Oregon Interfaith Hub/IPSI History
For the entire history of this organization up until June 2021, the newly named Oregon Interfaith Hub was at its beginning in October 2001 known as the Interfaith Service of Prayer, Remembrance and Reflection, then the Interfaith Prayer and Reflection Service, and, finally up until June 2021 it was called Interfaith Prayer Service International or IPSI. The following is a brief summary of our 20 year history.
Immediately after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a local member of the Sikh community, Siri Kaur Khalsa-Harris and other religious leaders in the greater Eugene community quickly came together to support one another and to begin to consider how to respond to the widespread pain and fear.
The following is Siri Kaur’s personal account of how this vision of a monthly interfaith service began. “In brief, while in deep meditation, in 1996, I experienced the presence of a Great Being. In the midst of that loving Presence, I was made aware that I should initiate a regular coming together of devotion from all faiths, especially those who might be or will be experiencing painful times. This was given from a global perspective. I cannot tell you all that I was guided to understand, but I was impressed with ‘how vital this could be to our community and with enough heart, the world’. At the very least, by providing consistent interfaith services we live the fact that the common denominator is, has and always will be God, recognized or not. I was assured if we worked for the good of the whole through selflessness, we would be helped. This has certainly proven true. God’s presence each month has been experienced by all in a variety of healing, uplifting ways.”(It was five years after her experience in meditation, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11/2001, that Siri Kaur shared this personal vision with the local Eugene interfaith organization called TRIM- Two Rivers interfaith Ministries.)
Continuing in Siri Kaur’s words: “You see, even though there was much skepticism in the beginning of these services, we have never been alone. For most people it may have only been the horrendous events of 9/11 that motivated them to action, but those who have and will serve as God’s instruments have needed more than fear, dread and heartbreak. We have been able to confront and surpass great and serious challenges because we have been infused with a Greater Love than our own.
In the sanctity of my soul, I offer this to be as true an account (though brief) of this powerful experience and the awareness brought to you through me… As I pass it outward, my task is done so I absolutely do not want or need credit. It is given to enlighten and empower anyone, anywhere as to how we can relate to each other, standing strong and steady from our various faith traditions in unity as we combat fear and its effects. This gift is offered with a purity of intent, because God is the True Beginnings, Power, Love and Light behind these Services and my life.”
Therefore, this Interfaith Prayer Service began on October 11, 2001. It was decided that they would have three monthly interfaith services on October 11, November 11, and December 11, 2001. They were held at First Christian Church in Eugene. Those three services turned into one year of monthly services, then two years, five years and way beyond, always on the 11th of each month. This historical account is being put together on August 16, 2021. The Interfaith Prayer Service has continued unbroken for almost 20 years on the 11th of each month, an amazing unmatched legacy of love and service to the Eugene community and the world. Countless individuals from a kaleidoscope of faiths and paths have provided inspirational words, music, prayers, and stories through these 20 years. Countless thousands have been blessed by this example of love and unity. Many souls from many religious and spiritual traditions have volunteered to take care of the many logistics of putting this service together. We just completed our 239th consecutive monthly service. We were able to make the switch to online services in 2020 to ensure their continuation.
The change of no longer doing in-person monthly services brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led the leadership of the Interfaith Prayer Service to reimagine the purpose and identity of the Interfaith Prayer Service organization. The board of directors, after many months of inwardly listening and receiving inner nudges and engaging in thoughtful exchanges of inner visions and guidance, have chosen to do the following:
- Continue the monthly interfaith prayer service at least through the completion of both the service on September 11, the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and our 20th anniversary Interfaith Prayer Service Celebration on October 11. Because of a resurgence in COVID cases at the time of this writing, it is unknown where these services will be held and whether they will be in person or online. In-person services have not been held since March 11, 2020.
- Broaden the overall purpose of this interfaith organization. This includes a new name: Oregon Interfaith Hub.
- Create a part-time paid staff which has never taken place in 20 years. All services in the past have been put together by volunteers. The two initial part-time staff members are an executive director and a service and event coordinator.