North America Cooperation Circles Celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week

8 February 2016, 3:05 PM
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Every year Cooperation Circles around the world celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) to promote global interfaith harmony. Keep reading to learn more about Cooperation Circle celebrations in the United States and Canada. 

Share about your World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) event with us. We look forward to featuring them on our website, map and social media. Make sure to also submit a description of your event here for a chance to win a $25,000 prize sponsored by WIWH and King Abdullah II of Jordan. (P.S The King himself will be involved in presenting the prizes!)

Below is a list of events organized by Cooperation Circles from the U.S. and Canada. To learn about activities from around the world, click here.


 

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Cooperation Circle: URI Global Support Staff Deepening the Journey

Location: San Francisco, California, USA

Members of the United Religion's Initiative Global Staff joined in a global meditation for peace in Syrian. The global meditation was organized by the Unify Cooperation Circle to synchronize with a trip into Syria being made by the Abrahamic Reunion and Peace Trobodore James Twyman.


 

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Cooperation Circle: URI of Henderson County CC  

Location: Hendersonville, NC

URI in Henderson County NC celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week with music and compassion. Lyndon Harris, co-director of Tigg's Pond Retreat Center lead the group in singing peace songs. Charley and Pam Rogers presented an overview of their work with the Charter of Compassion.


Cooperation Circle: Muncie Interfaith Fellowship

Location: Muncie, Indiana, USA

On January 25, the Muncie Interfaith Fellowship kicked of World Interfaith Harmony Week a few days early with a screening of "May Peace Prevail on Earth: An Interfaith Christmas Special" produced by United Religions Initiative. "The people in attendance were impressed with the CBS Special and the effort made to include many religious traditions," George Wolfe reported. The gathering also spurred conversation about the need for a collaborative calendar for all of the interfaith communities in Muncie.


Cooperation Circle: Interfaith Works, Women Transcending Boundaries

Location: Syracuse, New York, USA

On February 8, Syracuse, New York held its 6th annual World InterFaith Harmony Assembly at the newest mosque in town, the Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary. This mosque is transformed from a turn of the century Catholic Church, built in the Gothic style to serve the then-immigrating German population. It stood empty for over six years once the Catholic Diocese closed it, on a small campus in the middle of our city that included a school building. A local non-profit, made up of mostly Muslim leaders, wanted to buy the school for its Learning Center that teaches English and other subjects to adults and after-school to children who are refugees and immigrants. But they had to buy the whole campus, including the church, and with much love and hard work, turned it into a mosque to also serve the faith needs of the newly settled refugees. Our agency, InterFaith Works, mobilized to help with the public discussions about this change.

Over 500 people attended the evening’s event, which was organized by our agency and Women Transcending Boundaries. We will send more information in a later report, and we did videotape the event, so there may be a short video soon, as well.


Cooperation Circle: United for Humanity and the Spirit of the Earth

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Sacred Spaces guided bus tour took place in the greater Vancouver area, on Thursday, February 4th, from 9:30am-5:30pm. With the ongoing reception of refugees and immigrants to Greater Vancouver, and in the spirit of bridging the divides, the Sacred Spaces Tour was being offered as an opportunity to dispel myths and misconceptions that give rise to fear, polarised worldviews, hatred, and violent extremism. 


Cooperation Circle: URI at the United Nations

Location: New York, New York, USA

The URI at the UN Cooperation Circle joined with the United Nations Committee of Religious NGOs and the UN Alliance of Civilizations to put on an event where faith-based organizations and UN officials examined the importance of interfaith harmony in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. You can watch an archived version of the program here and read a blog post about the experience from URI Executive Director Victor Kazanjian. 

Four Cooperation Circle members from around North America also attended the event. You can read about their experiences herehere and here.


Cooperation Circle: University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel

Location: Rochester, New York, USA

The University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week with three events. 

On January 31, Muslim and Jewish student groups are sponsoring an outing to an ice skating rink. Students of various religious traditions gathered at the Interfaith Chapel for hot chocolate and some ice breaker conversations and then go skating. 

"This is an opportunity to bring Jewish and Muslim students (and any others who wish to come along) together in a non-threatening environment to facilitate [the] formation of friendships and relationships," said college chaplain The Rev. Dr. C. Denise Yarbrough.

"These students do not often socialize together and the intent is to offer them a way to 'play together' so that they can form relationships that will later enable deeper conversation on topics of importance between the religious traditions that they represent. This event is designed to let them get to know each other as human beings and fellow students and hopefully to help dispel stereotypes and misconceptions or fears that they might harbor about the other," she said.

On February 3, the Student Association for Interfaith Cooperation, hosted their weekly Interfaith Cafe focused on spiritual practices, such as mindfulness and meditation, as tools to build compassion and harmony in our world. Students who have a regular meditation practice shared about how that practice affects their lives and how their own religious/spiritual tradition uses meditation to help build a world of harmony and peace.

On February 7, a group of students visited the Islamic Center of Rochester for midday prayers and a chance to tour the center and speak with their youth group about Islam. "Given the steep rise in Islamophobia, our interfaith student group wants to encourage people to learn more about Islam and Muslims and this trip to the Islamic center is part of that effort," said one of the group's leaders.


Cooperation Circle: Interfaith Community Sanctuary

Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Rev. Karen Lindquist hosted a worship service on Sunday, February 7 including a spiritual message shared by Ann Holmes Redding (Christian/Muslim Spiritual Guide) and Squi qui, Ray Williams (Swinomish Elder). John Hale (Call of Compassion NW)and Jon Ramer (Compassion Games) also shared about their work. Music, song, and chant were also shared by devotional artist Suniai and Jon Ramer. 


Cooperation Circle: Compasisonate Action Network Cooperation Circle, Interfaith Community Sanctuary Silicon Valley Interreligious CouncilCharter for Compassion

Location: Seattle, Silicon Valley and around the world

The Compassion Game's  World Interfaith Harmony Week Coopetition is a 7-day global challenge to promote acts of peace, collaboration and tolerance between people of all faith, spiritual, and humanistic traditions. From February 1-7 individuals and teams used the spirit of coopetition to inspire acts collaborative acts of service to give back to their communities and strengthen mutual respect, understanding, and harmony between people of all backgrounds. You can view reports from Compassion Games participants all over the world by clicking here


Cooperation Circle: Charter for Compassion

Location: around the world

The Charter for Compassion hosted a special weeklong series of presentations during World Interfaith Harmony Week, inspired with the work of Muslim-Christian dialog. Each of these five calls explored the need for developing compassion to understand and benefit from a world that is marked by diversity and pluralism—in life forms, in cultural patterns, in faith pathways, in physical characteristics like skin color and body shapes.

Cooperation Circles Involved

The Abrahamic Reunion CC

“Our purpose is to bring healing and reconciliation to the Children of Abraham in the Holy Land. Religious leaders from Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze communities come together to rebuild trust in the religious community. They travel as a group throughout the world speaking about the Holy Land and giving hope that peace is possible.”

URI of Henderson County, NC

“Our purpose is to promote peace in our community by promoting understanding among the religions present in Henderson County as well as promoting peace inwardly, locally, and globally and to be a sign of peace in our community and world.”

Charter for Compassion

"Our purpose is to support the emergence of a global movement that brings the Charter for Compassion to life. To do so, we are a network of networks: connecting organizers and leaders from around the world; providing educational resources, organizing tools, and avenues for communication; sharing lessons, stories, and inspiration; and providing the umbrella of the Charter for Compassion for conferences, events, collaborations, conversations and initiatives to create compassionate communities and institutions."

Interfaith Community Sanctuary

"Our purpose is to create a genuine interfaith community by celebrating diversity, respecting one another and embracing compassion, as well as to evolve into the fullness of being—spirit and potential—through experience, education, worship, dialogue, fellowship, and charitable service."