Next Meeting: Strategic
Planning Meeting: January
8 Saturday 9a-5p (Please try your hardest to attend!)
Location: Gillham Plaza Building at the corner of Gillham and Armour. Lunch is included.
Minutes for November 15, 2004
1. Openings (6:p)
a. Opening Conversation: David Nelson asked everyone to speak specifically about something they admire about another faith. He started by saying how he admired Buddhism because of its notion of mindfulness.
Kathy Riegelman recently witnessed a Catholic funeral and has respect for how much comfort the liturgy can bring to the grieving, even more so than the words.
Ali Kadr admires the Amish and how they live simply. He has been rereading Thoreau and thinks that there is much wisdom in simplicity. He likes how the Amish have freedom and independence. He also thinks it is great that they are not dependant on oil.
Kharta Purkh has respect for all of life.
Uma admires the constant reminders of holiness in the Catholic Church
Barb McAtee has been reading Science of Mind with the Mosaic Book Club and admires how Christian scientists can have a healing faith that is very deep.
Kenna Stout (representing Lama Chuck Stanford) admires how Paganism and Buddhism practice sustainability and honoring the earth
Caroline Baughman likes faith that brings peace. She asks: “where does peace come from?” For her, sitting in from of St Bridget at St Patrick’s Cathedral gave her faith. She likes finding parallels.
Antoine Lee (representing the Rev Wallace Hartsfield) said that he admires the boldness of Muslims and their capacity to suffer for their faith.
George Noonan recently witnessed Islamic prayers at Ahmed El-Sherif’s house for Eid. He was impressed how the prayers were so focused on reflection on fellow human beings and on reaching out to heal those who have been harmed. He also admires their fasting.
Simon Gatsby admires the great stewardship of the land that Native Americans practiced for thousands of years in America which left it pure.
Rabbi Cukierkorn admires the Mormons reliance on community and concern not just with individual salvation.
People who Planned on Attending: Kris Krisna was unable to attend due to illness. Kara Hawkins was unable to attend because of a death in the family. Sharon Connors began driving to the meeting and called Simon for directions, only to learn that she had written down Nov 16th instead of 15th.
Faith Groups not represented by IFC members nor their alternates: Islam, Zoroastrianism
b. Agenda building
?a. Reports from the faith communities
Antoine Lee said that the Reverend Wallace Hartsfield just celebrated his 75th birthday. He has been serving as a minister for 55 years! Everyone was very happy for him.
Caroline Baughman recently started a pagan network.
Rime Buddhist Center is getting excited for the Meditation for World Peace on December 31st from 5:30-7:30 am. This year they are honoring Ron Poplau.
Barb McAtee is helping Barbara Dolci to welcome visitors to Kansas City
Kharta Purkh celebrated the passing away of the great spiritual leader Yogi Bhajan
The Sufi community is having an event celebrating the poet Rumi at St Mary’s Church at 7:30p
Rabbi Cukierkorn said that Hannakah starts on the evening of Dec 7. Also the speaker, Jerome Sokovlaski is speaking on “Why is America pro-Israel and Europe pro-Palastine?” Email him for more details; Cukiekorn@sbcglobal.net
?b. Task Forces — Environmental—Dr. Hasan sends his regards. Next meeting: Nov 16 Tue 5:30-6:30p; UMKC - Swope Park Conference Room at the Administrative Center, 5115 Oak
— Personal– Kara: Kara did not attend the meeting.
?c. Report from Barb on teaching religion to school children on the ‘Australian’ method. Barb has nothing new to report. David likes the proactive approach. Caroline and Kathy also had enthusiastic things to say. Discussion about whether teaching religion is legal was settled by Rabbi Cukierkorn, who said that it is okay. Questions were raised about whether the IFC would found a school or would partner with the school system
?d. Report from Simon on Incorporation and 501(c)(3)
First, Simon gave a brief review of what has already been said in an email to the Council:
“As everyone is aware the CRES Board is unable to support the IFC after January 1st 2005. One necessary step for standing on our own is to become incorporated and gain a 501(c)(3) status. This process can sometimes take up to six-months, however, thanks to Diane Hershberger of Kansas City Harmony, we are able to transfer an already existing incorporation and 501(c)(3) status of Harmony’s into our name at a considerably less amount of time and expense.”
Incorporation changes include: articles
501(c)(3) changes include: new officers, copy of the amended articles of incorporation, the name change, change of purpose, change of activities, and change of by-laws.
One of the requirements for a 501(c)(3) status is a set of by-laws which the Council was lacking. Simon put together a temporary, ad hoc set with a clause worked in in Article VIII which states that the Council will form a special committee to review these and make necessary changes on January 8th, 2005.
Currently, the Council is looking at between 10-12 days before it will become incorporated. Diane Hershberger is meeting with her board in a few days for a special vote necessary for the Articles of Amendment form, which will in turn be sent into the Missouri Secretary of State who will hopefully allow the Council to become incorporated. Upon receiving an incorporation letter, the Council may submit the necessary materials to the federal government to attain a 501(c)(3) status.
3. Pending and New business
a. January 8th, 2005 Strategic Planning meeting from 9a-5p; Gillham Plaza Building
?Lunch preferences—Korma Sutra was decided upon. Kharta Purkh will speak with the manager there and will communicate with Simon
?Attendance—Is extremely important. Antoine Lee suggested that we get an agenda for the day, but David sagely pointed out that this will be a process and that it would be difficult to alot certain times for everything. Caroline used an insightful analogy by pointing to her stretchy hair band and saying that we might get much accomplished throughout the day, but that it could snap back on us. Things that should take 15 minutes could take hours and things that we anticipate spending hours on could take 15 minutes. David looks forward to a great day and expects it to be fun.
The meeting will be held, thanks to the generosity of George Noonan and the Kansas City-Saint Joseph Diocese, at the Gillham Plaza Building on the corner of Armour and Gillham. Kathy asked if the local consultants will be able to attend. Simon said that he would investigate to double check this. (Jane Heide has changed her mind and will not attend, but both Mahnaz Shabbir and Clara Dina Hinojosa are planning to be there.)
? David: David Nelson brought to the attention of the Council the urgent need of funding. He suggested that each member of the Council work to raise funds before January 1. Even if every faith community raises only $1000, the Council will have enough for a starting budget. David pointed out that some of the larger communities might be able to contribute more than those with only a few members. Caroline Baughman said that the Pagan community would be honored to support such a worthy cause. Although the Pagan Community is spread into many parts, Caroline will do her best to rally people who are willing to give what they are able. Kenna Stout said that would double check with Chuck, but that Rime and its members also would put forth their best efforts to support the IFC. Rabbi Cukierkorn said that he had access to money, but that he would like to first see a budget. Simon agreed to draft one. Kenna Stout suggested applying to the Kansas City Foundation and United Way. Simon agreed to look into these. Kathy was curious about what would happen with Many Paths. Simon told the Council Many Paths would stay behind with CRES. The Council asked Simon to investigate renting space in Many Paths. Simon said he would. (Vern has agreed to lease 1 page to the Council)
? On grants—Simon: “Vern often ran into difficulties in applying for grants because many organizations who offer grants will not give to religious organizations of no matter what their denomination. I have spoken about this with our consultants in New York and they have told me that although CRES might have had difficulties in this regard, the IFC should have none because of the nature and structure of our organization. This is good news. I now have access to a list of organizations who frequently give grants that further interfaith understanding. Secondly, I have arranged to speak with Larry Guillot who, as many of you know, is the expert in Kansas City. Thirdly, Juan Rangel, who was largely responsible for our $5000 grant last year, is aware of our situation. Diane Hershberger is also keeping an eye out for us. In conclusion, I would estimate that things look very promising.”
c. Spirituality and Medicine—Caroline: Caroline has taken a new position as Communication Assessment Coordinator at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine. She writes: “I am putting together a panel discussion for the spring semester - to field questions from students regarding how different faith communities' beliefs impact their medical treatment and personal healing processes. I would like to have representatives from as many faiths as possible. The date has not yet been chosen - but will be within the month. Please let me know if you or someone from your faith community would be interested in participating. There is a whole aspect of our communication curriculum devoted to Social, Spiritual, and Cultural history taking. I am interested in creating a direct alliance (should the Council choose) between this department of the School of Medicine and the Interfaith Council that does not hinge on solely on the fact that I am a member of the Council.” She is also looking for people to role-play that they are sick in order to give practice to students. She is looking people of diverse heritage. The pay for this acting is either $15 or $20 depending on what type of role-playing they do. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815.235.1840
d. Thanksgiving Sunday Family Ritual Meal; Nov 21 6-8pm; Rime; 700 W Pennway.
“After 20 years this has become an important tradition to witness the impact of interfaith conversation in Kansas City and that we can expect very interesting remarks from Marc Wilson, this year’s honoree” —Vern Barnet
?Words: Simon gave everyone a copy of their words and asked if anyone needed changes made.
e. May 11 Clergy/Lay Leader Conference: David asked the Council permission to approve another Conference for Clergy and Lay Leaders. CRES will handle the publicity and arrangements. The Council raised no objections.
4. Parking Lot
? Additions to Council 1) Orthodox Christian 2) Freethinker
? Planning for the Gifts of Pluralism II Conference
5. Closing a. Process review b. Farewells
IFC Minutes for September 13, 2004
Attending the meeting were Council members: Caroline Baughman, Kara Hawkins, Kris Krishna, George Noonan, Chuck Stanford, Larry Sousley, Barb McAtee, Kathy Riegelman, Jacques Cukierkorn, Kara Hawkins, A Rauf Mir, and Kharta Purkh Khalsa. Observers attending were Grant McMurray and Uma. Alternates attending were Antoine Lee and Stumbling Deer. Guest attending was Gary Langston. Chair David Nelson and Manager Simon Gatsby were also present.
1. Openings (6p) --Participants wrote their first names on blank
cards. David said that if people wanted special opening conversation
topics they could write them on the back.
a. Opening Conversation: George Noonan asked people to address a political issue and to say what their faith community is doing about it.
Caroline said that environmental issues are very important for paganism and she feels that everyone, leaders particularly, need to find compassion. She also said that unemployment is an issue for her because her partner is without a job.
Chuck said that he tries to stay detached from politics but that the polarization between Democrats and Republicans is a problem.
Kris worries that if Bush wins again that the polarization will increase and the separation between church and state will crumble.
Barb wants to do away with partisan politics. She would like to see unity amongst leaders. The biggest issue for her and the Bahais’ is human rights.
Kharta Purkh thinks corporations are leading us by the nose. He says that we are here on the planet for physical reasons and that karma has to work itself out. He encourages people to get out and vote.
Kathy said that the Unitarians have been working to increase voter turnout amongst people who usually don’t vote. Healthcare issues are an issue for her as well.
David said that pluralism is important and that we don’t want a theocracy of right wing Christianity. [David brought a mulitfaith calendar that guided the selection of faiths for the KC Interfaith Council. He also brought his bumper sticker that said “one nation, many faiths.”]
b. Welcome to the new Jewish member of the Council
David asked Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn what he brings to the Council. Jacques answered that “Judaism has many wonderful features. For one, it has a long history. Secondly, Jews do not proselytize.” He also gave free copies of his book to people and made the Council laugh several times with witty comments.
c. Letter from Vern Barnet
Beloved Members of the Kansas City Interfaith Council:
How I miss being with you! I appreciate the sentiments
of those who have asked me to participate in your meetings, and I hope
you understand that my personal circumstances no longer permit me to do
so. The $5000 grant from the Kauffman Fund has enabled a year of transition
with Simon Gatsby’s support for the Council as it becomes completely autonomous
from CRES. As things now stand, this grant, as well as my personal resources,
will be exhausted by the end of the year, and activity for the Interfaith
Council will no longer be a part of the CRES.
You may recall that before our very successful Gifts of Pluralism conference, a committee from the Council and with persons from Harmony, NCCJ, and the Community of Christ, considered another organization hosting the Council after the conference, or the Council becoming autonomous, since it was clear CRES could not do so indefinitely. The committee learned that no other host was willing to assume the financial responsibility, and the CRES Board, with its limited resources, agreed to continue for a time.
Thanks to Simon, the Council has received a small technical assistance grant (consultation from national figures, with the possibility of their finding additional money for legal work, promotion, facility rental, equipment, fund-raising and such) from Religions for Peace-USA, one of three such grants awarded. Despite our best efforts to keep you posted about this, there may be some confusion about the name of the granting organization and how a technical assistance grant works, but I am sure the consultants will answer your questions, one of which has been raised about money. As I understand it, the grant mainly finances the travel of the consultants to Kansas City, but none of that money goes through CRES. The granting organization, Religions for Peace-USA, controls and disburses the money. If for any reason you do not wish this grant, please let Simon know so the arrangements he has been working on so hard can be canceled.
One of the virtues of the arrangement of CRES hosting the Council is that the Council itself has never had to work a budget. CRES has never required money from Council members or their organizations as a condition of membership or receipt of Many Paths. While some have contributed, most have not. Finances are certainly one of the challenges the Council will now face as it seeks a new host or incorporates on its own. My own failure as a fundraiser is quite clear.
In addition to continuing office support for the Council
(we have just revised and reprinted the IFC Speakers Bureau and posted
it on the web site, one of many ongoing ways we work on behalf of the Council),
I did agree to do two things during this transitional year.
n One was to fulfill my commitment to you to offer a one-day, mid-week conference for clergy and lay-leaders. As you know, as reflected by your decisions in the minutes, this had to be postponed from Oct last year, and again from May this year. You will recall that the Gifts of Pluralism conference was specifically designed so that a majority of attendees would be non-Christian, and we achieved that goal; Christians were a plurality, which created the kind of mix we desired. But in planning for Gifts II, it was decided that a greater preparation for Christian clergy was in order, so a one-day meeting specifically with Christian leaders, would be a good way of allowing more Christians into the rewarding encounter of faith with faith. Simon has contacted many Christian groups and we hope these efforts will result in people taking advantage of this opportunity.
Registration is slow, but it is still early, and I do expect that the conference will be held as scheduled Oct 13 at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. As soon as we have some feel for how many will be attending, we will let you know and you can decide if you wish to provide displays for the attendees. Also, as you know, the REGISTRATION FORM asked people to select among several faiths about which they wish to hear. For example, among the Primal faiths, if we get 50 people wanting to hear about American Indian Spirituality and 50 people who want to hear about Paganism, then I hope that both our Council members will be able to arrange presentations for them. If we get 5 people for the entire conference and 4 select one faith and 1 selects the other, you will want that information before deciding whether to commit your time or ask a member of your faith to do so.
At any rate, I do hope to be able to complete this commitment to you, and I am grateful for David Nelson’s willingness to contribute his time and expertise to help make this happen, and to you for your early planning, program design and your patience through the two postponements, as reflected in the Council’s minutes.
n The second commitment I made was to conduct the Thanksgiving Sunday event. My additional workload has not permitted me to complete arrangements for this yet, but I hope to have a report to you by the end of the month. This will be the event’s 20th year.
n A third commitment I made to myself for you and your consultants, and that is to prepare a history of the Council. An outline appeared Aug 25 in The Kansas City Star (see reverse) and I emailed it to you for any additions you might contribute. It is still not too late for comments, but I expect it to be part of the October Many Paths, so hurry with your additions!
Still, and all, I miss you, and earnestly pray that the Council, which I was privileged to have a part in forming, will succeed now on its own or under new sponsorship. While I no longer sit with you in Council, I am so grateful for the continuing friendships.
This touching letter by the IFC founder was read paragraph by paragraph by members of the Council. Many people expressed how deeply they felt the loss of Vern’s leadership. Chuck said that “Vern was like the grandfather who always picked up the bill at the end of the night.” Rauf said that Vern has given a lot of time. Council members also further understood that it is up to Kansas City Interfaith Council to keep itself alive and going strong. Kara was upset about the Conference for Clergy and Lay Leaders. She did not understand why she was not consulted in its planning. David explained that it was laid out several meetings ago.
d. Agenda building
a. Reports from the faith communities
Kathy said that her Unitarian Church is having an Un-Plaza Art fair on 45th and Warwick.
Antoine Lee (alternate for the Rev Hartsfield) said that the Baptist Churches he and the Rev Hartsfield work with are “concerned with the recent uproot of violence in the urban core and wants to stop the violence.” He sends out a request for the strength of the faith communities to empower the people to handle these problems on their own and to support this effort anyway they can.
Caroline said that Mabon will be celebrated on the 22nd of September and that it celebrates the 2nd harvest. She said that information about Mabon celebrations in Kansas City can be found at www.witchvox.com. She also recommend checking Gaia Community's web site: http://www.gaiacommunity.org/ritualschedule.shtml
Gary Langston, Kara’s guest, said that the Newman Drumming Circle is an ongoing event. Also on Oct 14 there will be a Shaman Conference in San Francisco. More information can be found at www.buffalolodge.com
Kara said there was a Requiem Lodge for an important American Indian.
Stumbling Deer asked for prayers for someone going on a 4 day fast and vision quest
Kris said that Temple expansion has been going on and that the Hindu Temple has had to hire another priest. Kris has been busy with speaking engagements because of his name being on the Speakers Bureau.
George said that Visitation on 52nd and Main has just finished a remodeling project and he is willing to give a personal tour to anyone who is interested.
Uma said that the Vedanta Society is looking for a new building for their worship. They would prefer one that looks like a church.
Jacques said that Yom Kippur and Sukkot are coming up.
b. Task Forces — Environmental
Kara expressed concern at a lack of communication. Gary followed her up by saying that the IFC should not be kept in the dark about financial matters. David said that financial matters have been discussed many times over the years. Gary said there must obviously be a lack of communication because otherwise there would not be the issue in the first place. David was concerned that people have not contributed money towards their Many Paths subscriptions. Kara said that IFC members donate their time. Kara was concerned about by-laws. Simon said that there are many things as well as by-laws which need to be worked out at the strategic planning meeting. Someone said that “what we create [at the planning meeting] needs to meet our needs.” Stumbling Deer said that we need to empty the bowl and have a rebirth of the Council. Caroline felt confident to speak because she was no longer the newest member. Jacques said that because he was new, he was not saying much. Caroline said that we need to cut everything off, and drop the problems from the past. She said that the Council is “now” and “now” we need to know what we are going to do and to bring.
c. Report from Simon on correspondance with
KCTV-5 – Simon reported that the letter approved at the previous meeting
was send. No reply was heard so another sign-on-receipt letter was
sent and still no word was heard.
d. Report from Barb on teaching religion to school children on the ‘Australian’ method. –Barb said that we need to educate our children. She is going to consult professional educators.
e. Report from Simon about Religions for Peace USA grant. “Communities awarded a grant will receive, by arrangement, onsite trainings, consultation, and guidebooks aiding in the development of a local interreligious council . . . Trainings and consultation will be offered by seasoned experts in the interfaith field and may include up to 3 site visits and up to $1,000 in funding for promotion, communication, and meeting hosting costs." --Simon said that there has been difficulty arranging a date for everyone to meet. David suggested two dates far enough into the future so that Council members could arrange their schedules around them. The dates are: Dec 18 and Jan 8. Simon will try to arrange the December 18 date and will use the Januany 8 date as an alternate. Caroline brought up the excellent point: “Are there questions that consultants will ask that we can prepare ourselves for ahead of time?” Simon agreed to find out.
3. Pending and New business
a. Scheduling Grant and Strategic Planning meeting—Dec 18 or Jan 8
b. Agenda items from Barb McAtee (see below)—Barb requested the IFC’s support for an interfaith prayer service for the people of the Sudan. The Council was unwilling to commit except for Kara. Members explained the difficulties with Mahnaz’s Prayer for Peace and concluded that during this time of transition it was not fair to commit to something that they could not follow through with. The Council gave Barb permission to use its name as a sponsor.
c. Agenda items from the Rev Dr Kara Hawkins (see below)—In addition, Kara brought a hand-out with her (the hand-out will be included on the website minutes after Kara sends me this information). Her points were brought up throughout meeting and are mentioned above.
4. Parking Lot
Additions to Council 1) Orthodox Christian 2) Freethinker—Some members requested Pam Peck be added to the Council (below)—the “boiler plate” (below) along with the fact that the Council is not accepting new members until the transition is over decided the case for the time being.
Planning for the Gifts of Pluralism II Conference
5. Closing a. Process review b. Farewells
AGENDA REQUEST FROM THE REV DR KARA HAWKINS
At our last Personal Crisis Task Force meeting, our members as well as the original Task Force Chair and current member of the Social Task Force, joined us in discussing the future of our task forces, and our Kansas City Interfaith Council as regards the changes that are taking place with our affiliation with CRES and Vern Barnet's leadership. We also discussed the Religions for Peace and Justice grant as it might effect our future as KCIFC members and task force members. (The Personal Task Force includes many members and alternates of the KCIFC).
We would appreciate your adding these items to the agenda
for October 13. A. The Clergy Conference October 13 and the Non-participation
of the KCIFC members in its planning or presentation for two years.
a) Is promoted as a KCIFC event, or leads the reader to believe it that KCIFC members are participating,
b) proposes to speak about and meet the leaders of the other faiths, yet those faiths and faith leaders have not been contacted in KCIFC as to their availability to speak.
c) not involving the KCIFC in the planning or inviting their participation, presumes to speak for the faith communities. It appears that the foregoing is counter to our KCIFC Mission Statement below.
B. The KCIFC needs to begin to draft bylaws to support its mission statement:
1. to develop deeper understanding among
members of the Council of each other's faiths and traditions, and
to foster appropriate bilateral and multilateral interreligious
2. to model religious values (especially mutual respect and cooperation) in a society which often seems non-religious and intolerant
3. to provide resources, networking, and programs to increase appreciation for religious diversity, and
4. to work with media and with educational and religious leaders and groups in promoting accurate and fair portrayal of the faiths.
a) these bylaws should:
-- assure our autonomy from CRES in determining our future and making decisions
-- assure our autonomy and freedom to make changes to the existing structure that heretofore has been controlled by CRES.
-- assure that CRES does not extend to the KCIFC the financial burden it has heretofore taken on for its activities and events; such as the Conference.
b) these bylaws should
-- accord respect to each of its members affording equal membership rights to all.
-- specify what these rights are; most importantly, the freedom to voice dissent.
-- open up the criteria for becoming a member of the KCIFC
-- assure the democratic process in its activities and consensus of its members when representing the KICK as a whole
-- assure that no member speaks on behalf of another's faith, or presumes to speak in Authority for that faith.
-- assure the Chair of the KICK and its advisors Cannot overrule the decisions and changes made by the KICK as to determining its own destiny.
C. The Religions for Freedom and Justice Grant
a) What is the grant for, how much,
who is responsible for disbursing and Controlling the money.
b) Who made the decision for the KICK that our strategic planning would be Headed by the Religions for Peace and Justice.
c) How will our function as KICK members change, and how will the function of Its task forces change.
d) Who is now setting our tasks: CRES/Vern Baronet or KICK task chairs. Who will set the tasks with Religions for Freedom and Justice in the picture.
D. The Future of the Task Forces
a) The functions of the task forces
clearly are changing.
b) We cannot continue to ask our members to work on tasks for an indefinite period of time while the Council is reorganizing.
c) In particular, the main task for which the task forces were primarily asked to come together, to expand on the Conference Declaration, seems moot at this point
during the reorganization process.
LETTER FROM THE REV DR KARA HAWKINS
Dear Interfaith Family,
I highly recommend Pam to membership within our KCIFC. Christian Science, is not a part of Protestant religion, and therefore, a faith community separate and very well represented in our Kansas City faith community. As you know, Christian Science Practitioner is equivalent to other "clergy" ; i.e, within our faith community of leaders and facilitators; equivalent to the title of minister, pastor, priest, spiritual leader.
I recommend too, that as we reform our KCIFC, that we do away with the distinction of observer, and that our Unity, Mormon, Vedanta; etc., and other faith representatives who join us, be recognized as full members of our KCIFC.
AGENDA REQUEST FROM BARB MCATEE
Would it be permissible to invite someone to come as an observor, namely: Pamela Peck. She has been very involved in interfaith activities and is genuinely interested in the activities of the Interfaith Council.
Personally, I would like to recommend her as a member, as a representative of Christian Science. She is a co-facilitator of Pathways, facilitator of the Mosaic Interfaith Book Club,manages the Christian Science Reading Room at Red Bridge, and is a very respected Christian Science Practitioner.
Before moving to the metro area, she helped to form and organize other interfaith organizations. I think her input would be valuable as we begin our re-organization process. Also, she is very committed to interfaith dialogue and would work hard for us.
AGENDA REQUEST FROM BARB MCATEE
Friends, I feel compelled to share this news, about what is happening in the cradle of my Faith:
Interfaith prayer gathering for the peoples of The Sudan. Interfaith Council to co-sponsor it? A tentative date and time is Saturday, Oct. 2, at 3 PM, at the Baha'i Faith Center, 6515 Independence Ave., KCMO
BAHA'IS DECRY CULTURAL CLEANSING IN IRAN
NEW YORK, United States, 12 September 2004 (BWNS) -- The
destruction of yet another Baha'i holy place in Iran has prompted an outcry
by Baha'is around the world, who see that the Iranian Government is persisting
in a campaign of persecution so extreme in the fanaticism driving it that
it even jeopardizes invaluable assets of the country's cultural heritage.
The demolition in June of an historic house in Tehran, which followed the leveling of a Baha'i holy place in Babol earlier this year, has spurred national Baha'i communities in several nations to place a statement in major newspapers decrying the destruction.
The statement, which ran in the "New York Times" today, is set to run soon in newspapers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The Baha'i community of Iran, with about 300,000 members, is that country's largest religious minority.
With some five million members in more than 180 countries worldwide, the Baha'i Faith is an independent religion that promotes such teachings as the oneness of humanity, the underlying unity of the religions, the equality of women and men, and the need to eliminate prejudice.
Since 1979, despite their peaceful character, more than 200 Iranian Baha'is have been killed, and hundreds more have been tortured and imprisoned. Tens of thousands have lost jobs, pensions, and access to education, all solely because the clerics who rule Iran declare them heretics.
"The hatred of the extremist mullahs for the Baha'is is such that they, like the Taliban of Afghanistan who destroyed the towering Buddhist sculptures at Bamiyan, intend not only to eradicate the religion, but even to erase all traces of its existence in the country of its birth," says the statement, which took the form of a paid advertisement in the "New York Times."
The house that was destroyed in June had been owned by Mirza Abbas Nuri (also known as Mirza Buzurg), the father of Baha'u'llah, Who founded the Baha'i Faith. Mirza Abbas Nuri was an eminent provincial governor and was widely regarded as one of Iran's greatest calligraphers.
The statement in the "Times" notes that Mirza Abbas Nuri's house was an "historical monument, a precious example of Islamic-Iranian architecture, 'a matchless model of art, spirituality, and architecture.'"
"In their determination to rid Iran of the Baha'i community and obliterate its very memory, the fundamentalists in power are prepared even to destroy the cultural heritage of their own country, which they appear not to realize they hold in trust for humankind," the statement continues.
"Surely the time has come for Iranians everywhere to raise their voices in protest against such willful desecrations," concludes the statement.
Placing the statement in newspapers around the world is part of a coordinated effort by Baha'is outside of Iran to call the world's attention to the destruction of cultural landmarks that are part of the heritage of the entire world, said Glen Fullmer, director of communications for the Baha'i community of the United States.
"The places that are being demolished are significant to all humanity," said Mr. Fullmer. "They reflect unique elements of Iran's cultural history. So we are calling on Iranians around the world to protest the destruction of their own culture."
The statement will also be printed in "Le Monde," France's premier newspaper, said Brenda Abrar, a spokesperson for the Baha'i community there.
"There are a great many Iranians in France," said Ms. Abrar. "We want to alert them that their own cultural heritage is in danger. The house that was demolished in June actually represents a great work of Islamic architecture."
In July, the Iranian newspaper "Hamshahri" published a lengthy article about the life of Mirza Abbas Nuri and the architecture of his house.
"As he had good taste for the arts and for beauty, he designed his own house in such a style that it became known as one of the most beautiful houses of that period," wrote Imam Mihdizadih in "Hamshahri" on 13 July. "The plasterwork and the tile-work in the rooms as well as the verdant veranda, the courtyard with its central pool, and the trees planted in the flowerbeds, all created a tranquil atmosphere in this house."
The house was demolished over a period of about one week in June. The demolition order was issued in April by Ayatollah Kani, director of the Marvi School and the Endowments Office, ostensibly for thepurpose of creating an Islamic cemetery. When the demolition started on 20 June, officials from the Ministry of Information were present, and by 29 June more than 70 percent of the structure had been destroyed. [See photographs]
The destruction of Mirza Abbas Nuri's house represents just the latest in a series of demolitions that appears to be aimed at systematically destroying Baha'i holy sites, said Bani Dugal, principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.
In April, despite international protest, the gravesite of an early apostle of the Faith was destroyed in Babol. The house-like structure marked the resting place of Mulla Muhammad-Ali Barfurushi, known as Quddus.
Quddus was the foremost disciple of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i Faith.
In 1993, more than 15,000 graves were bulldozed at the well-kept Baha'i cemetery of Tehran on the pretext of constructing a municipal center.
In 1979, shortly after the Islamic revolution, the house of the Bab in Shiraz, one of the most sacred sites in the Baha'i world, was demolished. The house of Baha'u'llah in Takur, where the Founder of the Baha'i Faith spent his childhood, was also demolished soon after the revolution and the site offered for sale to the public.
"We see all this as part of a concerted plan on the part of the Iranian government to gradually extinguish the Baha'i Faith as a cultural force and cohesive entity," said Ms. Dugal. "Over the years, the government's strategy has changed, from outright killing to methods that are less likely to attract international attention, such as the destruction of holy sites.
"But the end result is the same: to completely destroy the Baha'i community of Iran, along with its history and heritage," said Ms. Dugal.
To see a copy of the statement placed in the "New York Times," see http://www.bahai.org/pdf/ad20040912.pdf.
To see a press release from the Office of Public Information of the Baha'i community of the United States, see http://www.bahai.org/pdf/pr20040912.pdf.
For background article on the situation of the Baha'is in Iran, see http://bahai.org/article-1-8-3-6.html.
For the history of the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran, see http://bahai.org/article-1-8-3-7.html.
For an article on Iran's secret blueprint for the destruction of the Baha'i community, see http://bahai.org/article-1-8-3-14.html.
For an August 2004 news story on the ploy to deprive Baha'is of higher education, see http://www.bahaiworldnews.org/story.cfm?storyid=317.
Copyright 2004 by the Baha'i World News Service. All stories and photographs produced by the Baha'i World News Service may be freely reprinted, re-emailed, re-posted to the World Wide Web and otherwise reproduced by any individual or organization as long as they are attributed to the Baha'i World News Service. For more information, visit http://www.bahaiworldnews.org.
WISHES TO BE ON COUNCIL [boilerplate response]
Over a hundred requests from wonderful people have been made to join the Council. The Council has one seat for each faith, with the exception of the faith most represented in Kansas City, Christianity. To recognize that fact, two Christians have Council seats, one Protestant and one Catholic.
Most of the requests have come from Christians. Obviously, if we had a Methodist seat, a Presbyterian seat, an Episcopalian seat, an American Baptist seat, a Southern Baptist seat, a Church of Christ seat, a Disciples of Christ seat, a Christian Science seat, a Mennonite seat, a Quaker seat, a Mormon seat, an Adventist seat, a Pentacostal seat, ELCA seat, Missouri Synod Lutheran seat, a Salvation Army seat, a Jehovah's Witness seat, a Bretheran seat, an AME seat, and so on for the over 200 denominations of Christianity, the non-Christian faiths would be overwhelmed and the mission of the Council would be diluted. We support the creation of a Council of Congregations which would include a representative of every congregation. But the Council is not congregation-based; its membership is fixed by faith. Thus, while in Kansas City, we have Tibetan, American, Chinese, Laotian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, and other Buddhist groups, there is only one Buddhist seat on the Council. To take another tradition, the American Indian, or First Nations, or Native American (there is no universal agreement what term is the best), the federal government recognizes 600 tribes, each with its own spiritual traditions, with persons from perhaps over a hundred tribes in the Kansas City area. In addition, many folks from the "New Religions" such as Scientology and Eckankar has sought seats on the Council, but it is not possible with the structure and resources to adopt these suggestions, either.
When the Council was formed, the faiths were selected by guidance of the Multifaith Calendar Committee,* in turn guided by the official list of faiths developed by the Canadian government. Included on the yearly calendar but not on our Council is Shinto; we are not aware of Shinto groups in our area. Also on the calendar is Jainism, but in Kansas City, Jains are included in the Hindu Temple governance, so there is no separate seat for that tradition.
For these reasons, it would be difficult at this time to add an additional seat on the Council.
However, there are many ways to participate in interfaith work in Kansas City. The three task forces that serve the Council often need additional help. CRES programs, and the programs of its auxiliary, Mosaic, welcome support and participation. The CRES monthly newsletter and the CRES website provide information about these opportunities. *http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/calendar/about.html
2004 July 12 Minutes
a. Welcomes and Greetings: David Nelson asked everyone to say something about "wetness, water, or rain." Kathy Riegelman told a story about how during a powerful thunderstorm she left her car window open and had to jump over a river in the gutter to close it. Uma said: “A rainy day is not a gloomy day. Gloomy days are when you do not think about God.” Simon Gatsby said that he left his window open and the rain got his dictionary wet. He also said that this has been a great spring for gardens. Chuck Stanford noticed how water can be renewing or destructive. He said that his tomato plants, because they are down in a ravine of sorts, are getting too much water and are drooping. Dr Syed Hasan said that water is a key to life. He pointed out that humans can barely survive two days without water. As a scientist, he pointed out that 97.2% of the water on earth is salt water and the 2.78 % of fresh water is distributed unevenly. He said that future conflicts could be about water. Barb McAtee loves water. She told a story about how when she was white water rafting she would get completely submerged in the water and not be able to breath then she would shoot out again into the air. She recently joined the water garden society and would like to build a water garden of her own. Kara Hawkins pointed out that for the first time there were more women present then men. Women, she said starts with “W” like water. She thinks of thunder coming from the west, another “W.” She recently had a wedding (another “W”) and had a water blessing. She loves water and “Ws.” Clara Dina (representing George Noonan) grew up in the Rio Grande valley in Texas and used to go to the beach many times on weekends and vacations. She likes the feel of the waves in her body after a day of swimming.
b. Reports from Faith Communities
c. Agenda building: The Unitarian Universalists are working to encourage minorities and people lower on the social economic scale to vote. David Nelson showed everyone his bumper sticker (no, he wasn’t wearing it) that said “one nation, many faiths.” It came from the Interfaith Alliance. More information can be found at www.interfaithalliance.org. The Baha’is are involved in women’s rights. There is a petition and information about what you can do at www.womensrights.org. Kara Hawkins is doing “Healing Spirit, A Native American insight into end of life care” this Saturday. More information can be found at the Johnson county website. On July 25 in Royal Hall at UMKC there is a speaker addressing the Jewish/Palestinian conflict. He will email the details to Simon who will put them on the cres website.
A. Word should be coming back soon from the petition for the grant from Religions for Peace-USA
B.. Task Forces
— Environmental: Dr. Hasan said that only one person showed up for the first meeting but that last meeting there were four people in attendance. He said it is a good group of people and that they are making a lot of progress. The next meeting is July 26 Monday from 5:30-6:30p at UMKC - Hyde Park Conference Room at the Administrative Center, 5115 Oak.
— Personal: Kara Hawkins does not have a clear understanding of the Task Force and the IFC. She needs to know the purpose and feels discouraged. The Personhood Task Force is ready for the conference and will not meet again until the IFC has its consultation meeting.
— Social: Fred Schuele requested members from the IFC and says that it is important that religions address social issues and wants to start preparing for the next conference.
3. Pending and New business
a. The Council extends a warm welcome to the new Coadjutor Bishop Robert W Finn of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City - St Joseph. Clara Dina explained that he is next in succession to the Bishop and brings a more conservative Catholicism to Kansas City. The IFC encourages Vern Barnet to write a letter of welcome to him from the Council.
b. After much discussion the Council voted to send the letter below to Mr. Black. Chuck Stanford saw the program and said there was nothing religious about it but he himself just being the victim of the media does not think it nice what they are doing. Dr Hasan explained that Art Chaudry is a respected Muslim leader in the community and views this as a threat. The Muslim Council has already sent an inquiry and Muslims feel like they do not know where they can turn.
Kirk Black, General Manger, KCTV 5, 4500 Shawnee Mission Parkway, P.O.
Box 5555, Kansas City, MO 64109; Dear Mr Black:
Since its inception in 1989, the Kansas City Interfaith Council has worked with media (beginning with our joint work with the KC Press Club) and other segments of the community to assure fair and accurate portrayal of the faiths practiced in the Heartland, and to communicate concerns about possible religious prejudice. It is because of this dimension of our mission that we now write you.
We have received information from members of the Kansas City Muslim community about their concern over your continuing use of a promotion of your "investigative reporting" in which you insinuate that Muslim leader Art Chaudry's position with Jackson County government is in violation of County requirements. As you know, the Jackson County legislature considered this matter and found your assertions without merit. We have contacted Mr Scott Burnett, chair of the Legislature, and he has certified the following in a letter which we attach: "July 8, 2004. To the Kansas City Interfaith Council: This confirms that the Jackson County Legal Counsel has advised the Legislature that Mr Art Chaudry is in compliance with all relevant rules."
In the context of what appears to be an "investigation" without merit, some have questioned whether the continuing attack on Mr Chaudry might arise from religious prejudice. We would appreciate your response to this concern and an explanation of why this promotion continues to be broadcast. Sincerely yours, /The Reverend David E Nelson, DMin,/ Kansas City Interfaith Council Chair
cc: Kansas City Harmony, National Conference for Community and Justice
How can we follow through on our commitments and be prepared for emergencies?
1) Community Prayer for Peace 2) African Leaders in KC
Simon explained that the IFC voted unanimously to support the Community Prayer for Peace event, but when it came about there was nominal support. He also mentioned Barbara Dolci’s request for Interfaith participation with African leaders and the IFC failure to respond. Clara Dina brought up the good point that there is a difference between support and commitment. Barb McAtee suggested using the telephone and not just emails to contact Council members. Some Council members grumbled that there was too short of notice to meet with the African leaders. In response, Simon asked what the Council should do in the case of another emergency like 911. The Council accepted Barb McAtee’s use of the telephone and decided to enlarge their list of alternates.
for the future of the IFC. Kathy Riegelman will contact Jane Heide
and Dr Hasan will contact Mahnaz Shabbir. Clara Dina had another
good idea, this being to have not only one consultant but several.
David Nelson said that this meeting will take most of the day on a Saturday.
A date is still to be determined.
e. Teaching religion to school children on the ‘Australian’ method: Barb McAtee will bring more information. Several council members were very interested.
f. Getting the next interfaith conference in motion. The Council is still not prepared for advance planning. A conference in the fall of 2004 is no longer in the picture.
Next Steps for next Conference
name: Gifts of Pluralism II?
ifc steering committee (Riegelman?)
co-sponsors KCH, NCCJ?
co-sponsors KCH, NCCJ?
hire coordinator (Gene Flanery?)
(this time include more Christian leaders?)
role of Mosaic, esp Stories project
presentations from Task Forces
small groups/appreciative inquiry
display tables and exhibits
drafting and revising
Sunday interfaith service?
promotion and press releases
statement of expected outcomes
statement of history of first conference
food service respecting dietary practices
cultural entertainment evening
space for prayer and devotional practices
networking opportunities and directory of participants
photographic record of event
proclamations from governors and mayors
4. Parking Lot
? Additions to Council 1) Orthodox Christian 2) Freethinker:
5. Closing a. Process review b. Farewells (David Nelson asked everyone to thank the person to the right)
Present: Karta Purkh Khalsa (took notes), Kathy Riegelman, Uma, George Noonan, A. Rauf Mir, David Nelson (convened)
1. Openings – Shared name, faith community and “something you are personally
Rabbi Danny Horwitz is leaving Council and KC - we will miss him
“The Hindu & The Cowboy and Other Kansas City Stories” – April 15th Kathy and George attended. Appreciation of 1-hour production. Also in two schools on April 21, 23.
Task Forces: No reports
Environmental – Dr. Hasan
Personal – Rev. Kara Hawkins
Social – May 10th at 6:00 p.m.
3. Pending and New Business
A. Council supported Clergy Day being moved from May 12th to October 13th, 2004. (This is the Wednesday after the Jewish High Holy Days and Simhat Torah and before Ramadan is expected to begin two days later.)
B. KCIFC planning steps (proposed next steps)
David Stallings willing to facilitate meeting at 4747 Troost. Dates to be determined in the summer for time in the fall.
C. ICF add Orthodox Christian member – on hold
D. ICF add Freethinker member – on hold
E. ICF designated Dr. Vern Barnet “Convener Emeritus”
4. "Parking Lot"
Next Interfaith Conference – on hold
What worked tonight? How can our next meeting be even better?
Each person might lead a discussion on some aspect of faith in the coming meetings.
Next meetings – Gillham Plaza Building at the corner of Gillam and Armour.
July 12th 6:00 p.m.
Sept. 13th 6:00 p.m.
Nov. 15 6:00 p.m.
2004 February 26 Mtg
Next Meeting: April 29 6:00-7:15p
Meeting time 15 minutes earlier than usual!)
Location: Gillham Plaza Building at the corner of Gillham and Armour.
1. Openings (6:15)
a. Welcomes and Greetings: David Nelson asked everyone to say something about "Hospitality"
Dr. Syed Hasan: In his faith tradition (Islam) the guest gets the importance in the household.
Barb McAtee: This time of the month, Bahais practice gift giving to one another and to the poor.
Kevin Bear (representing Kara Hawkins): When guests, especially elders, enter your home you should show respect for their needs and privacy.
Nancy Parks (from YouthFriends): Americans need to improve their hospitality.
Melissa Gingell (from YouthFriends): She comes from countryside and there they always have an abundant table with second helpings for guests.
George Noonan: His mother always had space for visitors and would make special dietary preparations for people of other faiths.
Dr. A Rauf Mir: His faith (Islam) recommends a special prayer for the guest and a room and place for the guest to pray.
Uma: As a Vedanta she prays that everyone will feel welcome
Kris Krishna and his wife: They have a saying "Treat your mother like God. Treat your father like God. Treat your teacher like God. And treat your guest as God."
David Nelson: Christ is someone you meet and often someone you least expect will be Christ.
Rabbi Horwitz: Elijah supposedly never died so one should treat everyone as if he might have a foot in both worlds. Also, Abraham invited in strangers and they turned out to be angels.
Vicki Combes (for Caroline Baughman): All is one; the divine is present in everyone
b. Reports from Faith Communities
c. Agenda building: see http://www.cres.org/calcres.htm
?a. YouthFriends presentation: Youthfriends of Greater Kansas City provides mentoring for children. They are now in three states and 95 school districts. They want to expose children to different faiths and cultures and are looking for volunteers. Only one hour a week can make a huge impact on a child. They are very flexible with times and locations. One the their school districts in the Kansas City area has 110 students from 40 different countries! They would be willing to speak to congregations to get people excited to help our youth. For more information http://www.youthfriends.org/KS/
? b. Hindu & Cowboy: Apr 15 Thursday 11:30a-1p — Public Premier of "The Hindu and The Cowboy and Other Kansas City Stories," Marriott Downtown - Muehlbach Tower, 12th & Wyandotte, Imperial Ballroom. Individual $50, Tables: $1000 corporate, $750 individual sponsorship.
“Members of the world's religions live not just on the other side of the globe, but in our neighborhoods. Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, Muslims and new groups of Jews and Catholics have arrived in Kansas City from every part of the globe, profoundly impacting the diversity landscape of our region.
“Luncheon participants will be treated to a staged reading of the play, The Hindu and The Cowboy & Other Kansas City Stories” developed as an outgrowth of the Interfaith Council’s 2001 Gifts of Pluralism conference by the CRES auxiliary, Mosaic.
? c. Kauffman Youth “Journey to Understanding” see Mar MP
Dr. Syed Hasan said that his daughter has gone before and would have liked to go this year but there was not enough advertising. Over 50 students attended along with IFC members, Caroline Baughman and Kris Krishna.
?d. Task Forces
Environmental (Hasan): Dr. Hasan is the new chair and will be having his first meeting in a few weeks (date TBA). He thinks that the UMKC student body will be able to provide great support. Vicki Combes offered her retreat center "Ancient Wisdom" to the Environmental Task Force.
Personal: Barb McAtee said they are working on something for the Conference
Social: David Nelson and Simon will organize members for a meeting tentatively set for March 22.
Rabbi Horowitz thinks we should offer training to the Task Forces in how to run a successful meeting.
3. Pending and New business
a. May 12, Wednesday 9a-3p has been selected for the Clergy/Lay Leader conference (David, Vern [Simon]). All members please help us advertise!
b. Chairing the IFC meetings: David Nelson (who has been doing a magnificent job!) will continue chairing the IFC meetings.
c. Scheduling next meeting(s)
(1) length of meeting: Our meetings will now be 1 hour and 15 minutes and we will meet more frequently.
(2) dates: Next Meeting: April 29, 6:00-7:15p
(3) places We are thankful for KC Harmony offering us the use of their facility but due to convenience of location we will continue to use the RC Diocese facility in the Gillham Plaza Building.
d. Consulting for the future of the IFC:
Horowitz thinks the entire Council is not needed review the various Strategic
Plans. A smaller council composed of Barb McAtee, George Noonan,
and Danny Horowitz will contact the various consultants and select one.
1) David Stallings’ offer: Strategic Plan
2) Larry Guillot
3) Eric West
4) Lois Reborn
e. Additions to Council: Rabbi Horowitz and Barb McAtee recommended we also include a "fundamental" Protestant. Rabbi Horowitz suggested we replace the inactive members of the council with people that will be more involved. The council will take a vote at the next meeting.
1) Orthodox Christian
4. Parking Lot
?Next interfaith conference for 2004 fall:
? name: Gifts of Pluralism II?
? ifc steering committee ? co-sponsors KCH, NCCJ?
? target participants
5. Closing (7:10)
a. Process review
b. Farewells (7:15): Everyone parted by saying something about "Blessing." Some of the things said were: "Blessings to all earth's creature;" "Share with everyone;" "Prayers to all beings;" "May all beings be happy and prosperous," and "The sacred in me honors the sacred in you."
2003 December 11 Mtg
Special Notice! Change
of meeting location!
New Location: Gillham Plaza Building at the corner of Gillham and Armour.
Feb 26 Thu 6:15-7:15p
a. Welcomes and Greetings: David Nelson asked everyone to say something they appreciate:
David Nelson--Appreciates the beauty of the moonlight reflecting on the snow
Rabbi Daniel Horwitz--His wife
Gene Flanery--His wife
Chuck Stanford--The Meditation for World Peace is coming together
Jerry Conway--The semester is wrapping up
George M Noonan--That he has shelter from the cold weather
Kris Krishna--That he has his health and hopefully will here good things from the hospital
Stumbling Deer--Appreciates centerness
Larry Sousley--Thankful for having parents that did a great job
A Rauf Mir--His grandbaby is in town and he appreciates the new things she can do
Karta Purkh S Khalsa--His 18 year-old daughter just got her first job at the Jones store
Grant McMurray--His cat died, his son cried and Grant appreciates that his 24 year-old son
sensed the spirit of peace in the family animal.
Vern Barnet--That he got to see people he had not seen in awhile
Caroline Baughman--appreciates having had a birthday and also the service done by military folk
b. Reports from Faith Communities:
A lot of exciting activities are taking place within the community (for
a detailed list please see the CRES Community Calendar on the web
c. Agenda building
a. Thanksgiving Sunday Interfaith Ritual Meal: Dennis Moore said that the award he received was the most meaningful award he had ever received. The location was stunning. A request was made for clearer directions in the future. Hindu and the Cowboy was also complimented and loved by the people who saw it. The Hindu and Cowboy cost $1000 and brought in $600. New funding is needed to do a complete production.
b. Kauffman Fund Grant award: $5,000. We were hoping for around $25,000 but are fortunate to get what we got as the Kauffman Fund was looking for something relating directly towards children.
c. CRES Board restructuring of CRES: Vern's title has changed from Resident Minister to Minster Emeritus. CRES will still facilitate the IFC for one year by providing a staff assistant.
d. Task Forces (Personal, Jan 22): The Environmental Task Force and the Social Task Force need rejuvenation.
e. Resolution on Gibson movie/ Malaysian PM remarks: Caroline Baughman and Rabbi Danny Horwitz did good job researching the movie. Caroline was amazed at how much was already written and said about it. She prepared this statement for the board:
Let Mel Gibson's "Passion" beget compassion and not merely inflame our passions.
We are beings with Choice. Choice is an action. It describes our relationship to the world around us. We may not Choose the world we live in but we can always choose our responses to people and events within our world. Mel Gibson has chosen to make Passion. You may choose to see it or you may not. Those unfamiliar with the scriptures may choose to familiarize themselves or not. You may choose to engage in conversation with Christians and Jews to learn of their individual and collective responses or not.
We can not comment on the content of this film - as we have not seen it. We can not choose the content of the film - we can only choose our response to it. Let this be an opportunity for education. Rabbi A. James Rudin, the American Jewish Committee's senior adviser on inter-religious affairs was quoted as saying, "Use this movie in what we call a teachable moment to bring together Jews and Christians to look at the whole story of how the Passion has been used and abused."
Passion will be released next spring and already many have branded it anti-Semitic - voicing concern that it will inspire a response of increased anti-Semitism. This fear is exactly what we can control - our response. This continues to be a volatile time in our collective history and anti-Semitism is on the rise. It is our responsibility to choose wisely in both our actions and our responses. Let this be an opportunity for the advancement of interfaith understanding.
The IFC decided to postpone any action concerning the movie until an empirical statement could be made.
f. A vision for the Interfaith Council:
Vern gave a touching address urging the IFC to continue addressing the
three great crises (the environment, society, and personhood) of today's
secularistic society. He reminded us that we need the questions and
reflections gained from talking with one another. Vern, a true leader,
inspired us all to strive towards our common goal: "Save the world!"
He encouraged us to get the three task forces back to their optimal level
and reminded us how the wisdom from our traditions could be powerfully
used for mutual benefit. David Nelson thanked Vern for enlivening
and enkindling us.
3. Pending and New business
a. Policy on access to web Speakers Bureau — emerging suggestion: add “You may consult the Speakers Bureau . . . or the individual of the faith you are interested in on the Interfaith Council.”
Speakers Bureau will remain as is.
a. Review of new CRES organization chart
1) Simon’s role: Simon will be attending IFC meetings and will be eagerly working to assist the council in every way possible during this time of transition.
2) David Nelson’s role: David is unable to take on the facilitating and administrative role without compensation.
3) Many Paths continue to IFC focus
b. Select (rotating?) chair
c. Planning for 2004
1) David Stallings’ offer: Strategic Plan. In addition to considering David Stallings, members of the IFC suggested that Larry Guillot and Eric West also be considered.
2) Clergy/Lay Leader conference for Apr 28 or May 12 (Vern, David [Simon]) IFC members will email Simon after checking their calendars. Getting the word out about this conference is important!
3) Proposal from Mahnaz Shabbir: She asked the IFC if they would be interested in sponsoring and connectintg with the quarterly Community Prayer for Peace. She will continue to do the organizing. The IFC unanimously accepted her proposal. Rabbi Danny Horwitz will meet with her to discuss the possibility of using a synagogue for the next Community Prayer for Peace in March. Caroline Baughman suggested having a prayer outside if the weather permits. [March 14 Sunday 2 at Ohev Sholom, 75th and Nall.]
4. Parking Lot
Conference for 2004 fall: name: Gifts of Pluralism II?
ifc steering committee
co-sponsors KCH, NCCJ?
Mosaic Stories presentation —
timing Spring, 2004 ? venue ? book?
director, producer, actors
financing (ticket price $10?)
5. Closing (7:10)
a. Set next mtg for Feb 26 Thu 6:15-7:15p
b. Select location
George Noonan will prepare a map for the RC Diocese facility at the Gillham Plaza Building at Gillham and Armour.
c. Process review
d. Farewells: the meeting ended late, we will discuss allowing more time in the future. David Nelson invited everyone to tell Vern why they are thankful for him and Vern in turn expressed his gratitude.
2003 October 30 Mtg
Please note our next meeting is Dec 11 Thu 6:15-7:15p
1. Openings (6:15)
a. Welcomes and Greetings
b. Reports from Faith Communities; everyone spoke about their individual faith's upcoming events:
Larry Sousley: the upcoming whirling dervishes in Dec. at St. Mary's church.
David Nelson: Lutheran Reformation remembrance of the 1595 thesis being placed on the church
George Noonan: an FBI presentation on civil rights will be at Rockhurst
Grant McMurray: is going to buy asbestos underwear for his trip to California
Caroline Baughman: a pagan Halloween, the veil between the known and the unknown is the thinnest, also a time
to honor ones ancestors
Karta Purkh S Khalsa: the birthday of Guru Nanak who was the first guru, also upcoming recognitions for the
4th, 6th, and 10th gurus
Stumbling Deer: said there are too many celebrations to name them all
Rabbi Danny Horwitz: Community Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem
Vern Barnet: attended Divali in a home, went to the mosque, and a Christian church
Kris Krisha and his wife Padma: just enjoyed Divali
c. Agenda building
d. Reminder: Please submit information for the News Summary page in Many Paths
Mosaic: Book Club (Gates of Paradise,
the next reading will have food at the end so please call in advance but
of the moment decision
to go is okay.) Stories project (The Hindu and the Cowboy set for Nov 2 Sun 2p, Bruce Watkins Center, 3700 Blue
Grant proposal submission: (We are hopeful and will hear something eventually)
3. New Business
a. Reschedule Clergy/ Lay Leader conference for May 5th? (David and others did get to speak at the St. Paul
School of Theology in a similar
We will need everyone's assistance to help get the word out when we establish a concrete date
b. Thanksgiving Sunday -- new format
(Please send brief words of faith, new one or the same, by November
Nov 23 Sun 6-8p, St Andrew Christian Church, 13890 W 127
Unfortunately David will not be able to attend
c. Gibson movie, is it anti-Semitic? violent? a committee consisting of Rabbi Danny Horwitz, Caroline Baughman,
George Noonan, and Vern
d. Policy on access to web Speakers Bureau, will remain the same
4. Unfinished business
fall 2004 keep thinking about ideas and start getting excited!
a. next meeting set for Dec 11 Thu 6:15-7:15p
b. process review
c. farewells, David Nelson asked everyone to say something inspiring
2003 September 11 Mtg
Regrets: Danny Horwitz, George Noonan, Chuck Stanford, Uma. Geoge and
Chuck were represented by alternates.
David Stallings was a guest to present options about the future of the Council. The thirteen of us shared our responses to
the question about how 9/11 has affected our spiritual lives, and what significant stories we told!
Please note our next meeting is Oct 30 Thu 6:15-7:15p.
I do not have David Stallings' presentation in electronic form. If you were not present in person or by your delegate
and wish a copy, let me know and I'll get one in the mail.
1. Openings (6:15)
a. Welcomes and Greetings reflecting the 9/11 event two years ago and what we personally have felt and hat we have
observed about our nation and the world in these two years.
b. Reports from Faith Communities
c. Agenda building
d. Request for monthly News Summary page in Many Paths
2. Reports (6:30)
* Mosaic: Book Club, Stories project — Nov 2 Bruce Watkins Ctr
* EPS Task Forces — enthusiasm needing clarity Sep 16 Tue 7-9p
* The Edge
* Diversity Center mtg with Rabbi Zedek
* Sep 9 Interfaith Event International Vistors Council
* Oct 1 Conference for Clergy and Lay Leaders
* Thanksgiving Sunday Nov 23 — revised format
3. Outlining possible futures for the Council (see below) (6:45)
4. Unfinished business (7:05)
****Conference for 2004 fall:
* name: Gifts of Pluralism II?
* ifc steering committee ? co-sponsors KCH, NCCJ?
* target participants
**** Mosaic Stories presentation —
* timing Spring, 2004 ? venue ? book?
* director, producer, actors
* financing (ticket price $10?)
**** World Religions Festival, Unity Village, Dec 7 Sunday
* time of day? 2-4, 4-6, 2-5 ?
* unifying theme:
*light/dark *fire *water *all four elements
*participation and publicity
5. Closing (7:10)
a. Set next mtg for Oct 30 Thu 6:15-7:15p
b. Process review
c. Farewells (7:15)
Possible Council Futures
0. Punt with a 9 month study grant to explore options more fully.
1. Dissolve the Interfaith Council.
2. Incorporate as a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with new leadership.
3. Appoint a permanent or rotating chair/administrator.
4. Retain the services of someone on a part-time paid basis $18,000-$25,000
a year including supplies, etc. with functions
*Administrative services, including assisting the Council to find a place to meet (perhaps at Harmony), handling the agenda
and distribution of the minutes, and providing information for updating the IFC web pages which would still be located on
the CRES website, at least for a time.
*Scheduling, convening, and chairing the Council meetings (or perhaps having a rotating chair from te members of the
Council), with a possible retreat
*Maintaining the Speakers Bureau (both printed and on the web) and directing inquirers to it
*Responding to requests for interfaith assistance by directing them to the appropriate Council member(s) or other resources
*Supporting the work of the three task forces as they prepare for the next conference
*Provide all administrative equipment and supplies
*Assist in the development of a plan for ongoing financial support for the Council.
CRES might continue publication of MANY PATHS and website, with thea small fee for coverage of its work and news, and with
individuals subscribing separately.
> Other considerations
*the value in sheltering the Council from budgeting and political concerns
*the importance of establishing that the Council are in the mediation business, but rather in the appreciation mode
*the usefulness of a history of the Council
[The material from David Stallings utilized some of this but was placed
in a careful and more developed matrix for the
Council to consider.]
2003 June 12 Mtg
1. Present: Rushdy El-Ghussein, Kara Hawkins, Danny Horwitz, Karta Purkh S Khalsa, Barb McAtee, George Noonan, Kathy Riegelman, Lee Slusher, Larry Sousley, Chuck Stanford, Uma, Vern Barnet, Dan Johnson.
2. Rushdy reported that some 1,600 people attended the highly successful Islamic Society of North America Central Zone Conference in the Kansas City area this May.
3. IFC members are urged to report especially significant activities within their communities for publication in Many Paths. Email short reports to email@example.com.
4. Mosaic's Life Stories project continues and funds are being sought to support the theatrical production, tentatively called "The Hindu and the Cowboy and Other Kansas City Stories," based on the 60 interviews completed for the project, currently scheduled for Oct 24-26. All IFC traditions will be included.
5. The prosecutor in the Joe Amrine case has decided to re-file charges against him. A celebration had been planned to welcome him after his release from death row after the Missouri Supreme Court ordered him freed because of overwhelming evidence that he is innocent. Astonishingly, Attorney General Nixon actually had argued it does not matter whether he is innocent or guilty, so long as the procedures are followed, he should be executed. It was observed that the death penalty often has little to do with justice but usually is about politics.
6. IFC members signed up for all of the remaining spiritual columns in The Edge through Jan of 2004, with due dates the 5th of the preceeding month. Columnists are: Caroline Baughman (July), Chuck Stanford (Aug), Kara Hawkins (Sep), Uma (Oct), Karta Purkh S Khalsa (Nov), Barb McAtee (Dec), Danny Horwitz (Jan).
7. Danny is working on the US State Department's "Shared Traditions, Common Ideals" program, focusing a great deal on the difficulties facing Muslims. Danny reported that a community-wide event is planned for the evening of Sept 9, two days before the 9/11 second anniversary, with the site to be announced shortly. Imam Sayed Hassan Qazwini of Detroit will be the featured speaker.
8. Because of the unprecedented demands on CRES and its precarious financial situation, Vern asked Council members to send him (firstname.lastname@example.org) names, addresses, etc, of people who might be able to provide significant financial support for our interfaith work if they were made aware of it and our critical need at this time. Copies of the CBS-TV video "Open Hearts, Open Minds," which features our work in Kansas City, are now available to send to such potential contributors. An alternative to sending names to Vern is for members of the Council to show the video themselves and request support. Uma, Karta Purkh, and Barb requested copies of the video.
9. IFC members discussed a request to endorse the establishment of a new Diversity Center in Kansas City. The council favors exploring this effort while emphasizing the significant diversity work of existing organizations and its need for additional information before endorsing any particular site, facility, or program.
10. The next meeting is Sep 11 Thu 6:15-7:15p.
2003 Apr 10 Mtg
Present--Stumbling Deer (American Indian), Simeon Kohlman Rabbani (Baha'i), Lama Chuck Stanford (Buddhist), Sean Agniel (Catholic), Danny Horwitz (Jewish), A Rauf Mir (Muslim), the Rev. Kathy Riegelman (Unitarian Universalist), Sharon Connors (guest), the Rev David Nelson (chair), the Rev Vern Barnet, Dan Johnson, Jeremy Kohlhart.
Regrets--the Rev Dr Wallace Hartsfield (Christianity-Protestant), George
M Noonan (Christianity-Roman Catholic), Kris Krishna (Hinduism), Caroline
Baughman (Paganism), Karta Purkh S Khalsa (Sikh Dharma), Ali Kadr (Sufism),
Daryoush Jahanian MD (Zoroastrianism).
a. Welcomes and Greetings
b. Reports from Faith Communities
Stumbling Deer--David Nelson will present "Crazy Horse, with music by Stumbling Deer and Kara Hawkins, at the OP Marriott Hotel on May 12 Mon 11:45a-1p.
Chuck--On April 8, a group met to explore the formation of a pan-Buddhist Council, partly to help resolve the isolation of local Buddhist communities. This was the first such meeting, and the attendance was better than Chuck expected. A sacred relic tour of Rime will be given on the weekend of 12 April.
Simeon--Simeon will be moving to Brazil in two weeks, and Barb McAtee will take his place on the council. The members present thanked Simeon for his service and wished him the best.
Kathy--All Souls will host the "Jesus Seminar on the Road" Workshop at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Kansas City on April 25 Fri and April 26 Sat.
Rauf--"Islam: Enduring Value for Daily Life" will be the theme of the ISNA Central Zone Conference at the Convention Center in OP 23-25 May. Many national speakers and Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens) will appear.
Vern--Prof Ross Brann, the Milton R Konvitz professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies and the Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University, will speak on "Religion, Politics, and Peace in the Middle East" on April 6 at 4p at Pembroke Hill School.
c. Agenda Building -- Items were previewed.
d. Request for Monthly News Summary Page in Many Paths--David asked
for faith communities to submit pertinent information to this page. Chuck
commended Vern's article, "Science and Religion: Three Personal Essays,"
in the April Many Paths. David complemented Dan's articles, as well as
the newsletter in general, and said that he would like to see doubled the
approximately 550 current subscriptions.
2. Regular Reports--The MOSAIC Book Club currently is reading Black
Elk Speaks. The EPS Task Forces participated in a buoyant joint meeting
on 25 March. In the future, the task forces will need to set up regular
meetings and focus on their primary task: to expand upon the statements
contained in the Declaration from Kansas City's first interfaith conference.
3. Special Reports
a. Report of Death Penalty Study Committee--David recommended making telephone calls to get people to respond the survey, and to follow up with e-mails.
b. Redrafting Report omitted
c. Revision of Speakers Bureau Completed--The CRES website now contains
4. Advance Planning: Next Steps for Next Conference
a. Conference for 2004 Fall
Name--The tentative name is "Gifts of Pluralism II."
Venue--Vern suggested Pembroke Hill High School as a possible site, and noted that when it was used for the last conference, no fee was charged. Rauf said that food was a problem there, and Sharon complained about parking access. Chuck suggested using a hotel, and David said that in this case a commitment to use many rooms would be necessary.
IFC Steering Committee--Kathy volunteered to help pull a steering committee together, and to keep the IFC involved. Some suggested that George would be a great asset to a steering committee, and Kathy said that other Mosaic people probably would help, too.
Target participants--Members present felt that a Saturday-Sunday conference might be best, since many people wouldn't be able to come on weekdays.
b. Mosaic Stories Presentation
Vern reported that some 60 people, from a wide variety of backgrounds, have been interviewed for the Life Stories Project. Nearly all of these stories have been transcribed. Donna Ziegenhorn, who is heading the project, plans to meld some stories into a play, possibly to be staged in three performances on the weekend of 24-26 Oct.
Union Station is a possible venue, and might be available at no cost.
Several people have suggested that some of the transcribed material be edited and published as a book.
Funding will be need for the professional staff, such as the producer and director. Donna intends to use volunteer actors and actresses.
A suggested ticket price is around $10 to help cover some of the costs.
Vern arranged a meeting between Life Stories Project personnel and Joan
Israelite, president of the Metropolitan Arts Council of Greater Kansas
City, on 16 April.
c. World Religions Festival
Sharon discussed her plan to have a World Religions Festival at Unity Village, possibly in the Activities Center, on Dec 7 Sun from 2-4p. The purpose will be to celebrate the diversity of the world's faith traditions and to help build bridges between them. She hopes that 300-400 people will come.
Sharon wants to include spiritual rituals and prayers. The unifying theme hasn't been established, but two possibilities are to show how water and light are used in different faith traditions. A Power Point Presentation and circles of sharing could be included, and the CRES video of the water ritual on 9/11/02 was suggested for the closing.
Chuck expressed concern that many people may be very busy in the beginning of Dec.
Danny suggested that a member of each faith tradition could do a 10-minute presentation on the theme. He also said that since Dec 7 is Pearl Harbor Day, perhaps War and Peace could be the theme.
Vern said that whatever the theme, all CRES faiths should be included. He said that if the event becomes political, this could make people angry.
Dan said that he felt plans for the event were going through a healthy stage, since a wide variety of suggestions were being entertained before more definite plans are made.
Sharon encourages anyone from the IFC interested in working on this event to do so.
David said that when the event becomes more defined and needs for participation
are identified, he is sure that CRES will lend some support.
5. Concerns About Our Direction as a Nation and a World Community--everyone
present spoke about their concerns.
6. Invitation--The Edge newspaper is interested in having a monthly
column written from the perspective of different religious beliefs. Anyone
from the IFC interested in contributing should speak with Vern.
7. The next meeting will be June 12 Thu 6:15-7:15p
2003 Jan 23 Mtg
1. NOTES and
1. from Jeremy's Notes from the Interfaith Council meeting January 23 led by David Nelson
Many Paths newsletter- Please send in any information regarding news from your local faith communities to be used in the "Religious News Digest--Kansas City area" section of the newsletter.
Open house at the Catholic Cathedral (Gold Dome) Wednesday, March 26th at 7 pm. Please contact George Noonan for more information.
Tibetan New Year's celebration to be held March 2nd, at 6:30 pm at the Rime Buddhist Center.
Mosaic book club is reading Black Elk Speaks, and having discussion on Feb 17 Monday 6:30-8:30 at Waldo Branch Library.
Task Forces- Tuesday, March 18th 7-9pm, joint workshop with all of the Task Forces.
Death Penalty- Handed out surveys to each Council member, inquiring about specific faith's stances on the death penalty.
Diversity Task Force- Meeting with Katherine Shields to discuss implementation of the recommendations from the Diversity Report. Project has already requested $15,000 in funding.
Call to Prayer- has been revised, please return with any suggestions to Caroline.
Thanksgiving Celebration- Council decides to continue with new format of prepared and distributed opening statements. Will continue with this set up for next year.
Article in the Jewish Chronicle- Article is responding to a report of an accusation that Israel was responsible for 9/11 tragedy. Council discussed making an official response to both the article and accusation. Agreed to delay comment, to see the Jewish Chronicle's follow-up stories.
Interfaith Conference- Discussed moving next Interfaith Conference from Fall 2003, to Fall 2004. There is the large Mosaic Faith Stories event this fall, along with a World Religion Conference to be held at Unity Village. Also this would allow for more time and research/development with the Task Forces. Council agreed to move the next conference to 2004.
Youth Violence Prevention Project- Walt Boulden and Jason Clinton, Institute of Human Development at UMKC, asked the Council to join the coalition. Council members have different views about homosexuality in their traditions. All agree violence against youth is wrong. Agreed to join coalition if mission statement clarified so that no endorsement of life-style is made, and focus on preventing violence.
NEXT MEETING: APR 10 THU 6:15-7:15p
Notes respectfully submitted from Jeremy Kolhart
2. FOLLOW-UP REPORTS FROM VERN:
CHRONICLE STORY.-- At a lunch meeting January 24, I met with Rick Hellman
(editor of The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle), and Ahmed El-Sherif (a Muslim),
Allan Abrams (Jewish), Diane Hershberger (KC Harmony executive director),
and David Nelson (Council chair) about the "Blood Libel" story. Rick said
he did not reply to my January 6 inquiry about the alleged statement until
the Jan 17 story appeared in his paper because he did not want me to write
about it before he did, even though he first learned about it from me,
which he called a "tip." I was dismayed that my early effort to reach out
to him was seen as competitive rather than cooperative.
We discussed the fact that many Muslims were prepared to offer their condemnations, and that he knowingly chose not to include such statements in the story although his publication schedule provided no impediment to such inclusion. We discussed the opinion that the way the story was handled and labeled was incendiary and the opinion that the story unnecessarily placed the Muslim community on the defensive. He felt the story was appropriate for the front page and the way it was handled because of the issues it raises for the Jewish community, and said he would welcome follow-up material from the Muslim
community. He felt there was no obligation on his part to seek out such condemnations to be published with the original breaking story. He could not explain why the story had been held for three months by the JCRB/AJC which apparently had done nothing with the story during that time. It had not contacted KC Harmony, NCCJ, the Interfaith Council, the Diversity Task Force, for example, and did not return my Jan 3, Jan 6, Jan 11, or Jan 13 inquiries until after the story was published.
One of the purposes of the Interfaith Council is "to work with media and with educational and religious leaders and groups in promoting accurate and fair portrayal of the faiths."
The Council also asked me to report on follow-up in The Chronicle. The Jan 24 issue contained no follow-up. The Jan 31 issue contained a profile of a Muslim in our community as the beginning of an "occasional series" called "Our Muslim Neighbors." The Jan 31 issue contained a letter from a Muslim leader, Dr Iftekhar Ahmed expressing dismay about the alleged statement and offering examples of Muslim efforts at interfaith understanding. It also contained a letter from Sheila Sonnenschein questioning the way The Chronicle handled the story, and a letter from Australia expressing solidarity against
"blood libel." The electronic version of the Feb 7 issue seemed to have no follow-up.
YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROJECT.-- The head of the project has responded
with the official mission statement: "Prevent abuse and violence against
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and those so perceived in
the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area." Since this conforms to the
discussion of the Council and avoids endorsing lifestyles some of us may
find religiously objectionable, I've informed the project they may list
us along with the other groups, which include NCCJ, YouthNet of Greater
Kansas City, Camp Fire USA Heartland Council, The Wyandot Center for Community
Behavioral Healthcare, Kansas City Harmony, MOCSA (The Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault), UMKC Institute for Human Development, United Community Services of Johnson County, UMKC Graduate Social Work Program, ACLU, Avila College and others as additional organizations are informed about the two-year project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States federal government.
Follow-up reports respectfully submitted,
NEXT MEETING: APR 10 THU 6:15-7:15p
Council meeting notes: Thurs Aug 15, 2002 -- J. K.
Working on a 'Life Stories' project. A nine month effort to collect stories from individuals about their personal faith experiences and journeys. This will be scripted into some sort of program/presentation. Mosaic is also proposing to sponsor a youth event.
Death Penalty Study-
Council voted on and approved a committee to study the issue of Capitol Punishment. This will be a fact finding exercise for educational purposes. They will gather information on how various different faiths feel about the death penalty, whether they permit it or not, and how it is to be applied, in respect to those various faiths. No conclusions regarding the death penalty will be drawn at this time. It is a fact finding exercise.
CBS will be airing a 30 minute special program to be broadcast sometime after 9/11. News channel 5 has already done segments on our preparations, and KCStar has also run a number of articles. Please visit the website at http://www.cres.org/911/index.htm , for more information regarding the schedule of events on Sept 11. Council should meet at Grace and Holy Trinity at 6:30am to catch a bus to the fountain at Ilus Davis Park, for the opening 'water ceremony'. If you have not yet contacted Vern with your segment of the interfaith reading (updated with new 'water' metaphors) please do so ASAP. These phrases should roughly answer the question: "What resources can your faith contribute to our developing understanding of the roots of violence, the meaning of 9/11, our healing as a community, as a nation, and as a planetary family?"
Our next regular meeting is Oct 25 Thu 6:15-7:15 pm.
Next meeting scheduled for Thurs Aug 15, 5:15-6:15pm. Please note the early time. This is earlier than we are used to meeting.
JEREMY'S NOTES FROM THE July 18 mtg of THE KANSAS CITY INTERFAITH COUNCIL
Mosaic- Mosaic is currently working on 3 major projects:
1 Passports. Currently, there are 5,000 passports at press.
2 Book Club. Possible quarterly discussion groups. "Battle for God" by Karen Armstrong is the current selection.
3 Stories Project. Collecting personal stories of faith from individuals. Possible theatrical production of various faith stories, which may be presented at a workshop on 9/11.
Task Forces- The Kansas City Star will be working with members from each task force. A question and answer for each faith on various task forces questions will be run in the Star at sometime in the near future.
9/11- CBS is coming to document our plans for the 9/11 observance. They are running a story on faith responses to the 9/11 tragedy. They are also interested in the passport project. It is going to be difficult to get Bartle Hall for this event. Grace & Holy Trinity is an available site. Council agreed that we will use Grace & Holy Trinity as the main site for the 9/11 observance.
2003 Interfaith Conference- Proposed dates for the conference are Oct.18 & 19, or Oct.25 & 26. At this point, planning for the 18 & 19.
Jackson County Diversity Task Force- is doing a report one year
later on 9/11. This is a public report to, hopefully, be shared with local
government officials and community leaders. They are looking for stories
about violence and intimidation, as well as any positive stories concerning
peoples reactions to 9/11. Other topics include: Religious extremism, Globalization,
Religious Pluralism, American Foreign Policy.
Next meeting scheduled for Thurs Aug 15, 5:15-6:15pm. Please note the early time. This is earlier than we are used to meeting.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2000 January 26
Bush Inaugural Prayers
In response to the sectarian prayers offered at his inauguration, and because of its commitment to further appreciation for religious diversity, the Kansas City Interfaith Council, at its regular meeting January 25, passed the following resolution and sent it to President Bush:
Whereas President George W.
Bush has often expressed his interest in uniting the country and respecting
Whereas the President began to recognize religious diversity in his Inaugural Address by referring to “churches, synagogues, and mosques,” and
Whereas the Invocation delivered at President Bush’s Inauguration was unnecessarily sectarian with its conclusion —“May this be the beginning of a new dawn for America as we humble ourselves before you and acknowledge you alone as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. We pray this in the name of the Father and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit; amen.” — and
Whereas the Benediction delivered at President Bush’s Inauguration was also unnecessarily sectarian with its conclusion — “We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that’s above all other names, Jesus the Christ. Let all who agree say ‘Amen.’” — and
Whereas it is quite possible that Senator Lieberman, a non-Christian, might have become vice-president, and
Whereas the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and prohibits religious tests for office, and
Whereas a key dimension of the Kansas City Interfaith Council’s work is to encourage recognition of religious diversity and the honoring of many paths of spiritual life as worthy expressions of American values,
Therefore be it Resolved: That the Kansas City Interfaith Council expresses its appreciation to President Bush for the ideals of unity and respect for diversity which he has articulated, and
Be it further Resolved: That the Kansas City Interfaith Council recommends for the future that those who offer prayers on civic occasions in which all citizens are entitled to participate be mindful and respectful of the religious diversity within our nation and prepare their utterances so as to recognize our heritage of religious freedom.
Kara Hawkins, American Indian
Barbara McAtee, Baha'i
Chuck Stanford, Buddhist
George Noonan, Christian
Anand Bhattacharyya, Hindu
Joshua Taub, Jewish
A Rauf Mir, Muslim
Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Sikh
Fattah Kriner, Sufi
Ted Otteson, Unitarian Universalist
Bob Key, Wiccan
Daryoush Jahanian, Zoroastrian
[The Kansas City Interfaith Council was formed
in 1989 and includes members from various faiths practiced in the greater
Kansas City area. For more information about the Council, visit www.cres.org/ifc
. CRES, an organization promoting understanding among peoples of all faiths,
hosts the Interfaith Council and has prepared a brochure entitled, “Guidelines
for Public Prayer.” The Council's Conference, "The Gifts of
Pluralism," is scheduled for October
Present: Biagio Mazza (for George Noonan), Rauf Mir, Karta Purkh Singh
Bhattacharyya, Uma, Mike Nichols, Sharon Connors (Unity Observer), Kathy Riegelman, Kara
Hawkins, Barb McAttee, Ron Bremer (for Chuck Stanford), Fattah Kriner who brought
cookies he baked for us. Gail Mengel (RLDS Observer) was ill.
After welcomes and a round of reports, Vern reported that Gene
Flanery would be the
Conference Coordinator. We then broke into three groups to discuss plans for the conference
notebook (we like the committee's work), media questions, panel preparation,
and faith allotment goals (wording preferred to "quotas").
We agreed that a press release would be an easier way to coordinate
comments from each
member of the Council about the conference. This means each member needs to write a brief
statement of what he or she hopes for the conference or why it is important to
his or her faith community. We also need each person to list examples of local religious
prejudice and examples of interfaith success. In addition, Kara will develop a plan for a visual
news conference with participation from each faith. We also agreed
that it is essential to have representation from the black community. We need tentative numbers
for allotment goals at our next meeting, before begin accepting registrations.
We also need the names of people designated to serve on each panel as
soon as possible -- no
later than the next meeting -- so the moderators can begin preparation with the panelists.
Guest Brian Footlick explained the purposes of the MAINstream Coalition,
preservation of religious liberty, and said the group desires greater diversity in its religious
representation. Brian's phone is 913 677 4407 and Caroline McKnight is the
executive director for MAINstream, 913 649 3326. "Any and all welcome to visit a meeting or
the office or by phone," Brian says.
Committee and Panel structure and other material appears below. Additional
the Fact Sheet distributed at the meeting, is available at the conference web page,
Our next meeting is May 3 Thu 6:15-7:15 pm.
After a closing round of Farewells, we adjourned about 7:18,
several of us with Fattah's cookies.
FORMAT: We estimate between 60 and (100 pages in a 3 ring binder
with tabs / dividers.
CONTENT: * Each faith group would have 5 pages devoted to answering questions (or
presenting their beliefs) from a questionnaire. We might also present individual faiths with the
pages/layout for them to fill as they chose. Each religious group could fill their designated pages as they saw fit, at their own expense and with such features as color pictures, illustrations etc. Advance guidelines would help assure some uniformity within the
publication making it easier for participants to use. Topics might include — Holidays (Holy Days, feasts, festivals); Dietary observances; Scriptures, especially what might be said within such scriptures about environmental, social and personal issues as they are addressed within the context of the conference. Since we are a multifaith gathering we might also cover how other faith paths are viewed in the scriptures; Worship practices ; Saints (Human origins of the faith); Shrines and other geographical loci; Death (how it is addressed) as well as afterlife
beliefs; Special dress for believers; Doctrines, concepts of the diety, realizations and or what
people are taught to believe or achieve. * Our conference program might be constructed in the
form of a 6 (or 12) month calendar so issues and beliefs and information would remain in circulation and attention beyond the short three days in October. The calendar might (should) contain feast days, Holy days, etc. * Those with Observer status would also be allotted 3 pages. * Letters of Welcome from: Chamber of Commerce; MARC; Pembroke School; Proclamation from area mayors. We should also solicit letters from Mo & Ks Congresspersons and Senators. * Appreciative Inquiry method information * Vern's "Religions: Pieces or Pattern?" * The
Program * Participants roster * blank pages for notes
Environment--American Indian, Baha'i, Unitarian Universalist, Wiccan )
Moderator: "Hub" Hubbard
Personal--Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, Sikh
Social--Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian
Notebook and materials: Barb (chair), Uma, Kara, George, Karta Purkh
Closing Declaration: Chuck (chair), Rauf, Anand, Kathy
Saturday evening event: Fattah, Daryoush, Josh, Ted
Young People: Mike Nichols
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE