Below are speakers and musicians from a broad diversity of faith traditions that are a part of our Council or known by us. We encourage each of our 107 member congregations, monastaries and agencies to host an Interfaith event or program each year, and this is a great place to start to explore ideas. Some of them will ask for an honorarium and others are willing to share their time to be able to share their books or music.
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council
Will continues to share in many faith communities the work of the Council, our Social Justice Alliance (including the Winter Nights Shelter), and the expanding advocacy work of the Multi-Faith ACTION Coalition. Will keeps up with the pulse of the needs of the county and helps network those who seek to address those needs. Will has expertise in many fields, including environmental theology, Interfaith prayer, dialogue, education and peacemaking.
Thomas P. Bonacci C.P. is the Interfaith Peace Project’s Executive Director. Tom offers friendly and hospitable programs to help participants cope with inherited stereotypes, innocent misunderstandings, embarrassing questions or general knowledge of the many faith traditions of humankind. Tom was ordained in 1972 for the Passionist Religious Order of the Roman Catholic Church, and is recognized for his scriptural scholarship.
One of Tom’s dreams is The Intrafaith Project , involving conversations, projects and experiments exploring the reality and possibility for the practice and study of interfaith spirituality.
“A man of vision, Tom’s programs are less about learning of differences and similarities in religions, and more about understanding, respecting and connecting to all humankind.” — George D’Angelo, Ph.D., Founder, UN International Day of Peace Vigil.
Contact Fr. Tom at (925) 325-0144 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Interfaith Center & Library 4740 Matterhorn Way Antioch, Ca 94531 open Wednesdays 11-2 pm Open anytime by appointment.
Marty Brounstein, author of “Two Among the Righteous Few” is available to come to your congregation, Interfaith Council, or organization to share this story of courage and faith. This is the story of a Christian couple, Frans and Mien Wijnakker, who saved the lives of at least two dozen Jews during World War II and the Holocaust. This true and remarkable story has a meaningful personal connection as well, as Marty explains in his engaging book talks. www.MartyABrounstein.com or 650.341.8001.
Doug describes this as “a book to assist in the expansion of your religious and spiritual thinking… and then understanding.” How much of your religious training came between the ages of eight to fifteen? How certain of those beliefs are you today? The Man Who Sent the Magi refers to the ancient Persian prophet Zoroaster, referred to in the book by His given name Zarathustra, whose prophesies were responsible for the journey of the Magi, three high priests and possibly kings who journeyed over a thousand miles to gift, worship and honor the birth of infant, Jesus.
Check out the link below for more information about the book, or to invite Douglas to come to your community to speak about it. http://www.drkworks.com. To donate to the Interfaith Council follow this link, or mail or deliver your check (please arrange a time to pick it up by emailing Jessica Natal at email@example.com). Please add around $5 if you can’t pick up the book at the office and would like it mailed.
We appreciated Doug’s generosity and you will love this exploration of the history of Persia and Zarathutra.
This is a thought-provoking work worthy of your time. —-Christopher Nauer, Pastoral Associate at St. Perpetua Catholic Church, Lafayette, CA
This is one man s journey beyond the crossroads where Matthew s birth narrative and the three Persian visitors meet. It is a journey that leads the reader into a lost story that seems strangely familiar. —-Rev. Dan Senter, ELCA Pastor of Our Saviour s Lutheran Church, Lafayette, CA
About the Author
Douglas R. Krotz is a lifelong student of comparative religion, but not a clergyman from the Judaic, Christian or Zarathustrian religions. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Geology, and a minor in Physics. He spent much of his life as the president of a delivery service (a story in itself). One of his hobbies for over fifty years has been the study, comparison and analysis of various religions and their societal influences.
Copies of his book are available through the Interfaith Council office with proceeds going to the Council. Contact Jessica Natal at 925-933-6030 for more information.
Dr. Amer Araim lives in Walnut Creek and welcomes your invitation to discuss Islam and answer your questions. His new book “Understanding Islam: Fifty Questions” is available at Amazon.com
“Dignified and eloquent, Araim is an advocate of interfaith dialogue and his goals are to share with his audience the roots of his faith, bringing out what they have in common, leading to an audience understanding that American Muslims are no different than themselves.”
– Sophie Braccini, Lamorinda Weekly, March 20, 2011
“In his book Dr. Amer Araim strives to clear up misconceptions of Islam.”
– Contra Costa Times, December 30, 2010.
Dr. Araim is President of the Islamic Community Outreach of California, Muslim Imam and member of the Executive Committee of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. He is also Adjunct Professor at Diablo Valley College and former Secretary of the United Nations Special Committees against Apartheid and on Decolonization.
For information or to arrange presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 925.934.1794 or PO Box 21, Walnut Creek, California 94597. Http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Islam-Amer-Salih-Araim/dp/0974554073 Copies of his book are available through the Interfaith Council office with proceeds going to the Council. Contact Jessica Natal at 925-933-6030 for more information.
The Quran: With or Against the Bible?
A Topic-by-Topic Review for the Investigative Mind
The answer to the questions you were too afraid to ask.
Watch the video trailer: Click here
To ask Dr. Ejaz to come speak at your congregation or circle, please email him here.
No other book in the recent past has generated so much attention as the Holy Quran. Religion seems to have once again taken a prominent role in our society, especially in politics. The scriptures remain arcane to an average person and there are many mis conceptions and myths surrounding the teachings of the Scriptures. Moreover, much of the available comparative literature tends to glorify one scripture, while being critical of the other.
Breaking the trend, author Dr. Ejaz Naqvi (also a member of the Executive Committee of the ICCCC) provides a non-polemical and objective, topic-by-topic review of the two most read books in the world-the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran. Dispelling major myths, The Quran: With or Against the Bible? systematically analyzes the similarities in the paths of guidance the two scriptures have bestowed upon mankind, though the key differences are also outlined. The thematic review of the Scriptures and comparison with a focus on finding the similarities, all presented in a single volume, make this book unique among the available literature on religion.
Many provocative questions are asked throughout the book. Do the Quran and the Bible teach a different set of ethics? Is the “God of the Quran” the same as “the God of the Bible”? What does the Quran really teach about the interfaith dialogue? Does the Quran render women as second-class citizens? Do the Quran and the Bible promote violence or peace? What does the Quran teach about Jihad? The emphasis is on the actual quotes from the Quran and the Bible, all the while limiting a commentary. Order on line: www.ejaznaqvi.com
Prabha Duneja, founder and president of the Geeta Society, is also an active member of the Tri-Valley Interfaith Council, Women’s Federation for World Peace, and the United Nations Association USA. She is also the chairwoman of the Women’s Interfaith Circle of Service/CC-URI. Mrs. Duneja is a recipient of the Global Citizen award, given by UNA-USA East Bay, for her tireless efforts on behalf of schools and orphanages in India and Mozambique. She travels extensively and is a frequent speaker at the Commonwealth Club San Francisco, the Parliament of World’s Religions, schools, universities, temples, churches, mosques, yoga retreats, and religious conferences.
Mrs. Duneja, a graduate from the Sanskrit University of Kurukshetra, is a well-known Vedic scholar and a devotee of Lord Krishna. She is the author of numerous books and has also recorded several series of lectures on religion, philosophy, the Bhagawad Geeta, the Secret Powers of mantra, the mysteries of mind and body, and the science of yoga & meditation. Her monumental work The Legacy of Yoga in Bhagawad Geeta has created a powerful impact in the Western literary world.
She provides religious and spiritual services to the community, and also gives workshops on the science of yoga and mediation across the nation.
Her latest book is named “HINDUISM – SCRIPTURES AND PRACTICES”
The reader of Hinduism—Scriptures & Practices is in for a real joy. For many decades Prabha Duneja has been foremost among that rare sort of deeply devoted religious practitioners who also direct an equal share of their attention to interpreting their tradition to those outside the fold. For a dozen-plus years my own students at Saint Mary’s College of California have been privileged to learn about Hinduism from Prabha, either directly from her when she has visited my classroom or when we have met her at a temple, or by means of her written work, most notably until now her volume The Legacy of Yoga in Bhagawad Geeta, which provides not only a fresh translation of the Geeta but also a deeply thoughtful commentary on it.
In all of her work, Duneja writes with the assurance of one who has not only spent decades translating sacred Hindu texts from Sanskrit into English or an equal number of years interpreting Hindu rituals and practice for those uniformed about them, but as one who understands the practice and study of Hinduism by having spent a lifetime immersed in it. In this volume, Duneja makes a unique contribution by presenting Hinduism not merely as either an ancient set of ethical codes of conduct or as a timeless philosophical outlook but, rather, as a vibrant, living tradition in which life’s greatest questions and most profound meanings may be worked out.
While cognizant of the many other scholarly works already on the shelf, Duneja’s voice stands out among them. This is not a volume for those interested in picking apart Hindu Scripture in its finest grammatical details. Those sorts of books already exist. Neither is this an arms-length, academic interrogation of traditions that analyzes the very life out of them. Rather, Hinduism—Scriptures & Practices makes it greatest contribution by extolling the virtues of those scriptures and explaining their application to daily life. This volume presents an informed and intelligent interpretation of the spiritual realities resident within Hindu Scripture and practices, allowing readers to experience firsthand how a Hindu woman understands them. In an age when tradition is often dismissed as simply “myth” or “legend,” Duneja reminds us of the greater truths and essential life lessons at the very core of this tradition.
Duneja is to be rightly praised for her careful explication of Hindu beliefs and practices, which those of us raised beyond their scope often find bewildering. Whether explaining the nature of the divine, the 16 Samskaras, or discussing any number of festivals, Duneja always has her sights trained on her audience and thoughtfully delivers uniformly insightful explanations. This is a volume written for those in need of careful reflection and explanation from the inside, one that doesn’t devolve into the tedious and unimportant distinctions that are often drawn in the scholar’s study, and obscure the larger truths of Hinduism.
It is a great pleasure to recommend this work. Persons seeking a Hindu interpretation of Hinduism will be immeasurably enriched by reading it, and all persons will be challenged to live more thoughtful lives by thoughtfully examining its pages.
Norris W. Palmer, PhD
Professor, Theology & Religious Studies
Saint Mary’s College of California
Frank Talk with Dr. Ejaz on Toginet radio interviewed Professor John Esposito on Thursday March 21, 2013. You can now listen to it on the podcast. Dr. Esposito is a professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He is written over 25 books on various topics on religion, Islam, civilization and has served on the editorial board of numerous prestigious journals. He has appeared on numerous newspaper and media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Times, CNN, ABC Nightline, CBS, NBC and BBC.
You can download the podcast by following the following link. http://toginet.com/shows/franktalkwithdrejaz
To listen to the interview, simply hit the “play” button on the podcast player under the title that bears your name (to the right of my picture).
To download the MP3 version, click on the title of the show – A chat with Dr. John Esposito (listed under “Recent Shows”). Dr. Naqvi has also interviewed our Interim Executive Director, Rev. Will McGarvey, Board Co-Chair Rev. Leslie Takahashi-Morris, and our friend David Marshak of Congregation B’nai Shalom.
Board Member Dr. Ejaz Naqvi’s interview with Bishop Swing. The podcast can be found at: http://toginet.com/shows/franktalkwithdrejaz
To listen to the interview, simply hit the “play” button on the podcast player under the title that bears his name (to the right of my picture).
To download the MP3 version, click on the title of the show – “A chat with Bishop Swing” (listed under “Recent Shows”).
Interfaith Youth Speakers Panel Description and Overview:
URI’s Youth Speakers Program is an innovative, new approach which brings genuine personal narratives into the classroom setting and opens up peer-to-peer conversations about important topics such as bullying, religious discrimination, and identity issues.
Student speakers will have the opportunity to be a part of a like-minded cohort of young people developing their oral histories and being empowered to share their stories with the larger community. Participating students will have the unique opportunity to be trained in leadership skills and public speaking in order to add a personal perspective to widespread social issues.
Speakers will travel around the Bay Area to give presentations in high schools and community organizations. Students will be paid for each speaking engagement in which they participate.
Goals of the Panel:
Includes a 38-page Action-Oriented Reader’s Guide to use in groups, or by individuals.
September Greetings–I’m thrilled to let you know that a high point this summer was learning that Hope into Practice won the Association for Women in Psychology 2014 Jewish Caucus Award for Scholarship!
Very validating and exciting for me…and this means I’ll be giving an address at their March 2015 Conference in San Francisco, whose theme is Feminism & Transformative Justice. Plus since i last wrote, my book also received Honorable Mention for Nonfiction at the New York Book Festival.
For Bay Area folks, I’d love to see you at my event September 10 at the University of San Francisco, 5:30pm, Fromm Hall, 115 (Berman Room) 2130 Fulton Street. For info, email@example.com or Theology and Religious Studies Department, (415) 422-6601.
Also, I’m now booking events for fall, winter, and spring, nationally and locally. This book is about human liberation, after all, and audiences from a wide variety of backgrounds are relating to it nationwide. I’d LOVE to come to your university, synagogue, activist group, Women’s Studies or Jewish Studies department or center, house party, church, book club or book fair, or conference. Contact me at pennyrosenwasser.com or just reply to this email.
More big news is that the Hope Into Practice E-BOOK is coming — very soon! And you can hear a recent radio interview with me on the “Spirit in Action” show on Northern Spirit Radio. If you post comments on the website, it gives the interview and book more visibility.
You can order your copy of Hope Into Practice now by visiting either of these sites: www.akpress.org OR www.amazon.com. Or please ask your bookstore or library to order it, and to carry it. And if you’ve read and liked it, please let your peeps know — and write a brief review on Amazon, Thank you!
Anchored in Jewish ethical tradition, community-building, and an activist’s call to repair the world, Hope into Practice is about human liberation, linking personal healing with activism for justice. It also asks Jewish women to love ourselves enough to face our fears without acting on them—to free ourselves of internalized anti-Semitism, expanding our sense of possibility, empowering our activism. This book brings to life an irresistible blend of healing stories, fascinating history, and a fair-minded perspective on Israel-Palestine. Includes action-oriented Reader’s Guide. www.pennyrosenwasser.com
What some amazing folks have said about Hope into Practice…
I felt that she was writing to me and my cohort of young adult, Jewish female community organizers and activists …[The book’s] pages are saturated with Rosenwasser’s brilliant thinking and unwavering love for the Jewish people… I was brought to tears more than once…Hope into Practice is an absolutely inspiring call to action. Because, if not together, how?”
–Liz Manlin, Jewish Currents.org
California Council of Churches Covered CA
Health Care Education Bay Area Events: The “Covered California” health exchange will soon be operational, and the California Council of Churches is one of the 48 recipients of major grant funding to help you, your congregational members, communities that you serve, your friends and family all sign up for health care coverage through the Covered CA health exchange.
The California Council of Churches has six regional Certified Educator partners available to come to your church, social justice meetings, ecumenical and interfaith gatherings, campus ministries, ministerial associations, interfaith labor organizations, or denominational conferences.
The Educator for the Bay Area is Marijke Fakasiieiki who will be leading presentations in September to offer basic information on how the new health care exchange operates, how to obtain subsidies and supports for the costs of individual and family health care, how to obtain enrollment assistance during the Open Enrollment period starting this fall through the end of next March 2014, and she is available to answer many of your questions.
Marijke is available to present information in your congregation: Contact: Marijke Fakasiieiki, (510) 529-5011, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff & Maya Bohnhoff. Bahái’ guitarists and vocalists.
Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff’s music is a blend of soaring melodies and warm intimacy. They explore spiritual themes with subtle, intelligent lyrics that leave plenty of room for the listener to engage. Jeff and Maya have been performing together since 1979, their music taking them all over the the US and the world.
In recent years, the Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department in Toronto, Canada has committed itself to building a website featuring curriculum and useful educational resources for interfaith work. These resources include online courses, toolkits, best practices, do-it-yourself workshops, activities, multifaith prayer services, guidelines, games, meditations, Powerpoint, etc.
To view or download these resources free of charge, check these links:
1) To get access to our entire Interfaith Dialogue section
2) To access our entire Golden Rule section
3) Interfaith Curriculum & Do-it-yourself Workshop Outlines
4) Principles & Guidelines for Interfaith Dialogue
5) Do-it-yourself workshop in Multi-faith Sensitivity Training
6) Guidelines for Designing Multifaith Prayer Services
7) Interfaith Curriculum for Peacemaking
8) Interfaith Curriculum for Schools and Youth groups
9) A Six-session Workshop Outline in Jewish-Christian Dialogue
10) Do-it-yourself Golden Rule Workshop Outline
11) Golden Rule Curriculum for Schools and Youth Groups
12) Golden Rule Meditation Exercises
13) Interactive Golden Rule Flash Presentation
14) Green Rule Poster (featuring ecological texts in 14 religions)
15) To view or order the Golden Rule Poster