Posted by: smstrouse | May 24, 2016

Pluralism Summer IV

firstsundayheader1It’s hard to believe that at  First United we’re gearing up for our fourth interfaith summer series! Pluralism Summer IV begins June 12.

Pluralism Sunday began back in 2007 as a project of the Center for Progressive Christianity. We’ve always observed the day, but four years ago we decided to extend it for the whole summer.

And now we’re already halfway there in lining up twelve different speakers – one for each Sunday from June 12 to August 28. The truly wonderful thing about being here in the Bay Area is the wealth of awesome people who are willing to come and share themselves with our little congregation.

I learned a  l0t the first year. The main thing was that it’s easier for the speakers when we have a theme. It also creates more interest in the congregation and curiosity about how each tradition will address a particular topic.

Nina Pine BuddhistFor example, two years ago the theme was the environment. We asked our guests to answer the question: how does your tradition inform how you think about caring for the   environment? The variety was amazing. Nina Pine, a Buddhist originally from Nepal, talked about the environmental degradation of Mt. Everest.

Linda Crawford ICP and Don Frew COG

Don Frew (seen here with me and Linda Crawford, executive director of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio) is an elder in the CovenanSridevi Ramanathan Hindu1t of the Goddess. He led us in an earth-based meditation.

Sridevi Ramanathan, a Hindu, laughingly told us that, “Of course Hindus believe we should take care of the earth. We believe in reincarnation, so we want the earth to be here when we come back!”

Last year, it was gender.
11539775_10206233265883875_663553422419599292_nMitch Mayne talked about being an openly gay, active Latter-day Saint (Mormon), who has recently served as the executive secretary in the ecclesiastical leadersh11705140_10206182129445496_6793989997650344369_nip of the LDS Church in San Francisco.

Sister Chandru from the Brahma Kumaris (our neighbors over on Baker Street) taught us that the Brahma Kumaris (“daughters of Brahma”) movement is known for the prominent role women play in the movement and led us in a meditation.

And this year? The theme is – what else? – politics: How does, does your, what aspects of your tradition inform your politics? So far, we have speakers from the Baha’i, Muslim, Mennonite, Jewish, and Integral Yoga traditions. We even have a Lutheran (how could we not ask about Luther’s theology of “Two Kingdoms“?).

I’ll be posting more as the rest of schedule gets filled in. Visitors are always expected. If you’ve ever thought about visiting a funky, little, progressive church, this summer would be a great time to do it!





  1. This is an excellent summary of our unique Pluralism Summer series. I’m going to copy it into our newsletter.


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