Quaker Universalist Conversations

Good interfaith news from Alex Kern and the Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries of Massachusetts

Dear Friends,
Wow! What a night last Thursday! Before an overflow crowd in Harvard Square, CMM celebrated 45 years of living out the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.I was so excited and humbled as CMM welcomed our new Board President, Latifa Turner Ziyad, the first African American Muslim woman to be named board president of an interfaith organization in US history, according to the Harvard Pluralism Project. It’s good to see that CMM is still making history! (Watch her and our ally Imam Taalib Mahdee on WGBH’s “Basic Black” by clicking here.)

CMM Board President Latifa Turner Ziyad
CMM Incoming Board President Latifa Turner Ziyad

Many thanks to our inspiring panelists, Professor Ed Rodman, Omar Abdul-Malik, Salma Kazmi, and Rabbi Victor Reinstein, for their deep and searching exploration of the roots and practice of compassion and civility among our faiths.

Each of the award winners and panelists gave us great hope, inspiring us towards deeper service and social action in our communities and the wider world.  Award winner and long time civil rights pioneer Rev. Ed Rodman inspired us to live out our faith, receiving an award from Rev. Chuck Harper (the founding CMM director in whose name the award is given). Together these two rode buses with schoolchildren desegregating Boston public schools, and have been inspiring us all to “get on the bus of justice” ever since!

Ed Rodman & Chuck Harper
Rev. Ed Rodman, receiving an award from CMM founder Rev. Chuck Harper


Award winner the Sudanese Education Fund inspired all with the work they have done to welcome, educate, and empower the Lost Boys and Girls and new immigrants from Sudan.

Mangok Bol from the Sudanese Education Fund
Mangok Bol, accepting the award from the Sudanese Education Fund


The Haiti relief partnership of New Covenant Church and Wellesley Friends Meeting (who won our third award for the night) inspired us with their swift and unswerving action to aid Haiti following the massive Haitian earthquake of January 2010.

New Covenant Church
New Covenant Church and Wellesley Friends Meeting accept their award


The Aamir Mahdi Trio uplifted our spirits with their extraordinary jazz.

Aamir Mahdi Trio
The Aamir Mahdi Trio


Interfaith Youth Initiative (IFYI) youth Fitret Yitayew inspired us with her energy, commitment, and depth of spirit.

Fitret speaking about IFYI
Fitret speaking about IFYI


Speaking of inspiring youth, if you know high school or college age youth who would like to participate in the IFYI summer program (either for teens, or for the BRAND NEW IFYI college program, please nominate prospective teens (ages 15-18) or college participants for our program, July 10-17, 2011 at Brandeis University.

You can find both the IFYI high school and college applications at this link:

Stay tuned for video from last week’s event.  If you’d like to see more pictures, from photographer Skip Schiel, you can check them out here:

Thank you for all that you do to inspire others in our common interfaith work of building peace, justice, and healing in our world. You will find events and action alerts below ranging from spiritual formation to homelessness prevention to immigration reform. Choose one thing to do to nurture your soul and another thing to do to make a difference in the world! 

Your gifts of time, energy, and resources to make the work of CMM possible inspire me every day. If you feel called to support CMM’s work financially, you can do so here. If you feel called to get involved by donating your time or talents, those are greatly appreciated as well. I’d love to hear from you!

Many thanks for all your good work, and peace be with you,

Alexander Levering Kern
Executive Director
Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries
474 Centre St.
Newton, MA 02458
akern@coopmet.org 617-455-5323
Alec Kern is a Quaker who has been involved with QUF and CIRC. For more info about CMM, see


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