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Memphis Inter-Religious Group

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A Listing of events and news of probable interest.       

NOTE: many in-person events for the foreseeable future have been cancelled due to coronavirus. 
This page is being used for a sort of blog - what is happening with religious groups locally,
and resources that may be useful for members of the community.

The former version of this page is at "Old Events Page"  for reference.
This is an experimental version, reporting on on-line events.

I’m still not advocating in-person events, although many houses of worship now have in-person events with limited attendance, normally  requiring signing up in advance.  I’m not much advocating them since the pleasure I take in visiting other houses of worship is in meeting and talking with the people – and it is really easier and safer to do that by Zoom right now. And of course a great many houses of worship have their services streamed, or recorded on Youtube, Facebook, or other places.  Usually you can find these by a simple search on Youtube, Facebook, or on the organizations home page – and many of those homepages are listed on the “addresses"  page (link at the top of this page).

There are now a number of “one-off” or seasonal things that are well worth watching online.

Please let me know of things that should be included.

April 16, 2021

Meritan and MIFA have been active at arranging covid vaccinations for homebound people. Many houses of worship have formed committees to help get their members to vacciantions (or, in some cases, to get their own doctors together with patients.)

Many of the usual city Farmers Markets will operate muc has usual this summer.

Calvary Episcopal Church has restarted its Wednesday evening dinners on a carry-out basis. Order by Tuesday 2 PM. Take it home or join others for a picnic near the church.

The important immediately upcoming event is the Annual Iftar Dinner, the major interfaith event sponsored by the Muslim Community.
Sunday,. April 18, 6 PM.  Information and sign-up link at
 (you rsvp  by the link there, they send a confirmation by email. I assume that the zoom link will be sent later, or appear at that page, but I'm not sure.)
Speakers will Include Bishop Talley, Rabbi Greenstein, Anwar Arafat, Yasir Qadhi.

If you did not listen online to the annual Vanderhaar Symposium, the complete  recording is online at
It is just over two hours, so you don't needt o watch i tall at one sitting.  It contains outstanding introductions to quite a few interesting and important projects.
The main speakers start at about minute 16: keynote speakers Angela Glover Blackwell and Dr. Michael McAfee of PolicyLink.
Topic: Racial and Economic Equity Virtual Summit: The Path to a Just Memphis.

How many of the Calvary Lenten Lectures were you able to see or listen to?  The whole series is available online, starting at     Scroll down far enough there, and click the link on any talk you'd like to hear.
I think most people will enjoy all of the talks, but I have to  point out 
     Jemar Tisby  speaking about, among other things, Black Lives Matter
     Pádraig Ó Tuama, the Northern Irish poet
     Kirk Whalum
     Rabbi Micah Greenstein.
(and don't miss the others, either!)
       Might I suggest that since these talks are all online, they could be used for a Sunday School or other discussion group?
Several give openings for remarkably good discussions.

From Father Al Kirk and Therese Gustaitis: 

We appreciated seeing so many of you on the Zoom screen for

Session 1: Living Nonviolently in a Violent World.


Reminders of opportunities with these sessions: 

The Lynching Sites Project of Memphis continues to have excellent online speakers, generally twice a month.
If you are not on their mailing list, follow them at
Many of their past talks are available online, with the links at

The Memphis Theological Seminary has a variety of free Sunday morning lectures.

An unusual virtual tour of Jerusalem is temorarily free online:
Temple Israel has a wide variety of recorded lectures, classes, and services online at

March 22, 2021

Major events of the Interfaith Year:

 The Vanderhaar Symposium has always been one of the important interfaith gatherings. It is online this year., MARCH 25, 7 PM
"Racial and Economic Equity Summit: The Path to a Just Memphis".  Register at

From the Muslim community:  Due to the pandemic, we had to cancel our Interfaith Iftar/Dinner last year. However, this year we are pleased to announce that we plan to have our 14th Annual Ramadan Interfaith Event on April 18th, 2021 starting at 6 PM.. It will be a virtual event.
The theme this year is -  Ramadan: A Time for Unity and Healing

Passover is March 27 - April 3. This major Jewish Holiday celebrates the escape from Egypt.  The most important celebration is a service called the "Seder", in the home, includin ga retelling of the Exodus story, with a holiday dinner. In traditional homes this is done on the evenings of March 27 and March 28. Temple Israel, for example, will hold a Seder online on March 28, all welcome.  Events can be found at or

Easter is April 4  Many churches hold special services the entire week leading up to this, especially on Good Friday, April 2, and Sunday, April 4.  Many will have live services with limited sign-up-in-advance attendance; For example, Calvery Episcopal:

Holy Week and Easter at Calvary

All Holy Week and Easter services will be live-streamed on Calvary’s Facebook pageYouTube channel, and website.

In-person worship is available for 32 households inside Calvary during Holy Week and Easter, and 300 people at The Levitt Shell on Easter Day at 11 a.m.


NOWRUZ was March 20 was the Persian (Iranian) New Year "Nowruz", celebrated by many Muslims in areas that have been historically influenced by Persia and Iran, also the followers of Zarathustra. It falls on the vernal Equinox and celebrates renewal.

Shelby County is trying to roll out a program to brin gCovid-19 vaccinations to the homebound. Information is at

Father Kirk, through Pax Christi, has suggested that people contact national legislators to urge the US Government to oppose military suppression of democracy in Myanmar. You may well have other issues in mind (e.g maltreatment of women, maltreatment of Asians, the problems of refugees). It is easy to get to e-mail forms for legislators (or get local contact information) 

Here are links to get in touch




If you have not done so, sign up for "The MIFA Minute", MIFA's newsletter, at http://mifa/org    This is particularly timely now because of problems raeching the homebound and the growing eviction crisis.  I have put a copy of the current issue online at

Jewish Community Partners of Memphis (the umbrella charity often called "The Jewish Federation") has quiet a few online events. Wednesday March 24 at noon is a talk on "Policing and Mental Health" by Rabbi Schgachter-Gimpel of the Memphis Jewish Home. The signup link is fairly far down on

As we don't hear much about Baha'i, I was interested to discover an on-line hour lecture, “Bahá’í Contributions to Interfaith Relations” by Christopher Buck, Ph.D.  at

There is a March 28 deadline for the Beethoven Club's Young Artist Competition.

I continue to enjoy the daily brief musical pieces from St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, e.g.

The Memphis Islamic Center   continues to have interesting online talks almost every day. I'm particularly excited by a series of talks by Sh. Anwar Arafat, one of my favorite preachers, Sundays at 9 PM:  The Fifty Top Hadith Every Muslim Should Know.   "Hadith" means, for this puirpose, "sayings of the Prophet Mohammed"  and in a sense correcponds very will with the "Ethics of the Fathers" Jewish course that Dr. Jope Levy has been doing for Temple Israel on Sunday afternoons.   As I've siad before, not goping to live meetings gives us all remarkable opportunities to look in on approaches other religions talk to the issues of life!

Jewish Historical Society - April 13, 2 PM, author Bess Kalb, "Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A true (as told to me) story"

It is very interesting to observe some of the reactions in the Roman Catholic Church to the recent Vatican statement saying that priests may not bless homosexual unions. Foir example, see

Locally, we mourn the recent death of Roman Catholic priest Father David Knight.


The Calvary Lenten Lectures have been outstanding, as usual. Two impoortant ones remain, and the earlier ones are available online anytime if you are not watching them simultaneously as given.  If you have not recently heard the great Civil Rights leader James Lawson, he is there.  Jemar Tisby gave an outstanding talk linking Purim and Black Lives Matter.  Dan Mathews always gives oustanding classical sermons.  If you have not done so, go to the Calvary website and listen to several!


Calvary Episcopal has started its Lenten Lecture Series, scaled down this year – Wednesdays and Fridays. Limited live attendance by sign-upo, Waffle Shiop is carry-out only with 24 hour advance ordering. Buit as usual they have excellent lecturers and now live-streamed at 12:05 PM and also recorded for online viewing at your convenience.   (You can even listen to favorite speakers from previous years on their remarkable archive.)

lists this year’s speakers; you can click to listen live or after the talk. On the right side of that page is the link to the archive of past years.

Feb 19  Dan Mathews,               Feb 24 noon and evening Margaret Renkl

Feb 26 JAMES LAWSON        March 3 noon and evening  Jemar Tisby

Mar 5   Meredith Day Hearn    

Mar 10 noon, and evening and  Mar 12 Pádraig Ó Tuama

March 17 noon and evening  Rabbi Rami Shapiro

March 19   Rev. Judy Fentress-Williams

March 24  noon and evening REV. KIRK WHALUM
March 28

A few more interesting newspaper articles:

A recent excellent article in the Daily Memphian (paywall)
drew my attention to "For the Kingdom"  which is doin ga major food suppl;y operation in zip 38128
in addition to its other activities.

The  Daily Memphian also had an interesting historical piece about the first non-denominational Black cemetery in Memphis:



I’m not going to try to list all the service, musical programs, and Zoom discussions in churches.

(if you feel I should be giving example here, e-mail me.)

But I do encourage looking in on other religions.


Just by way of two examples:

 You can scroll across the home page there for links to the talks almost every evening, or find many of them on Youtube (search for Memphis Islamic Center)




Weekly Offerings  (in addition to services and other things on the website)

Pirke Avot | Sundays @ 3 PM   (“Ethics of the Fathers”, philosophical sayings)
Join our course on Pirke Avot taught by Dr. Joe Levy. No prerequisites required! Classes are held via Zoom on Sundays (through Mar. 28).  

Say Chai Chavurah | Thursdays @ 10 AM
Please join us via Zoom

Torah Study | Saturdays @ 10 AM
Join us for Torah Study with Rabbi Jeremy Simons (substitutes while he is on paternal leave)  via Zoom and Facebook


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