National Coalition of Interfaith Leaders Gather To Discuss Role of Faith in Occupy Wall St

“You have this sacred space cordoned off, but it’s also made sacred by the people.”

PANEL GUESTS WILL INCLUDE: Feminist Activist Theologian Dr. Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, Veteran Civil Rights Leader Rev Phil Lawson, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Activist in the Jewish Renewal Movement and other veteran movement activists


Let Me In ..

Berkeley, CA – On Tuesday, March 20th, faith leaders supporting occupy encampments from across the country will gather at the Ecumenical Center at the Pacific School of Religion.


Rev. Jeremy D. Nickel arrested at Occupy Oakland

Rev. Jeremy D. Nickel of Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont, CA reported that  “.. at every occupy encampment, faith leaders have been supporting the movement.  And although acceptance by other occupiers has sometimes been grudging, the role of faith leaders in many places has taken on crucial dimensions, especially in advocating strongly for non-violence.”

A panel of faith leaders will discuss the crucial and complex role they have played in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and how they see their work in support of it continuing to unfold.


Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD

Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD

Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD, is the director of Faith Voices for the Common Good, a non-profit organization that works on innovative, creative strategies for social change. The group brings diverse religious leaders and organizations together to work for the common good. Dr. Brock has a compelling spiritual journey – one that began in Japan as she writes in her book, Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us, “in daily Buddhist and Shinto rituals in my grandparents’ house and in frequent village festivals,” and continues on in a Protestant context today, as she is a licensed minister by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Northern California and Nevada. She is vocal about a wide range of social justice issues including interreligious dialogue, reproductive choice for women, and environmental conscientiousness.

If the Western imperial church hadn’t burned heretics and crusaded against Christians who objected to the Crusades, we’d have a lot more who aren’t obsessed with the crucifixion. Christians who reject the idea that crucifixion saves the world have persisted, and, for a couple of centuries, we have been increasing. The popular Christian Universalist movement in the 19th century didn’t believe in hell, didn’t think God willed crucifixion and its members were social reformers. They were followed in the early 20th century by the U.S. Social Gospel Movement, which deeply influenced mainline Protestant activism for the New Deal, and inspired the founding of the National Council of Churches.

The Christianity we belong to is interested in saving this life, which requires wisdom about evil, resistance to imperial powers, sorrow for all that violence destroys, and profound, deep love for this world and this life.

Material taken from the book ‘Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire,’ co-authored with Rebecca Parker (Beacon, 2008).


Rev Phillip Lawson

Rev Phillip Lawson with Occupy Hunger Strikers

Rev. Phillip Lawson is the Interfaith Program Director for East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) and leads EBHO’s interfaith initiative, the Interfaith Action in Housing Program. EBHO is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to working with communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to expand affordable housing opportunities through education and advocacy.

After Rev. Lawson took part in a fact-finding tour along the US-Mexican border to investigate human rights abuses of immigrants, Mexican Americans and indigenous communities in the Tucsonarea he reported, “The increasing numbers of those who have died in the desert is a direct result of U.S. policy funneling migrants to cross through the desert.”

Delegates from six states and 10 cities took part in the Braving Borders Building Bridges: A Journey for Human Rights tour sponsored by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) in partnership with Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (Coalition for Human Rights) and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Rev. Lawson, Methodist Minister, justice advocate & civil rights activist speaks on behalf of nonviolence at “How Will the Walls Come Tumbling Down? Nonviolence & Diversity of Tactics in the Occupy Movement.”

Visit for more.


Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Waskow has been one of the creators and leaders of Jewish renewal since writing the original Freedom Seder in 1969. In 1983, he founded and has since been director of The Shalom Center — a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that draws on Jewish and other spiritual and religious teachings to work for justice, peace, and the healing of our wounded earth. In 1996 Rabbi Waskow was named by the United Nations one of 40 “Wisdom Keepers”

He is one co-author, along with Karen Armstrong, Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, and Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisti, of The Tent of Abraham: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Stories of Hope and Peace (Beacon, 2006). The book draws on the saga of Abraham to encourage peacemaking, shared celebration, and shared political action among the three Abrahamic communities inAmerica.

He has pioneered in developing the theology and practice of Eco-Judaism in books like Torah of the Earth.

Since 1969 he has worked for a two-state peace settlement between Israel and a Palestinian state, in the context of a regional peace treaty involving all Arab states, Israel, and a new Palestine.


The Park Slope church is one of two that continue to house Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Herb Miller, the pastor at Park Slope United Methodist, opened his small church to protesters about two weeks after they were ejected from Zuccotti on Nov. 15. About 30 have slept there each night since. “I mapped out with my administrative assistant how many bodies we could fit on the floor,” said the 51-year-old pastor.

He said he has the full support of his congregation and called the effort “radical hospitality.” “You have this sacred space cordoned off, but it’s also made sacred by the people,” Pastor Miller said.



Written Dec. 2011 at Occupy Faith National Gathering at Judson Memorial Church

As people from various faith and spiritual communities, we find in the OWS Movement a Waking Force that has dispelled despair, depression, and denial about the gross injustices of society and the suffering of our people.

We stand together for engaged, transforming action that says:

  • Yes to open democracy, fair justice systems, and public conversations that respect every person’s voice in determining the quality and future of our lives.
  • Yes to just economic policies that create greater equality and that enable all to share responsibility for a common public good.
  • Yes to a generous society that provides high quality education, affordable housing, adequate income, meaningful work, and universal access to health care.
  • Yes to strong environmental policies that guard the well-being of the planet we all share.
  • Yes to peace among nations based on human rights, compassion for all who suffer, religious liberty, mutual respect, and civil liberties.
  • Yes to immigration policies based on hospitality and generosity and respect for the vast diversity of human beings by race, sexuality, class, nationality, ethnicity, physical ability, occupation, gender, and age.
  • Yes to the transforming, creative works of human imagination and freedom that enliven our lives together and bring us life-giving joy and laughter.

We are part of this still very new movement because these values have been betrayed by an economic and political elite who have proven indifferent to the common good and their moral obligations to the public welfare.

Their betrayal cannot go unchallenged. We will continue to apply our Waking Forces to grow this movement and it’s effectiveness. The well-being of the world’s people and the delicate balance of earthly life hang in the balance.


Hosted by the Interfaith Tent at Oakland

MARCH 20-22, 2012,2401   Le Conte St.BerkeleyCA94709. Registration fee: $20

(Please return this completed form via email to Rev. Sandy Gess,



Phone (preferred):________________________________________________________________________________

Occupy Group/City:______________________________________________________________________________

Faith Affiliation:__________________________________________________________________________________

Housing: contact the Easton Conference Center ( across the street from the meeting site. Or reserve a hotel room at the Berkeley City Club in downtown, ( one mile away on the south side of the Univ of CA campus.

Meals at the cafeteria at Pacific School of Religion

__Lunch March 20 ($10)

__Dinner March 20 ($15)

__Breakfast March 21 ($5)

__Lunch March 21($10)

__Dinner March 21 ($15)

__Breakfast March 22 ($5)

__Lunch March 22 ($10)


PLEASE FILL OUT THIS SECTION IF YOU ARE A DELEGATE: (Financial support and free housing is available to delegates who are attending the entire time of the gathering):

____I am a delegate

____I need free housing (please let us know below if you cannot use a couch or floor-mattress and will need a bed or private room)

____I need travel assistance of (est. amount)___________

(please bring receipts for travel with you to the gathering for reimbursement.)


Payment: Registration of $20 + any meals checked above (total with all meals $95)

 TOTAL PAYMENT_________________

(Mail checks payable to Faith Voices,1703 Clemens Rd.Oakland,CA94602)

DEADLINE: Email registration and mail check no later than March 9.


Peace to You ..



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