A CELEBRATION OF OUTSTANDING SERVICE
August 22, 2021
Every summer we gather to appreciate those who have gone above and beyond for our community. This sweet event focuses on awards for those who have performed outstanding service to their community.
Congratulations to this year's winners…
A FILM ABOUT BEING A MUSLIM IN THE AGE OF TRUMP
SUNDAY — TUESDAY, August 15 — 17, 2021, FREE
WEDNESDAY, August 18, 2021 — 7:00 pm
With the New York City-based filmmaker, Adam Zucker
Interfaith Works partners with regional interfaith organizations and Muslim faith communities to sponsor a free viewing window of the documentary, "American Muslim," an award-winning documentary by New York-based film-maker, Adam Zucker, about five Muslim Americans living in New York during the infamous "Muslim Ban" under President Trump.
The event featured a free screening window followed by an online panel with American Muslims from regional faith communities discussing their reaction to the film and life as a Muslim in our part of the world.
FOR GRADES 2-6
July 26-30, 2021, 9 AM - 3 pm, FREE
Interfaith Works partners with Temple Beth Hatfiloh to provide a week of fun for kids in grades 2-6. Each day the kids gather and experience interactive learning from community members of various faith traditions sharing in song, dance, craft, and story.
A FREE VERY FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT
SATURDAY, May 15, 2021 — 4 - 6:00 pm
Percival Landing Park
217 Thurston Ave NW
Olympia, WA 98501
Interfaith Works collaborates with Learning Right Relations and Justice Washington to welcome the House of Tears Carvers from the Lummi tribe as they embarked on a cross-country voyage to deliver a totem pole to President Biden. The totem pole journey, known as the “Red Road to DC’’, made stops at numerous sacred sites, including Bears Ears, Chaco Canyon, Black Hills, Standing Rock.
This event was an outdoor gathering at Percival Landing for a ceremony that featured prayers and messages from regional tribal leaders, reflections from the carvers, and an interfaith, community blessing of the totem pole and the carvers themselves.
AN INTERFAITH CELEBRATION OF EARTH DAY
Thursday, April 22, 2021 — 7:00 pm
A Virtual Event Sponsored by Interfaith Works and Thurston County Action Team
Thurston Climate Action Team and Interfaith Works teamed up for an interfaith celebration of Earth. We shared in songs, prayers, and reflections from speakers who stand within various wisdom traditions as we reflected upon our shared home. There were small groups following the main presentation with time and space for taking action through various opportunities related to climate change.
Yesterday was an inspirational day. I had the chance to sit down (via Zoom!) with Rev. Terry Kyllo and Aneelah Afzali, from Paths to Understanding for the most recent Lean In Olympia episode. We talked about this organization's mission, which is to "foster relationships of respect between wisdom communities." The statement goes on to say that they, "support and train wisdom communities in multi-faith peacemaking in their neighborhoods for the common good of our children, our planet and ourselves." Right on!
More specifically, they work to dismantle Islamophobia and curb the harmful effects of religious prejudice. But note the expansive language in the mission statement...."for the common good of our children, our planet and ourselves." Prejudice, religious bigotry, and racism diminish the lives of those persons who suffer the focus of such forces, for example Muslims suffering from Islamophobic acts. Yet this mission statement is expansive enough to name that those persons that embody religious bigotry and enact acts of Islamophobia also suffer. This is a pervasive insight of the world's wisdom traditions.....we are connected, and as it goes for you, it goes for me as well.
Yet we forget this basic wisdom. In the rush of consumerism and the marketed fear of scarcity, we forget. And relationships are the way back.
Paths to Understanding knows that real, human relationships change hearts. To meet a Muslim and hear their story, to share food with a Muslim, or even to pray shoulder to shoulder with a Muslim builds relationship. And while we might think of relationships as social affiliation, it is also an awareness of our interconnectedness at a spiritual level.
It is really difficult right now to do this kind of work, but it is good to remember and begin preparing for a time when we can regather and practice the essential skill of connecting. And as I concluded the interview yesterday I shared with Terry and Aneelah to support and partner with them in this beautiful work of helping to restore the insight of interconnection, one relationship at a time.
Program Manager for Interfaith Relations
Today is the day after the election. And though there will not be a winner determined today for the office of President, early results show a popular vote that is very close to the percentages per party from 2016. So regardless of who the eventual winner might be, we can already see that the country is (still) split when offered an ideological choice between two candidates.
But numbers aren’t the only measure of an election! In addition to the numbers there is also a feeling that has crept into the culture of political belonging which is profoundly charged and often quite polarizing. Though not always associated with each other, I believe that some of the dynamics of healthy interfaith understanding could be helpful in our wider political discourse at this time.
One of the primary “agreements” that allows for healthy interfaith dialogue is the commitment to suspending the belief that one’s own path or practice is the only correct response to matters of ultimate concern. Becoming locked in the surety of our own tradition is what author Steven Greenebaum calls, “right belief”, which he says is, “the belief that you’re right and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong” (“Practical Interfaith: How to find our common humanity as we celebrate diversity”, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2014, Print, p.32).
Greenebaum is proposing that interfaith understanding and cooperation do not require us to give up or give away our deepest convictions, hopes for the world, or inner truths (in fact, please DON’T give up or give away your deep orientations to meaning as these are some of the most vital energies we have!), rather, the bold claim of interfaith cooperation and understanding is that while we might maintain deep, inner convictions, we will remain open to the way in which our interfaith partners experience the world and remain open to how our dialogue might bring forth new insights or growth to what we, ourselves, have known.
As the political rhetoric heightens in the coming days, keep an eye out for the way in which “right belief” is used as a tool to leverage allegiance and consider the high cost of this toward the hope of relating more deeply and openly with each other as people and citizens. And as we see this play out, let’s remember that there is a different way, though this way is no easy path.
Interfaith understanding, as a model of relating to others, is hard work, it is good work, and it is work that requires a high level of trust in each other. O, for a world where this level of trust and openness is a foundation to the way in which we relate to each other between our traditions and our politics.
Program Manager for Interfaith Relations
Autumn is that time of year when the seasons begin to shift from the warm, long days of summer to the shorter, darker days of winter. It is a time of year when harvests come in and activities begin to slow down and move indoors. It is a season to contemplate change. We witness the leaves falling off the trees and reflect on the passing of time, or even the span of our own lives.
There are numerous festivals and observations during this time of year across the indigenous and religious spectrum. Here is a short list of some of them:
Samhain - An ancient Celtic harvest festival that begins a new year and recognizes a liminal space between the living and the dead
Diwali - Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains celebrate the harvest and the victory of light over darkness
Sukkot is an autumnal Jewish holiday about giving thanks for the autumn harvest and commemorating the 40 years of wandering the desert after leaving slavery in Egypt
All Saints’ & All Souls’ Day are Catholic and Christian recognitions of saints and those who have died; a time to remember them and pray for them
Navratri is a Hindu autumnal holiday that is a 9-day celebration of the Divine Feminine that commemorates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness
One consistent thread through these various holidays is recognizing that life, like the long days of summer, comes to a natural end. Another through line of these holidays is that they are based around family and community. Yet there are those whose lives come to an end that do not have family to grieve them or to give them honor and recognition at their passing.
Each year in Thurston County there are persons who die and whose remains go unclaimed. One of the ways that Interfaith Works practices Sacred Service in our community is by dedicating time each year to gather and honor these people with our annual All Souls’ Day service. This annual recognition is a time to honor life and bring dignity to those who have died without family support. We also recognize the lives of those persons who have died by suicide in the past year and persons who have died while experiencing homelessness.
You are invited to attend this event online at 2 p.m. on November 1st, 2020. The event will be broadcast live from within Mills & Mills Funeral Home, who graciously host this event year after year. During our celebration we will make space to recognize persons attending the broadcast who are actively grieving and also have space open for a recognition of the shared grief we are carrying in this time of pandemic. You are invited to have pictures of loved ones who have passed with you as we do this basic, healing work of recognizing our losses and remembering our shared humanity.
Interfaith Works tackles conversations at the intersection of justice, humanity, and belief.
There are so many issues swirling around right now. Questions of public health, public safety, and public good. Everyone is struggling in some way right now, as we all try to find some sort of equilibrium during the pandemic.
We wanted to make a forum for those conversations. Check out our new facebook livestream, Lean in Olympia! Interfaith Works will be making space every couple weeks on Tuesdays at noon to have these talks on topical subjects.
Corey Passons, MDiv.
Interfaith Relations Program Manager
Meg Martin, MSW, CPC