"Tent of Abraham, Hagar, & Sarah," Natl Council of Churches, & others, 3/16/2005
Below you will find a Call to celebrate the unusual confluence, this October, of the sacred seasons of several religious communities. We can do this by peacefully making spiritual connections — especially through a Nationwide Fast for Reflection, Repentance, Reconciliation, and Renewal on October 13 — and by sharing social action to heal the world.
This Call was initiated by The Tent of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah. For more information and action suggestions, see —
The Call has been endorsed by the National Council of Churches; the Islamic Society of North America; Pax Christi; The Shalom Center; the Jewish Committee for Isaiah's Vision (see note 3 below); ALEPH:
Alliance for Jewish Renewal and its rabbinic body, Ohalah; the Disciples Justice Action Network; the Northwest Interfaith Movement (Philadelphia) [partial list]
I hope that your organization will join in this process in any — ideally all — of the following ways:
1. Formally endorsing the Call as it appears below. If getting the organization to do this is too cumbersome, please sign as an individual, noting your affiliation. All individual signatures will be marked that organizations are listed for identification only. To sign up your organization or yourself, please write us at -
2. Passing on to members and contacts this information and invitation, encouraging them to get in touch with us at Info@tentofabraham.org
3. Encouraging your folks to send their own plans, sermon materials,
ceremonies, etc.,, for observing this period, to be shared with other
across the country and the world. Again, please send them to ----
Shalom, salaam, peace.
This is the full Call with notes:
October Surprise: A Call to Share Sacred Season
At just the moment of history when religious conflicts have reemerged bearing lethal dangers for each other and our planet, God has given our spiritual and religious traditions a gift of time:
During October 2005, a rare confluence of sacred moments in many different traditions invites us to eat together, walk together, learn together, pray alongside each other, listen to each other, and work together for peace, justice, human rights, and the healing of our wounded earth.
The sacred Muslim lunar month of Ramadan and the sacred Jewish lunar month of Tishrei (which includes the High Holy Days) both begin October 3-4; October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi; and October 2 is World-wide (Protestant/ Orthodox) Communion Sunday. (For other sacred times that appear in October, see note 1 below.) The confluence of these four sacred seasons will recur in 2006 and 2007.
We could do much during these sacred times to heal our nation and the world. As one unifying moment of our prayer and effort —
We call on all communities of faith and ethics to observe a Nationwide Fast for Reflection, Repentance, Reconciliation, and Renewal, from sunrise to sunset on October 13. That day is for Muslims one of the fast days of Ramadan, and for Jews is the fast day of Yom Kippur.
Just as Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah welcomed into their tent thirsty travelers from all four directions, we welcome to this Fast not only those of the three Abrahamic traditions but all who thirst for a world made whole. We encourage those who join in this Fast to dedicate their prayers and their intention to serve the God Who calls us to seek peace, feed the poor, heal the earth, and then later to take visible steps in the world to heed God's call.
Besides taking part in the October 13 Nationwide Fast, there are a number of ways to share these sacred moments. (See note 2 below for possible examples.)
Engaged as we are in war, violence, and repression with strong religious overtones, we, communities of the faithful, could instead take some action together during the Ramadan/ Tishrei month to change public policy — in favor of protecting human rights, healing the earth, and achieving peace in the regions where Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah sojourned.
We urge those of all our traditions to begin NOW, in our own cities and neighborhoods as well as nationally and internationally, to plan with each other how to use God's October Surprise of these sacred dates to heed the call of the Holy One that we live in peace together.
As we walk our path into this three-year journey of sharing sacred seasons, let us make the deep connections that will keep us together long after our sacred calendars dance in other directions.
This Call was initiated by The Tent of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah. For more information and action suggestions, see www.tentofabraham.org. The Call has been endorsed by the National Council of Churches, the Islamic Society of North America, Pax Christi, The Shalom Center, the Jewish Committee for Isaiah's Vision (see note 3 below), ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and its rabbinic body, Ohalah, the Disciples Justice Action Network. Northwest Interfaith Movement (Philadelphia) [partial list]
1. October 2 is Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. October 4 to 12 are for Hindus Navarathri (nine nights of spiritual struggle), followed on October 13 by Vijayadashami, the tenth day of spiritual victory. And for Buddhists, Vassa (rainy season of spiritual reflection) ends on October 18 with the full moon day, Pavarana.
2. Some possible actions are listed below. These should be understood as suggestions; communities and congregations should choose their own approaches.
- o Clusters of congregations — a church, a synagogue, a mosque, a temple — could arrange for each congregation to host one meal for members of the others, after nightfall on any of the evenings of Ramadan.
o Congregations could arrange public Interfaith Walks for Peace and Reconciliation that go between church, synagogue, and mosque, pausing at each for prayer.
o Jews could invite Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus into the Sukkah, a leafy hut that is open to the earth. Traditionally, "sacred guests" are invited in and the Rabbis taught that during Sukkot, blessings are invoked upon "the seventy nations" of the world. Traditional prayers implore God to "spread the sukkah of shalom" over us. These are perfect rubrics for peacemaking among the children of humanity and with the earth.
o Muslims could invite other communities to join in celebrating Iftar (the break-fast) after sunset on a night of Ramadan. For some aspects of Eid el-Fitr (the feast at the end of Ramadan), Jews and Christians could (as in Morocco) bring food to the celebration of the end of Ramadan's fasting.
o Churches could invite other communities to join in learning about and celebrating the teachings of Francis of Assisi. He was practically unique among the Christian leaders of his day in opposing the Crusades, learning in a serious way from Muslim teachers (even to the extent of transforming his own prayer practice), and becoming deeply dedicated to kinship with the earth and all living creatures.
o Synagogues could invite Muslim scholars and spiritual leaders to teach on Rosh Hashanah when Jews are reading the Torah passages on the story of Abraham, Hagar, Ishmael, Sarah, and Isaac, how it is that Muslims understand that story. Then there could be open discussion of the differences, the similarities, the wisdom held in each of the versions of the story. Synagogues could set aside a time to read and discuss the Torah's story of the joining of Isaac and Ishmael to bury their father Abraham, and then to achieve reconciliation at the Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.
o Congregations could undertake actions to protect human rights by making public the plights of those detained without trials, often without access to counsel or to families, those disappeared, and those being subjected to torture; could create a series of evenings to look together at the texts in their traditions that have been misused to justify violence against other communities, and shape occasions of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation; could create seminars and public actions on the global climate crisis, religious perspectives on it, and Beyond Oil support for sustainable energy sources; etc. See the Website www.tentofabraham.org for more details.
3. The Jewish Committee for Isaiah's Vision is an ad hoc group of more than 100 rabbis and other Jewish leaders, echoing Isaiah's call that is read on Yom Kippur morning. Signers are listed at here.