North America
David Hoffman, Chair, Interfaith Council of Sonoma County
Rev. Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA
Rev. Theon Johnson, III, Associate Pastor, GLIDE
Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice, Archdiocese of San Francisco
The Rev. Victor Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director, United Religions Initiative
Rev. D. Andrew Kille, Chair, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
Rev. Deborah Lee, United Church of Christ, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Dr. James McCray, Jr., Tabernacle Community Development Corp.
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
Abby Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Rev. Scott Quinn, Acting Director, Marin Interfaith Council
Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Sherith Israel
Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, Superintendent, Bridges District, CA-NV Conference-UMC
Moina Shaiq, President, Tri City Interfaith Council
Rita Shimmin, Executive Director, GLIDE
Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
Rev. John Weems, Pastor & Head of Staff, Calvary Presbyterian Church
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Sherith Israel

For additional information, please contact Michael G. Pappas at (415) 425-9631.

Area Thanksgiving Celebrations

Giving thanks is one of the key values shared by most religious traditions, and thus it is no surprise that the Thanksgiving holiday has long been an occasion for people of differing faiths and practices to come together in our communities.

Here is a list of opportunities for you to join interfaith services around our area (click on links for more details):

Friday, November 18, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Pacifica Institute Annual Thanksgiving Dinner 2016
Pacifica Institute, Silicon Valley Chapter
1257 Tasman Dr, Unit B, Sunnyvale, CA

Sunday, November 20, 6:30 pm
2nd Annual San Jose Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Temple Emanu-El
1010 University Ave., San Jose 95126

Sunday, November 20, 7:00 pm
Palo Alto MultiFaith Thanksgiving Celebration
First Church of Christ, Scientist
3045 Cowper, Palo Alto 94306

Monday, November 21, 7:30 pm
Embracing Compassion
St. Joseph Catholic Church
43148 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539

Tuesday November 22, 7:30 pm
Los Gatos Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Los Gatos United Methodist Church, 111 Church Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Thursday November 24, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
51st Annual Saratoga Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Congregation Beth David, 19700 Prospect Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070

After the election- a recommitment

The purpose of Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) is to build interreligious harmony and understanding so as to promote a just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.

In light of that purpose, we have been concerned over the past months with campaign rhetoric and candidate statements that seemed intended to inflame differences between Americans of differing backgrounds, religions, ethnicity, social and economic status. These have particularly singled out Muslims and immigrant people as targets for suspicion and hostility, but have also disrespected women and given rise to increased acts of antisemitism and violence.

Following the election, guided by our code of conduct, we recommit ourselves to the never-ending task of strengthening connections between diverse people, nurturing respect and understanding across boundaries that might seek to separate us from each other, and defending freedom of religious belief and practice for all.

Donations needed: Coat & Soup Ministry

We Need Your Help!!

coat ministry Coat & Soup Ministry

Saturday, December 10, 2016, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Grace Baptist Church
484 E. San Fernando St. ~ San José, CA 95112

A Collaborative Effort Sponsored by:
Emmanuel Baptist Church, Grace Baptist Church, The One Warm Coat Organization, City Team Ministries, NAACP, Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, SiVIC, and many more!

In 2015, we:

  • received over 800 coats
  • raised $5,400
  • had 342 volunteers assist us both days
  • served over 450 families (at two giveaways), and
  • had 92 people receive blood pressure and/or dentist checks.

 What donations are needed?

  • COATS (New or *slightly* used) – All Sizes
  • New Items (All Sizes)
    Socks, scarves, hats, gloves, tents, blankets, sleeping bags, underwear
  • Hygiene Kits (Goal: 400 kits)
    Toothbrushes, mouthwash, razors, toilet paper, soap, lotion, combs, Kleenex, shampoo, conditioner, chapstick, sanitary napkins

Where do I bring my donations?

Emmanuel Family Life Center – Donation Bins
467 N. White Road ~ San José, CA 95127

Grace Baptist Church – Donation Bins
484 E. San Fernando St. ~ San José, CA 95112

Accepting donations until Friday, 12/09/16

How can I volunteer?

Please contact Rev. Celinda Miranda at celindam@hotmail.com

Download a flyer to share with your congregation: coatgiveaway2016


Compassion Games at Luna Park Chalk Festival

chalkart2016SiVIC and the Compassion Games got some sidewalk time at the Luna Park Chalk Festival in Backesto Park in San Jose on Saturday. Many thanks to Joy-Ellen Lipsky and Rowan Fairgrove (with an assist by Darren), who created the piece.

Check the Compassionate Silicon Valley page for information on the Compassion Games and more events this week.

Multifaith Peace Walk and Picnic

Photos from the Multifaith Peace Walk and Picnic held in Palo Alto on September 11, 2016.

Hundreds of people walked from Congregation Etz Chayim to Mitchell Park, passing by University AME Zion Church and Our Lady of the Rosary Church along the way. At the park, they enjoyed a picnic and a program featuring music, multifaith prayers, and words from Palo Alto Mayor Patrick Burk and California 25th District Assemblymember Kansen Chu.

Read more at Palo Alto Online.