From the Executive Director
Growing ideological, social, and religious hostilities are slowly disintegrating our sacred bond with each other and our beautiful planet Earth. We are experiencing a fracturing within ourselves. Almost every microcosm and macrocosm of life on Earth is being overshadowed by these heartbreaking manifestations of bitterness, separation, fear, and despair.
Many across the globe know that the spiritual practices, rituals, and ageless and contemporary wisdom of our world’s religious and spiritual traditions offer powerful means to restore human, ecological, and social well-being and cooperation. Even the modern revelations of quantum physics bolster the truth that we are connected, reminding us that what happens to any living thing or system affects all of us. Yes, we are one intertwined creation.
As one human family and one creation, we must commit to the urgent and sacred work of unity in diversity, and stand for the Beloved Community cherished by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, reminds us that “The actions of each of us, human or non-human, have contributed to the world in which we live. We all have a common responsibility for our world and are connected with everything in it.”
Interfaith Prayer Service International(IPSI) has contributed to this common responsibility by providing a bona fide monthly interfaith service for almost 20 years. This has been a remarkable contribution to the call to pray, sing, and stand together and honor our differences. IPSI has progressed through the COVID-19 reality by switching to online services beginning April, 2020. Through this change several board members began to sense the calling to re-imagine IPSI’s purpose. This transformational shift builds on the original inspiration for IPSI’s formation in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.(Read the history of IPSI here) This shift includes the bold step of hiring an executive director for the first time.
IPSI is now the Oregon Interfaith Hub.(OIFH) In this persistent state of our world being tied up in knots of uncertainty, sadness, and anxiety, OIFH’s central sun and sacred cause are pointing toward “interpath” collaboration…something akin to interfaith with a wider reach. Interpath addresses these chasms that divide us by reaching out to individuals and groups within and outside the traditional circle of interfaith. All share in the sacred cause to contribute to a greater good and create bridges across long-standing chasms of separation. As Persian poet and Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi so beautifully imagines in his poem “The Great Wagon”:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.”
In giving birth to OIFH, board members and I are committed to these two worlds touching in the greater Eugene area and beyond. Our Sacred Cause is to “create a world where the flowering of love, healing, reconciliation and spiritual wisdom prevail.” We are humbly grateful for all those who have lit and kept the interfaith torch burning here in Eugene for 20 amazing years. We stand on your shoulders.
In love and service,
Rev. Ed Conrad
Oregon Interfaith Hub
* FYI, our board has agreed to continue providing interfaith services beyond our 20th anniversary service on October 11, 2021. The frequency and day of the month these services are held may change. Also, we will be expanding our reach by providing educational forums, healing circles, justice and outreach initiatives, and spiritual wisdom and tools for navigating 21st century life. Click here to sign up to receive periodic OIFH updates.