Listening for Gratitude
November 2021 Newsletter
By Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement
November 3, 2021
A Listening Year ~ November 2021
November 2021 Director's Column
Gratitude and Listening to the Lessons of a Pandemic Age
LISTEN HERE to the Director's Column on Soundcloud
This is Michael Reid Trice, Director at the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement at Seattle University. Our November newsletter is focused upon a few things I’d like to draw to your attention.
First, we continue our inaugural listening year in which the Center is meeting with friends near and far in order to discuss the future of the Center in the university. If I, John Malcomson our Program Coordinator, or another member of Our Core Team has not spoken with you, and you’d like to talk about the core offerings of the Center in the years to come, now is the time to reach out. This is an excellent academic year for these conversations.
Did you know -- Ecumenical and Interreligious efforts in this university have included hosting international dialogues with the Lutheran World Federation, convening discussions with the National Council of Churches in the US, meeting with local religious communities and students at the School of Theology and Ministry each quarter for over ten years, and meeting one-on-one with religious leaders throughout the region?
Today the Center is creating plans for the future, as input from our listening year comes in, that will be shared. These exciting announcements will be coming!
Second, in this newsletter we highlight our new Center Study Guide in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Program Faith for Earth Initiative and the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The guide focuses on how religious communities can engage on the topics of climate change and environmental crises. Students, staff, and our Advisory Council of religious leaders from around the region and world, participated in this guide – for use in your community. We know from last month how many people are using this new guide, and the team is grateful for your trust in the Center. Please visit and use the guide, and tell us what you think and how it can be improved.
Third, our Center Scholars, which include faculty from national and international universities, met for our second symposium on the topic of Gratitude, Injury and Restoration in a Pandemic Age. Papers were delivered through a virtual summit last week, which included an interdisciplinary effort on the theme. We discussed the ontology of injury and how our age of a pandemic is not reducible to a viral pandemic, and thus includes moral injury, societal injury, prolonged injuries to and trauma for marginalized communities. Understanding how repair is never about returning, but rather learning how to reinvest in shared although particularized stories of our humanity in the present, in the now, is our work. Within ourselves, in our families, alongside friends and strangers, and amid professions – the sinews of civic life require repair that must take seriously what “a pandemic age” is. As one scholar identified it – gratitude for one another will emerge somewhat like moss did, buried as it was in the stump of a tree after the explosion of Mount St. Helens. Life finds a way even amid so much loss and grief. A resource will be developed by the Center team for use in local contexts. And a book produced by these thoughtful scholars is forthcoming arising out of our writing processes, reading each other’s work, and our fruitful conversations. As one scholar shared, ”After meeting with you, my paper is writing itself!” Seattle University is embedded within the Ignatian tradition of discernment, where a premium is always placed on how truth arrives in the dialogue.
Fourth, the Center’s laboratory – the Religica Theolab – interviewed Elder Vernon Masayeseva on a Hopi understanding of cherishing water. We also interviewed Michael Murphy from Loyola University Chicago - on Laudato Si - and the nature of hope that Pope Francis has in mind. These podcasts get a broad hearing, and you can engage them in the lab as well. I encourage you to take a listen.
There is more in the Newsletter to engage, from our monthly Sparking our Imagination Question Video Prompt by Genevieve Kennebrae, to recognizing the work of another Student Affiliate, Divya Ramesh.
The last item for your consideration includes our existential concern over climate degradation and our ongoing natural crises. This month, the United Nations COP 26 is convening in Glasgow, Scotland. Humanity from across the world is gathering and I encourage you to pay close attention to outcomes for carbon reduction targets in the next two decades, and for practical ways in which international religious and values-based Non-Governmental Organizations are showing up and leading the effort. The Center is interviewing numerous leaders who are now in Glasgow, and I encourage you to look for those podcast interviews in the coming month.
Until we meet in person again, it is a gift to send these words to you today.
Michael Reid Trice, PhD
Spehar-Halligan Professor and Director
Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement
Sparking our Imagination at the Center:
How are you expressing Gratitude today?
Created by Center Student Affiliate Genevieve Kennebrae.
Center Scholars Met Last Week
Visit Our Scholarly Project: Gratitude, Injury, and Restoration in a Pandemic Age
Our Center has a laboratory called the Religica Theolab with a commitment to public theological engagement for a new generation. In the month of November, we focus on what we cherish and what we share from Catholic and Indigenous Perspectives. Take a listen by clicking the images below! Engage the Religica Theolab
A Month to Engage: Each month we seek resources that are relevant and meaningful for communities to engage in the role of religion and spiritual pathways for our times.
The International Community meets for COP26 in Glasgow this month. We are providing below key links for relevant values-based engagement.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – What is COP26
United Nations Climate Change Conference UK 2021 [COP 26] – 31-Oct to 12 Nov 2021, United Kingdom hosts the event at Glasgow, uniting the Word to Tackle Climate Change
Faith Groups and Pilgrims Lead Glasgow COP26 Climate Protests
Catholic Leaders Call for Global Discernment and Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis at COP26
Transform our World – Youth Summit 2021 [3-12 Nov]
Oct 30 - Nov 1 – Samhain – Pagan/Wiccan
Nov 1 - All Saints' Day - Christian
Nov 2 – All Soul’s Day - Christian
Nov 4 – 8 - Hindu, Sikh, and Jain religions - Diwali: This immensely popular Hindu festival is celebrated for five continuous days and is known as the Festival of Lights. Diwali is associated with a story about the destruction of evil by Lord Vishnu in one of his many manifestations.
Nov 5 – Vikram New Year –Hindu
Nov 6-7 – Birth of the Bab & Birth of the Baha’u’llah - Baha’i celebrates the births of two prophets – Bab and Baha’u’llah - It is observed as Twin Holy Days
Nov 15- Dec 28 – The Christmas/Nativity Fast – Orthodox Christian: 40 Day period before Christmas, ending on Christmas Eve
Nov 25 – Thanksgiving Day - USA
Nov 26 – Native American Heritage Day - USA
Nov 26 - Day of the Covenant – Baha'i
Nov 28 – First Sunday of Advent – Christian
Nov 28 - Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha – Baha'i
Nov 29 – Hanukkah - Judaism begins until 12/6
Nov 30 – St. Andrew’s Day – Christian
Religious traditions, Spiritual pathways, and Indigenous wisdom are active in communities around the world. Each month we share new ways to engage with our monthly theme. Below we offer a collection of resources to engage with gratitude:
Resources for Gratitude in Times of Crisis and Pandemic:
Forbes – Giving thanks during Pandemic, benefits of Gratitude
Verywell mind – The importance of Gratitude in the Times of Covid
Harvard Business Review – In Times of Crisis, a Little Thanks Goes a Long Way
The Conversation – Let Us be Thankful it was not COVID-99
Gratefulness – Gratitude, Grief and Finding Your “Yes!”
Gratefulness – Healing Begins with Gratitude
Resources for Practicing Gratitude:
Gratefulness – The ABCs of Grateful Living
Greater Good Science Center – The Science of Gratitude
Positive Psychology – 13 Exercises & Activities to practice Gratitude
Lessons in Gratitude from World Religion & Culture:
History – Eight different variations of Thanksgiving Tradition from around the World
Yes Magazine - How Cultural Differences Shape Your Gratitude
The Gospel Coalition – A Web Publishing network of Evangelical Churches – Giving Thanks when your Family is Struggling
The Christian Century Blog Post on ‘The Power of Gratitude’
Thank You, God! Religious Perspectives on Gratitude
Coming in December!
We will be Listening to the Art of Silence in Religious Traditions and Spiritual Pathways in the World.
More to Come!