Best Wishes for 2022

As 2021 draws to a close, we wish all of our interfaith community a happy holiday season and a new year of good health, peace and joy. It has been a challenging year for our nation and for many individual communities affected by economic disruptions, the pandemic, weather disasters and violence—all of which have resulted in much suffering.

But we have also seen resilience, faith, kindness and courage—based on essential values that shore us up in adversity and also serve as a foundation for building better communities. We are heartened by the interest in our new Community Interfaith Values project—both from individuals who want to participate and donors who consider this effort an important investment in community-building.

We believe that these values can reinvigorate those who need new inspiration and inspire others to consider and support a society in which the “we” is as important as the individual. As interfaith leaders, we share the beliefs, commitment and personal relationships with each other to make a positive difference in our communities.

With gratitude,
Rev. Stancy Adams, Chair
Robert A. Bruttell, Vice Chair
Raman Singh, President

Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa will be celebrated from December 26 through January 1. This African American and Pan-African holiday commemorates seven principles of African culture: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Kwanzaa was initiated by Dr. Maulana Karenga, an American professor of Africana Studies, in 1966.
         Kwanzaa celebrations of family, community and culture include lighting candles for seven nights and discussing the holiday’s seven principles. For more information, visit
Opportunities for Volunteer Service and Generosity

 Mitzvah Day Expands to Christmas Weekend

          For years, the Jewish Community Relations Council (now part of JCRC/AJC) has organized a Mitzvah (good deed) Day--providing opportunities for volunteer service by individuals of diverse religions on Christmas Day. The intent was to free up Christian employees and volunteers to enjoy their holiday. This year, Christmas occurs on Saturday—the Jewish Sabbath. Because of this and due to COVID restraints, Mitzvah Day 2021 has been extended to a Mitzvah Weekend and prospective volunteers are asked to connect directly with agencies (secular and faith-based) that need assistance this weekend. The list of volunteer opportunities can be accessed below.
Zaman Launches ‘Rising Hope Bakery’ Product Line
       Zaman International recently launched its Rising Hope Bakery product line featuring four cookies branded to reflect the mission of Zaman to empower women to break the cycle of extreme poverty. The baked goods, created onsite in Zaman’s commercial kitchen, are part of Zaman’s expanded workforce development programming at the Hope for Humanity Center.  For more information, visit
         Zaman International is a nonprofit organization whose founder is Najah Bazzy, a Muslim leader and nurse who received the InterFaith Leadership Council’s Community Service Award several years ago.

Afghan Refugee Assistance
       Several local agencies are helping Afghan refugees who are relocating to Michigan. Volunteers and donors can help with a range of needs--from household items to ongoing volunteer support, housing assistance, and financial aid. For more information contact:
·        Monica Boomer, Chief Impact Officer for Zaman International at [email protected]
·        Beth Birkholz, Director, Congregational Engagement, Samaritas at [email protected]
         Those who want to connect with the community leaders forum hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to collaborate on refugee needs going forward can contact: 
·        Rachel Cannon [email protected]
·        Rachel Clawson [email protected]

An Update on the Interfaith Community Values Project
         The new Interfaith Community Values Project was the focus of the InterFaith Leadership Council’s November 18th stakeholders meeting. Board member Rev. Jimmie Wafer described the need for this effort:
         “We believe that our community is at a difficult crossroads. Our public lives have devolved into expressions of our resentments. Rather than looking upon our diverse community as a source of hope and potential joy, we are too often fearful. We need to do something about this. And so, we come today to present a proposal, The Interfaith Community Values Project….
        The genesis of this project comes from the IFLC, which is a faith-based organization. But the concept includes all people of goodwill who desire to come together to share and hear values that incentivize the growth of the ‘Beloved Community.’ The IFLC consists of various faith traditions, however, we are unapologetically here to entertain the value of listening and hearing the important values dear to other people of goodwill…We hope that this will be the beginning of a movement where listening and understanding will add an abundance of moments that lead to inclusive interactions that bring forth appreciation and desire and change and expand the collective mindset that will seek to affirm the value of all creation….
      We propose the following Ten Noble Community Values (10) as starting points to focus life-changing and community-building moments of discussion and listening:
·        Radical respect for one another
·        Curiosity—especially curiosity about our differences
·        Humility
·        Mutuality
·        Compassion
·        Care for the stranger
·        Demanding ethics—recognizing that what we believe is often very hard to achieve yet necessary that we try
·        Conscious anti-bigotry
·        Creation care
·        By their fruits—recognizing how our actions have consequences for others
      Those are at least some of the social values that have emerged from interfaith work over the years. No doubt there are more or, if not more, we will certainly discover different ways to express them. In our diverse community, there is much to learn.” 
         (Rev. Wafer’s remarks have been slightly condensed above. For the full text, please follow this link on the InterFaith Leadership Council website
       Following Rev. Wafer’s remarks, Bob Bruttell, vice chair, discussed ways that individuals and congregations can support this project. They include participation in discussion sessions, providing meeting space for a group discussion, donating funds, serving as a moderator, and connecting the InterFaith Leadership Council with other organizations doing similar work. Response at the stakeholders’ meeting was enthusiastic—attendees confirmed the need for this project. In addition, several individuals offered to host a meeting and at least one organization committed to a significant contribution.
        To date, two discussions have been held—one with InterFaith Leadership Council board members and staff, and one with other community leaders. (The IFLC has established an ambitious goal of initiating 50 programs through the first half of 2022.) At least one additional session is being planned for January with a goal of scaling up substantially during the first 6 months of 2022. Bruttell believes that this project will help community participants become conscious of our shared community values and will lead to a growth in understanding, trust and positive action. Individuals who want to participate can contact Kateri Boucher at [email protected]

Video Vignettes Will Highlight Interfaith Leaders and Our Shared Values

      A new series of brief video vignettes will highlight a mix of local interfaith leaders as they answer questions about their interfaith work and the importance of supporting strong community values. These video clips will help communicate the goals and discussions of the Interfaith Community Values Project. They will be available on the InterFaith Leadership Council’s website— as well as on its Facebook page and in this newsletter.
      The first video features Bob Bruttell, vice chair of the InterFaith Leadership Council. The YouTube link is:

InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit | P.O. Box 252271, West Bloomfield, MI 48325
Phone: [313.338.9777] Email contact: [email protected]