Ruah Interfaith Spirituality Programs
CMM’s Ruah Interfaith Spirituality Programs offers opportunities for grounding and spirituality, listening to one another’s faith and value-based perspectives, as we come together to heal ourselves and the earth. We believe that these are essential for sustainable social justice work.
Specific programs include: Conversational Circles, community potluck conversations, lectures, conferences, courses, concerts, film screenings, playback theater nights, publications (see below), rallies, press conferences, and partnerships, surrounding current social issues with emphasis on respecting different traditions as we respond to religious and racial intolerance as change agents.
At My Neighbor’s Table Community Potluck Conversation Series
A partnership between CMM, Needham Interfaith Clergy Association, Needham Diversity Initiative, Needham Human Rights Committee and other community partners to host community conversations on timely topics such as structural racism, education equity, and restorative justice. The latest conversations had to be on Zoom due to the pandemic. Here are links for the latest four:
- “Fault Lines: Grappling with Segregation in our Schools” on March 21, 2021, with Liam Kerr, MA State Dir., Democrats For Education Reform, and State Rep. Chynah Tyler, (D), 7th Suffolk, Chair, Black & Latino Legislative Caucus. Below are also some resources for further learning:
Facing Our Racism: Becoming Conscious Partners – Workshops
CMM launched this pilot program with two experienced facilitators in the fields of social work and psychology on white privilege and supremacy, as well as unconscious bias, and moving towards actions, such as reparations, in the planning for a better future. Workshops took place in October, November and May with more being planned for this upcoming summer and fall.
Click here to RSVP for July 25th
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Day of Service (January 2021)
Every MLK Day, CMM partners with the Brandeis University’s Center for Spiritual Life, Department of Community Service, Intercultural Center, Waltham Group, Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program, Brandeis University Library, and the Massachusetts Service Alliance, to package over 14k meals with volunteers from around the area, and deliver them to food banks and congregations that help food insecure communities. This year was done on Zoom. Click below to check out some of the great resources:
Fratelli Tutti – Everyone is Connected: Brothers and Sisters, All (January 2021)
CMM started the new year with an interfaith conversation on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, promoting connection. The afternoon was facilitated by Fr. Tom Ryan of the Paulist Center, with reflective remarks by Dr. Basyouny Nehela of the Boston Islamic Seminary and Rabbi Or Rose of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership of Hebrew College.
Click here for the watch the recording
In Celebration of Rumi (November & December 2020)
For the past 20 years, CMM has appreciated its relationship with the originators of Ruah programming in the bringing of dervishes to the Greater Boston area in a celebration of Rumi through music (Orkestra Marhaba), poetry and dance. Click here to view the 20th anniversary recording from this past November we did in the safety of a virtual format, as well as December’s “Afternoon Celebrating the Poetry of Jelaludin Rumi.”
(Pictured above, a sema at the Friends Meeting at Cambridge from 2018)
UN International Day of Peace (September 2020)
Every September, CMM partners with Friends Meeting in Cambridge, Bethel Lowell Church AME and the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, among many others, in commemorating Boston’s observance of the UN International Day of Peace. Click here to view a recording from this past September we did in the safety of a virtual format.
Click here for more info
Revelation in a Time of Survival Series – Spirituality & Sustainability (Fall 2020)
This 6-Week Zoom series of reflections from spiritual leaders of the greater Boston area was on climate change and the pandemic taking place (6 Tuesdays) September 1 – October 6, in line with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (celebrated in the Orthodox Christian community) all the way to St. Francis Day (acknowledged in the Catholic Church).
Revelation in a Time of Plague Series (Late Spring 2020)
Co-hosted with MAS Boston, a 4-Week Zoom series of reflections from spiritual leaders of the Abrahamic family of faith taking place (4 Wednesdays) April 22 – May 13, 2020.
Click here for more info
Selma & Beyond MLK Bus Trip (Spring 2020)
Along with The New Democracy Coalition, Northeastern University Center for Spirituality, Dialogue & Service, and UMass Boston, we boarded a bus February 28th and headed down to the Alabama for a few days for the 55th Anniversary of the Pettus Bridge Crossing.
Click here for more info
Reading King in Boston Series (Fall 2019)
“Reading King in Boston” is a program that raises up specific works by Martin Luther King, Jr. The selections chosen are to be read and discussed in anticipation of themes raised up in four recognized national or international commemorations in fall, 2019.
Click here for more info
“No matter how vast our differences, the more we take the initiative to listen to others, the more we realize that, in large part, we are all the same. To embrace our similarities over our differences, we must be willing to go beyond our comfort zones and cross the lines that divide us. This requires a belief that, together, vastly different individuals can unite.” – Jonathan Madison, participant in a dialogue group in Pacifica, CA
Description: the Conversational Circle Program is an interfaith response to the many divisive and separating forces in our society today. By coming together in a safe and confidential place, creating a small and caring community of diverse people of all ages, faiths and spiritual practices, we are committed to learning from and with one another. The facilitators recognize that the best way to turn a neighbor into a friend is to meet face to face. In this way, everyone can participate in meaningful dialogues, sensitive to each other’s narratives and experiences.
Goals: Participation in the Conversational Circles can:
- create more understanding of racial disparity and other difficult and challenging issues
- build new relationships with others who we might not have the opportunity to engage with otherwise
- develop more empathy to the injustices experienced by many members of our communities (including African-Americans, Muslims, Jews, people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to name a few)
- recognize and learn from others in order to broaden the direction of our activities and advocacies
- experience changes in our own self-awareness of privilege and power, in order to make a difference
- foster educational, as well as experiential, time with like-minded people on an on-going basis over several months; such a commitment engages participants to make this a priority of their time and energy in order to enrich their understanding and fulfill their spiritual inclinations to create peace in their midst.
As a potential outcome of trying to reach these goals, the Conversational Circles offer participants the opportunity for taking action steps to deepen our commitment as change agents.
Suggested Steps for Building a Conversational Circle Group in your community:
- Bring together experienced facilitators*, allowing focused time to brainstorm together to reach agreements about the same goals and desired outcomes that are possible, trying to make the leaders and participants a diverse group, racially and religiously. *individuals well versed in interfaith social justice work, with deep listening skills that have been shown effective.
- Prepare by reading some reports/articles about what constitutes a “dialogue group” and choosing the most salient points from it (building the capacity for shared leadership, creating an atmosphere most effective to involving the participants, knowing how to address the more difficult topics).
- Logistics considered – choosing the best time and convenient place to get the most participation and requesting a commitment to an on-going series (once bi-monthly, for example over 6 months) in order to develop the trust and understanding we seek. Gathering a diverse group can be a big challenge; therefore, outreach to people of different religions, ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds and different ages will be a real task at hand.
- Creating a ritual for the session so that the component parts are repeated but varied such as: an opening/closing prayer or meditation, different ice breakers, check ins, reflections from participants from the previous session, and introducing the content for each session. (For storytelling practices, reading an inspiring article or part of a text on a topic relevant to the discussion, focus on our individual narratives alongside the cultural/historical U.S. narrative, etc.)
- Awareness of the relationship-building and the responses from participants to create change if needed.
- Getting input from the group and staying attuned to the wants of the group, such as clarifying their interests or concerns, such as more storytelling, intentional interfaith/value-oriented topics that impact one’s social justice experiences, or other vehicles that address the topics or difficult conversations (power and privilege in our communities, marginalization)
- Moving towards action steps that can involve participants together in grassroots efforts. Information sharing on interesting actions that are happening in the various communities helps in the group process and builds in a common interest for future efforts together. In addition, inviting each other to a service, devotional or other event of different traditions, enriches our understanding and empathy for one another.
- Evaluation of the Conversational Circle work from participants and the facilitators.
“CMM’s CC has become a haven for thoughtful and mindful conversation. I will continue to be a part of this group of new friends that I cherish (so much so that my husband who joined us for one event wants to be a part of it too)! My wish is that groups like this will proliferate. I have found that hearing and sharing different viewpoints has enriched my field of experience and broadened my horizons. I am grateful for the privilege of being a part of this group. Kudos to our facilitators who have thoughtfully engaged us in much needed conversations and connections.”
CMM’s Interfaith Prayer Booklet publications, as a part of our Just Peacemaking initiative, are available below as pdfs.
CMM called together interfaith thought leaders in the greater Boston area on the concept of “Just Peacemaking” and tasked them to write a reflection on the current times, based on the theme that year, followed by a corresponding prayer. Physical copies can be ordered by demand by emailing email@example.com.