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The Interfaith Circle is dedicated to the celebration of the Universal Truth that underlies all faith traditions and promotes the ideal that love and understanding transcend all dogma.

The Interfaith Circle celebrates at
The Home Of Truth every third Sunday
of each month Noon to 1:00 P.M.

Service presenters are primarily
Ministers of The Interfaith Circle
or Guest Speakers from different faith traditions of the world.

Active TIC Ministers at
The Home Of Truth:
Reverends Lilli Antonoff,
Nancy Joy Gordon, Kathy Collett,
Scott Phillips, S.B. Meridian,
Atindra Gibbs, Ace Lipton and
Annie Boddum.

    History of The Interfaith Circle

It was 1994 when the late Rev. Doug Hughes (1955-2007), living in San Francisco, answered an ad by Rev. Aaron Zerah, an ordained Interfaith Minister, in the Common Ground, the Bay Area’s Magazine for Conscious Community. The ad informed the readers of a new seminary training program that would ordain Interfaith Ministers. Interfaith Ministers are individuals who have studied in many different traditions and who seek to build bridges between them.

This program originated in New York by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman who had started the New Seminary as a result of his many years in Ecumenical works, and his close association with two other Interfaith teachers, Sri Swami Satchidananda, a Hindu from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, and Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Roman Catholic theologian from Vienna. Rabbi Gelberman was a beloved Hassidic Rabbi, and well known as a teacher, story-teller, and author. It would clearly be an honor to be associated with the Rabbi’s program with the West Coast branch of The New Seminary.

Rev. Hughes was interested because he had always wanted to be a minister. He explored many traditions and the unique approach of Interfaith was a good fit for him.

Rev. Hughes mentioned this program to Rev. Bhavani Girard, a long-time minister from a yogic path, who also found the Interfaith concept intriguing. Yoga is an Interfaith approach to spirituality, so formal Interfaith training also felt like a good fit for her.

Rev. Hughes and Rev. Girard decided to take the program, but also, because of their unique backgrounds, were asked to become Board members as well. As it turned out, Rev. Zerah, Rev. Hughes, and Rev. Girard did most of the planning and facilitating for the program. Rev. Zerah was a gifted networker. Rev. Hughes had outstanding organizational abilities. Rev. Gerard had many years of ministerial and teaching experience.

The New Seminary West program in California began in 1995. The program was exciting, the presenters were wonderful, and the students were inspired. However, organizational struggles developed that resulted in a split between the leaders. Rev. Zerah left to start his own program. Rev. Hughes and Rev. Girard continued to lead the New Seminary West minister’s training with Rabbi Gelberman’s blessing. On January 27, 1996, Rabbi Gelberman and his associate, Rev. Michael Festa, traveled to Berkeley, California to ordain 7 new Interfaith Ministers who completed the training program. An intensive, theological interfaith seminary group examination process was led by the late Rabbi Gelberman in the manner of inspired and exhilarating Torah Study.

While in California, Rabbi Gelberman, Rev. Doug Hughes, and Rev. Bhavani Girard signed a formal agreement. The Rabbi gave his permission to offer the New Seminary West program. Rev. Hughes and Rev. Girard would continue to facilitate all programs. The next New Seminary West program began in 1996 as a two year program.

Rev. Hughes began to explore the idea of separating from The New Seminary in New York to create more autonomy and creative expression. He worked tirelessly to train ministers in working toward tolerance, understanding and respect for all faith traditions. It became clear that in order to become independent, California law decreed the formation of two new organizations. One entity would be the training program (the seminary) and one would be the ordaining body (the church). Thus was born the Golden Gate Interfaith Seminary and The Interfaith Circle, respectively. The name Golden Gate Interfaith Seminary was subsequently changed to the Golden Gate Interfaith Institute for California fund-raising purposes.

Following the death of Rev. Doug Hughes January 12, 2007, the Golden Gate Interfaith Institute came to an end as an organization. However, our Church, The Interfaith Circle, continues to this day - vital and functioning.

We are currently a legal 501c3 organization/Corporation with full ability to receive tax deductible donations to our Church.

Ministers ordained by The Interfaith Circle continue to serve in their communities offering spiritual counseling, performing ceremonies, and offering Interfaith education. A small but strong group of TIC ministers have been serving together for over twelve years.

We invite the community to attend our monthly Service Celebrations focused on a different faith tradition each month at The Home of Truth in Alameda, California. See: for more information about The Interfaith Circle.

We honor the Universal Truth that underlies all faith traditions and promotes the love and understanding that transcend all dogma.

Rabbi Joseph GelbermanIN REMEMBRANCE:

Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, a wonderful pioneer of the interfaith movement, passed on September 9, 2010.

He left us on Rosh Hashanah, a High Holiday considered a time of rebirth and new beginnings for people of the Jewish faith.

He was 98 years young, leaving behind, and taking with him to pass along, a legacy of love, joy and hope.

Memorial/Tribute page link of Rabbi Gelberman >>

  The Interfaith Circle at The Home of Truth ~ 1300 Grand Street, Alameda, CA 94501 ~ Phone: 510-481-5599 ~