by: Rabbi Michael Lerner on January 30th, 2012 | 2 Comments »
The local chapter of NSP in Washington, D.C. has been involved in creating an alternative to the standard conservative prayer breakfast that takes place each year, and we are inviting you to do the same in your community. We’ve been working with Occupy Faith D.C. to create “the People’s Prayer Breakfast.” You can do the same in your area of the country. It doesn’t have to be this week – take your time and make sure you do outreach to Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Ba’hai, Sikh, Wicca, Buddhist, Quaker, Unitarian, Religious Science, and all other possible communities of faith to get them involved in the planning.
The breakfast can be a moment to affirm support for the 99 percent, opposition to all forms of oppression, and solidarity in the struggle for real human community based on the NSP’s “New Bottom Line.” This means that institutions like corporations and universities, social policies and legislation, our health care and educational and legal institutions, all get judged to be “efficient,” or “rational” or “productive” not only to the extent that they maximize money or power – the OLD BOTTOM LINE. Instead, they are judged by the NEW BOTTOM LINE – by the extent to which they maximize love, caring for others, kindness, generosity, ethical and ecological sensitivity; by the extent to which they enhance our capacity to respond to others as embodiments of the sacred; and by the extent to which they enhance our capacity to respond to nature and the universe not simply as commodities that can be sold or useful for us as humans. Instead, we can respond to it with awe, wonder, and radical amazement at the grandeur, beauty and mystery of all being and of our own consciousness of it.
Of course, if you do live in the D.C. area, get involved with them by attending the People’s Prayer Breakfast in D.C.! Here’s the information we’ve received from the organizers:
For Immediate Release: People’s Prayer Breakfast Pre-Empts the National Prayer Breakfast!
A Tale of Two Breakfasts and How Religious Leaders Are Joining the Struggle for Economic Justice
While the 1 percent attend the National Prayer Breakfast for the rich and famous, the 99 percent will pray, reflect, and draw attention to the marginalization of millions suffering economic despair.
Washington, DC, January 28, 2012: As plans are being made at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Dupont Circle for the elaborate invitation only National Prayer Breakfast, organized by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as “The Family,” just a few blocks away a humble gathering of interfaith clergy, lay leaders, faith-based social justice advocates, and members of the Occupy Movement are simultaneously finalizing their plans for an alternative interfaith People’s Prayer Breakfast.
Coincidently, both are being held on the very day that the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week begins on Thursday, February 2, 2012, marking the beginning of a special week set aside by the UN to enhance mutual understanding, harmony, and cooperation among people. Counter to the lavish National Prayer Breakfast held at the Washington Hilton, the People’s Prayer Breakfast will offer simplicity and a model of GREEN in its use of environmentally friendly paper products and recycling efforts, pledging not to use plastic bottles-only pitchers of water to accompany a modest continental breakfast.
Though the names of the guest speaker and guest musician for the National Prayer Breakfast is usually kept secret until a few days before the breakfast, Occupy Faith DC is openly announcing that spicing up the morning’s prayerful program with fitting socially conscious music will be Dr. Ysaye Barnwell from the internationally acclaimed, “Sweet Honey In the Rock.”
“This breakfast is open to everyone and is both a call to prayer and a call to action,” says James Lee, Coordinator and one of the founding members of Occupy Faith DC (OFDC), an interfaith coalition supporting the non-violent social action of the Occupy Movement in the National Capital Region. Continues Lee, “We are gathering to tell the political, business, and media leaders in our nation that, ‘There is enough for everyone!’ in our society, and that this current crisis is not only about ‘jobs,’ but about our national priorities.”
“We must remember,” states Rev. Brian Merritt, Pastor of the Palisades Community Church in Washington, D.C., also a founding member of Occupy Faith DC. “that prayer is a sacred act that connects us to something greater than ourselves and moves us to action in transforming the world.”
This newly formed interfaith coalition of Occupy Faith DC has attracted clergy; lay leaders; and members from mosques, temples, churches, and synagogues; members from interfaith and ecumenical bodies and other faith-based organizations who have come together to provide material and spiritual support for the efforts and ideals of those in the Occupy Movement whom they feel are sacrificing their comfort, bearing the harsh weather conditions, and persevering in order to raise the important issues of concern surrounding the great economic disparity which, in their opinion, is the greatest challenge in our society today.
“Occupy Faith DC also wants the voices of the children to be heard,” says Annie Storr, Associate Professor of Education Studies Corcoran College of Art and Design and artistic and educational consultant for the People’s Prayer Breakfast Children’s Art Project entitled, “Enough For Everyone! Youth and Children’s Visions and Prayers For the Future of Our Nation.” The children’s artwork will be carried in silent witness across from the National Prayer Breakfast by members of Occupy Faith DC then displayed on the internet; and 24 works of art or images will be exhibited at different places of worship after February 15, 2012.
The People’s Prayer Breakfast will be held on Thursday, February 2 at the Church of the Pilgrims, 2201 P St. NW Washington, DC. 20037 beginning at 7:30am. A strategizing session and dialogue are planned to follow the breakfast.For more details, reference their website at occupyfaithdc.org and, though free to the public, free-will donations would be appreciated and can be given by accessing their peoplesprayerbreakfast.org website.
A Press Conference will be held Monday, January 30th at 1p.m. in front of Luther’s Place, 1226 Vermont Avenue NW to announce plans for the breakfast and to issue a call for people of faith from across the region to join them in unison, with members of the Occupy movement, in prayer and reflection on the economic suffering and marginalization of millions of US citizens.Present as speakers for Occupy Faith DC will be Rev. Graylan Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational Church, Rev. Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church & President of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC), Rev. Brian Merritt of The Palisades Community Church and Imam Johari Malik of the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center. More TBA. All media are requested to meet in front of the Martin Luther Statue.
For more information, contact: