you are here: / pluralism-sunday /

Pluralism Sunday

 

Pluralism Sunday

Pluralism isn’t just diversity;
it’s something we create out of this diversity.
Dr. Diana Eck, founder and director of the Pluralism Project

 

On the first Sunday in May

This year, May 7, 2017 (or other times during the year) – churches dedicate their worship to a celebration of our interfaith world. Progressive Christians thank God for religious diversity! We don’t claim that our religion is superior to all others.  We recognize that other religions can be as good for others as ours is for us.  We can grow closer to God and deeper in compassion—and we can understand our own traditions better—through a more intimate awareness of the world’s religions.  On PLURALISM SUNDAY, churches celebrate elements of other world faiths in their sermons, litanies, and music; many feature speakers and singers from other faith traditions.  Some congregations have exchanges with other faith communities, going to each other’s houses of worship.

SIGN UP your congregation to be listed as a participating church for 2017 – by emailing Susan Strouse, Pluralism Sunday Coordinator for ProgressiveChristianity.org.  (Churches can celebrate the event on other dates and still be listed as participants – indicate your plans for the event to Susan so these details can be listed on our site.)


Welcome Statement

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey.

(Adapted from the 8 Points of Progressive Christianity, get the poster here)

HOW CHURCHES CELEBRATE PLURALISM SUNDAY:

 

UNITED STATES

ARIZONA
Federated Church in Flagstaff, AZ , we will be celebrating Mission Launch. Discover and celebrate the ministries of our church, and the ministries of the Flagstaff community on Sunday, May 7, for our annual Mission Lunch. Hope Cottage will be our featured speaker. Lunch will be provided.

CALIFORNIA
Northbrae Church in Berkeley is delightful to find kindred spirits in you. Quite independent of the Progressive Christianity newsletter, our Coming of Age group chose the theme of Strength in Diversity for our Youth-Lead Service on May 7! I am so glad to be a part of this effort across the nation. Northbrae Church in Berkeley has a century-long tradition of honoring diverse religious traditions, embodied quite beautifully in our chapel’s stained glass windows. Built in the late 1940s, the windows feature Jesus and Paul, but also Buddha, Lao Tsu, Mohammed, St Francis, Emerson, Gandhi–all the way down to Albert Einstein.

Congregational Church (UCC) of
Belmont, Belmont, CA. Rev. Kristi Denham, Pastor – revkristi@aol.com

Fairview Community Church, Costa Mesa, CA. Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson – revsarah@ocfairviewchurch.org

Irvine United Congregational Church, Irvine, CA. Rev. Paul Tellstrom, Pastor – paul@iucc.org

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Lompoc, CA. Rev. Robert Cornwall, pastor – drbobcornwall@msn.com

First Congregational UCC, Long Beach. Rev. Elena Larssen – elarssen@firstchurchlb.org

First United Lutheran Church, San Francisco. Rev. Susan Strouse, Pastor – pastorsusan@fulc.com

Episcopal Church of Saint Anne,Stockton. Rev. Lyn Morlan – stannestkn@sbcglobal.net

Unity Church of Monterey Bay in Monterey, CA: Our theme for 2017 is: Being the Change by Living Our Truth… 2017 continues to bring us multiple opportunities, and powerful incentives, to earnestly embrace our spiritual walk. Building on our Winter commitment to spiritual practices for times like these, we will continue to deepen our spiritual journey, beginning with a 3-part series based on the book, Grounded: Finding God in the World, by Diana Butler Bass. Later this spring, we will re-visit our Five Basic Unity Principles through the lens of a new e-book by the Rev. Jim Lee (Renaissance Unity, Detroit MI), God’s Got This! And don’t miss our lesson on the new movie (based on the book) The Shack…

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Westminster Presbyterian.
Rev.s Ruth and Brian Hamilton, pastors – rwh@westminsterdc.org

INDIANA
Rock Church Life Enrichment Center/’The Rock’ Cromwell, Indiana. Sarah Tuttle – smtuttle@ligtel.com

MINNESOTA
Open Circle Church, Burnsville, MN. Rev. Jay Steele, pastor – jhsteele58@gmail.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Deering Community Church, Deering, New Hampshire. Rev. Beardslee – billwfb7@gmail.com

NEW YORK
The Stone Church of Cragsmoor.
Rev. Jeffrey C. Slade, Pastor – jeff@cragsmoor.net

TENNESSEE
First Presbyterian Church, Elizabethton.Rev. Brian Wyatt – info@fpcelizabethton.org

VIRGINIA
On Sunday May 7, 2017, Lynnhaven Colony Congregational Church, United Church of Christ is sponsoring its Annual International Pluralism Sunday. May 7th at 10:00 am with Imam Rachid from Crescent Community Center speaking.

WASHINGTON
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Marysville, WA. Our children and youth are hosting an intergenerational service May 7th around the topic of Unity in Pluralism. We are a Unitarian Universalist congregation so celebrating and embracing religious diversity is part of our culture, but we wanted to join our progressive Christian community in dedicating a day to it. Dawn Fleishman, RE Director -redirector@evergreenuu.org

Richmond Beach Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Shoreline, WA will be celebrating Pluralism Sunday at 10:00am on Sunday May 7th. Paul Ashby Pastor – pamandpaul@yahoo.com

AUSTRALIA
The Church of St James, Canberra. Rev. Rex Hunt, Pastor – rexae@optusnet.com

UNITED KINGDOM:
Southernhay United Reformed Church, Exeter, England. Rev. Iain McDonald, Pastor
– Iain.Robert.McDonald@gmail.com

Celebrations in years past:

 
First Congregational Church of Tacoma, WA, will hold an Interfaith Celebration Service and Dialogue on Sunday, April 22nd. An interfaith inspired service happens at 11am with speakers from several different faiths. Afterward a round-table discussion will run from 1p-3:30pm

At First Presbyterian Church, Normal, Illinois, the youth will be leading worship on May 6th. These services will be a culmination of what students have been learning about religious diversity. The theme that the services will rely on is ‘agape’, love which is a tradition that is found in all of the major world religions.

Niles Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Fremont, CA, celebrated Pluralism Sunday on Sunday, May 8, 2011 with a dialog sermon (by the Rev. Jeffrey Spencer and the Rev. Steve Kindle) based on Matthew 2:1-12 and Acts 10:9-16. It covered topics such as how we become Christians, the implications of our stories of becoming Christians, why (given the plurality of religions that exist) we are still Christians, and (given that neither claimed that Christianity is superior to all other religions) what we think about the validity of other religions and the purpose of evangelism for progressive Christians. You are invited to listen to the audio of it here.

On May 6, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Parish, Tempe, Arizona, will host Imam Yahya Hendi and Rabbi Gerald Serotta as co-preachers for the 10:30 AM service.
On Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Plymouth Congregational UCC in Helena, Montana, Rev. Cathy Barker preached on religious pluralism and use the wonderful “Reading from Many Traditions” from the Tanenbaum Center, with special music with Native American drum and flute.

Countryside Community Church, UCC, Omaha, Nebraska will conduct “The Faith of Jesus in a Pluralistic World” starting May 6, which is the first 6-part series in a chain of TWELVE 6-part series called “By This Way of Life – Twelve Journeys Into the Heart of Christian Faith”.

The Unitarian Church of Weymouth, MA, featured a Pluralism Sunday sermon by the pastor, Richard Trudeau, on May 1 titled “More Like an Eddy than a Rock,” presenting the basic ideas of Buddhism, contrasting them with those of Christianity, and pointing out ways in which the two supplement each other.

First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, TN, celebrated Beltane on Pluralism Sunday, May 1, 6 pm. Bel was the Celtic sun god who was in his glory during the light half of the year. In the old traditions, this feast day celebrated the new growth and fertility of the land and all of its inhabitants. The Peacemaking Committee celebrated with dancing and dining at the church, and will hold the rite outside if weather permits.

The Congregational Church of Belmont, CA, on May 1 heard a local Baha’i leader speak in worship and the pastor of the church, Kristy Denham, preached on “Many Streams, One River”.

First Congregational Christian United Church of Christ, Chesterfield, VA on April 10 had Malik and Annette Khan of The Islamic Center of Virginia to do a presentation of Islam with the church’s Adult Faith Formation gathering. It also celebrated pluralism in its May 1 worship.

Celebrations of Pluralism Sunday include many other creative ways of embracing religious pluralism as integral to our Christian faith. Mt. Hollywood Congregational UCC in Los Angeles included in worship a performance by the students of the Shanti Interfaith Choir from the University of Southern California. St. Paul’s Church in Laramie, Wyoming, read the Golden Rule in 6 different religious traditions. Other churches focus on sermons about religious pluralism: Rev. John Shuck, First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, TennesseeRev. Christine Paulus, St Luke’s Church in Philadelphia.

SIGN UP your congregation to be listed as a participating church for 2017 – by emailing Susan Strouse, Pluralism Sunday Coordinator for ProgressiveChristianity.org.  (Churches can celebrate the event on other dates and still be listed as participants – indicate your plans for the event to Susan so these details can be listed on our site.)
 
PLURALISM SUNDAY is initiated by ProgressiveChristianity.org. Congregations worldwide have adopted its “Welcome Statement” (see above) that affirms that other religions can be as good for their followers as Christianity is for us.

Learn here what churches around the world are doing to promote religious pluralism as a profound expression of the love and the humility that Jesus preached and practiced.  You’ll find sermons, litanies, book reviews, and other resources your congregation can use to create a celebration of PLURALISM SUNDAY that is appropriate for your community.