Welcome to the Interfaith Initiative

IFI Board & Speakers

The Interfaith Initiative board and colleagues come from all faith traditions in Santa Barbara. Our projects are Educational and inspirational programs, a shower truck and other services for our neighbors without homes and ECOFaith to help our faith communities to model environmental sustainability. 

Black Lives Matter

Dear IFI community,

On May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a deli store employee called the police on George Floyd, a 46-year old Black father, accusing him of paying with a counterfeit $20 bill. This phone call led to the murder of George Floyd when police officer Derek Chauvin sat his knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. George’s last words were cries for his mother and pleas for his life:

“Please, I can’t breathe.”  “My neck hurts.” “They’re going to kill me.” “Don’t kill me.”

Three other officers, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, were complicit to this murder. Witnesses pleaded for the officers to stop killing George Floyd. One witness recorded the murder, and this video footage revealed the injustice to us all, triggering protests across the United States and the world.

The protests happening now are not only in response to George Floyd’s murder. They are a cry for justice for Black people. They are expressions of outrage against police brutality that disproportionately targets Black people. They are expressions of outrage about the fact that this is not the first, the second, or the hundredth murder of an innocent Black person by police. They are expressions of outrage against the anti-Black racism that is ingrained in US policies and institutions. They are expressions of outrage against the anti-Black racism that is normalized in American society. And they are expressions of outrage against how police officers are continuously getting away with committing murders and violent crimes against innocent Black citizens without being arrested or charged for their crimes. The murder of George Floyd is proof that American racism is not just part of our history, it is part of today’s reality.

As members of the interfaith community, we believe in human dignity for all. Black lives matter. We stand behind efforts that fight for the human rights of members of the Black community. And we stand behind efforts to ensure that members of the Black community have the same opportunities to thrive and succeed in this country as everyone else.

We urge our fellow neighbors of faith to take a stand against police brutality and racism against Black people. We challenge ourselves to reflect on what our respective faiths teach us about standing up for the oppressed. And we challenge ourselves to stand in solidarity with our Black neighbors.

We encourage our neighbors of faith to learn more about how to become effective allies to the Black community. Great first steps include listening to members of the Black community, signing petitions calling for justice, donating to funds that support those affected by police brutality and to funds fighting against injustice, and contacting local and state government representatives to call for accountability.

Signed by the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County:
Yasmin Sallak
Kenny Chism
Anita Blume-Ralph
Ivor John
Mollie DeWald
Mark Childs
Ed Bastian
Ken Ralph
Roy Donkin

The Climate Crisis: Stories and Perspectives from our Faith Traditions

Dear Friends of the Interfaith Initiative,

Following the Poway shooting, we are again faced with an act of senseless hatred and violence that should send shivers down the backs of all who hold life sacred. As a community of faith, we cannot afford to be silent. Complacency, resignation, despair are organic allies to hatred. What can we do? How do we drive it away? A message published on chabad.org reads, “Cold-blooded, fanatical, baseless, relentless hatred can be uprooted from its core only by saturating our world with pure, undiscriminating, uninhibited, unyielding love and acts of kindness, and by teaching that to all our children, in our schools and in our homes.”

To this truth I would add that we need to learn from, and about, each other. The IFI will provide just such an opportunity this coming Sunday afternoon. Please read below and join us as we attempt to shed light that dispels darkness and hear each other’s stories.

In peace and vigilance,
Mark Childs
President, IFISBC

We live in troubling times, when our nation and the world are faced with the devastating impacts of climate change, and political leadership that lacks the will or ability to act. For those of us who seek justice and reparation, we search for answers and sensibility, but the work is relentless and we often find ourselves tired and frustrated.
As people of faith and spiritually inclined, we believe there is an ethical responsibility to act, based on our shared belief that we are called to care for Creation. We are truly a part of nature, interdependent with all living things. We now need solutions to move us beyond these challenging times.
Please join us for an afternoon of inspirational stories and picnic lunch. Hon. Lois Capps will join our panelists to share short stories that will remind us that this is not the first and only time that we have found ourselves “in crisis”. From these perspectives, perhaps we can gain insight and inner strength to help us through this. 
We hope that those attending will leave uplifted and inspired by the stories that give us hope and renewed energy for the great work that lies before us.
The event will be held in the outdoor amphitheater at Congregation B’nai B’rith Temple on San Antonio Creek Road, overlooking Tucker’s Grove
and the ocean beyond


Interfaith Panelists:
Cantor Mark Childs – Congregation B’nai Brith
Hon. Lois Capps – The Christian perspective
Nigel Pinkerton Piggot –Baha’i Faith
Yasmin Sallak – Islamic Society of Santa Barbara
Ed Bastian -Spiritual Paths Foundation
Sign Up
$15 General Admission Donation –
Includes Afternoon Picnic Lunch. Scholarships Available.
B’nai B’rith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Rd., Santa Barbara,CA 
Date and Time
May 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm.  – Arrival and Welcome at 3:30 pm.


The Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara

Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County (IFISBC) is concerned for the welfare of Santa Barbara County’s human and ecological habitats and their associated safety net challenges.

Our primary projects are:

  • Showers of Blessing
    Providing showers for our neighbors without homes in partnership with religious institutions and social service agencies;
  • ECOFaith
    Educating and assisting religious institutions and individuals to model environmentally sustainable practices;
  • Educational Programs
    Hosting educational programs, including annual dinners,  that inspire individuals and faith communities to work together on pressing issues of social justice and the environment;
  • Partnerships for Compassionate Community Action
    Igniting community-wide transformation by working with diverse organizations, leaders and individuals to model compassionate action for the wellbeing of all.

IFISBC addresses the interconnectedness of healthy living spaces for people – providing showers for the homeless – and our human responsibility to protect the health of our living planet.

Our core values of compassion and cooperation rally a wide array of stakeholders around creative and viable visions regarding our region’s environmental sustainability and sheltering solutions. Houses of worship and faith-based institutions form strong networks and provide perennial values and ready-made volunteers to galvanize community service projects with a level of trust that enables individuals, including those that are “spiritually independent,” to act together to pursue common objectives.