Monday, October 29, 2012

Come be part of planning Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2!

Our Lolcat...
Our Lolcat... (Photo credit: jasongraphix)
Believe it or not, Thanksgiving will be only three weeks away from this Thursday.

Building on the successful Occupy Thanksgiving PDX last year at Wallace Park (this has thus been the largest and most publicized event we put together ever), we are doing the second annual Occupy Thanksgiving PDX on Thanksgiving Day.

This year we would like to focus on being women- and children-friendly, especially those who might not have their families nearby. (Therefore it would not be a duplication of effort with another Thanksgiving Day event that may be reportedly organized by another group, that is focused solely on mass-feeding.)

The coordination and planning meeting will be held this Thursday, Nov. 1, 1:30 p.m. at Arrive Staffing Resources, 815 SW Second Ave., #510.

RSVP appreciated, flaking not accepted.
Option 1: Comment on Diaspora*** at if you are attending or have questions.
Option 2: Send direct message to Diaspora* or Twitter at
Option 3: Use Facebook event page at
Option 4: Email
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Seeds for world change #14

#14 for October 17-21

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."
-- Romans 12:3, New King James Version.
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A personal note from Sarah

October 17, 2012

As we -- both Interfaith Solidarity and the Occupy Movement at large -- journeyed through this past year, many things have changed.  The community that makes up the Occupy Movement seems quite different now than it once was, and most of those who were part of the original Interfaith Guild of Chaplains have moved on to other stuff as their lives took them.

I have tried hard to "revive" the stagnant organization this summer but at this point with very little progress.  Perhaps an idea to try many things at a same time was not a good idea.

Personally, I have come to reassess my involvement with the Occupy Movement in recent weeks as well.  A big part of me is disillusioned by the way this movement has gone, even though I am still hopeful that the initial impetus that brought the Occupy Wall Street into existence can and will lead to something meaningful and significant.

Many work groups and affinity groups within the movement have also experienced, like ours, a decline in membership and activities.  Simply trying to "revive" in a sense of taking the group back to a "good old day" probably won't work.

Until we build a larger membership base, and perhaps that means our future membership would be different from our original one, we probably need to downsize and focus on a few achievable goals -- as well as refocusing and refining our missions.

Although in August we have instituted a two-component structure of Interfaith Solidarity (Actions Team and Chaplains' Guild), this will be put on hold for the time being.  Instead, I would like to build a singular Interfaith Solidarity core that does both actions and chaplaincy, until such a time when these two components can be separately organized.

I would also like to reiterate here that the new combined Interfaith Solidarity is for every person of spiritual convictions from all religious traditions.  It is not necessary for you to be affiliated formally with any denomination or be ordained.  All what I ask for are a passion for justice, a big caring heart,  listening ears, an open mind ready to learn, and commitment to the spiritual truth as you understand it.

On our agenda, right now we are focusing on the Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2 and Occupy the Winter Holidays PDX (formerly Occupy Christmas PDX) in Portland.  Additionally, we are working on Occupy Worship, a new community-driven web portal and blog not just for Interfaith Solidarity here in Portland but also inviting all Protest Chaplains groups around the world to join.

We are having our next organizing meeting for Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2 on this Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.  I hope to see many of you there.

Sarah Morrigan

Monday, October 15, 2012

Next OccupyThanksgivingPDX planning meeting

Friday, 19 October 2012
7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Che Room, 1131 SE Oak St. #5, Portland, Oregon
A planning meeting for the second annual Occupy Thanksgiving PDX!

Those who are planning on attending are also encouraged to bring some food that does not require cooking or refrigeration (we only have a microwave and a mini-fridge) and/or non-alcoholic beverage.

This is open to the public. Everyone who is interested in being part of the planning is welcome.

Interfaith Solidarity is non-sectarian and non-proselytizing.

More information:
(503) 427-8269 or email via

Joining Interfaith Solidarity FAQ

Symbols of various faiths
Symbols of various faiths (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We are posting this for all those who might be interested in joining us but have not quite felt confident about it.

1. What does an Occupy chaplain do?

We began what was then known as the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC) modelled after Occupy Boston's Protest Chaplains.  By the second week of Occupation, the Protest Chaplains had several autonomous chapters in major cities, including Toronto, New York, and Washington, D.C.  We were somewhat different from the Protest Chaplains in that (1) we emphasized the interfaith -- not just Christians and some "token Jews", but encompassing the diverse religious landscape, and actively reached out to many non-Christian traditions as well as Christians of many denominations; and (2) we focused on providing spiritual and pastoral support to the Occupiers rather than protesting.

Today, we have somewhat different needs from what we had back when we were at the parks.  However, we try to be good listeners (rather than good preachers) and provide both spiritual support and advocacy from a faith-based point of view.

2.  Do I have to be an ordained minister or be certified in chaplaincy to join the Interfaith Solidarity?

This is perhaps the most wide-spread misconception about us.

Even though it is helpful if you have a past or current experience in church or faith-based ministries, that is not always a requirement.

While we do not ordain people, we do not require our members to be ordained by any church.  In fact there are many spiritual traditions in which concepts of ordination and ministers, do not even exist.  So having such a requirement can be exclusionary.  If you have experiences in leading a spiritual community, teaching in churches, have attended a seminary or divinity school, etc., you are encouraged to become part of the Chaplains' Guild.  We cherish diversity and would like us to be reflective of the diverse world we are in.

Aside from chaplaincy, Interfaith Solidarity has many other areas everyone can join -- for example, the newly organizing Interfaith Solidarity Action Team (ISAT), event planning, and other outreach activities.

Therefore everyone is welcome at Interfaith Solidarity.

3.  I am not affiliated with any organized religion.

See above.  The recent study shows that the "Nones" now comprise the second largest "religious group" in the U.S.  We are also aware of Portland and Oregon's reputation as the least unchurched area in America.  If you have a passion for social justice where it intersects with your spiritual life, you are more than welcome.

4. Is Interfaith Solidarity just for Christians?


5.  I am an Evangelical Christian and sharing the Gospel is an integral part of my faith.  Can I join the Chaplains' Guild?

As a chaplain working in an interfaith setting, your work will be two-fold: (1) to provide spiritual support to anyone regardless of their spiritual or religious orientation, without proselytizing; (2) to provide spiritual support and religious services specific to your religious tradition, when requested by (or when you see a need within the community) those who desire them.

You are welcome to start, for example, a Bible study group geared towards Evangelical Christians within the community; however it would be inappropriate to go out and proselytize others.

6.  I cannot regularly attend meetings or be part of the occupation, march, etc., because of my age/disability/location.

There are many tasks that can be done off-site.  Also, we are looking for people who can provide presences in smaller towns with Occupy or similar communities, such as Gresham, Bend, and Corvallis.

7. How do I join?

First read the documents listed on the right column of this webpage, specifically, "Re-envisioning Document," "Online Consensus Procedure," "Safety Protocol," and "Basic Information and Statement of Purpose."

Then send an email to ******@*********** (click on the link to reveal the address).
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seed for world change #13

#13 for October 15-17


Dà dào zhī xíng yě, tiān xià wèi gōng; xuǎn xián yǔ néng, jiǎng xìn xiū mù; gùrén bùdú qīn qí qīn, bù dúzǐ qí zi; Shǐ lǎo yǒu suǒ zhōng, zhuàng yǒu suǒ yòng, yòu yǒu suǒ cháng; guān guǎ gū dú fèi jí zhě, jiē yǒu suǒ yǎng; nán yǒu fèn, nǚ yǒu guī; Huò è qí qì yú de yě, bùbì cáng yú jǐ; lì è qí bù chū yú shēn yě, bù bì wéi jǐ; shì gù móu bì ér bù xīng, Dào qiè luàn zéi ér bù zuò, gù wài hù ér bù bì, shì wèi dà tóng.

The World of Datong

When the Great Dao (Tao, perfect order) prevails, the world is like a Commonwealth 
State shared by all, not a dictatorship.
Virtuous, worthy, wise and capable people are chosen as leaders.
Honesty and trust are promoted, and good neighborliness cultivated.
All people respect and love their own parents and children, as well as the parents and 
children of others.
The aged are cared for until death; adults are employed in jobs that make full use of 
their abilities; and children are nourished, educated, and fostered.
Widows and widowers, orphans and the old without children, the disabled and the 
diseased are all well taken care of.
Every man and woman has an appropriate role to play in society and in the family.
They hate to see resources lying idle or cast away, yet they do not necessarily keep 
them for themselves.
They hate not to make use of their abilities, yet they do not necessarily work for their 
own self-interest.
Thus intrigues and conspiracies do not arise, and thievery and robbery do not occur;
therefore doors need never be locked.
This is the ideal world – a perfect world of equality, fraternity, harmony, welfare, and 
justice.  This is the world called "Datong."

-- Record of Rites, Book 9, by Confucius, 551 BCE.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Planning for the second annual Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2!

Occupied America
Occupied America (Photo credit: FredMikeRudy)
October 11, 2012
From: Sarah Morrigan

Today apparently is the last day of Portland's dry, warm, sunny season.  Believe it or not, the holiday season is only around the corner.  Thanksgiving is only six weeks from today.

Still reeling from the eviction, Occupy Thanksgiving PDX last year brought together the community spirit as well as plenty of great food to a kind of pop-up occupation at the Wallace Park in Northwest Portland (see for the report-back).

We are doing it again, and hope to do it in a grand scale.  Last year's Occupy Thanksgiving PDX was pretty improvised and organized almost entirely with help of Twitter and Facebook.  Considering the concentration of Occupy energy that was still present at the time (we were doing daily GA/Spokes at the Pioneer Courthouse Square and Director Park back then -- and the Food Team was still making dinner every day!) and ready attention by the media, it was pretty easy.  This year, it seems that a solid advance planning is the way to go.

Occupy Thanksgiving PDX was started with this original vision:

We are occupying Thanksgiving Day.  
We occupy it because: 
  • This is a quintessentially American holiday, and is an important part of American cultural narratives.
  • This is also a holiday that commemorates the fact that the European colonizers began their expansive ambitions and conquest and genocide of the First Nations, in the name of "freedom" -- something this holiday tends to sugar-coat.
  • On this day, there are many -- and growing number of -- Portlanders who are unhoused and, since most of other Portlanders have a privilege of being able to stay home, take a day off, and spend time with family, they are left outside often with no place to go and nothing to eat.  We recognize this social inequity.
  • Today, Thanksgiving Day is the official beginning of the "Holiday Season," which is essentially an orgy of consumerism orchestrated by the top 1%.  Many publicly-traded big corporations count on this season, and the Fourth Quarter earnings report affects share prices significantly.  We occupy this day to reclaim the Thanksgiving as a time for community, sharing, and abundance.
-- from

This year, for the second annual Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2, we would like to continue this vision.

This is our wish list for some of the "requirements" we see in order to achieve this vision better for 2012:

  • An indoor space that can be utilized for all afternoon and evening (preferably all day), since weather may be not hospitable.  We are shooting for a place we can reserve for an entire day and early evening since part of the reasons we do Occupy Thanksgiving PDX is that everything is closed and we believe that no one should be forced out to the streets in rain and wind especially on Thanksgiving Day.
  • An adequate kitchen space.  As this would again be a potluck, and we do not anticipate whole a lot of on-site cooking, it does not necessarily need to be industrial.
  • A capacity to accommodate about 50 people, with consideration that some people come and go throughout the day.
  • A good public transit and bicycle accessibility, and preferably full ADA compliance.
The first kick-off planning session will be held on Monday, October 15, at 5 p.m. at the Occupy Portland headquarters (1131 SE Oak St., Suite 5).  This also doubles as our first anniversary celebration, so you are strongly encouraged to come celebrate the founding of Interfaith Solidarity with us.

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Seed for world change #12

English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibe...
English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibetaanse Oneindige knoop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#12, for October 11-14

This world is verily an outer court of the Eternal, or of Eternity, and specially whatever in Time, or any temporal things or creatures, manifesteth or remindeth us of God or Eternity; for the creatures are a guide and a path unto God and Eternity.

Theologia Germanica, 50
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seed for a world change #11

#11, for October 7-10, 2012

Relieve people in distress as speedily as you must release a fish from a dry rill. Deliver people from danger as quickly as you must free a sparrow from a tight noose. Be compassionate to orphans and relieve widows. Respect the old and help the poor.

-Yin Chih Wen (Yinzhiwen)

It's anniversary time... Monday, Oct. 15

Birthday cake
Birthday cake (Photo credit: anemoneprojectors (Peter O))
A reception to celebrate the founding of the Interfaith Solidarity (formerly the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains) one year ago, with a short introductory presentation outlining the history and missions of the Interfaith Solidarity. This event also will kick off our planning of the Occupy Thanksgiving PDX 2 and a series of holiday season events/outreach, so if you are interested in being part of the event this year, please come.

Those who are planning on attending are also encouraged to bring some food that does not require cooking or refrigeration (we only have a microwave and a mini-fridge) and/or non-alcoholic beverage.

This is free and open to the public.

Interfaith Solidarity is non-sectarian and non-proselytizing.

More information:
(503) 427-8269 or email via

Facebook event page:

About us:
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Sukkot 5773 information

Sukkahs in Jerusalem
Sukkahs in Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you like our sukkah last year, and remember R. Dvorah Kolodny? Unfortunately we are not doing any special event as Interfaith Solidarity, but we encourage you to join P'nai Or for the Sukkot Hoshanah Rabbah service and potluck this Sunday, Oct. 7.

Summary: Hoshana Rabbah/Sukkot Potluck/Shemini Atzeret - (5:30 PM - 8:30 PM)

Description: 5:30 pm: Hoshana Rabbah ritual and teachings in the sukkah, with beating of willow branches. PLEASE BRING LULAVS AND WILLOW BRANCHES so everyone can join in!

6:30 pm: Potluck in the sukkah.

7:30 pm: Shemini Atzeret service with Yizkor in the sukkah, led by Rabbah D'vorah and Melissa Carpenter , with a story by Melissa. PLEASE BRING A RAINSTICK if you have one.

Location: in the sukkah!
P'nai Or of Portland
9750 SW Terwilliger Blvd
Portland, OR 97219-6531

(503) 248-4500

Transit information: Since this is Sunday there is no TriMet service.  However, Lewis & Clark College operates a free Pioneer Express shuttle bus from downtown (SW Salmon between Broadway and 6th). P'nai Or shares facilities with St. Mark Presbyterian Church, which is about a mile from the Templeton Student Center (the Pioneer Express does not stop at the Law School on weekends).

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seeds for world change #10

Note: We apologize for recent disruptions in publication schedule.

#10, for October 3-7, 2012

In order to discover the character of a people, we have only to observe what they love.
-St. Augustine of Hippo

Zǐ yuē: “Bù huàn rén zhī bù jǐ zhī, huàn bùzhī rén yě.”
Confucius said, “The good man does not grieve that other people do not recognize his merits. His only anxiety is lest he should fail to recognize theirs.”
-Analects 论语 1.16 (Xue Er 
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Occupy, now what?

Occupy Detroit
Occupy Detroit (Photo credit: Cocoloco Photography)
By Sarah Morrigan

I did not come across this article until last night, just as Occupy Portland is readying itself for its anniversary.  This piece was written shortly before our eviction from "our parks" by the Rev. David Alexander, the senior minister at the New Thought Center for Spiritual Living in Lake Oswego, and even now speaks very powerfully with a deep insight rooted both in history and spirituality.

Alexander writes:
I believe that the Occupy Movement arose from a consciousness that was "fed up" - tired and weary of the inequity of our world. Similar uprisings in the Middle East - the so called Arab Spring - arose from a similar place in consciousness, a desire to be heard, seen and validated as a being of significance in the world. This is a universal desire - something that we all want. We all have the need to be heard, seen and feel as if we matter to the world - that our presence makes a difference and that we live in a world where we are empowered and can direct our life with purpose. Whenever one wakes up to the awareness that they have been oppressed or suppressed the natural desire is "take control" to make one's presence known and felt. Once this occurs, the door opens to the next step - to take restorative action. But before restorative action can take place there must be a grounding in a greater awareness of who we really are. Without this grounding restorative action turns to reactionary and retaliation action. This is the difference between effective social change movements and ineffective ones. (Emphasis mine.)
Much has been said of Occupy and its alleged weaknesses, among which is the lack of coherent message or demands.  While the Occupy Movement has always been multi-issue, diversified, and decentralized, attempts at crafting any type of declaration (Remember the "Declaration of Occupy Portland"? Whatever happened to that?) have faltered.  The Occupy Movement generally suffers from the lack of awareness of who it really is -- and while powerful as a slogan, "We are the 99 percent" is too vague and only implies that this movement is against the One Percent, without ever telling the world what it is (or wants it to be known) for.

Alexander is certainly not alone in this assessment (even back in November 2011 when the headiness of Occupy was still in the air).  Andrew Ross Sorkin, a New York Times columnist, also concurs:

The problem with the movement, as many other columnists have pointed out before, was that its mission was always intentionally vague. It was deliberately leaderless. It never sought to become a political party or even a label like the Tea Party... Given the way the organization — if it can be called that — was purposely open to taking all comers, the assembly lost its sense of purpose as various intramural squabbles emerged about the group’s end game... The messages had become decidedly too mixed. ("Occupy Wall Street: A Frenzy That Fizzled", Sept. 17, 2012)

Not surprisingly, the post-eviction Occupy Portland became mostly retaliatory and reactionary.  From the "Re-Occu-Fest" to "F.T.P." marches, to various "diversity of tactics" actions, the movement diverted much of its potentials, energies and money on what only appears to be an anti-police action in reaction to the pain of Nov. 12-13, 2011 event.  To many Occupiers' credit, Portland organized a couple of coordinated actions during this time, namely, Occupy The Port in December and Shut Down The Corporation F29 (Feb. 29, 2012) Action Against ALEC, as a whole the movement dwindled and dissipated over time.

We must ask ourselves again at this point what brought the Occupy movement into existence.  It was a collective frustration with the broken, dysfunctional Institution -- political and financial -- and a profound global awareness that stretched from Tunisia to Toronto to Tokyo that the world is messed up and we the people must reclaim it to rebuild it.

Alexander further writes: "But this movement becomes grounded in a deep spiritual understanding that we are all in this together - we must make a world that works for everyone." 

At the onset of the Occupy Movement we had this awareness.  Behind the slogan "We are the 99 percent," we were once an extremely diverse community as far as ideological persuasions and socioeconomic  backgrounds were concerned (not necessarily in the area of race and ethnicity, however).  Things began to unravel when this sense of solidarity and unity began to erode and infighting and factioning took their place.

The minister asks:
The Occupy Movement must now decide which type of movement it is going to be. Phase 1, frustrations over the inequalities and inequity of our systems, has come to an end. The collective attention of a nation has been obtained. The next phase is about action. Will it be restorative action that seeks to unite us in a collective consciousness of the 100% that needs to work together to build a world that works for everyone - or will it be reactionary and retaliation action that continues to divide our world into "us (99%) and them (1%)" categories that must fight each other for supremacy and control? The answer lies entirely in what type of vision the movement collectively grounds itself in. How the Occupy Movement handles itself in this transition will be the most telling aspect of its destiny. (Emphasis mine.)

As Occupy Portland is in the middle of its 52nd week, just a few days short of its anniversary, what do you think?  We need this grounding.  Our transition from the "phase one" to wherever we are now has been haphazard at best.  Occupy Year Two is a great opportunity to revisit the Occupy visions and messages -- and find a way to move forward to rebuild and restore this broken world.

The Rev. David Alexander's original article, "Occupy Movement: Phase 2: Now What?" is at

This is not an official statement or position of the Interfaith Solidarity.  Opinions are solely of their respective authors.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Interfaith Solidarity news!

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 17: A protestors carri...
PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 17: A protestors carries an 'Occupy' sign during a march though downtown Portland November 17, 2011. The Occupy Portland movement joined the nationwide N17 protests today, targeting downtown banks. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Mark your calendar: Monday, October 15

Due to the last-minute coordination and logistical issues, we will not be having a sukkah party after all, much to our sadness.  However, we are celebrating the first birthday of the Interfaith Solidarity on its actual anniversary, Monday, October 15, most likely in the evening.  Mark your calendar and stay tuned for the details.

Occupy Portland anniversary, October 6

This weekend is the big day of celebration for Occupy Portland's one-year history.  An all-day festival and march will be held at the Shemanski block of the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland, followed by a barbecue in the evening.

We are recruiting!

Like any other organization, Interfaith Solidarity is a dynamic and organic group.  People join and people leave, for a number of reasons.  New members are always welcome and help us stay vibrant and keep us from becoming a stagnant institution.

We are a nonsectarian, interfaith organization that works at the nexus of social justice movement and spirituality.  We support the activist communities in Oregon and Southwestern Washington through protest chaplaincy and advocacy that bring the voice of conscience and spiritual wisdom to the popular mass movements.

Anyone with an experience of working within their spiritual communities in various leadership or teaching capacities are encouraged to join as part of the chaplains' guild, and everyone is welcome to join the action team.

If you are interested, write to pdxinter***@******** (click on the link for the address).

Taproot suspended temporarily

Due to low attendance and difficulties finding the time that works the best, we are suspending the Taproot meetings until further notice.  This may, in the near future, be combined with a kind of regular Interfaith Solidarity meeting for discussions and/or coordination.  We are hoping to find an option that will work for a large number of people, both members and non-members alike.

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