All posts by Layla Ananda

Gender Jam Begins at ICSG!

Contributed by Robert Fagerlund
What is Gender Jam, you ask? It is a regular meeting group to provide a nonjudgmental, supportive, not scary forum to discuss and share on gender issues, social sexual roles and expectations, women’s issues, men’s issues, LGBTQ issues, straight issues, and any other related topics. There will be no agenda, no predetermined topic or issue. Conversation will arise from whatever attendees wish to talk about. This will be open to everyone in the community. Attendees participation in sharing or commenting is not required. No one will ever be “put on the spot” or made to feel uncomfortable about speaking or about not speaking.
The first Gender Jam will be on Tuesday, March 13 from 7:00–9:00p. Come on and check it out! Gender Jam is free. Donations to the Interfaith Center will be accepted. 
To get the conversation started, here is a message from Rob Fagerlund, the creator of the group:
Feminism is the best thing that ever happened to men.
Why do I say that? One thing feminism set in motion (and I mean long ago, at least as far back Susan B. Anthony and the other nineteenth century feminists who fought for women’s rights) is a challenge to destructive and oppressive gender roles and expectations for everyone.
And no, the feminist struggle is far from over. But that’s not really my focus here. I would like to make a few observations about feminism and men.

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Messages From Joe

Hello Interfaith Family,

If you have not yet been to a service during which we are graced with Joe Johnson’s words, then I am happy to be introducing you to him through our blog. ICSG got connected to Joe through a new member of our community, Holly Honig-Josephson. Holly works with an organization called Humanity for Prisoners that provides a variety of problem-solving services for incarcerated persons in Michigan to alleviate suffering beyond the just administration of their sentences. Joe is one of those people and Holly met him through this work.

During their communications, Joe shared with Holly some of his spiritual insights and expressed his interest in being connected to a spiritual community, which led Holly to speak with me. Since then, via the prison email system, I have been sending Joe the topics for Sunday talks and he sends his reflections to be shared during open mic. This has been a truly inspiring experience for me, as I am always amazed by his reflections. I often reflect that he should have my job! Recently, because of its importance and profundity, I included a part of his message during my talk on The Great Turning. Below are some of the powerful messages he has shared so far. Maybe one day we’ll make a book, Messages From Joe. Enjoy.

Introduction

Allow me this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Joseph Johnson, I’ve been incarcerated for 37 years for a mistake that I made as a teenager. I along with my codefendant robbed two youths who were pushing an Ice Cream cart selling ice cream of $27.50 and some ice cream. For this I was sentenced to serve a parolable life term. My codefendant was sentence to 6 Months county jail and 5 years probation. I do not give this information expecting sympathy because what I did was wrong and I’m being held responsible and accountable for my actions.

I want to first thank Pastor Lauren and Holly for making this opportunity to communicate with you all possible and I’m so humbled to have this opportunity to reach out to you from where I sit. It furthers my belief that the strong arm of the ALL is most powerful.

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Visioning for Interfaith

By Rev. Annie Kopko

scrabble tiles spelling the word vision, to represent the interfaith center's visioning processThis is Part I of a four-part report on the Visioning process for the future of Interfaith. This process is led by a co-creation team and consists of four events of discovering, dreaming, designing and finally delivering for our beloved community.

We have set a timeline for community visioning for Interfaith this next year 2018, which is our 20th year as an interfaith spiritual community.  We should be very proud of what we have created together, and in order to keep a strong community, every few years we need to revisit our vision for our future.  2017 was a year of profound and exciting change, with the retiring of our senior minister senior Dave Bell and the hiring of our new senior minister Lauren Tatarsky.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in each of these events, held on Saturday mornings in 2018 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Part 1—Discovering and Appreciating the Best of “What is” (already completed)

Part 2—Dreaming and Imagining “What Could Be” Jan. 20, 2018

Part 3—Designing and Determining “What Should Be” April 21, 2018

Part 4—Delivering “What Will Be”  Date: TBA

Part 1 of our Vision took place on Saturday Nov. 18, 2017. Sixteen of us took part in the process. Our task was to find out what we do well, what do we value, what do we want to keep.  The following is a synopsis of what we shared at this gathering.

What we do well is offer a spiritually welcoming and inclusive community that gives each of us opportunity for spiritual growth and awareness. We do this primarily through our Sunday services, which are our profoundly creative opportunity for accepting, supporting, and celebrating one another on our shared journey.  Some of our favorite ways we do this is with the Namaste greeting, our meditations, readings, and especially open mic.

We know that involvement creates empowerment. Showing up happens to be important.  It is a profound act of service both to ourselves and for each other. We have a chance both to listen and to be heard.  We have a chance to love and be loved, support each other, and find a way to accept our own power for healing ourselves and others.  This is the way we heal the world.

What never ceases to amaze me (but of course makes perfect sense) is how showing up on Sunday can help to manifest positive outcomes in our lives and work.  This is how: we find acceptance of all spiritual paths; we see that expressing spirituality here at Interfaith is practice for outside; we are more confident in uncomfortable conversations; we are teaching our children by our example; we teach each other the same way.  We seek and find expanded awareness, entertain unlimited possibility, and truly find a spiritual home through community