Entries categorized "Religion"

Finding ways to work together

Celebration-of-abraham-logoThe Celebration of Abraham thanks the Davis-Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network (DAIR-LN) for offering a ZOOM Interfaith Prayer for a More Perfect Union on Monday, November 2. The service, the night before the national election, featured Davis faith leaders offering reflections, music, and readings for our country and our community. The faith leaders focused on three themes: Be kind. Be strong. Stay together. Our community needed to hear the message and we need to hold the service in our heart as we go forward. For those of you who would like to revisit the service, DAIR-LN has posted the service on their Facebook page. 

To continue efforts to find ways to work together, on behalf of the Celebration of Abraham, I invite you to be part of our interfaith community conversation, as we Celebrate the 18th Annual Celebration of Abraham: “An interfaith perspective on the practice of humility in difficult times.”  on January 31, at 3:00 p.m. With the on-going COVID restrictions, this will be a virtual event, held via Zoom webinar beginning with excellent speakers from the three Abrahamic faiths. We are continuing to work on the format, and we will include a moderated panel where participants can ask questions.

Let’s continue the dialogue among our faith communities! To sign up for updates on the planning, email hroland2@gmail.com.

Again thank you to DAIR-LN for providing calm and centering the night before the election,

Helen Roland, President

Celebration of Abraham


Interfaith Prayer for a More Perfect Union, Tomorrow (Monday) at 6:00 p.m.

DAIRAt 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, Monday November 2, Faith leaders from around the Davis area will be offering reflections, music, and readings for our country and our community, live streamed at the Davis Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network Facebook page: DAIR Leaders Network Facebook Page.

We'll focus on our three themes for election week: Be kind. Be strong. Stay together.


Toward a “More Perfect Union”

Unity mini flier
The signers invite the community to color and paste in their window the above graphic to show solidarity for the democratic process at a community level (click to enlarge).

A Statement on the 2020 Election from the Davis Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network

 Religious communities promote and protect our democracy

The religious traditions we represent are born of visions and values for human life that inspire our strong advocacy of American democracy. Over the centuries our people have offered creative insights and energies to help our nation move toward “a more perfect union.” We believe that a thriving democracy is essential to ensure that all persons are not only “created equal,” but are treated equally and welcomed to contribute to the creation of a society where “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are “unalienable rights” for everyone, without exception.

 Our democracy faces many challenges

This fall, many Americans feel anxious about the future of our democracy. Our long tradition of absentee and mail-in voting has been maligned. Foreign powers are maliciously influencing the election. Voters are challenged and often intimidated at the voting booth. And we face the likelihood of an unprecedented delay in receiving the final election results. We are at a critical moment in American history. We feel many things: concern, confusion, helplessness, anger, and reactivity.

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Support our local Religious Leaders Recommendation for Reconsideration of the University Commons project

Community input to the Council majority of Partida, Lee and Carson is needed now

19universitycommons
By Eileen M. Samitz

Many thanks to the Davis religious leaders for the excellent article published August 22 in the Davisite.

This incredible and sincere outreach by so many local religious leaders to the City Council majority is impressive and their recommended action is so needed to be taken by Council majority now.  So everyone’s input to the Council is needed now, to support the recommendation to reconsider approval of the University Commons project, before this Tuesday’s August 25th meeting when the Council is scheduled to finalize approval of the project.

The Davis religious leaders group recommendation for the Council majority is to “take a pause and reconsider their approval votes” and to reject it. This terrible project does not offer any housing that is affordable. So, urging the Council to reconsider its approval is clearly the right thing to do for the sake of the UCD students, as well as the rest of the community needing housing that is affordable. The University Commons “affordable units” are affordable in name only, and it is an insult to even classify them as “affordable” with the rental prices they are projecting.

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Insufficient affordable housing at University Commons

Faith leaders speak out

19universitycommonsAt the Davis City Council Meeting on Tuesday, August 18, a 3-2 vote approved the University Commons Proposal. We, the undersigned faith leaders, express our disappointment at this decision. While we are encouraged by Brixmor's increase from 0% to 5% affordable housing at the 80% median income for Yolo County, we also contend that this is not enough.

While the specific decision regarding the University Commons is the spark to this conversation, the housing crisis in Davis and across our state does not begin and end with this decision.

As faith leaders in the Davis community, we have the opportunity to engage with individuals from many walks of life, ministering with people of diverse economic, racial, generational, and educational backgrounds.

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Local Clergy Comment on Affordable Housing

The owners of the University Mall, the Brixmor Property Group, have applied to the City for permission to demolish the existing shopping center and replace it with a mixed-use project of 264 apartments and 136,000 sq ft ground-floor retail.

We also note that Commissioner Darryl Rutherford has stated that the Commissioners themselves had multiple objections. "I'm a little disappointed in what we're seeing here." He called the proposed affordable housing plan ($600,000 in lieu fees) "an atrocity" and a "slap in the face."

Historically, Davis once had one of the strongest inclusionary housing requirements in the state. That policy intended to create affordable units in every major rental project built in Davis, enabling low-income families to live in Davis, and create the possibility of a robustly diverse community. Many minority households whose members work in Davis are part of the low-income population and these affordable units were often their only entry to living and working in Davis.

However, of the 264 apartments being given permission to be built on the University Mall site in Davis, not one of those 264 units will be set aside as an affordable unit.

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Celebration of Abraham statement on killing of George Floyd

Celebration of Abraham (COA), a Yolo County interfaith organization for over 17 years, is saddened and outraged at the killing of George Floyd and expresses our deepest condolences to his family. We are anguished at the continuous violence black Americans have suffered throughout the history of our county—slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and the senseless killings at the hands of white vigilantes and law enforcement.

We understand that many in the law enforcement community, including the Davis Police Chief, are horrified and speaking out against the systemic racism and militarism in policing.

Celebration of Abraham encourages all to reflect and to take action so such acts of abuse of power are no longer the norm. "Othering," as discussed during one of COA's community conversations, is a divisive force that is among the roots of the problem. As humans, we are programmed to organize information we take from the world into categories. For much of recorded history, humans have used categorical differences to justify fear or power relations between groups. Our religions have within them the capacity to unite us, though there are those who use these traditions to divide us. Our Abrahamic faith traditions tell us to value the other.

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Lessons from past plagues

10plaguesBy Alan Hirsch

The news cycle dominated by Trump and the virus plague will be interrupted midweek in some Davis homes by the Jewish holiday of Passover.

This is a recitation of the story of earlier plagues that lead up to the exodus from Egyptian slavery. Wednesday and Thursday nights are the first nights of Passover.

The 3,000-year-old Passover home ritual acts will seem strangely relevant this year. The ritual name “Passover” is to literally ask the plague to pass over our homes as we shelter in place.

We are asked to wash our hands twice. To dip our food in salt water. And to get over the plagues we’re asked to take two tablets — of the 10 Commandments. And go to Mt. Sinai — the real mountain not the hospital.

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Protect UC LGBTQ+ and Reproductive Care

Screen shot 2020-02-19 at 4.34.47 PMThe following was forwarded to me in an email, and I was asked to forward it further.  Everyone is welcome to submit a comment, whether affiliated with the University of California or not. --Roberta Millstein

Dear UC Students, Faculty, Staff, and Community Members, 

Three weeks ago, the University of California (UC) released a report with request for public comments (sample text below) that considers whether UC Health should affiliate with religious hospitals, which prohibit basic reproductive health services for women and LGBTQ+ people.

The report describes OPTION 1, supported by UC Health, in which UC would expand affiliations with restrictive religious hospitals. We endorse OPTION 2, which prohibits UC Health from affiliating with entities that discriminate against women and LGBTQ+ people by prohibiting contraception, abortion, assisted reproductive technology (e.g., IVF), and gender-affirming care for non-binary and transgender people. More details are outlined in this LA Times article and this letter to UC President Janet Napolitano. Also consider UCI Law Prof. Goodwin’s assertion that it is illegal for UC Health to restrict care based on religious directives.

The UC Regents will take up this matter in May, but first they need to hear from you! Please post a public comment by February 21 (sample text below) to tell the Regents that you support OPTION 2. UC doctors, nurses, and patients must not be subject to religious restrictions that deny women and LGBTQ+ people essential care. Share your story and why this issue is important to you.

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Gun Violence is the Focus of February Programs at Davis Methodist

Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement for gun safety, estimates that, by early February, more people will be killed by guns in America than are killed by guns in other high-income countries during the entire year.  Yet, despite wide-spread demands for sensible gun reform, the number of deaths by firearms continues to grow.  Davis United Methodist Church is offering two programs on gun violence on Sunday mornings, February 9, and 23, from 9:45 to 10:50 at the church, which is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis.

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A Community Conversation on Human Dignity

The 18th Annual Celebration of Abraham gathering

Human Dignity Flier(From press release) When members of the Celebration of Abraham sat down in September to discuss the theme for this year’s annual Davis gathering, they reflected on the current times that seem so divisive, despite the fact there is one characteristic fundamental to all of us: human dignity.  Although it is difficult to define human dignity, our religions and traditions remind us to hold it as a value in our relationships with others, especially with individuals who have views that are contrary to our own, and to maintain our own human dignity even in times of difficulty. In order to make community in a world comprising many religious traditions and beliefs, we must strive to renew our appreciation and respect for the dignity of all human beings.  Thus, this year’s Celebration of Abraham theme is, “A Community Conversation on Human Dignity.”

The 18th Annual Celebration of Abraham gathering, “A Community Conversation on Human Dignity,” will run from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, in the Fellowship Hall at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St. in Davis.  The interfaith Celebration of Abraham was founded by a group of Yolo County residents after September 11, 2001 with the hope of building community across religious differences during a time of heightened political tension in our country.  We now find ourselves living through another time of heightened political tension, and the principles of the Celebration of Abraham to bring people together to nurture a sense of compassion, respect, appreciation, and foster learning and understanding, are true now more than ever.

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Davis Farmers Market offers free baskets, wrapping on Saturdays

The Davis Farmers Market turns into Gift Basket Central for the first three Saturdays in December, offering free baskets and wrapping of market items.

GBCbooth
The Gift Basket Central event at the Davis Farmers Market is the first three Saturdays in December. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Central Park, Fourth and C streets in Davis.

(From press release) On Dec. 7, 14 and 21, shoppers can compile items for custom gift baskets, and have them wrapped for free at the market’s Gift Basket Central station, near the large oak tree. The service is available to anyone who purchases three or more items at the Davis Farmers Market.

Looking for ideas? Besides the abundant produce, market sellers offer preserved jams and sauces, lemon curd, honey, balsamic vinegars, olive oils, dried herbs, nuts and nut butters. There are sweets like dried fruit or chocolate-covered almonds, pistachio brittle, and local wines. Other items include handmade soaps and lotions, wreaths, hats and scarves.

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Davis Farmers Market loaded with crafts, gifts

Paintapot stuff
The Paint-a-Pot ceramics station is one of many food and craft booths Dec. 7, 14 and 21 at the Davis Farmers Market.

(From press release) Holiday shopping is a treat at the Davis Farmers Market, where patrons can cross off their gift and grocery lists with one stop. Along with the farm-fresh produce, eggs, meat and baked goods, there are local crafts, free gift baskets and holiday music on Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21.

During the holidays, the C Street sidewalk is dubbed Crafters’ Lane, with local artists selling custom purses, scarves, hats, sun spinners, aprons, pottery, candles, soap, lotion, wreaths, flowers, art, photography and more. Artist Heidi Bekebrede has a Paint-a-Pot booth, where patrons of any age can decorate a pottery item, such as a cup, bowl or ornament.

On the first three Saturdays in December, shoppers can compile items for custom gift baskets, and have them wrapped for free at the market’s Gift Basket Central station, near the large oak tree. The service is available to anyone who purchases three or more items at the Davis Farmers Market.

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Unitrans and the Davis Food Co-op Give Back to the Community

“Stuff the Bus” Food Drive on Saturday, Dec. 7

Uni_stuff_the_bus_flyer

(From press release) Unitrans and the Davis Food Co-op are proud to host the “Stuff the Bus” holiday food drive to support The Pantry, the University of California, Davis, an Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) led organization that provides nonperishable, high-protein food for UC Davis students struggling to pay for meals.

A vintage Unitrans London double-decker will be on display at the Davis Food Co-op and volunteers will be receiving food donations from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Davis Food Co-op, 620 G St.

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United Methodist Alternative Giving Fair Benefits Non-Profits

(From press release) Benefit the greater good while shopping for the holidays at the Davis United Methodist Church Alternative Giving Fair, Sunday morning, November 24, from 9:30 to 1 pm. 

The fair will include homemade items, handicrafts from around the world, calendars, cards and other seasonal items.  All proceeds benefit non-profits, such as Heifer International, Sierra Club, Grace Garden, Sahaya International, and United Methodist service projects.  The church is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

Davis United Methodist Church is a reconciling and an inclusive community of faith.  Church services are Sundays at 8:30 and 11:00.  For more information, visit www.davisumc.org or contact the church office at davisumc@davisumc.org or 530-756-2170.


Interfaith Feast of Fellowship in Central Park on October 14

Feast 10.14(From press release) The Celebration of Abraham is hosting an interfaith Feast of Fellowship in Central Park on October 14 from 5 to 7 pm. All are welcome: those who follow any religious tradition, those who are not religious, those who are agnostic or atheist.

The formal program will be VERY short—maybe five minutes. We hope folks with sit with folks whom they do not know well. Abraham will provide some potential topics for folks to discuss as well as some information on how to have conversations with folks who are different from ourselves on topics that might be uncomfortable. Abraham will also provide some resources on children’s books that can help folks begin discussions with young people on diversity.  The main goal is to enjoy our Davis neighbors and to build community across different groups!!

Abraham will provide paper products and silverware. Please bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share. Also please bring a blanket to share.

For more information contact Helen Roland hroland2@gmail.com


Denounce hate speech and invitation to interfaith community picnic in Central Park

August 2019 has brought us mass shootings based on race-hatred and important national leaders publicly making bias statements demonizing religious minorities as terrorists or people with divided loyalties implying, they are not fully citizens of this country. Americans are increasingly feeling vulnerable and afraid. This situation is untenable, and the Celebration of Abraham must respond.  

In the weeks following 9/11, a group of clergy and laypeople came together to form the Celebration of Abraham with the idea that this interfaith group would work to keep our community from descending into religiously bigoted dialogue or action. The mission of the Celebration of Abraham is to create a welcoming tent in our community of people of all faiths and beliefs to nurture a sense of compassion, respect, appreciation and foster learning and understanding among the three Abrahamic faiths while welcoming all to people to join us. The goal of the Celebration of Abraham always has been to bring our community together to celebrate or diversity. In addition to the yearly Celebration of Abraham dialogue held every January, we have called out hateful actions locally and nationally and held events like the Interfaith Walk that began at Bet Haverim, moved to the Davis Islamic Center and ended in an interfaith community meal at Davis United Methodist Church.

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The Davis community joins the worldwide protest Lights for Liberty

7A1C0631-FD0A-4798-BB11-E4C37D7DEDA8A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps

On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps, will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide as well as to concentration camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.

Join us at 7 pm at the Central Park in Davis. The local groups who are sponsoring the event include the Davis Phoenix Coalition, Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, the Celebration of Abraham, Safe Yolo and the Yolo County Democratic Party. The event will include speeches, a poetry reading and music.

The Phoenix Coalition will take a free will collection to help raise bond money for people in detention. The donations will be sent to Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Service (RAICES) www.raicestexas.org. Helping immigrants pay bail is the fasted way to help individuals leave the detention camps.


WHY DO THEY COME? The Root Causes of Immigration to the US

Public Presentation June 2

(From Press release) Come hear a first-hand report on "The Root Causes of Immigration to the U.S." June 2 at the Friends Meeting, corner of 4th and L Streets, Davis at 2:00pm.

The news media are filled with stories and pictures of thousands of migrants walking from Central America through Mexico to the U.S. border seeking asylum or other categories of entry. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and the migrants clearly are desperate, determined, and hopeful. Why do they undertake such a journey? Why do they come, what are they escaping or seeking?

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Programs at Davis Methodist Focus on Immigration

Faith-courage-communityDavis United Methodist Church is offering three programs on immigration on three Sunday mornings, May 5, 12, and June 2, from 9:45 to 10:50 at the church, which is located at 1620 Anderson Road in Davis. 

May 5.  “Resilience on the Border: Stories of Faith, Courage and Community,” with Emily Henderson.  Emily recently traveled with a delegation from Davis Community Church to Douglas, Arizona/Agua Prieto, Sonora and met a constellation of individuals and groups working to support refugees in this border community.  Upon returning, the group created a reader’s theatre piece to share the stories they heard.  Come read aloud (or listen) to these stories and reflections.  Emily Henderson grew up in Davis, CA.  For the last 10 years, Emily has served as the Artistic Director for Acme Theatre Company – a youth-led theatre organization that develops artistic excellence, youth leadership, and an ethos of social justice. 

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