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A Muslim-Christian-Buddhist Spiritual Retreat
with
Dr. Robert A. Jonas & Imam Jamal Rahman

Saturday, October 15, 2016 9 am to 3:30 pm

Grace Episcopal Church
On the Common, Parish Hall
18 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA

In a time of increasing polarization, we need conversations that bridge our differences! Our day together will include silence, presentations, music, and whole group conversation. Free and open to the public. Free-will donations accepted. Please bring a lunch or be ready to walk into downtown Amherst for a quick meal.

We invite all Valley residents to join spiritual brothers, Dr. Robert A. Jonas and Imam Jamal Rahman, as they explore differences and common ground between the Christian, Muslim and Buddhist traditions. Jonas’ and Jamal’s open-hearted, sincere and discerning

method of conversation is a model for all of us who want to learn spiritual practices and views of reality that lead to mutual understanding and creative new paths to world peace.

Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. He has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Cofounder and Muslim Sufi minister at Seattle's Interfaith Community Sanctuary, and adjunct faculty at Seattle University, he is a former host of Interfaith Talk Radio. One of

the three Interfaith Amigos (which also include a Christian pastor and a rabbi), he travels nationally and internationally to present retreats and workshops.

Robert A. Jonas, Ed.D., is founder and director of The Empty Bell, a contemplative sanctuary in Northampton, MA, whose Website is a resource for contemplative Christians and for Buddhist-Christian dialogue. Trained as a psychotherapist and theologian, Dr. Jonas is a retreat leader, author, environmentalist and musician. Jonas is a Christian in the Carmelite tradition and also received spiritual formation with Buddhist teachers. A past Board member of the Henri Nouwen Society, he is currently a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and of the Eckhart Society. He serves as President of the Kestrel Land Trust.

 

An Interfaith event (Movie: The Sultan and the Saint) is being organized by:
    •    Islamic Society of western Mass,
    •    Center Church of South Hadley and
    •    MT. Holyoke College MSA
 
Date & Time: Thursday, March 1, 2018 @ 7 PM
 
Location: Mt. Holyoke College (Dwight 101)
50 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075, USA
 
All invited BUT prior Registration is a MUST
 
To register, Please Send email to:
MSBAJWA@HOTMAIL.COM  OR
INFO@ISWMONLINE.COM

Nov. 6th, 2017

 

A famous passage of the Qur’an describes the trial of a criminal before God. The following
conversation ensues (paraphrased):

Criminal: “The Devil made me do it!”

The Devil: “This crime is your responsibility! I only made suggestions!”

 

Why would a man rent a truck, use it to run down families on a bike path, then start shooting

people? Our law enforcement is trying to answer that question now. As the investigation

progresses, we’ll hear bits and pieces of the story through the media.

While it appears that this criminal is Muslim, he didn’t get this idea from traditional Islam.

Traditional Islam teaches Muslims to protect the innocent, to build relationships with neighbors,

to act with love, compassion, and mercy toward the world.

As one of the greatest American Muslim teachers puts it:

“Use your hearts for what your hearts are for.”

Every person on Earth must strive for this, every day.

This is a private battle. As Saint Paul described it:

“For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic

powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.”

(International Standard Version)

Only when we succeed in this private struggle can we truly stand for our civilization.

And our civilization needs us. We live in a great nation, but it has its problems. We pray and

hope that our children, and our neighbors’ children, will find America greater than it has ever

been.

We work hard for this, every day.

As I write this, a group of local churches are organizing a charity auction to help finish

construction of our local mosque. Part of me is still amazed by this — but part of me is not

surprised. I know people from all backgrounds and all walks of life who have good hearts,

and a great number of them are here in Western Mass.

I know that everyone at Hampshire Mosque hopes to repay this favor 1,000 times over, and

more.

Civilization isn’t built by chance — we build upon the foundations laid by our ancestors. The

legacy of work is all around us, in the health of our forests, rivers, and farmland, in the

buildings we live and work in, the roads we travel, the bridges that connect our towns.

We can’t allow this legacy to deteriorate or, God forbid, to be destroyed while in our care.

We work within the context of the present day. The First Nations, the Pilgrims, the Founding

Fathers, Americans of every generation have faced unique challenges. We must learn from

their successes and their struggles. Some of our challenges are different from theirs, but we

also share far more than we may think.

Every nation also has its criminals. Random, wanton violence harms everyone it touches —

even the murderer is harmed. This murderer in New York may wish to blame the Devil, but the

crime is his. I pray that he will receive justice in this world, and I believe he is guaranteed to

receive justice from God.

We must all strive to establish justice.

And we must aim much higher than that. Justice is necessary, but love and mercy are greater

and more important than justice.

Our nation didn’t become great by chance. Everything that we have is a trust from our

ancestors, which in turn will be delivered to our children. Let’s work with that knowledge in

mind, as we use our hearts for what our hearts are for.

 

 

Patrick Bensen is a past president of Hampshire Mosque in Amherst and a resident of

Greenfield. He writes at beyondhalal.org

http://www.library.umass.edu/news/events/fallreceptionbrotherdavid/

19th Annual Fall Reception

If You Want to Be Happy, Be Grateful: The Life and Teachings of Brother

David Steindl-Rast

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Please Join Us!


If You Want to be Happy, Be Grateful:
The Life and Teachings of Brother David Steindl-Rast 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

3 – 6 p.m.
Old Chapel, University of Massachusetts Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – The UMass Amherst Libraries invite the public to the 19th Annual Fall

Donor Appreciation Reception, “If You Want to be Happy, Be Grateful: The Life and Teachings

of Brother David Steindl-Rast,” on Sunday, October 1, 2017, from 3 – 6 p.m. in Old Chapel, at

the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The event is free and open to the public.

Reservations are appreciated by September 22, 2017: friends@library.umass.edu,

413-545-3974. 

The 2017 Fall Reception celebrates the life and work of Brother David Steindl-Rast, who

donated his archives

to the Libraries’ Special Collections. A scholar, writer, activist, and Benedictine monk, Brother

David has shared a worldwide message of peace, interfaith dialog, social justice, and

environmental stewardship for more than 50 years, and he is co-founder of the interactive

online community A Network for Grateful Living. Brother David’s TEDTalk, Want

to Be Happy? Be Grateful, has garnered over five million views.

The reception will include hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar from 3:00-4:30 p.m. and a speaking

program from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

This year’s program features three speakers from A Network for Grateful Living: Anthony

Chavez, Brother David’s longtime travel assistant and grandson of Cesar Chavez; Kristi

Nelson ’03, Executive Director; and Margaret Wakeley, Program & Community Development

Coordinator. Brother David will not be present.

Steindl-Rast is one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement.

Leaving his monastery in Elmira, New York, in the mid-1960s and receiving rare Vatican

support for his bridge-building work between Christianity and Buddhism in 1967, Steindl-Rast

became the first Benedictine to learn directly from Buddhist teachers such as Hakuun

Yasutami, the founder of the Sanbo Kyodan Zen Buddhist organization; Soto Zen monk

Shunayu Suzuki; and Zen Buddhist Master Soen Nakagawa.

Through his friend Thomas Merton, a Catholic writer, mystic, Trappist monk, and social

activist, Steindl-Rast allied with Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat

Hahn, to fight for peace. When not in seclusion Steindl-Rast has served as a teacher of

contemplative prayer, the intersection of Zen and Catholicism, and gratefulness as a spiritual

practice. Steidl-Rast has developed an influential philosophy which he has disseminated

through many books, articles, lectures, and residencies in spiritual centers such as Tassajara

Zen Mountain Center—the first Buddhist monastery outside Asia—and the Esalen Institute,

a retreat center and intentional community in Big Sur, California. Much of the current popularity

of mindfulness and Zen-influenced living and activism owes a debt to his teachings.

The accompanying exhibit, “Locus Solus: Place, Meaning, and Community in the life of

Brother David Steindl-Rast,” showcases items curated from Steindl-Rast’s recent donation of

correspondence, photographs, writings, audio/visual recordings, art, and publications. The



In case you missed our showing in November at Amherst Cinema... Disturbing the Peace is back for the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival!

DISTURBING THE PEACE

An award-winning documentary
about the 
Combatants for Peace movement in Israel and Palestine

Monday, Apr. 3 - 7:00pm
Greenfield Garden Cinemas 
359 Main Street (
GREENFIELD, MA)

Buy tickets online (advance purchase recommended)

Discussion to follow with: 
STEPHEN APKON, Director of the film, & PAULA GREEN, Karuna Center founder and facilitator of Karuna Center's work with Combatants for Peace
Wednesday, Feb. 15th, 5:30-6:30  Pulaski Park // 210 Main Street // Northampton, MA
 
Community Gathering to Oppose David Friedman and
the Trump-Netanyahu alliance
 
Dear friend,
On February 15, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is getting together with President Trump in Washington DC, a meeting that promises to bring an exchange of the worst practices of both leaders.
 
On one hand, Netanyahu is egging Trump on, tweeting his support for the wall on the US/Mexico border and comparing it to Israel’s walls. Netanyahu has been silent on Trump’s Muslim ban, likely because he knows it mirrors Israel’s own religious and ethnic/racial profiling and restrictive immigration policies.
 
On the other hand, the Trump Administration is aligning the US with the policies of annexation and apartheid advocated by the extreme right in Israel. With the appointment of pro-annexation ambassador David Friedman and the impending threat of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, Trump is setting the stage for provocative moves that amount to a complete endorsement of Israel’s policies of occupation, displacement and discrimination.
 
Not here, not there.
The Trump administration’s alignment with the ruling right-wing in Israel is bad for everyone. Their racist and Islamophobic agendas go hand-in-hand. The resistance we are all building to their anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-worker policies here in the U.S. and in Israel must go hand-in-hand as well.
 
Will you join us on February 15?
People will be coming together around the country on February 15th to say NO to Netanyahu, NO to Trump, and NO to their toxic alliance.
 
Join us in Pulaski Park in Northampton from 5:30 to 6:30 for a community gathering to voice our collective opposition to David Friedman, to the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, and to the Muslim ban and other Islamophobic policies of the Trump administration.  Together, we demand policies that respect Palestinian rights and refugee rights, and that promote peace, dignity, and justice for all.
 
February 15th National Day of Action sponsored by American Muslims for Palestine, Friends of Sabeel- North America, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Local action sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace Western Mass, Out Now, American Friends Service Committee and Code Pink.

Questions? Contact westernmass@jewishvoiceforpeace.com
--
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kqDDHxKz894/WKM6CYsjp_I/AAAAAAAACeU/v-eVDy1vD4YUUKQP8Zho-YsRpxH0OhnUwCLcB/s1600/cover%2Bphoto.png
Muslim Minorities and Sacrificial Citizenship Feb. 8th, 4pm Amherst College Beneski Building

Professor Zahid R. Chaudhary, Princeton University
End of the year news, to encourage us in the new year, 2017!

It was a good event, about 80 people came, and we had a lot of "honks" of support as people drove by.  I wanted to share with you some news coverage we received.

MassLive and The Republican:
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/12/springfield_rally_joins_togeth.html

WWLP TV:
http://wwlp.com/2016/12/21/dozens-rally-against-islamophobia-and-the-mistreatment-of-muslims/

Huffington Post, on JVP's national effort.  Includes our picture in Springfield at top:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-nevel/in-25-cities-communities-_b_13812326.html

And lastly becasue it came out today, JVPs statement on Secretary John Kerry's speech:
https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/jvp-statement-secretary-kerrys-speech/

********************************************************************************************************
ISNA Remains Committed to Building Bridges with People of All Faiths with the Coming of the New Trump Administration
 
(Plainfield, IN 11/10/16) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) remains committed to engage with the incoming Trump administration and national leadership to build bridges and engage across faith and political divisions through our work with Congress, the White House, government agencies and through the various conferences and conventions we organize as it has done for over half a century.
 
ISNA hopes that President-elect Donald Trump  and his team, as the tone in his victory speech suggested, reach out and work with the Muslim community and other minority communities currently in fear, and not merely those that supported his presidential campaign. Trump will provide a great service to the nation by assuring fellow Americans his administration will not abandon fundamental values of cherishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, national origin, gender, religion, or other constitutionally protected categories.
 
In a statement, ISNA President Azhar Azeez said:
"Many American Muslims are traumatized by the result of the election and the fear of what is to come.  It is important as a community that the healing process begin. We remain a hopeful community that will continue to be civilly engaged and prepared to work with our fellow Americans towards the common good." 
 
Muslims, as all Americans of faith, put our trust in God and pray for guidance for our leaders to serve the cause of righteousness, and for the best for this country and for the people of the world.
 
See our website for resources to help families and youth discuss the election results and moving forward.
 
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.

- END -

CONTACT:
Faryal M. Khatri, ISNA Communications Department, 317-838-8126,
*****************************************************************************************************
Subject: Pray Together with Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians and Muslims
 
Hindu. Buddhist. Jewish. Christian. Muslim. Sikh
 
Now more than ever, we need to come together in prayer and to educate ourselves about other religious traditions.
 
Please join Hartford Seminary and Arigatou International - Prayer and Action for Children
https://static.ctctcdn.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
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for a multifaith conversation, How Prayer Can Help Build a Better World for Children, on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 3 p.m. in the Hartford Seminary Meeting Room at 77 Sherman St., Hartford, CT. The conversation will be followed by a reception and an Interfaith Prayer Celebration for Children in which prayers from these diverse traditions will be offered. All are welcome!
 
Speakers include:
Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, (Hindu) Chair of the Religion Department at St. Olaf College
Ms. Malou Dusyn, (Buddhist) Founder of the Menia Holistic Health Center
Rabbi Herb Brockman, (Jewish) Lecturer in Supervised Ministries, Yale Divinity School
Ms. Jennifer Haddad Mosher, (Orthodox Christian) Grants Officer at FOCUS North America
The Rev. Bishop Victor Rush, (Pentacostal Christian) Pastor at Ebenezer Temple United Holy Church of America
Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub, (Muslim) Faculty Associate in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary
Bhai Gurmeet Singh, (Sikh) Main Priest, Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar
REGISTER HERE
 
 
Susan Schoenberger
Director of Communications
Hartford Seminary
77 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
860-509-9519
 
Explore Hartford Seminary
Find Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
E-NEWSLETTER
 
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From our mosque in West Springfield . M.Saleem Bajwa  , Islamic Society of Western Mass
What:   Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts:
 Faiths Uniting: Giving Thanks
Interactive Conversation, Refreshments and Worship featuring The Rev. Laura Everett, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches and Special Music
Who:   Co-hosted by Foster Memorial Church, UCC and  Springfield Grace Community Baptist Church
When:  Sunday, November 13    3:00 - 5:00 PM
Where (Location):  Foster Memorial Church, UCC,
1791 Wilbraham Road, Springfield
Contact: Cynthia Martin cmartin@nccj.org 860-219-0807 with questions
 

Voices of Palestinian and Israeli peace activists will fill the theater.
View this email in your browser
DISTURBING THE PEACE

An award-winning documentary
about the Combatants for Peace movement in Israel and Palestine


Tuesday, Nov. 1
7:00pm

Amherst Cinema 
28 Amity Street (Amherst, MA)


Discussion to follow with: 
Stephen Apkon,
Director of the film
Paula Green and Stellan Vinthagen,
facilitators of Karuna Center's recent work with Combatants for Peace.

Click here to buy tickets
Advanced purchase of tickets is recommended.
Tickets are also available through the Amherst Cinema website.
Watch the Trailer for Disturbing the Peace on our website.
DISTURBING THE PEACE is a film about the Combatants for Peace, a remarkable peace movement that Karuna Center has worked to support and strengthen since 2013. The film follows these former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from elite units, and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” 

This film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists which led to their founding of Combatants for Peace. Although based in the Middle East, DISTURBING THE PEACE is an experience that evokes universal themes relevant to us all.

It is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities.

The evening will include a discussion with the following special guests:

Stephen Apkon is the director of the film! He is the Founder and former Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, a non-profit film and education center located in Pleasantville, NY. 

Paula Green is the founder of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding and Professor Emerita at the School for International Training, where she also founded its CONTACT Program, Conflict Transformation Across Cultures. Representing Karuna Center, she has co-facilitated 5 workshops for CfP in recent years. 

Stellan Vinthagen is a professor of sociology, a scholar-activist, and the Inaugural Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He co-facilitated a training in nonviolence for CfP in August with Paula Green of Karuna Center. 

Copyright © 2016 Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, All rights reserved.


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A Muslim-Christian-Buddhist Spiritual Retreat
with
Dr. Robert A. Jonas & Imam Jamal Rahman

Saturday, October 15, 2016 9 am to 3:30 pm

Grace Episcopal Church
On the Common, Parish Hall
18 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA

In a time of increasing polarization, we need conversations that bridge our differences! Our day together will include silence, presentations, music, and whole group conversation. Free and open to the public. Free-will donations accepted. Please bring a lunch or be ready to walk into downtown Amherst for a quick meal.

We invite all Valley residents to join spiritual brothers, Dr. Robert A. Jonas and Imam Jamal Rahman, as they explore differences and common ground between the Christian, Muslim and Buddhist traditions. Jonas’ and Jamal’s open-hearted, sincere and discerning

method of conversation is a model for all of us who want to learn spiritual practices and views of reality that lead to mutual understanding and creative new paths to world peace.

Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. He has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Cofounder and Muslim Sufi minister at Seattle's Interfaith Community Sanctuary, and adjunct faculty at Seattle University, he is a former host of Interfaith Talk Radio. One of

the three Interfaith Amigos (which also include a Christian pastor and a rabbi), he travels nationally and internationally to present retreats and workshops.

Robert A. Jonas, Ed.D., is founder and director of The Empty Bell, a contemplative sanctuary in Northampton, MA, whose Website is a resource for contemplative Christians and for Buddhist-Christian dialogue. Trained as a psychotherapist and theologian, Dr. Jonas is a retreat leader, author, environmentalist and musician. Jonas is a Christian in the Carmelite tradition and also received spiritual formation with Buddhist teachers. A past Board member of the Henri Nouwen Society, he is currently a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and of the Eckhart Society. He serves as President of the Kestrel Land Trust.

 

A Mass Migration Crisis,
and It May Yet Get Worse

Migrants walked atop a dike as Slovenian riot police escorted them to a registration camp outside Dobova last month. War, drought and more are driving millions of people from their homelands.
Credit
Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times


By Rod Norland - October 31, 2015      NY Times

SID,Serbia - They arrived in an unceasing stream, 10,000 a day at the height, as many as a million migrants heading for Europe this year, pushing infants in strollers and elderly parents in wheelchairs, carrying children on their shoulders and life savings in their socks.  They came in search of a new life, but in many ways they were the heralds of a new age.

There are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history - 60 million in all - and they are on the march in numbers not seen since World War II.  They are coming not just from Syria, but from an array of countries and regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, even Haiti, as well as any of a dozen or so nations in sub-Saharan and North Africa.  They are unofficial ambassadors of failed states, unending wars, intractable conflicts.

The most striking thing about the current migration crisis, however, is how much bigger it could still get. . . .

                                       
      ____________________________________________________

The Pioneer Valley has shown great concern for the people of Syria, rallying people and money - and talents -  to offer medical support and clothing for those remaining in their wartorn land.

In Jordan, Mohammad Abo-Hilal, a Syrian psychiatrist, is on a mission to help some of the two million child refugees traumatized by the war in Syria.

      In a brief six minutes, this video clip will touch your heart

________________________________________________________

Prayer Vigil to Stop the Use of U.S. Drones
          The Interfaith Vigil Against Drones meets from noon to 1:00 on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Parker Room at Grace Episcopal Church, 14 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst.  Members of all faith communities are welcome.

        
Call Dorothy Cresswell or Dusty Miller for more information:  413-323-9383.   

          A reporter based in Yemen writes about the consequences when
a U.S. drone hit a Yemeni wedding convoy.
    
_____________________________________________________________
Interfaith Literacy Quiz
Test yourself
with 10 questions that check your knowledge of interfaith cooperation in diverse religious
and ethical traditions.


___________________________________________________
        Cathedral in the Night is an outdoor Christian ministry in downtown Northampton, MA which seeks to create a safe place for all people: the homeless, the housed, the church-less, the churched, the student and the resident, to explore, question and live out their spiritual beliefs; to gather for a meal and to empower one another to engage in issues of social justice by working to fight the causes of inequality and homelessness.              

Sunday Night Worship Services
5 to 7 p.m.
OUTSIDE (rain or shine)
in front of First Churches
129 Main Street,
in downtown Northampton


_________________________________________________________

ION  ENDORSES
 
COMING TOGETHER:
Understanding Racism, Working for Justice
Building Connections

      "Many white people seem to think that, because they don't hear the N-word,
or don't see blatant discrimination, there's no racism in the Amherst area.  People of color experience racism here all the time and are incredulous that white people don't think it exists.  Most of us don't talk about race enough with people of other races to understand this.  We want to change that."

                                                                       --Russ Vernon-Jones, Founder
                                                                                           Coming Together

             _________________________________________________________
Racism and REPARATIONS
          As the Amherst area deals with racism, the entire country talks about
"The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  


            Also compelling: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations" by The New Yorker's Jelani Cobbs.