June 8, 2016, San Francisco — An annual interfaith iftar event titled, “ The Art of Living Together: Building Relationships”, was organized by Pacifica Institute and Calvary Presbyterian Church as an initiative of promoting an interfaith dialogue. The gathering, attended by more than 250 people took place at the Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco with people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. The event served as a platform to promote universal values of peace, love and respect for all humans.
The program started with the welcoming remarks by Rev. John Weems and Fatih Ates, including introductions on the activities of the Pacifica Institute which explained the significance of the Holy Month Ramadan to Muslims globally.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Scott Alexander, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Catholic Theological Union at Chicago, emphasized the importance of engaging through dialogue between different faith communities. Rev. Ronald Kobata, Board Member at San Francisco Interfaith Council (SFIC); W. David Barnes, Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Calvary Presbyterian Church; Nancy Sheftel-Gomes, Education Director at Congregation Sherith Israel and Iftekhar Hai, Board Member at United Muslims of America all gave presentations at the event. The event was concluded with the performance of Ebru art, a turkish water marbling, by an artist Hulya Yatasi.
A similar interfaith Iftar was held on June 9th, at Sunnyvale, California. One more will be held on June 29th at the Seattle University in WA.
Pacifica Institute and other Turkish Cultural Centers will continue organizing Iftar Dinners in various regions of the Western United States to welcoming people from all cultures and religions to initiate and unite through fruitful conversations between communities.