Jan 17

Religious Freedom Statement

December 29, 2015

Interfaith Partners of South Carolina members are distressed and deeply saddened to hear so many of our country’s citizens and political leaders and candidates espouse retaliation to our Muslim colleagues, friends and neighbors for the actions of a small group who wrongly claim that Islam justifies their violence.

Muslims have lived peacefully in South Carolina for three centuries, but now the fear of extremists is feeding suspicion, fear, hostility, hateful speech, and demands for exaggerated scrutiny against an entire religious population. These actions would have been decried by any of our faith founders, as well as by the founders of our Democracy. Nor is such fear in keeping with the mission of Interfaith Partners.

Our Interfaith Partners members include many religions and spiritual paths, including Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, Buddhist, Pagan, Native American, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, and more. We work for harmonious communities through our interfaith activities because we understand the fragile bonds upon which our democracy is built. Peace in America depends upon the ability of diverse peoples to value diversity without perceiving those differences to be a threat.

Therefore, we welcome Syrian refugees fleeing death and destruction, just as this state has welcomed refugees and immigrants from around the world, beginning with the welcome extended by South Carolina’s original Native American inhabitants.

Furthermore, today Interfaith Partners joins the chorus of Muslim voices who have condemned the violence of Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and other extremist groups and individuals.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to all who have lost friends or loved ones in the violence.

We affirm our solidarity with our Muslim friends here in South Carolina, whom we have come to know as peaceful, community-minded, law-abiding citizens, and we abhor the vilification they and their religion now suffer in the rhetoric of political candidates and others who spew misinformation, hate and fear.

We rededicate ourselves as Interfaith Partners of South Carolina to the task of promoting interfaith harmony in our state and world, inviting all South Carolinians to join Interfaith Partners in promoting friendships across religious lines and in cultivating understanding and cooperation among the diverse faiths within our state.

We call now upon our elected and other leaders to demonstrate compassionate leadership.

Finally, we re-commit ourselves to uphold the human rights and freedoms of all members of our society, regardless of their religious belief or non-belief. We call for common respect, insist on justice for everyone in our community, and stand together in uplifting our Constitution to ensure religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.

We look toward the hope and positive opportunities that the new year will bring, and we pray for the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to future generations, for the State of South Carolina, for our nation, and for the greater world community.
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“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.” —Founding Father George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793)

Jan 17

Diversity in Belief

Jan 17

Unity in Compassion

Dec 26

Schedule: 2016 SC Interfaith Harmony Month

Spirituality Discussion    Friday, January 8
7:00 – 8:30 PM    334 Clayton Mem. Church Rd., Newberry
Join us in our new church Fellowship Hall at Clayton Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church for relaxed discussion with friends.

Introduction to Nichiren Buddhism    Wednesday, January 13
7:00 PM    228 O’Neil Court, Columbia, SC 29223
SGI-USA hosts an Introduction to Nichiren Buddhism at the S.C. Buddhist Center, Questions contact eahendley@gmail.com or 803.240-2037.

Midlands Interfaith Meet-Up    Wednesday, January 13
6:00 – 8:00 PM    Zorba’s Restaurant, 6169 St. Andrews Road, ColumbiaCome prepared to visit with friends, and chat about what’s on your heart.  All are welcome to this monthly event, no RSVP needed, bring a friend! Dutch Treat Dinner (you may order on your own, but no order is required) followed by discussion.  Topic for January: What to do when our beliefs clash? Questions contact holli@sc.rr.com.

5th Annual Interfaith Celebration at Hindu Temple    Wednesday, January 13
6:00 – 8:00 PM    1740 Jervey Street, Charleston
You, your family and friends are invited to a special interfaith friendship and harmony event organized by the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center.  Presentations from different faiths on the topic, “Personal Growth For Social Tolerance.”  Questions contact 843-875-9753 or shroff_shaila@hotmail.com.

Women of Many Faiths    Thursday, January 14
6:30-8:30 PM     2020 Assembly Street, Columbia 29201
Fellowship and enjoy refreshments together until 7:00 when our discussion will begin. Discussion Topic: What defines “worship” in your services and gatherings?  What is the purpose of your gathering?  What do people get out of it?  What is your expectation, what do you hope will happen? If you wish, bring food to share. Baha’i Center at 2020 Assembly Street, Columbia 29201. Questions contact anne41450@aol.com or schelen1@icloud.com.

National Congress of American Indians (online)    Thursday, January 14th
10:30 AM    Livestream Online
National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby will give the State of Indian Nations address at Knight Studios, Newseum, Washington DC.  RSVP required, http://tinyurl.com/jlpqsnn.  Space is limited; a confirmation email will be sent to those requests we can accommodate. This event will also be broadcast live through Livestream.com. All are invited to attend (via internet).

3rd Annual Teen Interfaith Service Weekend    Saturday January 16
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM    2701 Heyward Street, Columbia 29205
A day of service to the community, lock-in, and building interfaith relationships. High school youth at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia invite other youth to join them as volunteers at Columbia’s Family Shelter. Dinner and lock-in at the UU church follow the day of service.  Also included is a unique youth service followed by a Q&A session with a youth representative from each faith tradition present. Fun games and activities will last through the evening. Price for meals and t-shirt is $25. All 9th – 12th grade youth are welcome to participate. Questions contact reassist@uucolumbia.org.

Baha’i’ Devotional Service    Sunday, January 17
11:00 AM    2020 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Devotional followed by an brief presentation and discussion regarding the teachings of the Baha’i, questions welcome. Light refreshments. Presented by the Baha’i’s of Greater Columbia. Questions contact careymurphy19@gmail.com

Sikh Temple Open Worship & Langar Lunch    Sunday, January 17
11:30 – 1:00    11419 Broad River Road, Chapin, 29036
A special temple service with music and translations into English for first-time guests, followed by a traditional Sikh free langar lunch. Head coverings are provided and all are welcome.

I Shall Not Be Silent    Monday, January 18
6:30 – 8:00 PM    5827 Trenholm Road, Columbia 29229
Join Beth Shalom Synagogue for this MLK Weekend special screening of the award-winning documentary about a rabbi who would not be silenced.  From synagogues in 1930s Berlin to the 1963 March on Washington, with Andre Braugher narrating excerpts of Rabbi Joachim Prinz’s writings. Refreshments afterwards. Questions and RSVP for planning purposes to 803-782-2500.

Facing Fear in our Houses of Worship    Tuesday, January 19
7:30 – 9:00 PM    228 O’Neil Court, Columbia, SC 29223
A panel of law enforcement experts from Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and our own Sheriff Leon Lott of Richland County Sheriff’s Department, talk to us about how to constructively face our fears in the wake of tragedies such as the shooting at Emanuel AME in Charleston.  Short presentations by each panelist, discussion questions and interaction with guests. is SC SGI-USA Buddhist Community Center, 228 O’Neil Court, Columbia, SC 29223 (beside DMV). Questions contact holli@sc.rr.com.

Native American Winter Story Telling (2) Series    Wednesday, January 20th
1:00 – 2:30 PM    Online webinar
Join us for a Native American Indian Spirituality event, sponsored by The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc, (NIWRC) and  promoted by ECSIUT- Cherokees of SC. Cost: Free.  http://www.niwrc.org/content/event/winter-story-telling-1-3

Stories of the Prophets from the Holy Qur’an    Friday, January 22
4:00 – 6:00 PM    517 Winmet Drive, Columbia, SC 29203
Stories of the Prophets, exhibits and refreshments at the Masjid Noor Ul Huda. Modest attire suggested, note that it is customary for shoes to be removed just inside door and women are invited to wear a head covering. Questions contact president@picna.org.

Musical Shabbat Worship    Friday, January 22
Tree of Life 120th Anniversary Concert    Saturday, January 23
7:30 PM start for both    6719  N.  Trenholm  Rd.  Columbia,  SC
All are invited to join Tree of Life Congregation for events celebrating 120 years serving the Jewish community of the Midlands. Events also include a Saturday lunchtime music workshop and a Sunday Tu Be Shevat Lunch. Suggested donation for concert $10 or $36 for a family.  Made possible by Sid Krauss Memorial Fund and the Columbia Jewish Federation. Questions contact 120th@tolsc.org.

Jubilee! Circle Service    Sunday, January 24
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM    2730 Millwood Avenue, Columbia
Join Jubilee! Circle in a unique celebration of the Holy using contemporary secular music and a blend of religious traditions that honors and welcomes Christianity, Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and more.

Concert of Sacred Jewish Music     Thursday, January 28
7:30 p.m.   Trinity Cathedral,100 Sumter St.,Columbia
Colla Voce, Columbia’s professional chorus directed by Larry Wyatt, will present a Concert of Sacred Jewish Music Thursday, January 28, at Trinity Cathedral, 1100 Sumter St., Columbia. The  concert will feature the US premiere (and first performance outside of Israel) of David and Goliath by acclaimed Israeli composer Aharon Harlap, and the first performance of a new arrangement of Shacharit, Meira Warshauer’s interpretation of the Jewish service, newly scored for organ, harp, and percussion, along with its original vocal forces.  The program also includes Warshauer’s  Akhat Sha’alti (One thing I ask), for chorus and percussion. Tickets are $20 adults ($15 in advance) and $5 students.  Available from the Katie and Irwin Kahn JCC 803-787-2023 and USC Choral Office 803-777-5369 lsmith@mozart.sc.edu, or online here.

Opening  Ceremony of a Season for Non-Violence    Saturday, January 30
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM    1801 Legrand Rd, Columbia, SC 29223
The 19th annual Season for Non-Violence begins January 30 and runs for 64 days until April 4th, marking the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and in honor of their work.  Hosted by Unity of Columbia, speakers from different faiths in our community, followed by Dances of Universal Peace and a light lunch.  Questions contact unitycolumbia@gmail.com.

2016: The Year For Interfaith    Monthly starting Sunday, January 31
9:30 and 11:15 AM     2535 Leeds Ave., Charleston, SC, 29405
In light of the turmoil around mass shootings, religious bigotry, and people’s use of belief and religion as divisive tools, Unity of Charleston announces “2016: A Year of Interfaith Understanding”. One Sunday per month for the entire year, we will give our pulpit to a speaker from another faith tradition to learn of their tradition’s basic practices and teachings. First speaker is on the Sikh faith, February 28- Islam, Dr. Shahid Husain, President of the Central Mosque of Charleston; March 20: Buddhism, Geshela Topgyal, spiritual leader of the Charleston Tibetan Society.  More dates and speakers to be announced. You are invited to come to Charleston for any of these Sundays to hear these speakers. Service times are 9:30 and 11:15. Unity is located at 2535 Leeds Ave., Charleston, SC, 29405. Questions 843-566-0600.

Unitarian Universalist Service    Sunday, January 31
11:00 AM    334 Clayton Mem. Church Rd., Newberry
This event will be in 2 parts.  First part is a short service (around 30 minutes) with sharing on the meaning, history, and symbolism of the elements of a UU service. The second part is gathering in the Fellowship Hall to continue discussion of Unitarian Universalism and the Seven Principles with light refreshments.

University of S.C. Methodist Student Network    Sunday, January 31
5:00-8:00 PM    728 Pickens (between Greene & Blossom)
Join us to hear students talk about their ministry, for worship and for a meal, at Wesley Foundation near campus. Questions contact Carl Evans, 803-315-5481. Parking info call 803-799-7363. More about the Methodist Student Network here:  http://msnatusc.com/v2/.

Dances of Universal Peace    Friday, February 5
7:00 – 9:00 PM    RSVP for address near Beltline/Forest Drive, Columbia
Dances of Universal connect us to the universe by positive inspiration from numerous spiritual traditions. Hafiz put it this way, “I bow to the Friend in deep reverence and discover a marvelous secret carried in the air: this whole Universe is just as blessed and divinely crazed as I, and just as lost in this Wonderful Holy Dance.”  Leader keeps us from getting too lost by teaching and leading us in chants and dances.  Each dance is a practice that enhances our resonance with the Divine in ourselves and in others. We will also share some prayers and blessings. After dancing, we socialize over refreshments. Small donations accepted. Questions contact mff426@gmail.com, 803-743-0731. Not familiar with DUP?  See some at the recent Parliament of the World’s Religions:   Also see more information about DUP.

Interfaith Prayer Day     Sunday, February 7
2:00 – 5:30 PM    Florence County Library, Dargan Street, Florence
IPSC Florence Branch invites all to join an Interfaith Prayer Day, with a theme of World Harmony and Peace, the second annual program sharing readings and prayers from our diverse faith communities yearning for understanding and respect. Please come and join in the yearning. Light refreshments. More info contact 843-622-8568.

Lights of Nut Ceremony    Sunday, February 7
7:00 – 8:00 PM    RSVP for private address
Each of us makes our own journey through the night, seeking the light of understanding. While we must make a solitary journey, we are not alone. The deep blue body of Nut, the sky mother, embraces and receives us all, and gives rebirth to us with the dawn.  Members and friends of Osireion will hold a short ceremony called Lights of Nut (pronounced “noot”).  Because Lights of Nut will be held in a private home, attendance is by RSVP only. You are welcome to bring a guest, however. The service will last about twenty minutes, followed by refreshments. You need not be familiar with New Egyptian Spirituality, Paganism or Osireion in order to attend, and no particular attire is required. Just come and enjoy the communion of Spirit and friends.

Jun 18

To the Members of Emanuel AME and the People of Charleston

June 18, 2015

COLUMBIA—Interfaith Partners of S.C. offers our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of individuals who lost their lives in the senseless act of violence last night at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C..

We pray for the members of Mother Emanuel AME and the entire Charleston community as they grieve and deal with such a devastating tragedy.

Interfaith Partners of S.C. condemns any and every act of violence within a house of worship, or acts of violence motivated by fear, hatred, ignorance, religious intolerance, racism, or prejudice.

As people of many faiths who are widely-diverse not only spiritually, but also ethnically, socioeconomically and culturally, we stand in solidarity today with Emanuel AME and its members and community and pray for peace with justice.

The Rev. Roy M. Mitchell
President
Interfaith Partners of S.C.
www.interfaithpartnersofsc.org

Dec 29

Governor Calls For Appreciation of Different Palmetto State Cultures, Faiths and Beliefs

Interfaith Harmony Month 2015-w gold seal-smallerS.C. Governor Nikki R. Haley has issued a formal proclamation naming January 2015 “South Carolina Interfaith Harmony Month.” She will make the announcement at a January 7, 2015, meeting with leadership of the Interfaith Partners of S.C. organization.

The proclamation notes that “throughout the history of our state and nation, we have welcomed people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs, many of whom were seeking relief from religious persecution, giving them the freedom to practice their faith without fear.” It closes with a call for all South Carolinians to “work together to foster compassion and appreciation for the different faiths, beliefs and cultures found in the Palmetto State.”

During South Carolina Interfaith Harmony Month, Interfaith Partners presents a calendar of special religious services and events to which the public is invited. Many of the events are an opportunity for people to learn about and experience communities of faith with which they may be unfamiliar. Click here for listing.

“The reality of living in a multifaith society is all around us and is historically part of being an American,” said the Rev. Roy Mitchell, chaplain at Columbia College and current president of Interfaith Partners of S.C. “We live, work, and attend school together. When we get to know the “other” fear is diminished and we find that our own faith is strengthened and grows deeper.”

The mission of Interfaith Partners of South Carolina is to foster understanding and cooperation among the religious groups of the state through education, dialogue and collaborative projects, in order to assure that: all people are treated with dignity and respect; the religious freedom of all groups is protected; each religious group’s practices and teachings are given respectful consideration; and interfaith discussions will become conversation models that others will want to emulate.

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