Members of the Leadership Council of the North American Region of URI, the United Religions Initiative, held an unusual gathering with local interfaith leaders at Mercy Center in Burlingame last Sunday, March 23. The Council members were in town for the URI Annual Gala celebration and their usual Council meetings. As part of an effort to develop closer ties between the leadership and local member organizations, known as Cooperating Circles (CC), they invited a number of leaders from around the Bay Area to meet with them.
The Council members come from all across North America, not only from the Bay Area, where URI has its international headquarters, but from Los Angeles, Vancouver and Surrey in British Columbia, Charlotte NC and Syracuse NY. Local Cooperating Circles included representatives from the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, the San Francisco Interfaith Council, URI San Francisco Peninsula, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council and the Women's Interfaith Circle of Service. Also in attendance were leaders from the Multi-Region division of URI, including the Circle of Healers CC, the Golden Rule CC, the Interfaith Observer, and the URI Initiative at the United Nations.
The brief meeting included time for recognizing the connections being made among interfaith groups around the world, the projects being undertaken within the diverse groups, and time for networking. One brainstorming session led by Fred Fielding, Chair of the Board of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio and a member of the Leadership Council. He invited the participants to imagine an "app" that would reflect the URI and its work. Networking and connections were high on the list of suggested features.
To find out more about URI, its Cooperating Circles, and the work being done around the world to encourage people to find ways to work together across boundaries of religion, culture, and status, see the web site at uri.org.