Participating Congregations and Organizations
  • American Muslim Voice
  • Bahá'í Community of Palo Alto
  • Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) Palo Alto
  • First Evangelical Lutheran Church Palo Alto
  • First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto
  • First United Methodist Church Palo Alto
  • Mountain View Buddhist Temple
  • Palo Alto Buddhist Temple
  • Palo Alto Friends Meeting
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Palo Alto (Catholic)
  • Social Action Committee of the Redwood City Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship
  • Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Los Gatos
  • West Bay Chapter, Buddhist Peace Fellowship

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MLK Day: Deliver for Voting Rights

Martin Luther King III, Arndrea Waters King, and Yolanda Renee King,
along with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, voting rights activists, and
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice
join together to demand voting rights legislation now!
is calling on President Biden and Congress to end the filibuster
and deliver on voting rights now.
Our right to vote can't wait!
Click here to learn more about the movement: Deliver for Voting Rights!
LOCAL ACTION OPPORTUNITY: You can participate in the National MLK Day Voting Rights focus from home by writing postcards to voters through the non-partisan, voting rights organization Center for Common Ground. You'll be writing to Black registered voters in Texas, urging them to vote in the upcoming March 1 primary.  Only 1 in 25 Texas voters participate in primaries, yet their voices are crucial to choosing candidates that will address all this and more: threats to democracy, voting and vote counting, crumbling electrical grids with freezing and flooding, high rates of Covid, school policies. We will emphasize this and offer pointers to Early Voting information. You'll need to write and mail the postcards by February 14, and you'll need to provide your own postcard stamps (currently 40 cents each). You can pick up an introductory packet of 10 postcards from a front porch in Palo Alto near Embarcadero and 101. To reserve your introductory packet of 10 cards and receive the porch address, email Linda Henigin at

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Climate Action Opportunities

On January 11, 2022 MVPJ hosted Pastor Danielle Parish of Spark Church, an official UN Observer of the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. She inspired us again to do our part to support environmental justice, and particularly to connect you with faith-based local opportunities for action.

While Danielle's riveting presentation to us was not recorded, click here to to view a youtube recording of her presentation on December 15, 2021. 

Two local faith-based climate action organizations you should know about are:

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Roman Catholic Archbishop Wester Pastoral Letter Calls for Nuclear Disarmament

Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Wester from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, issued a pastoral letter, "Living in the Light of Christ's Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament," on January 11, 2022.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special role to play in advocating for nuclear disarmament given the presence of two nuclear weapons laboratories and the United States of America’s largest repository of warheads located within its boundaries.  Archbishop Wester states, “The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a special responsibility not only to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, but also to encourage its active implementation.” He goes on to “…invite us to have a conversation together about what it means to follow the risen, nonviolent Jesus who calls us to be peacemakers, put down the sword, and love everyone, even the enemies of our nation.”

Click here to see a one-page summary of the letter.

Celebrate the first anniversary of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons locally with street vigil in front of the Livermore Nuclear Lab on Friday, January 21. Click here for more information from our web calendar. Sponsored by Tri-Valley CARES.

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A Guided Meditation on Being Whole

At our December 11, 2021 Peaceful Presence, Eric Sabelman of the Palo Alto Friends Meeting (Quarker) and MVPJ Steering Committee, offered the attached "Guided Meditation on Being Whole."

Simple -- and profound -- we offer it to you for whenever you need it.

"When you are done, what is left will be you, and only you.
You have the strength to hold what is needeful in your life, and discard what is not."

(end of meditation)

Maryam Mostaghimi from the Palo Alto Baha'i Community and also the MVPJ Steering Committee, offered this  Báhá’i Prayer for Humanity, beginning, "Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household."

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Multifaith Prayers for Peace on 11th of Every Month

Monthly Multifaith Prayers for Peace
7-7:30pm on 11th of every month

Friday, February 11, 7-7:30pm - hosted by Covenant Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto

As we move through various pandemic safety restrictions, Peaceful Presence will sometimes be offered in-person, sometimes by Zoom, and sometimes with both options - to join in person or via Zoom. Watch for updates!

Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice coordinates “Peaceful Presence” gatherings, a monthly prayer service on the evening of the 11th of each month, offering a time of quiet multifaith prayers for peace and strength for the journey.  All are welcome: those of all faith traditions and of no defined faith, those who are suffering at the hands of their own government, those who need a pause in the midst of intensive work on behalf of others, and all who would like to pray with others for the well-being of all.  The prayer time will include elements from several religious traditions.

Friday, February 11, 7-7:30pm - hosted by Covenant Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto
Friday, March 11, 7-7:30pm - tba
Monday, April 11, 7-7:30pm
- hosted by Congregation Etz Chayim

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Human Rights for All: A Multifaith Call to Action

Join us on the Eve of World Human Rights Day, for
Human Rights for All: A Multifaith Call to Action
Thursday, December 9, 7pm
First United Methodist Church
625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto
The gathering will be in-person with COVID safety requirements* and also streamed via youtube.

We will come together from diverse faith and spiritual traditions to stand in solidarity for the human rights of all people, locally and globally.

PROOF of vaccination (card or photo) and MASK (covering nose and mouth) REQUIRED for all in-person attendees.
All singing will be masked. Only speakers, standing more than 10' away, will be unmasked.

Missed it? Want to hear it again? Watch the event on youtube anytime!

Click here to view the wonderful pictures by ProBono Photo. Thank you ProBono!!

 Click here to see ABC7 News coverage and interviews.

In light of multiple hate messages and incidents in our local community, including some personally threatening individuals and community leaders, we will gather on the Eve of World Human Rights Day to say NO to hate and YES to the dignity and worth of every human being.

Confirmed Speakers:
Rev. Dr. Debra Murray, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church & MVPJ Steering Committee Member
Click here to link to Rev. Murray's bio
Caryn Cranston, SEEDS (helping homeless & street youth) Outreach Coordinator
Click here to download Caryn Cranston's bio
Imam Shaykh El Bakri - Khateeb at Saratoga Masjid (West Valley Muslim Association Mosque)
Click here to link to Imam El-Bakri's bio
Lydia Kou, Palo Alto City Council Member
Rabbi Sheldon Lewis - Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Kol Emeth & former MVPJ Steering Committee Member
Click here for link to Rabbi Lewis' bio
Rev. Gerardo Garcia Palacios, Chaplain/Spiritual Care Provider and PCUSA Minister
Click here to download Gerardo Garcia's bio; Click here to download Rev. Garcia's speech
Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs, Senior Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life at Stanford, and Pastor of Memorial Church
Click here to link to Rev. Young-Scagg's bio

 "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?
In small places, close to home --
so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. ...
Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.
Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home,
we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
- Eleanor Roosevelt 

Click here to use our Facebook page to invite others!

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Solidarity Vigil Photos

Sunday, August 29, 2021, people gathered to "Surround the City with Light and Love" in response to a series of hateful and racist incidents in our community, escalating in racist and threatening signs targeting the Rev. Dr. Debra Murray, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto. We came together to pray - with our words and feet, our hearts and our lives - that we can be a community devoted to respect, dignity and safety for all people. You can download the inclusive prayer handout here.

Organized by Palo Alto faith leaders, people of many diverse traditions participated. While there is still much work to be done to foster a truly anti-racist, welcoming and liberating community, there is no doubt that, in Pastor Debra's words, "we set some powerful love and energy loose in the world" that afternoon!

The J-Weekly (Jewish News of Northern California) covered the event with this article.

We greatly appreciate Jack Owicki, for the wonderful photographs documenting the event, including the one to the left, and those below in this article. Click here for the full photo gallery on the Pro Bono Photo website.

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"White nationalism is the greatest threat to peace"

"White nationalism is the greatest threat to peace," Fr. Brian Massingale, S.J., stated in accepting the Pax Christi USA 2021 Teacher of Peace Award.

Massingale, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, theologian, scholar, activist and professor, insisted that, "the greatest threat to peace in our time, both nationally and even internationally, is the rise of white nationalism." He explained this is so because white nationalism, "is intersectional, threatening social stability and human flourishing on multiple levels and fronts."

Massingale challenged Pax Christi -- and challenges all of us -- that we must not only be anti-war and pro-nonviolence. "You must also make explicit linkage between peacemaking, racism, consumerism, and ecological justice. And you have to be LGBTQ inclusive."

Referring to a quote from Albert Einstein, Massingale concludes his speech, "No problem can be solved from the level of consciousness that created it. We need new ways of thinking, living, loving. New ways of praying and being. This is the deepest call of our faith. We need to be contemplative witnesses of the possibilities of human transformation. ... For that to happen we need to be grounded in the Truly Real, in that Infinite Radical Love Who is deeper and bigger than we are." Finally, he invites us to recommit ourselves to what Martin Luther King, Jr. called, "the long and bitter - but beautiful - struggle for a new world."

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Responses to Situation in Afghanistan

Many of us are watching the news about the people of Afghanistan with horror and broken hearts. As people of faith committed to peace and justice, we want to reach out to help, knowing we are one global family.

Below is a brief list of links for possible responses compiled by members of the MVPJ steering committee, a useful article from the New York Times with ways to help refugees, as well as one faith-based response to the U.S. recent drone attacks.

Islamic Relief USA - This page from their website has a very thorough and detailed list of Afghan charities and NGOs offering everything from medical service to legal aid, all of which have a proven, positive track record working in Afghanistan. As explained on the website, Islamic Relief itself is coordinating efforts with other on-the-ground organizations for emergency food, shelter, water, and hygiene.

HIAS - A Jewish organization that supports with refugees, is working to advocate for resettlement rights for Afghans, and working directly with newly arrived Afghan families in the United States.

The International Rescue Committee's website provides good background on the crisis, and offers direct support to displaced Afghans.

Locally, the City of Fremont is raising money to directly support Afghan refugees arriving in the area. Fremont is home to one of the largest Afghan communities in the country.

This New York Time article lists charities, organizations and funds to help Afghans resettle.

Women for Afghan Women is the largest women's organization in the country. Its ultimate goal is to transform the norms of violence and oppression into those of peace and equality. Donations help keep clients and staff safe and provide emergency support for others.

Pax Christi USA (Roman Catholic) has a Pray-Study-Act page with good resources, and also issued this statement condemning the U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan, which only furthers the cycle of violence.

Read below for some local, bay area efforts that you can support.

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Statements and Actions on Israel/Palestine Violence

Once again, our hearts break at the eruption of violence afflicting Israel/Palestine and Gaza.  At the heart of the conflict is Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  Injustice on the level of home confiscation and restriction of assembly and worship for Palestinians have given rise to the latest round of violence, with missiles killing large numbers in Gaza, killing smaller numbers in Israel but nonetheless spreading terror and trauma.  Extremist elements among Jewish and Arab Israelis are engaging in rioting and personal combat that could tragically set back the goal of shared society for a very long time.

As people of faith, we know that violence begets more violence and hatred begets more hatred.  We pray that the power of love and justice will somehow prevail over the precious Holy Land, healing the long-standing wounds of injustice, hatred, and war.

We call for an immediate halt to hostilities—on the part of individuals, nationalistic groups, and governments.  More combat will only engender more trauma and hatred in populations long battered by war and injustice.

Our prayers are with all those in the region, and all of our neighbors, family, and friends who are deeply connected to Israel and Palestine.  May God’s peace and justice soon conquer the forces of violence and oppression.

Recommended Actions:
1. Sign this "Urgent US Leadership is Needed on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" statement from J Street
2. Call or write your members of Congress, demanding U.S. action to pressure both sides to adopt a halt to hostilities.

For fuller statements from a variety of multifaith organizations and partners, click "read more" below.

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Quote of the Month

“Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. "

…Unknown. Attributed to the 14th Dalai Lama