Interfaith Studies Guest Faculty

 Alphabetical Order (click on links for bios)



Mandisa Amber

Rev. Lizann Bassham

Father Tom Bonacci, C.P. 

Sister Carmen Barsody, OSF.

Dr. Charles Burack 

Pollyanna Bush

Pir Issha Chishti

Jiwon Chung

Rev. Peter Yuichi Clark

 Rev. Dr. Tony Clark

Kokomon Clottey

Rev. Susan P. Conrad

LaVera Crawley

Rev. Robert Drake

Prabha Duneja

Ramana Erickson

Elder Don Frew

Lisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D.

Rev. Paul Gaffney

Corrina Gould

Nakira Hernadez

Mary Mallahan Hicken, MSW

Jackie Hider

Rabbi Daniel Isaacson


Ameena Jandali, M.A.

Anthony N. Johnson

Jeremiah Kalendae

Leslie Leasure

Katie Loncke

Rev. Brenda Loreman

Moana Meadow

Rev. Polly Moore

Perry Pike

Scott Quinn

Shivani Ray

Jacquie Robb

Vanessa Riles

Shakina Reinhertz, M.A.

Ahmad Rashid Salim

Chaplain Matt Sanders

Bhikkhuni Santussika 

Rabbi SaraLeya Schley

Rev. Susan Shannon

Taya Shere

Maggid Jhos Singer

Patricia St. Onge. M.Div.

Rev. Tristy Taylor, M.A.

Rev. Jan Thomas, MSW

Prajna Viera


Mandisa Amber.jpgMandisa Amber, M.A, M.F.A. Radical Creativity is a sacred practice created by Mandisa, an artist, dancer, educator, food justice activist, and urban farmer. Through painting, movement, and honoring the earth Mandisa nourishes her connection to her ancestors and the divine. She is grateful for the opportunity to travel, teach, and learn in places where love is a key to resilience, wellbeing, and liberation. Mandisa is initiated in the Lucumí tradition; a nature based spiritual tradition indigenous to West Africa and present throughout the diaspora. Mandisa is adjunct faculty at Napa Valley College in the Humanities Department. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Sustainability Education from Prescott College. Her research (still in the development phase) will employ sacred research methods to examine the healing modalities used by activists, community members, and scholars in low-income communities of color in the Bay Area, CA. Her research is grounded in theories and approaches that are inclusive and accessible to those impacted by systems of oppression, while also providing a critical lens for the analysis of structural racism, femicide, and other social issues. 

Rev. Lizann Bassham

Rev. Lizann Bassham is both an active ordained minister in the United Church of Christ as well as an active witch and teacher in the Reclaiming Tradition. She has been a curriculum writer and trainer for the FaithTrust Institute since 2000. She leads clergy boundary classes and workshops for a variety of spiritual traditions including at The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She serves as campus pastor at Pacific School of Religion. Once, quite by accident, she won a salsa dance contest in East L.A.

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Father Tom Bonacci, C.P.  is a Passionist Priest from Pittsburgh, PA who has ministered in the Diocese of Oakland, CA, since 1990. Tom is a graduate of St. John’s University, New York City, NY. After Ordination to the Catholic priesthood in 1972, he served as religious superior and Retreat Director in Pittsburgh, PA and New York City. He also served as chaplain at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, and Carlow University at Pittsburgh, PA. Tom has served as hospital chaplain for several hospitals for the past 40 years. He served as Executive Director and Chaplain at St. Paul’s Manor for the Elderly in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2001, he established the Interfaith Center at Carlow University where he taught Sacred Scripture. Tom is the founder of the Interfaith Peace Project of Contra Costa County, a home-based educational outreach providing introductions to the religions of the world. He is also Director of the Interfaith Center in Antioch, CA, which opened in October 2007. Tom conducts Interfaith Seminars for the School of Applied Theology, Oakland, CA, The Chapliancy Institute in Berkeley, CA, and adult educations classes in Interfaith Spirituality and Sacred Scripture. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Interreligious and Ecumenical Commission for the Catholic Diocese of Oakland, CA, and the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.

CarmenBarsody.pngSister Carmen Barsody, OSF, was born and raised in Minnesota and studied Theology and Pastoral Ministry at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN. She worked as a Pastoral Associate in a predominantly Hispanic parish in Chicago, and then spent seven years ministering in Managua Nicaragua where she worked with women and youth. In 1998 she co-founded Faithful Fools Street Ministry together with Rev. Kay Jorgensen in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, where she currently lives and works. 

Charles BurackDr. Charles Burack is an award-winning teacher, scholar, poet, and essayist. A professor at John F. Kennedy University, he specializes in integrative, contemplative, and creative approaches to psychology, spirituality, and the creative arts. Author of two books (Songs to My Beloved; D. H. Lawrence’s Language of Sacred Experience) and numerous of articles, stories, poems, prayers and meditations, he has a new poetry collection (Leaves of Light) coming out this year. His new collection of prayers, meditations, and poems inspired by the Kabbalah (Tree of Life) is currently under review. He is also working on another book on the Kabbalah. A trained spiritual director and lay chaplain (at Kaiser-Permanente Hospital) as well as a former rabbinical student, Chuck is active in interfaith education, counseling, and arts. He worked with Rev. Dr. Gina Rose Halpern to create ChI’s interfaith curriculum, and for many years taught at ChI and also directed its interfaith spiritual direction program.

Pollyanna Bush.jpgPollyanna Bush specializes in the spiritual and healing dimensions of music. A performer since the age of five, her formal music studies were at College of Marin, Mills College in Oakland, and San Francisco State University in classical, choral, jazz, popular music, and music theory. She has studied with renowned composer and Windam Hill recording artist, Alaudin Matthiey, and East Indian classical musician and master, Pandit Pran Nath. Under his guidance, she moved more deeply into the spiritual and healing dimensions of music. Ms. Bush has worked in dance, as an accompanist, dancer/ choreographer, and teacher. She trained in modern dance for 15 years, including work in New York City with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has been the choral director for “Sing for Your Life” at Grace Cathedral and the Interfaith Chapel in the Presidio, San Francisco. Her CD of original music, “Dying to Be Born”, can be ordered through her website

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Pir Issa Chishti is the son and successor of the late Pir Dr. Ibrahim Baba Chishti (Prof. Ibrahim Farajaje) in the Ajmeri Chishti Sufi lineage. He is currently pursuing his academic studies in the Bay Area. The Chishti path which he represents is grounded in the teachings and life of Hazrati Moinuddin Chishti, Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, the Friend of the Poor and marginalized, who taught a message of radical inclusivity and openness of heart to all manifestations of the Divine.


JiwonChung-150x150.jpgJiwon Chung is past president of the national organization for Theatre of the Oppressed, is the artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble and adjunct professor at the Starr King School at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, where he teaches Theater and Social Justice. The focus of his work is in the application of theater as a tool for social and political change, using Theatre of the Oppressed to challenge, resist and transform systemic oppression and structural violence, and to redress large scale historical atrocity and injustice. His approach to individual, interpersonal and institutional change is informed by his background as a veteran, martial artist and over 3 decades of vipassana meditation.


Rev. Dr. Tony Clark’s formal education included a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology, and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Ohio State University; and a Masters of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ. While in St. Louis, he trained as a Clinical Pastoral Care intern (1 unit CPE) and resident (4 units CPE) at the VA Medical Center. Before entering church ministry, he worked as a hospice Chaplain at a private home health care group in St. Louis. He was then called to Duluth, MN, where he served as an Associate Pastor for youth and small groups. He has also served as an interim minister in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and is currently the Senior Minister for Arlington Community Church UCC in Kensington. 

kokomon.jpgKokomon Clottey holds a Master's Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in international business and is the co-founder of the Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc. He is the co-author of “Beyond Fear: Twelve Spiritual Keys to Racial Healing and the author of Mindful Drumming: Ancient wisdom for Unleashing the Human Spirit and Building Community. Kokomon is an indigenous wisdom teacher from the Ga Adagbe tribe of Ghana, West Africa.  He has captured the richness of his culture and the essence of mindful drumming as a healing modality in his latest book, Mindful DrummingMindful Drumming is an experiential and interdisciplinary workshop that uses synchronistic drumming, rhythm, movement and storytelling to explore trans-cultural communication and personal relationships. Mindful Drumming process heals ancestral wounding and increases community ties. Manifestation of this connection is through rhythmic inter-play of the participants. Mindful drumming emerges from the Ga Adagbe tradition of Ghana West Africa.  In addition to his accomplishments he has 30 years of musical experience in performing and recording. He has produced three CD's:  Love Is The AnswerMystic Vision and The Journey. Kokomon is a lecturer and a facilitator on how Mindful Drumming can be utilized as a healing modality and a tool for community building. 

Susan Conrad.jpgRev. Susan P. Conrad is an ordained and fellowshipped minister with the Unitarian Universalist Association, is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains, and is a certified Supervisor with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.  Susan serves as Manager of Spiritual Care at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. Susan previously served as Chaplain, CPE Resident, Clinical Fellow, and CPE Supervisor at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. She holds a Bachelor of Art's degree from Hampshire College, an Master of Art's degree in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School. Susan is active in the Unitarian Universalist movement, having served as a chaplain and guest worship leader at her home church and as a mentor for UU chaplains in the fellowshipping process. Susan serves on the Development Committee of the ACPE Pacific Region. She has a special interest in conflict transformation, and has been trained in Conflict Mediation with the Community Boards of San Francisco.

LaVera Crawley.jpgLaVera Crawley, MD, MPH, MDiv (Equivalency) is the Program Manager for Palliative Care Education & Research and serves as an ACPE Certified Supervisory Candidate and Palliative Care Chaplain for the Department of Chaplaincy Services at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California. She came to chaplaincy after a 30+ year career in medicine and ethics and a successful academic research career in health disparities in end-of-life care for which she received national and international recognition. LaVera received her MD from Meharry Medical College; completed her Family Medicine residency and chief residency at USCF; her MPH from UC Berkeley; an Ethics Fellowship at Stanford; and a Palliative Care Education Fellowship at Harvard. She was among the first graduates of the Living School for Action and Contemplation founded by Fr. Richard Rohr. After completing required seminary coursework at the Catholic Distance University and the Pacific School of Religion, she received MDiv Equivalency status through both the Association for Professional Chaplains and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. She is also currently a Fellow at the Program in Medical Humanities at the UC Berkeley Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society. As a Catholic lay woman, LaVera is active in the social justice programs in her parish. She is also on the Board of Directors for Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

bobdrake.jpgRev. Robert Drake, MSci, MDiv, is an interfaith hospice and palliative care chaplain at Pathways Hospice, an educator for Compassion and Choices, teaching California’s End of Life Option Act, and he operates for healing from grief, loss and change.  He is a graduate and Governing Board member at ChI and former adjunct faculty of the Graduate Theological Union. Bob has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution and a Master of Divinity from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.


Prabha Duneja is the founder/president of The Geeta Society, a scholar of the Gita and the Vedas. (The Holy Geeta, the version of the Bhagavad Gita that is one of this month’s assigned readings, is her translation.) Mrs. Duneja spent her childhood in a small town of Punjab, India, where her devotion to Lord Krishna and her fascination for the study of Geeta began at the early age of eight. Later she graduated from the Sanskrit University of Kurukshetra as a teacher of English and Music. During her career as a schoolteacher, she developed an increased interest in the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and mysticism. Her life is now dedicated to teaching about Hinduism and the wisdom of the Vedas. For more information about her activities and her numerous publications and instructional CDs, see her full bio at the end of this document, as well as

RamanaErickson.jpgRamana Erickson has been a tabla player and kirtan singer for over thirty years. In addition he has led Sanskrit and yoga philosophy workshops and courses for more than 20 years in the United States, India, and Japan. Ramana first started practicing yoga and singing kirtan at the ripe old age of ten under the tutelage of Swami Vishnudevananda at Vrindavan Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA. At 13, Ramana became the youngest hatha yoga student to graduate from the Sivananda Yoga teacher training course taught by Swami Vishnudevananda himself. He also teaches tabla, harmonium, kirtan and Vedic chanting to private students throughout the Bay Area. His classes are noted for their emphasis on correct pronunciation and rapid acquisition of Sanskrit reading and chanting skills. In 2006, Ramana was touched by hearing Mukti lead vocalist Prajna sing kirtans for a Saturday evening program at MA Center. Her heartfelt devotion and vocal virtuosity would send listeners into a state of blissful absorption. Ramana asked if she would be interested in collaborating in a spiritual music project; Prajna agreed, introducing Ramana to Don Fontowitz (guitarist extraordinaire!), and, after an unforgettable first practice together, Mukti was born. Soon after that first practice, Ramana brought in his sister Veena, also well versed in Sanskrit and kirtan from their ashram childhood, to provide backing vocals and expert hand cymbal playing. Ramana cannot properly express the gratitude and happiness he feels being a member of Mukti, surrounded by a talented assortment of friends and family, all with the united purpose of sharing the peace and blessings of kirtan music with each other and the world.


Elder Don Frew is a Wiccan Elder and serves as High Priest of Coven Trismegiston in Berkeley, CA. He is a National Interfaith Representative for the Covenant of the Goddess ( and has represented CoG and the Craft in interfaith work for over 25 years. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council, the Assembly of the Parliament of the World's Religions (, and the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative ( He is founder and Director of the Lost & Endangered Religions Project and President of the Adocentyn Research Library.

Lisa Fullam.jpgLisa Fullam, D.V.M., Th.D., teaches moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Research interests include: Virtue Ethics, medical and sexual ethics, the intersection of ethics and spirituality, and Ignatian spirituality. Published essays include: “Toward a Virtue Ethics of Marriage: Augustine and Aquinas on Friendship in Marriage,” “Teresa of Avila’s Liberative Humility,” “Sex in 3-D. A Telos for a Virtue Ethics of Sexuality,”  and “Ethics in Spiritual Guidance.”  In 2008, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. The view from the top is just glorious, she says.

PaulGaffney.jpgRev. Paul Gaffney, M.Div., is currently the Director of Spiritual Care at The Ritter Center in San Rafael, CA. He is also a Certified Educator Candidate in the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and the Shaw Fellow for Chaplaincy and CPE at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Paul was born and raised in western PA, the son of a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Paul received his BA from Hiram College, where he majored in Sociology, minored in Music, and met his wife, Annie. After their wedding in August of 1998, Paul and Annie spent two years in Cleveland, OH before moving to San Anselmo, CA where Paul attended San Francisco Theological Seminary. During his third year at SFTS, Paul began working with the Marin Interfaith Homeless Chaplaincy (now the Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy). In 2004, he graduated from SFTS with a Master of Divinity degree, and in 2005, Paul became the sole chaplain of the Street Chaplaincy, providing emotional and spiritual support to people in transition. Paul was ordained into Christian Ministry by the Northern California/Nevada Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Lafayette Christian Church on June 4, 2006. Rev. Gaffney also is a lay-ordained student of Taigen Leighton in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. Paul and Annie both live and work in San Rafael.


Image of Corrina GouldCorrina Gould is a Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone woman, born and raised in Oakland, CA- or the ancient village of Huichin.  She has three children and two grandchildren.  She is the Co-Founder and a lead organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native run group that works on Indigenous peoples’ issues. In April 2011, Corrina joined Johnella LaRose, Wounded Knee De Ocampo, and a committee of allies, to bring together dedicated warriors for a spiritual encampment at Sogorea Te, a 15 acre sacred site in Vallejo CA. The occupation lasted for 109 days and resulted in a cultural easement between the City of Vallejo, the Greater Vallejo Recreation District, and two federally recognized tribes. This struggle set a precedent for this type of work going forward, inspiring others that are working on sacred sites issues. Corrina’s current focus includes creating an Ohlone land trust within the urban setting of her ancestral territory in the Bay Area. She also works full time at the American Indian Child Resource Center, where she assists in directing an after school program that provides services for Native students in Oakland. Corrina also sits on the California Indigenous Environmental Association Board, the Board of Directors for the Oakland Street Academy Foundation and is the treasurer for the Edes Ave HOA.  Last but not least, she is an avid Raiders Fan.

Jackie.jpg-sized.jpgJackie Hider, M.A., graduated from University of California with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and attended San Diego State University where she earned a Master’ s Degree in Education. She taught developmental reading and writing for a Community College in El Cajon, CA. She has been a Zen practitioner for the last thirteen years and was ordained into Buddhist Chaplaincy in March 2013 at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her focus of study was Street Chaplaincy. During 2014 and 2015 she has worked with the Faithful Fools as a Community Intern.

Photo of Nakira HernandezNikira Hernandez holds a Masters of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion, and has a dual ministry in Christian and Native traditions. Her mixed heritage includes Paiute ancestry, and she has been participating in a Native-led ceremony for over ten years. With the support of her elders and community, Nikira stepped into a leadership and ministerial role in this community in 2011. Nikira is currently pursuing ordination in the United Church of Christ. Nikira has facilitated workshops on healing and social justice for over fifteen years. She is the owner of Light Hands Healing, an energy healing practice in Berkeley focused on empowering social and environmental change.

Daniel+Isaacson.jpgRabbi Daniel Isaacson is the Director of Spiritual Care Services at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, a nonsectarian social service agency serving San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Daniel holds a Bachelor's degree in religion from Dartmouth College. He received a master's degree and his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. During his rabbinic training, he lived and studied in Israel for four years. Prior to JFCS, Daniel trained and worked as an interfaith chaplain at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and as a spiritual care counselor for Pathways Hospice, both in the East Bay. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and three children.

Ameena Jandali, M.A.,
is a founding member and Content Director for Islamic Networks Group an educational non-profit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. She co-designs and develops ING’s educational presentations and cultural competency seminars. Ameena has delivered hundreds of presentations in schools, colleges, universities, churches, and other venues on Islam and related subjects. She’s also appeared on many news outlets speaking on issues relating to American Muslims. She currently team teaches a class on Islam and Women in the Middle East at San Francisco City College. Ameena received her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and B.A. in History from the University of Illinois.

Anthony N Johnson.jpgAnthony N. Johnson, MA, is a decades long practicing Spiritual Counselor, writer, poet, producer, soldier, teacher, mentor and student. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer and producer in the film and television industry and is currently writing and producing a feature film based upon the autobiography; “Of Water and The Spirit” by West African shaman Malidoma Somé. Mtuaswa, as he is known, is a graduate of the Indigenous African Spiritual Technology program of Malidoma Some and is a Practicing Diviner. He has delivered over a dozen sermons to Unitarian Universalist congregations. He is also a certified presenter on “Race, Class and Sex” through the Mankind Project, an international men’s organization and is a second year seminarian at Starr King School for The Ministry in Berkeley.

jeremiah.jpgJeremiah Kalendae is a spiritual teacher, activist, and dervish of the Chishtī Order of Sufism, having received Bay’at (initiation) from his esteemed shaykh and heart-friend, the late Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje. Jeremiah earned his Master of Science degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University and his Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry where he serves on the administrative staff and as a member of the adjunct faculty.

Leslie LeasureLeslie Leasure is a chaplain, spiritual director, and group facilitator. She has been working with recovering alcoholics and addicts for more than 25 years in various professional and volunteer roles, including serving on community boards, working at a half-way house for homeless women struggling with addiction, and serving as a chaplain intern on the psych/addictions unit at John Hopkins Hospital. She is currently the resident chaplain at Merritt Peralta Institute, the addictions treatment center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. Leslie was the founding program director at the Ignite Institute at Pacific School of Religion – a center specializing in connecting spirituality, social justice work, and innovation. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University, an MDiv from Pacific School of Religion, and is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ.

katie loncke.jpgKatie Loncke is a Co-Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), combining dharma with social justice. She connects with others similarly fixated on the paradox: how to love and accept the world as it is, while fighting like hell to change it. Nationwide she speaks, facilitates, and trains groups on combining Buddhist ethics with concrete skills for nonviolent direct action. Her writing has appeared in digital and print publications — most recently, she authored the chapter on race and racism in A Thousand Hands: A Guidebook to Caring for Your Buddhist Community (2016, Sumeru Press), edited by Nathan Jishin Michon and Daniel Clarkson Fisher.    

Brenda_Loreman.jpgRev. Brenda Loreman is a spiritual director and ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Drawn early into a love of the arts and language, she earned a B.A. in Drama at San Diego State University and taught high school English for many years. She received her MDiv from the Pacific School of Religion and a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from ChI. She is the Associate Pastor at Niles Discovery Church in Fremont.

Polly Moore.jpgRev. Dr. Polly Moore is on the staff of as editor of the Liturgy Project.  She also serves as Volunteer Associate Pastor of her home church, College Heights United Church of Christ in San Mateo.  Polly received her Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in 2004, following a first career in mathematics and computer management. She has a Ph.D in mathematics, was the vice president of Genentech Inc, a major biotech firm, and is a recent Master of Divinity graduate of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. She is a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ. A gifted musician, she helps create unique liturgies in her church, College Heights UCC in San Mateo, CA.

Moana Meadow.jpgMoana Meadow was ordained by The Chaplaincy Institute in 2010, and completed ChI's Spiritual Direction Certificate Course in 2013. She completed four units of CPE and the Hakomi Comprehensive Training. Having worked as a chaplain in both hospice and hospital settings, Moana is also a birth doula, and gave birth to her first child at home in 2015. Moana now sees clients in private practice, and leads groups and retreats with her husband, Isaac Meadow, MFT, at their private retreat center in the Richmond hills. With a Bachelor of Science from MIT, a Master of Arts in Creative Writing, and an Master of Divinty from the Pacific School of Religion, Moana has explored many aspects of the divine in creation. She can be contacted through her website:

Perry Pike.jpgSheikh Perry Pike, M.A., M.Div., BCC, graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley in May 2009, earning a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions. His master’s thesis, “Christian Zikr: Jesus, Sufism and Embodied Prayer,” integrates the Southern Baptist experiences of his childhood with the Sufism he practices as an adult, and culminates with a group worship form that introduces Christian communities to collective, embodied Sufi worship practices. An initiate in both the Sufi Ruhaniat International and the Mevlevi Order of Turkey, he regularly leads Dances of Universal Peace in San Francisco. He teaches groups to chant, sing, breathe and move together as prayer. His passions for West African dance and for the turning of the whirling dervishes (in the Mevlevi Order) inform his teaching and his spirituality. Perry is a board certified chaplain and works for Kaiser Oakland Hospice, serving patients in Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond.

scott.jpgScott Quinn was ordained as a Lutheran minister after completing a Masters of Divinity, and served as an associate pastor at a congregation in the Dallas, Texas area for five years. After leaving parish ministry, he worked in the non-profit and for-profit sectors, focusing on organizational development and instructional design. In 2005, he completed a Masters of Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. That same year he became an educator and spiritual director at an interfaith spirituality center that was affiliated with a large hospital system in Austin, Texas. During six years of ministry there, Scott's work included providing “care-for-the-caregiver” programs for staff and patient families, as well as teaching classes for the general public, including Mindfulness, Mindful Photography, and Psychosynthesis.

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2011, he has become a certified hypnotherapist, has completed ChI’s interfaith spiritual direction and supervision of spiritual directors certificate programs, and has transferred his ordination to the ChI community. After serving as Director of The ChI Community for three years, Scott now serves as Interim Director of the Marin Interfaith Council. He is an active member of the Interfaith Counseling Center in San Anselmo, leads worship services at local senior living communities, and has been on the staff of San Francisco Theological Seminary’s spiritual direction program.


ShivaniRay.jpgShivani Ray, J.D., is a meditation teacher and multi-disciplinary artist born into an ancient yogic tradition.  Shivani is the founder of Living Sanskrit, an online school that teaches traditional wisdom and practices from the Hindu dharma tradition to students in over 40 countries.  She has been teaching since 2001, and was a fellow at Berkeley Law School through the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness and Meditation.  As a teacher, Shivani is passionate about protecting the integrity of ancient teachings in non-native contexts while also making them accessible and relevant to the modern seeker.  She has a J.D. from the University of Southern California and a B.A. from UC Berkeley.

Shakina_Reinhertz.jpgShaikna Reinhertz, M.A., author of Women called to the Path of Rumi, is an educator, a storyteller, and throughout her 20 years of social service work, an advocate of women’s rights. She has followed the path of Sufism for 38 years. Since early childhood, devotion through movement has been the heart of her spiritual practice. Her longing for a faith tradition centered on the Unity of Being, lead her to the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Silent retreat, the practice of inquiry, and zikr (remembrance) has been the foundation of her spiritual work. She is a representative and retreat guide in the Sufi Order International. In 1982, Jelaleddin Loras, Pir of the Mevlevi Order of America, initiated her as a whirling dervish, and she is now a senior teacher and zikr leader. In 2013, she was initiated as a Postneshin (one of the first women to be given permission to lead the Dervish Ceremony). At the request of her teacher, she created a training manual for students and teachers, as well as instructions for all aspects of the dervish ceremony. She has taught at Starr King Ministry, Wisdom University, The Abode of the Message as well as The Chaplaincy Institute.


20161016 fall colors at church.jpgVanessa Riles, is a Black, queer, sex positive, body positive, Oakland native seeking freedom from white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and American exceptionalism for all those marginalized and disenfranchised by these oppressive forces.  She is committed to social transformation and spiritual development. Vanessa participates in direct actions throughout Oakland to protest the persistent and pervasive war on Black life.  She has organized with Second Acts, #Interfaith4BlackLives, black.seed, the East 12th Coalition, Bay Area Restaurant Worker’s Movement, Stop Urban Shield Coalition and various other groups fighting for the lives and freedoms of Black, POC, and LGBTQI2S people and communities.

Through that work, with amazing groups of fierce freedom fighters, she has: shut down streets; shut down Oakland city council meetings; orated, prayed, and sung at rallies and marches; co-created public altars; become a member of the #Interfaith14; and a member of the #BayBridge25.  Vanessa’s participation in direct action and her commissions of civil disobedience are deeply rooted in her faith and her beliefs that “it is our duty to fight for our freedom;  it is our duty to win; we must love and protect each other; [and that] we have nothing to lose but our chains,” (Assata Shakur).  Vanessa is searching for meaning and fulfillment in a world that keeps telling her that her voice, her vote, and her very life does not matter.

Jacquie Robb.jpgRev. Jacquie Robb is an ordained Interfaith minister (ChI 2012) and the chaplain at Spring Lake Village, a continuing care community of 450 residents and 275 staff. She integrates a broad spectrum of spiritual training with a strong grounding in practical knowledge. She is a certified meditation teacher and trained grief support counselor. She leads Sunday services as well as developing and fostering spiritual based classes and meetings. She has lived in Sonoma County for over 30 years.

Ahmad Rashim Salim.jpgAhmad Rashid Salim is involved within the Muslim community in various roles including Director of English programming, Education and Community outreach at the Islamic and Cultural Center of Mohammadia in Fremont,CA, as well as being a speaker and spiritual services leader at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California in Oakland. Within these capacities he's spoken and taught on a wide-range of topics in Persian and English including: Islamic Spirituality; Ethics; Community-building; Youth outreach; Family conflict resolution; Persian language and poetry; as well as Qur'anic recitation and exegesis. He's led inter and intra faith outreach efforts; has appeared on live programming with global viewership, and spoken at various panels and conferences on the said topics.

Matt Sanders.jpgChaplain Matt Sanders, M.A., is a full-time staff chaplain serving at two hospitals: Mercy San Juan Med Center, Carmichael, CA and Mercy Hospital Folsom. He’s a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains, is commissioned by ChI, serves on the ChI Board of Directors, and is a volunteer with Tai Chi class at Folsom State Prison. Matt eearned his MA in Pastoral Ministry with emphasis in Spirituality from Santa Clara University; received a BA in Psychology and BA in Religious Studies from CSU Sacramento. His spiritual journey has taken him far and wide, East and  West. His ecclesiastical endorsement is with the Roman Catholic church. He is a parishioner at St. John’s Catholic Church in Carmichael, CA, where he was the Youth Minister for 20 years.He also served as the Catholic Chaplain at Sacramento County Juvenile Hall for 12 years. Matt also likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. 

ayya_santussika-288x300.jpgVen. Bhikkhuni Santussika entered monastic life in the Theravadan tradition of Buddhism in 2005. For a number of years prior to ordaining, she made one or two trips each year to Thailand to visit her son, who had become a monk, during which she stayed in monasteries and learned from master teachers. Also during that time, she trained in a four-year seminary to become an interfaith minister. Shortly after receiving an M. Div. degree and completing a ministry internship, she decided to ordain as a Buddhist nun.  Since then she has lived in large and small monasteries in both England and America. In 2012, she co-founded Karuna Buddhist Vihara, where she currently lives, located in Mountain View, California. She teaches Dharma as it applies to life experience with a focus on engaged Buddhism and serves on the board of directors for Buddhist Global Relief.

Rabbi SaraLeya Schley.jpgRabbi SaraLeya Schley was ordained as a Rabbi in 2005 by the ALEPH Rabbinical Program. She was the Senior Rabbi at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley from 2008-2014. Prior to that, she served as rabbi to the Or Shalom Jewish Community (San Francisco) from 2004-2006 and she has been a service leader at many congregations across the spectrum of Jewish practice, including the Aquarian Minyan (Berkeley), Congregation Netivot Shalom (Berkeley), Temple Beth Abraham (Oakland), Congregation Shir Neshama (Contra Costa Co.), and B'nai Ha'aretz (Garberville). She continues as an active member of Congregation Beth Israel (Berkeley) and Congregation Netivot Shalom (Berkeley). She is widely accomplished. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she earned both B.S. in Psychology and M.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She received a Master of Philosophy in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a Master of Counseling from the University of Phoenix, Tucson campus. She is also certified in Interactive Guided Imagery™ and Soul Memory Discovery. She is a mother of three and also worked as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist from 1981-2015. 

Susan_Shannon 2.jpgRev. Susan Shannon, M. Div., was ordained as an Interfaith Minister by The Chaplaincy Institute's Interfaith Community in 2011. She went on to complete a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2012, with the focus of serving marginalized and oppressed communities. Susan has been a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for over 40 years, and has studied with many of Tibet’s greatest teachers here and abroad. She has worked among diverse populations all her life in varying capacities. Since ordination, Susan's ministry has focused on prison chaplaincy projects and transformational programs at San Quentin State Prison, including providing Buddhist Chaplaincy on Death Row. Susan resides in Northern California with her eclectic two and four-legged family.

Taya Shere is co-founder of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute and co-author of The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership and Siddur HaKohanot: A Hebrew Priestess Prayerbook.  She teaches ritual craft as transformative practice, multi-religiosity and ancestor reverence at Starr King School for the Ministry.  Taya is a practitioner of Somatic Experiencing and Ancestral Lineage Healing.  Her chant albums Wild Earth ShebrewHalleluyah All NightTorah Tantrika and This Bliss have been heralded as “cutting-edge mystic medicine music.” With Ibrahim Baba, she co-founded Makam Shekhina, a multi-religious Jewish & Sufi community rooted in counter-oppressive devotion.  She guides trainings around the country and does session work virtually and in the California East Bay. / / 


Maggid Jhos Singer ( has serves as maggid at the Coastside Jewish Community in Half Moon Bay, CA, since 2000. He received s'micha/ordination from his community to act as their rabbi in a ceremony on the beach in 2002, and at the same time his teacher, Rabbi Gershon Winkler confirmed upon him the at-large title of Maggid. He is a frequent contributor to Jewish Mosaic’s Torah Queeries Commentatry ( He lives in Berkeley, CA, with his lovely wife, Julie Batz ( and their 3 delightfully wily children and one lazy cat.  When he isn’t cooking dinner, helping with homework or watering the garden he is teaching, writing, davennen, appreciating wine, or performing marriages. He is a Koret Jewish Educator fellow and is in the midst of pursuing his Master’s degree in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.

Patricia_St_Onge.pngPatricia  St. Onge, M.Div., is the founder and a Partner in Seven Generations Consulting and Coaching, where all of the work is culturally based. Deeply rooted in the concept of Seven Generations, we honor the generations who have come before us, are mindful of those yet to come, and recognize that the impact of the decisions we’re making now will last for seven generations.

Patricia has worked to support progressive social justice movements for all of her adult life.  She’s worked as Executive and Interim Director of more than a dozen non-profits. She is a Board member at the Highlander Research and Education Center. 

Ms. St. Onge holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Southern NH University (1981) and a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion (1995).  She is lead author of Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders,published by Fieldstone Alliance (2009).  She has written chapters in Coming Back to Life,Revised Edition (2015) by Joanna Macy, The Handbook of Community Practice, Second Edition edited by Marie O. Weil, University of North Carolina at Durham  (2012), andCollective Wisdom, edited by Donald Gerard (2009).  Her article, Rituals That Heal was published in Yes! Magazine, (Summer 2015)

Patricia served as a core faculty member at The Chaplaincy Institute for Interfaith Studies in Berkeley, CA for three years. She also has been adjunct faculty at Mills College in Oakland CA and at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA.

Of Haudenosaunee (Mohawk) and Quebecoise descent, Patricia is a member of Idle No More and belongs to a circle of indigenous grandmothers. Between them, she and her life partner Wilson Riles, have ten grown children and six grandchildren.  She is part of a growing community called Nafsi ya Jamii (The Soul Community), an urban farm and retreat center in East Oakland, CA.


Tristy Taylor.jpg

Rev. Tristy Taylor, M.A., grew up in a household saturated with dreamwork and art. She has been making art with her dreams since she could hold a pencil, and she has been doing dream theater and improvisational performance since 2000. She has her Masters in Arts & Consciousness from John F. Kennedy University and she was ordained by the Chaplaincy Institute in 2005. She is currently an artist, performer, weightlifter, minister and Director of Communications & Outreach for the Arts & Healing Network, an online resource network supporting the healing power of art. Her spiritual practice involves creating art every day and crafting authentic ritual for herself and others. Connect with her at

jan_thomas.jpgRev. Jan Thomas, MSW Rev. Jan Thomas, MSW is an interfaith minister, interfaith spiritual director, and Communications Manager for The Grove Consultants International (, pioneers of visual facilitation methodologies in organization development. Jan launched her career in psychiatric social work, later shifting to a social change focus. As a communications specialist she has worked in environmental protection, social justice, peace, and interfaith spirituality. From 2006-2010 she was Program Director of The Chaplaincy Institute.  Jan has been involved with the bedside singing network Threshold Choir for more than 10 years, and currently co-directs the choir's Northbay chapter. She collaborated with Rev. Bill Sewall on a video about ministry and bedside singing. Her spiritual direction practice is primarily Skype-based. Fruits of her longtime interest in the world's sacred texts can be viewed at her website (


Prajna Viera is the spiritual name given to Brianna Vieira by her Satguru (teacher), Amma. It means "pure consciousness". The sacred chanting of mantras and hymns in Sanskrit awakened a deep longing that led her down diverse spiritual paths in her adolescence. Realizing the necessity of a Satguru for a spiritual aspirant, Prajna began praying earnestly to meet her own teacher. In 1998, Prajna met Mata Amritanandamayi, or Amma, and has been her grateful disciple ever since. 

Today, she is the lead singer and keyboardist of acclaimed kirtan ensemble Mukti, and is currently is co-writing and co-producing a new work with Ben Leinbach. Prajna performs regularly with Jai Uttal, and others such as Snatam Kaur, Donna DeLory, Tina Malia, Jaya Lakshmi, The Mayapuris, C.C.White, Manose, Suzanne Sterling, and many other gifted artists of the western kirtan world. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband (sound healer Anaghan Vieira) and step-daughter. She teaches regular vinyasa and yin yoga classes in the South Bay, teaches workshops on yogic philosophy and chanting, and continues to perform regularly.

Peter Yuichi Clark.jpgRev. Peter Yuichi Clark is an ordained American Baptist minister, a board certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains, and a certified supervisor in the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Peter holds a B.A. degree from Baylor University in Waco, TX; a M.Div. degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY; and a Ph.D. degree in religious studies from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He is director of spiritual care services at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and professor of pastoral care at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley. Peter is married to Tilly Roche Clark, a medical librarian, and he is the proud father of a college sophomore named Adam

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