CBB Caravan for Reconciliation in the News!

Nearly 100 students, faith leaders and community members came to Clergy Beyond Borders’ program Tuesday evening at UNC Charlotte to listen to Imam Yahya Hendi, Rabbi Amy Eilberg and Rev. Adam Bunnell discuss inter-religious dialogue and respectful pluralism in America. Our event at UNC Charlotte was so far one of the most well-attended community events since our first stop at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pa, on 9/11. In attendance was Mary Curtis, a weekly commentator on Fox News Rising morning show in Charlotte, NC. Yesterday morning, her insightful, intelligent commentary on our program aired. Watch here:

Keeping it Positive

WYFF4, a local TV station in Greenville, aired a great news clip about our program at Furman University last night. Although we didn’t catch it on the Web during our two and a half hour drive to Atlanta, we watched it this afternoon before our lunch program at Candler Seminary. We’re excited to see our message spreading!

WYFF4 – Greenville


Caravan for Reconciliation, by the Numbers

It’s Wednesday afternoon, and we’re on the road again! Today we’re driving through the rolling landscape of North Carolina to Greenville, S.C. where we’ll present our 7p.m. program, “From Fear to Faith: Advancing American Voices for Religious Pluralism” at Furman University.

It’s too bad we don’t have a video camera inside our cramped van because this group of clergy (Imam Hendi, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Rev. Steven Martin and Rabbi Gerald Serotta) is funny, warm and inspiring. At any time during our road trips, we’re on our computers sending e-mails, contacting media, uploading photos, making phone calls, praying together, making jokes or trying to catch a moment of sleep in between the many conversations happening all at once.

As we travel in our 12-passenger Ford van, we’re also counting the miles, cities and states we’re passing through to put this ambitious trip in numerical perspective. Here’s a quick break-down:

Miles driven (to date): 700+

Cities: 19

States: 10

Universities to visit: 9

Houses of worship to visit: 15

Clergy traveling on the van: 9

Number of people attending our programs (estimated, to date): 1,700

Number of laptops, iPads used in the van: 7

Upcoming Caravan for Reconciliation events – Week 1

Greetings from Charlotte, NC! We just arrived and checked into our hotel before our 7p.m. event tonight at UNC Charlotte’s McKnight Hall. Mecklenberg Ministries, UNC Charlotte Muslim Student Association, Temple Israel, Temple Beth El, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Park Road Baptist Church and UNC Charlotte’s Department of Genocide, Holocaust and Human Rights Studies.

Here’s a quick look at our public event schedule through Saturday:

9:30 – 11:30a.m., Wednesday: breakfast with local clergy at Islamic Center of Greater Charlotte (invite only)

7-8:30p.m., Wednesday: “From Fear to Faith: Advancing American Voices of Religious Pluralism,” at Daniel Chapel at Furman University in Greenville, SC

12 -1p.m., Thursday: brown-bag lunch with students, faculty at Candler Seminary (Emory University) in Atlanta

6:30 – 8:30p.m., Thursday: “From Fear to Faith: a Call for Positive Religious Pluralism in American Life,” at the King Center in Atlanta.

6 – 8p.m., Saturday: “From Fear to Faith: Advancing American Voices for Religious Pluralism” at Al Farooq Masjid in Atlanta

(The 10th anniversary of 9/11 calls for every American to promote freedom and oppose extremism in every faith community. All community members are invited to join our “From Fear to Faith: Advancing American Voices for Religious Pluralism” programs to learn how to respond to attacks on faith communities and resources for respectful pluralism within Judaism, Christianity and Islam.)


Sept. 12, 2011: Caravan of Reconciliation goes to Washington

After a full day of 9/11 interfaith services and discussions in Pennsylvania and Maryland, our morning yesterday in Washington D.C. began with a quick stop on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building. Joining us was a delegation of Egyptian imams and students, led by CBB advisor, Imam Bashar Arafat. Paul Monteiro, associate director of The White House Office of Public Engagement, listened to Imam Yahya Hendi presented our letter to President Obama. Rev. Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, also gave us a blessing for our journey. The clear, sunny blue sky was the perfect backdrop to our gathering on the Capitol steps and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Tidal Basin. (Photos by Rev. Steven Martin).

Muslim, Jewish, Christian Leaders to Confront Extremism on 9/11


Friday, September 8, 2011

Contact:               Richard Eisendorf – (202) 569-1714 – reisendorf@imdpconsulting.com
Katherine Mullen – (914) 309-7804 – katherine.mullen@yahoo.com

Muslim, Jewish and Christian Leaders Join Together to Confront Extremism on 9/11

Washington, DC – On the tenth anniversary of September 11th, Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy embark on an 18-city tour of the United States to combat religious intolerance that has risen after 9/11.

They will be presenting messages about religious diversity and pluralism to thousands – from fellow clergy and legislators to ordinary citizens – engaging in interfaith dialogue and sharing their views of the most important lessons from 9/11.

“Following September 11, moderate voices of all people of faith far outnumbered the few who twist religion for their own purposes,” said Imam Yahya Hendi, the President of Clergy Beyond Borders.  “We take pride in America’s tradition of pluralism and diversity – the United States is truly a country of all, for all.”

The tour will kick off on September 11, and will feature prayer breakfasts with faith leaders, solidarity meetings with religious communities facing persecution, workshops in reconciliation co-hosted by churches, synagogues, and Islamic centers, as well as dialogues in divinity schools, universities, and high schools.

“As Jews, Christians, and Muslims, we believe that our freedom of religion is threatened when any faith is singled out for attack,”  said Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders.   “To fight extremism, we need more religious tolerance, not less.”

Practicing what they preach, the Imams, Reverends and Rabbis will join one another’s religious services.  They will engage in Bible Study in a Chattanooga Church, present the Friday Khutbah (sermon) in an Atlanta mosque, and participate in Sabbath services in a Cleveland synagogue.

“On this trip, we are helping people move from fear to understanding – and for that we turn to the common values that we find in all our religions,” said Father Adam Bunnell, a Franciscan Friar and Roman Catholic priest and who serves on the Board of Clergy Beyond Borders.

The tour is being led by Founder and President of Clergy Beyond Borders, Imam Yahya Hendi, who is also the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University and a member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America; Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders and founding Chair of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America;Rev. Dr. Adam Bunnell, a Franciscan Friar and Roman Catholic priest who currently serves as Special Assistant for International and Interfaith Relations to the President of Bellarmine University; and Rev. Steve Martin, Executive Director of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.  Other religious leaders will be joining the group at each stop on their 15-day journey.

: Clergy Beyond Borders

: Religious Leaders’ Caravan for Reconciliation: An American Journey of Clergy Beyond Borders

Sunday, September 11, 2011 – Sunday, September 25, 2011

: Harrisburg, PA – Sept. 11
Washington DC – Sept. 12
Richmond, VA – Sept. 12
Durham, NC – Sept. 12, 13
Charlotte, NC – Sept. 13
Greenville, SC – Sept. 14
Atlanta, GA – Sept. 15-17
Chattanooga, TN – Sept. 18
Nashville, TN – Sept. 19
Murfreesboro, TN – Sept. 19
Louisville, KY – Sept. 20, 21
Cincinnati, OH – Sept. 21
Detroit, MI – Sept. 22
Toledo, OH – Sept. 23, 24
Cleveland, OH – Sept. 23
Mercersburg, PA – Sept. 25
Frederick, MD – Sept. 25

Clergy Beyond Borders (CBB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to an active religious pluralism that goes beyond mere tolerance for difference. The basic premise of their work is the conviction that all religions contain a message of commitment to improving the world, and that too often the differences rather than the commonalities become the subject for discussion. CBB promotes mutual recognition among religious communities, seeking not to remove meaningful borders between them, but rather building bridges of understanding and cooperation.

For specific travel times and locations or to make arrangements for interviews, please contact Richard Eisendorf (reisendorf@imdpconsulting.com or 202-569-1714 or Katherine Mullen (katherine.mullen@yahoo.com or 914-309-7804 <tel:914-309-7804> .)

For more information, visit www.ClergyBeyondBorders.org <http://www.ClergyBeyondBorders.org>  or follow us on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frederick-MD/Clergy-Beyond-Borders/330544659646?v=wall&ref=ts>  and Twitter <http://twitter.com/1ark1humanity> .

Coming Soon to a City near You: CBB’s Caravan for Reconciliation

Mark your calendars! Clergy Beyond Borders is hitting the road starting Sept. 11, 2011 for “Religious Leaders’ Caravan of Reconciliation: An American Journey of Clergy Beyond Borders,” a two-week journey across the country to spread the message that religious diversity is an essential value in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Attacks on any faith community and on freedom of religion promotes extremism and threatens peace in America and abroad.

Using an approach modeled on interfaith dialogue, Clergy Beyond Borders will present and teach resources for use by community members, clergy and divinity students so that they can respond to attacks on faith communities within the U.S., including anti-Islam sentiment. Each stop on the tour will respond to local communities’ needs and include sources for pluralism within Abrahamic traditions and resources for conflict resolution. The Tennessee program, and others as applicable, will focus on discouraging current anti-Shari’ah legislative efforts as well as opposing religious bigotry in all its forms.

Speakers on the tour will include Founder and President of Clergy Beyond Borders, Imam Yahya Hendi, who is also the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University and a member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America. Other participants include Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders and founding Chair of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America; Rev. Dr. Adam Bunnell, a Conventual Franciscan Friar and Roman Catholic priest who currently serves as Special Assistant to the President for International and Interfaith Relations at Bellarmine University; and Rev. Carole A. Crumley, an Episcopal priest who has served as Senior Program Director at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation since 1997.

The Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), among other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and interfaith organizations and individuals, have endorsed Clergy Beyond Borders’ Religious Leaders’ Caravan for Reconciliation.

From Sept. 11-25, we plan to stop in these cities:

Harrisburg, Pa. (Sept. 11); Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., Durham, NC (Sept. 12) Charlotte, NC (Sept. 13); Greenville, SC (Sept.14); Atlanta, Ga (Sept. 15-17) Chattanooga, Nashville, TN (Sept. 18, 19); Louisville, KY (Sept. 20); Cincinnati, OH (Sept. 21); Detroit, MI (Sept. 22); Toledo, Cleveland, OH (Sept. 23, 24); Mercersburg, Pa.; Frederick/Annapolis, Md. (Sept. 25).

If you live near one of these cities, please consider joining us at our public events and spread the word!

“The Informed Leader” pledge

Candidates for public office — from U.S. president to municipal office — are being asked, by the Family Leader organization, to sign “The Marriage Vow,” which includes opposition to same-sex marriage, “quickie divorce,” and “intrusively intimate commingling” in military showers. To date, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) have signed.

The pledge has drawn severe criticism from many quarters, since it was unveiled on July 7, and some clauses have already been removed (without apology). Language remains, however, of great concern to interfaith activists and to all interested in protecting religious pluralism in the United States:

  • “Faithful monogamy” is identified as a concept “conveyed by Jewish and Christian scripture,” while no other religion is recognized as promoting marriage.
  • A concocted religious category of “Sharia Islam” is to be rejected, while actual Islam, its moral “path” [shariah] and its laws [fiqh] are nowhere mentioned. “Sharia Islam” is defined — through rambling reference to a variety of coined terms, such as “demographic jihad,” devoid of Muslim citation — as an “anti-woman, anti-human rights” form of “totalitarian control.” A footnote explains that signers “do not oppose peaceful Muslims,” but there is no word on “peaceful Muslim” marriage.

Continue reading