By: Carl J. Rubenstein, MD President, Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma
The Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance National Office visited us not long ago. He specifically characterized Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma as one of the most active and vital of their affiliates across the nation. This really is a tribute to the active and dedicated participation of our Board Members, and to the responsiveness of our members and the people on our mailing list in volunteering for projects and attending events. We are proud especially of the diverse faith traditions reflected in our Board membership. EXAMPLES OF CURRENT ACTIVITIES Beyond Coexistence Projects: These focus on creating teams of people from diverse faith backgrounds to work together on projects that benefit some aspect of our community. See "What's Ahead Rescheduled workday Jesus House" in left column. Amazing Faiths Dinner Programs: For the 5th year we will organize this program of small groups of diverse faith backgrounds, eating together in individual homes, getting to know each other, and sharing thoughts and feelings about our spiritual experiences, guided by moderators who are trained to make this a comfortable experience for all. Watch the new web site for details. Clergy Conference on Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault: We identified clergy training in dealing with domestic abuse as a significant gap in dealing with those problems. A full day conference for clergy of all faiths is being planned for May 17, 2016, with excellent national and local experts as speakers. Annual Day of Reflection: A yearly continuation of our inclusive interfaith alternative to the National Day of Prayer. Interfaith Music Event:
Is in the early planning stages. This probably will involve gathering school children of diverse faiths for 2 days of learning music representing different faith backgrounds, culminating in a youth chorus performance. Race Relations Initiative: After the terrible shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. we sent an open letter to that congregation. Included was the notion that we should be doing something concrete not just to prevent such happenings, but to improve relations in our community. To that end, Rev. Lori Walke and I will be meeting with Rev. Dr. Lee Cooper, Prospect Baptist Church, to brainstorm about something concrete that we can do. Response to Issues: We keep attuned to societal and legislative issues which are important to our organization's philosophy. We recently issued a collaborative statement about the Ten Commandments monument decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and in support of the Supreme Court itself. We have cooperated with the state program on Health Equity, are opposed to attacks on food subsidies for the poor, and support quality public education. We repeatedly have opposed the false science of creationism under its various disguises. Communications: We are in the process of improving our web site, e-mail newsletter, Facebook, and ad hoc e-mail communications, because effective two-way communication with all of you is very important to our organization. Membership Dues: You soon will receive information about a revived membership structure. This will provide a much needed base of support for our activities, but is being designed so as not to exclude people from participating in our activities. I look forward to meeting and to hearing from more of you in the time ahead, and sincerely hope you will keep track of our activities on the website, and will respond to our e-mails and join us in our programs and events.