Let me begin by thanking all of the hosts, moderators and participants that made this past week's 4thAnnual Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogues such a great success. I bumped into folks this weekend that participated and based on what I heard it seems that we have had another fine experience. We've had many thousands of people participate over the years and we do hope that there are now many new friendships. We believe that through the simple act of breaking bread with folks we don't know that there is hope that we can come to know one another in new and deeply meaningful ways. We owe a special debt of gratitude to IM's Manager of Interfaith Relations, Lauren Santerre, and to Iesa Galloway, IM's IR Program Coordinator, for their tenacity, flexibility and just plain hard work to make sure everyone had a great home to visit.
As we come to the close of another year, there are many things that still need to be done. Here's a quick look at some of them:
- Next week's For All Humanity Luncheon honoring Charles Foster in support of IM's Refugee Services Department is fast approaching. There's still just a bit of room if you'd like to come. The event is set for Monday, November 15th at Noon at the Junior League. If you'd like to attend, please click here.
- Most of you who receive this bi-weekly email have received one of our year-end fundraising pieces (and may receive some more!). Please respond - because we cannot feed 4,400 seniors each weekday; serve more than 550 refugees each year; be ready for the next disaster; and provide meaningful interfaith dialogue programming and services without your help. Each year more than 4,000 folks have been donating to IM - we need every one of you to do so again this year. My commitment is that we will use those dollars well - and play our distinct and unique role right here in Greater Houston. If you have not received one of these pieces and want to make your year-end donation, all you need to do is click here.
- We also need continuing volunteer support. On Thanksgiving Day we will be delivering a turkey dinner to about 2,800 seniors. This has been a long tradition at IM - and a great family opportunity to make your holiday a bit more special. It takes about two to three hours of your time and is perfect for folks of all ages. Click here to register as a Thanksgiving Volunteer. Also, we need your help providing holiday gifts to our seniors and refugees. You can help by adopting a family and buying gifts from their wish list or by donating needed items such as toiletries, hats, blankets and scarves. Click here for more information.
- Lastly, a big thank you to board member Fatima Mawji for volunteering her time earlier this month and providing flu shots to our staff.
Let me end with special greetings to all of our friends from India and that region of the world with our warm wishes for a good Diwali which began this past Friday. Diwali, popularly known as the festival of lights, is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is the most important festival of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Happy Diwali!
A THOUGHT TO PONDER
I was going to talk a bit about this past week's elections. I think you all know that I am frustrated by the anger and partisanship has become a hallmark of each electoral season. But I've decided not to do so. Why?
Well, it's finally fall here in Houston and the weather is just too darn nice to do anything but smile. I've been told as a relative newcomer to Houston (it's only been about 8 years) that there are two seasons here - summer and February! Well this week is proving the skeptics wrong. The change in weather just might make our spirits glow - and it is my hope that we take this pause from the heat to reflect on the many blessings we have. We've come through another hurricane season unscathed! We are turning the corner and the economy is coming back, ever so slowly. And, it looks like this is going to be a mild flu season to boot. I am not pressing my luck, just reflecting on our good fortune to be alive here in Houston. No matter what our disagreements may be, it seems to me that on a beautiful fall day, we should just sit back and be thankful. Not a bad way to welcome in the season of Thanksgiving and Joy.
IM and Community Events
IM is dedicated to promoting interfaith education and learning activities. Please send us your events so that we may include them in the upcoming events section of IM's website and elsewhere. Click here to see more events. Help us promote Dialogue, Collaboration and Respect in Houston.
November 9, 2010, 7:30 p.m.,Celebrating Bruckner's Five Motet's and Te Deum
The acclaimed Houston Masterworks Chorus (HMC) begins it's Silver Anniversary Season and the 2010-2011 season with a performance conducted by Houston Masterwork's Chorus Interim Conductor Paula Acord Blackmon. Join HMC as it celebrates 25 years of performing brilliant choral masterworks for Houston audiences. For ticket information, click
November 12, 2010, 8:00 - 4:00 p.m.Psychotherapy & Faith Conference "Sacred Moments in Psychotherapy". St. Paul's UMC
"Sacred Moments in Psychotherapy" Speakers: Peter Fonagy, Jim Lomax, Jeff Kripal and Kimberly Leary. Registration and more information on this event is forthcoming and can be found here.
November 15, 2010; Noon- 1:30 p.m. -For All Humanity Luncheon
Join us at the Junior League of Houston for our first For All Humanity Luncheon honoring Charles Foster. The event will benefit IM's Refugee Services department. For more details on this event including registration, click
November 16, 2010, 7:30 p.m., "Faith's Together" Celebration
The Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church, 4881 West Panther Creek Drive
You and your family are invited to attend this interfaith program as numerous faith communities in and around The Woodlands gather under the auspices of Faiths Together. The theme this year is "Cultivating God's Garden." Each community will share a bit of its traditions, theology, music, and dreams to fulfill our goal of planting and sowing spiritual aspects inspired by gardening.
November 18, 2010 7p.m., Rothko Chapel's 26th Annual Interfaith Thanskgiving Service
Nine faith communities will present reflections and prayers centered on the theme "Freedom to Disagree." A reception will follow so that those who attend might meet and converse with members from the Zoroastrian, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Jain, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Baha'i faith communities. All are welcome. The chapel is located at 1409 Sul Ross at the corner of Yupon. For more information please call 713-774-0097.
November 18-20, 2010, The Big Tent Conference
George R. Brown Convention Center
Come to the first-ever BigTent Conference for three days of sharing strategies and tools to advance schools, youth, families and communities. We're pulling together everyone who cares about kids - in spiritual development, life skills, social/emotional learning, workforce readiness and more - to share how we can all work together with a common vision and language to grow great kids. Register today! For more information, Click here.
November 25, 2010
9 a.m. -11 a.m.
Thanksgiving Day Meals on Wheels
As a part of the 22nd annual Houston Meals for the Elderly (HoME) project, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston volunteers, in conjunction with Harris County Area Agency on Aging, will deliver meals to homebound seniors the Meals on Wheels program on Thanksgiving Day. Meals on Wheels clients are homebound and the volunteer is often the only person the senior will see on the holiday. If you'd like to participate, sign up here.
November 25-28, 2010, Sehaj Sikh Teen Retreat
A Teen Retreat geared towards exposing teenagers to the complimenting perspective towards the World's religions, also known as a Nanakshahi. For teens from the age of 13-19 (above 19 may attend and help). Fee of $100 per person (regardless of age). For more information, click here.