December 2016 Newsletter


December 2016 - News & Events

ChI News

Give Compassion

A beautiful example of compassionate service is Kat Kowalski, who will be ordained a minister by The ChI Interfaith Community this spring. Kat is the Rev Kat KowalskiPediatric Palliative Care Chaplain Fellow at Johns Hopkins, helping parents who have received a disheartening prenatal diagnosis navigate pregnancy and the birth of their baby, providing spiritual and emotional support to families as they care for and, perhaps, face the end of the life of their sick infant. “Even the shortest lives are bright lights,” Kat says. “I am privileged to hold space for such unfathomable love and sorrow.” Here is an amazing video about the compassionate work that Kat and her co-workers do for families in need

Your gift to ChI this year will help us continue to give as many people as possible the tools and education they need to bring compassionate care to their local and widespread communities.

Donate Now
►More information: Contact vicki(at) or 925-588-6189

ChI Community Members Take A Stand at Standing Rock

Standing Rock1Among the more than 500 interfaith clergy and laity called to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in solidarity against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline last month was Deb Hansen, a member of ChI's ordained clergy and Spiritual Direction Certificate Program student at The Chaplaincy Institute. Deb joined with eight fellow students from the Pacific School of Religion and Starr King School for the Ministry who made the 30-hour cross country trip from the Bay Area to stand in solidarity with 524 interfaith allies representing 20 faith traditions and witness with those protecting the tribe's land and water supply.  

Also standing in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline is ChI Core Faculty member Patricia St. Onge, who participated in a rally held at Oakland, California's Frank Ogawa Plaza as part of a national day of solidarity with the Sioux Tribe. This event is among several events and activities Patricia led across the country (including at Standing Rock) in support of this critical issue.

Read Deb's Story
Read Patricia's Story
Standing Rock: How to Lend Your Support

In this Issue





ChI Events

Other Events




Community Spotlight

ChI Community Welcomes New Interfaith Clergy

Photo by Jessica ShineOn Saturday,  November 19, 2016, The ChI Interfaith Community ordained six new ministers at Christ Church in Berkeley, California before a congregation of about 100 people, including ChI students, clergy, spiritual directors, faculty, staff, board members and ordinands' family members, spouses, partners and friends. Pictured above they are (from left): Rev. Sharon Campton, Rev. Sue Gimpel, Rev. Toni Saul, Betty Spamer, Rev. Lisa Winston, Rev. Molly Johnson. This event also included a special ceremony honoring Betty (center) for completing ChI's Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program. 

Read more
Read Ordinands' Homilies
Read Rev. Jessica Shine's  Offering Appeal 


Meet Rev. Dr. Sheldon Hurst

Art Curating for Collective Spiritual Formation

Sheldon Hurst

Sheldon, a graduate of both ChI's Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate and Transfer of Ministerial Standing programs, sees art exhibits as a way to initiate genuine dialogue and interaction between cultures and traditions within the local community. 

Read more

Are you called to Interfaith ministry and chaplaincy but unsure how to fulfill your calling? ChI's Types of Interfaith Ministries page can help. The purpose of this page is to educate potential students on the many ways there are to be of Interfaith service and how training at ChI can manifest in the world.

The other goal of the page is to celebrate the good works of our clergy. If you are a ChI graduate interested in writing a few paragraphs about your work and how you use your ChI education, please email Shawn(at)

Now Available!

Leaves of Life

Leaves of Light
Interfaith educator and ChI Guest Faculty member, Charles Burack, recent published "On Turning Sixty: Counsel From My Inner Wisdom on How to Live," an article in Tikkun Daily, the multimedia blog site and "Leaves of Life," a book of poetry. In the article, Charles offers 11 pearls of wisdom for sexagenarians. In his luminous collection of poems, Charles meets trees, flowers, birds, spiders, cats, seals, and other wondrous and endangered creatures as equals. They share their wisdom and beauty, love and fear, humor and suffering and inspire in him profound ponderings, playful antics, and startling realizations. Other poems scintillate with the mysteries of human love, loss, death, and celebration. The poem entitled I Am won first prize in the international Songs of the Soul Poetry Contest.

Read article - On Turning 60
View/Purchase the Book - Leaves of Light


Coming in 2017: Eco-Ministry/Eco-Leadership Program Pilot

“When you look at what is happening to our planet – and it is hard to look at what’s happening to our water, our air, our trees, our fellow species – it becomes clear that unless you have some roots in a spiritual practice that holds life sacred and encourages joyful communion with all your fellow beings, facing the enormous challenges ahead becomes nearly impossible.”

-Joanna Macy, environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology
The ChI Seminary is responding to the deep desire and soul-longing for many to take action, bear witness, and heal our connection with Earth. This two-part series is a pilot to encourage the curriculum's evolution into an established ChI program:
Part One: Earth-Based Traditions Themed Module (part of ChI's Interfaith Studies Certificate Program), February 15-19, 2017
Part Two: Eco-Ministry for Life on Earth, April 25-29, 2017 (Begins midday Tuesday - 2:00 pm Saturday)
►To register email Mary(at)
Learn more


Visit a Module

If you are interested in learning more about our seminary programs and potentially becoming a student, we invite you to visit the first day of an Interfaith Studies Certificate Program module as our guest. 

To register, contact Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, at 510-631-3066 or mary(at)


February 15-19, 2017 Earth Based Traditions Themed Module

This module offers a general, broad brushstroke on a canvas far richer than a 5-day course of study can begin to cover. In the classroom, students receive an introduction to earth-based traditions: Wiccan, Pagan, Indigenous as well as Eco-Spirituality. Standing classes taught by Core Faculty further the students’ studies of various spiritual care practices, theological literacy and public speaking. In site visits with guest faculty representing First Nations in North America, and parts of Africa, students will receive teachings from these sacred worldviews by participating in a Sweat Lodge ceremony and visiting a drumming studio, in East Oakland, to celebrate the rhythms of Africa.

More info
►To register or enroll, in this single module immersion opportunity, contact: Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, at 510-631-3066 or mary(at)

ChI Events

Attend Our Monthly Labyrinth Service

December 30, 2016 - Interfaith Labyrinth Service

Other Events

2017 SDI Conference

Seeking Connection - April 20-28 Toronto, Canada

Fragmentation characterizes much of our global experience. Political and religious ideologies divide. Separation from nature threatens human survival on our planet. Lack of a spiritual center leaves many living a divided existence.

During the 2017 Seeking Connection events, we will acknowledge the powerful healing potential of recognizing and celebrating our interdependence with community, creation, and Spirit. Together, we will explore ways in which spiritual direction supports the formation of these healing and transforming connections.

More info

2017 ACPE Conference

What We Need is Here - May 3-6
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Parker Palmer and Carrie Newcomer will join together in a special performance and presentation as keynote speakers. The Rev. Dr. Gregory Ellison and Matthew Sanford will also offer presentations on moving together, moving ahead.

More info

Help Bring ChI to the World's Attention 

ChI would like to have a presence at these conferences. Your donation would help pay for a booth, or for flyers and other participants materials,  and other participate materials. If you plan to attend and would be willing to help man/woman our booth or if you are willing to provide financial support, please donate online at: or email Shawn(at) 

Thank you!!!

Support ChI

Support The Chaplaincy Institute by Shopping this Holiday Season

DonateDuring this gift giving time of the year, please consider giving to ChI as well by making your online purchases through Amazon Smile and iGive. Both sites will donate a portion of your purchases to ChI, at no additional costs to you! 

Learn more 


We Need You!

Due to the very limited part time paid staff resources at ChI, we rely heavily on volunteers to come forward and bring their skills and talents to ChI to assist with various operations, If you have time to dedicate to ChI, we would love to have you.

Thank you!

The Chaplaincy Institute's mission is to educate and empower people for new models of Interfaith service and spiritual care to heal and transform our world. 

The Chaplaincy Institute is a nonprofit organization. 
Tax ID #94-3334108

Join us: 


Category: News

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