Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program


Alphabetical Order (click on links for bios)

Barbara Broadbent Moana Meadow
Pollyanna Bush Joellynn Monahan
Karen Erlichman Susan S. Phillips
Nikira Hermandez Shakina Reinhertz
Anne Huffman Clare Ronzani
Bruce Lescher Adaityanada Saraswati
Thom McCombs Val Szymanski

Barbara Broadbent.jpgBarbara J. Broadbent, M.A., is a Commissioned Lay Minister in the United Church of Christ. She has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education from Elmhurst College and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. In the fall of 2014, Barbara completed requirements for certification as a Spiritual Director with the The Chaplaincy Institute. In addition to being a facilitator at SoulCollage and a Spiritual Director, Barbara consults with groups and organizations using The Appreciative Way, a faith-based application of the Appreciative Inquiry process. Her greatest joy is found in combining the life-affirming messages of all three of these disciplines in her work.
Bush-Pollyanna.jpgPollyanna Bush, ChI’s Music Director, 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 Nath’s 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 fifteen years, including work in New York City with the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has been choral director for "Sing for Your Life" at Grace Cathedral and the Interfaith Chapel in the Presidio, San Francisco. 
 karen-erlichman-300x200.jpg Karen Erlichman has a private practice in San Francisco, where she provides psychotherapy, spiritual direction, supervision and mentoring. Karen is currently on the faculty of the Morei Derekh Jewish spiritual direction training program, and is a Professor of Jewish Spirituality at the Graduate Theological Foundation. She has also served on the faculty at a number of Bay Area educational institutions, including Sofia University (formerly the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology), Starr King School for the Ministry, the University of California-San Francisco in the Department of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences and San Francisco State University’s Department of Social Work. Karen received a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2015 from the Graduate Theological Foundation, and her doctoral project received the Mother Teresa Award for Spirituality and Community Service. She has served as a consultant for the National Welcoming Synagogues Project, and was a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations of the Bay Area. Karen trained as a Courage and Renewal® facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal, inspired by the leadership of Quaker educator Parker Palmer. Her writing has appeared in Women and Therapy, Zeek and Tikkun, and she writes regularly for Presence: the Journal of Spiritual Directors International.
NikiNikira Hernandez.jpgra 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.
Anne Huffman.jpg Anne Huffman, Ph.D.,is the associate director of the Master of Arts in Spiritual Guidance (MASG) program at Sofia University and adjunct faculty in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) program. She brings together nearly 20 years of experience in nursing, clinical research and spiritual guidance. All of these past work experiences inform Anne’s current interests in teaching, research and bringing spiritual guidance to a wider audience. Anne’s research is focused on the application and efficacy of spiritual guidance, generational research, and transpersonal theory and literature. She enjoys working with the spiritual guidance students as they explore spiritual guidance and its many and varied applications through their theses and professional training. Her additional areas of interest include the enneagram, dream work, diversity in transpersonal psychology and spiritual guidance, feminist theory, and qualitative research methods, such as narrative inquiry and organic inquiry. She earned her certificate in Spiritual Guidance from ITP, now Sofia University, and worked closely with Bob Frager to create and develop the Master of Art in Spiritual Guidance program at Sofia University in which she currently teaches.
Bruce Lesher.jpgBruce Lescher is adjunct senior lecturer in spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (located in Berkeley), where he has served previously as director of sabbatical programs and as associate academic dean. He currently teaches both at the Jesuit School of Theology and in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministry at Santa Clara University. He has been involved in the ministry of spiritual direction for over thirty years. He received his Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union.
Tom McCombs.jpgDr. Thom McCombs, the Ridgecrest Junction Way Teacher, is an osteopathic physician in private practice in the Napa Valley. He has trained Dao Dan Pai since 1974. He has published two translations of Ancestor Lu Dong Pin’s teachings in the Journal of the British Taoist Association. He was Abbot of the Golden Elixir Temple from 1993 – 2001. He is the 9th member of the Academy of Abbots of the Taoist Institute. He has travelled twice to China with Master Share K. Lew, the Phoenix Mind Way Teacher, visiting the Taoist temples of Mt LoFa where Dao Dan Pai was taught to him by Chen Poi, the Quiet Wind Way Teacher.
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:
 RevJoellynnMonahan 160717.jpgReverend Joellynn Monahan, MDiv, MEd is ordained in the United Church of Christ and has practiced Vipassana Buddhist Meditation since 1998.  Her ministry as a spiritual director and as Abbess of Heart of Wisdom Monastery reflects over 25 years commitment to education and activism on social justice issues including anti-racism, gender equity, LGBTQI/SGL advocacy, disability rights, and environmental & food justice.  Prior to ordination, Joellynn worked in secular Higher Education as a therapist and training student leaders on issues of diversity.  She completed a Masters of Education in Counseling & Human Development at St. Lawrence University, a Masters of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union, and trained in interfaith spiritual direction at the Chaplaincy Institute. Learn more about her ministry at​

susan phillips.pngSusan S. Phillips, Ph.D
, has served as Executive Director at New College Berkeley, since 1994, and prior to that was the Academic Dean. New College Berkeley’s commitment to promoting the integration of Christian faith in everyday life is central to her sense of call as a Christian sociologist, spiritual director, and professor of sociology and Christianity. Susan did her doctoral studies at U.C. Berkeley, privileged to study with Robert Bellah, Guy Swanson, John Clausen, Richard Lazarus, Gertrude Jaeger, Michael Burowoy, Arlie Hochschild, and other scholars whose academic work is saturated with their interest in what it means to live a good life. As a graduate student she was a Fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health in Personality and Social Structure, which informed and clarified her interest in the relationship between social life, personality, and spirituality.
Clare Ronzani.jpgClare Ronzani's work includes teaching courses in spirituality, serving as the Jesuit School Career Advisor, and leading workshops and retreats. In addition to her teaching at JST, Clare's work for many years included administration of the school's international renewal program, the Institute for Spirituality and Worship. She has also served as the Director for Spiritual Formation at the Franciscan School of Theology. At JST, Clare especially enjoys classroom interaction that engages experienced ministers and those preparing for ministry in mutual reflection and learning. Clare has offered workshops and retreats in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Guatemala, and Nigeria. Her professional interests include the integration of spirituality with psychology, the arts, ecological concerns, and social justice/transformation.
Shakina_Reinhertz.jpgShakina Reinhertz, M.A. author of 'Women called to the Path of Rumi," is an educator, a storyteller, and advocate of women's rights who has walked the path of Sufism for 33 years. Since early childhood, dance 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, the alchemical retreat process, and the practice of inquiry under the guidance of Taj Inayat,  which has been the foundation of her spiritual work. She is a representative and retreat guide in the Sufi Order International. In 1982, Jelaleddin Loras, head of the Mevlevi Order of America, initiated her as a whirling dervish. She is now a senior teacher, a leader of zikr, (body prayer and chanting), and is training as a Postneshin, one who leads the Whirling Dervish Ceremony. At his request, she created a leader’s manual for teachers and students. She has taught at Starr King School for the Ministry, Wisdom University, The Abode of the Message, as well as The Chaplaincy Institute.
Adaityananda Sarawati.jpgSwami Adaityananda Saraswati lives at the Devi Mandir where he has studied the Philosophy and Practices of the Santana Dharma (also known as Hinduism) and performed the daily worship services there for the past 3 years. His other major places of study were Bihar School of Yoga (in India), where he lived for 6 months and Pranavinyasa School of Yoga, where he originally learned Yoga and later taught. He was formally initiated into Sannyasa (the Hindu equivalent of becoming a Monk) by his Guru, Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the summer of 2015. His life is dedicated to the worship and service of God, who resides in all beings, to Sadhana (spiritual practice), and to Seva (selfless service as an expression of love.) 
Val Szymanski.jpgVal Szymanski is the founding teacher of Bamboo in the Wind, a Zen practice group that meets in Sunnyvale. She was ordained by Diane Martin in the Danin Katagiri Roshi lineage. Reverend Val is an esteemed calligrapher and offers calligraphy workshops, as well as dharma studies. After retiring from her position as Director of Engineering in the corporate world after 30 years in technology in February 2012, Val has devoted her time to developing the Bamboo in the Wind Zen Center in Sunnyvale.  She lives in Cupertino with her husband.

Guest Faculty Criteria

While we train our students to use the non-directive method with everyone, it is nevertheless instructive to learn about how spiritual guidance has traditionally been offered in various world religions. Thus, we bring in guest faculty who are authorized to give spiritual guidance in their own traditions to speak to us about the methods of spiritual guidance used historically in their tradition.

We then ask them to speak to us about what we should know if we work with a client from their tradition—what are some common spiritual goals in that tradition, and what are common pitfalls and struggles for people in that tradition? They may also offer concepts, insights, tools, and techniques from their tradition that will be of use when working with clients of that tradition—or perhaps of any tradition or none. What are the gifts for spiritual guidance that this tradition brings to us?

Ideally, every faculty member would be:

-born into his or her faith

-qualified to do spiritual guidance in his or her own tradition

-trained in the non-directive method as well

-a cracking good teacher

Unfortunately, teachers who fit all four of these criteria are exceedingly rare. If you look at the Venn diagram below, you’ll see that the point where all four meet is very small indeed.  So, while this is always our ideal, at The Chaplaincy Institute, we aspire to employ guest faculty that possess three out of the four criteria:

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