February 2017 Newsletter


February 2017 - News & Events

ChI News

Still Time to Apply for New Eco-Ministry Module 

Lauren Eco-Ministry ThumbnailIf you are at all concerned about the world's growing climate challenges, especially in light of recent denials about global warming, then now is the time to sign up for ChI's new Eco-Ministry for Life on Earth module. 

Offered in April for the first time by ChI, the purpose of this module is to "equip individuals for the furthering of innovative, life-sustaining and healing practices for Earth and humanity,"  says Rev. Lauren Van Ham, ChI's Seminary Dean. Hear more from Lauren about this module and our new Eco-Ministry Intensive. Click here for specifics about the April module. The application deadline is February 28th.

Read more
Request an Application or contact Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, at 510-631-3066

Honoring the Life of Sobonfu Somé

Sobonfu Some

"There is a deep longing among people in the West to connect with something bigger — with community and spirit. People know there is something missing in their lives, and believe that the rituals and ancient ways of the village offer some answers."

These are the words of author, teacher, activist and ChI Guest Faculty member Sobonfu Somé, who passed away in January. We are grateful to Sobonfu
for being a member of our guest faculty teaching the Earth Based Traditions' module and for sharing her wisdom.

To honor her life and work, a gathering has been set for 1pm Monday, February 20th,  at the Humanist Hall, 411 - 28th Street, Oakland, California. Participants are encouraged to bring pictures, stories and an open heart. Tears are welcome. Admission is free but donations are needed to help pay for this event. 

Recognized by the village elders as possessing special gifts from birth, Sobonfu's destiny was foretold before her birth, as is the custom of the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. She was fostered by early education in ritual and initiation in preparation for her life's work. It was Sobonfu’s reliance on spirit, community and ritual that allowed her personal and professional path to become one. Since the beginning of her journey in the West, Sobonfu traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe, conducting workshops on spirituality, ritual, the sacred and intimacy. Her work moved African spiritual practices from the realm of anthropology, to a place alongside the world's great spiritual tradition, with a message of profound significance and practical application in the lives of Westerners.

"Sobonfu made an indelible mark on my soul for the better, " says ChI Clergy Rev. Aida Merriweather, one of many who feel this loss.  "May your brightness shine forever." 

Support February 20th gathering
Donate to Wisdom Spring, Inc., Sobonfu's nonprofit helping bring water and education to African children.

In this Issue





ChI Events

Other Events



Community Spotlight

New Leadership Roles for ChI Clergy

Interfaith ministers, Rev. Lilliana "Lily" Saganich, ordained by ChI in 2011, and, Rev. Katie LeCount in 2014, have been named President and Vice President respectively of the Center for Spiritual Care and Pastoral Formation. Based in Walnut Creek, California, CSCPF is a relatively young international organization that educates, certifies and supports chaplains, pastoral counselors and spiritual care providers. It was established as a nonprofit organization in 2014,  and Lily is only its second President. Previously, she served as its Treasurer. As its President, Lily says she looks forward to strengthening the community foundation and to helping chart a course for the organization's continued growth and development. 

Rev. Lilliana SaganichFormerly a client accountant in the advertising industry for more than a decade, Lily was called to interfaith ministry through her work with the dying while volunteering with the Zen Hospice Project. Currently she works as a spiritual counselor at Silverado Hospice in Brisbane, California.

Katie LeCountKatie joined CSCPF in March of 2014 and immediately became active in program and community governance. She has worked as a pastoral counselor and spiritual care provider in the Bay Area for nearly 10 years. 
Learn more about CSCPF ​


Interspiritual Perspective on Wisdom

By Dr. Ed Bastian, ChI Guest Faculty member

Ed BastianGenerally speaking, the word wisdom often connotes a holistic knowingness harvested from the totality of one’s life experience, including knowledge gained through intellectual conceptualization and empirical observation. From a spiritual perspective however, Wisdom (note the capital “W”) is generally said to be the result of a transcendent insight that surpasses, informs, and then guides our everyday thoughts, perceptions, and mental projections of reality.
Read More

2017-18 Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Cohort Now Forming

ChI SD Class of 2016-17Are you eager to be a part of something special? Do you want  to get to know perfect strangers so well that they become lifelong friends? Are you curious (and open-minded) about other (different) faith traditions/religions? Do you long to better understand and cherish your spirit and your relationship with the Divine?

If so, then Rev. John Mabry, Ph.D., ChI Director, invites you to join the cohort now forming for the 2017-18 Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program beginning in August. 

This program is designed for those who feel called to a private practice in personal, one-on-one spiritual direction, and who anticipate working with clients from a variety of faith traditions. It is also well-suited for those who intend to do group spiritual direction, and for those of other helping professions who want to add a spiritual guidance perspective to their current work (such as psychotherapists, social workers, health practitioners, ministers and chaplains).

Upon successful completion of the program, participants are qualified to provide spiritual direction in the context of their choosing.

Applications are now being accepted and will be considered on a first-come-first-served-basis, but don't delay! Last year’s class sold out with 25 students, ChI's largest Spiritual Direction cohort thus far.

About the Program
Request an Application or contact Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, at 510-631-3066 

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 schedule a visit, please contact Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, at 510-631-3066 or mary(at)chaplaincyinstitute.org


March 15-19, 2017
Mahayana Buddhism Themed Module

Mayahana BuddhismExplore the Zen (Mahayana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) faces of Buddhist lineage in this Interfaith Studies Certificate Program module. Led by experts in their fields, participants will be invited to explore the skillful teachings within this tradition, particularly regarding being-ness, death and dying, and cultivating a wise and compassionate heart. As always, classroom experience Vajrayana Buddhismblends lecture with interactive work, and opportunities to integrate with theme-appropriate art, music and/or movement. A site visit to a nearby Tibetan Center provides participants with an opportunity to engage and practice with Tibetans in the Bay Area.

Program Information
►More Information: Mary Hicken, ChI Admissions Manager, 510-631-3066 or mary(at)chaplaincyinstitute.org

New: Eco-Ministry for Life on Earth, April 25-29, 2017

Eco Ministry Do you have a deep desire and soul longing to taking action, bear witness and heal our connection to Earth? If the answer is "Yes!"please join us for this new ChI experience in April.

In this module,  mornings will focus on right-brain theme-based learning while afternoons will be spent in left-brain exploration of the morning's teachings through art, group work and/or field excursions. Class time will be spent outside in nature and at an urban farm where students will get to practice "other ways of knowing" by looking to the teachings of plants, animals and all forms of life. Students will be guided through explorations of the impact upon the Earth of lifestyle choices, systems change and social transformations, and will grieve, ritualize and make space for the Earth liturgy that wants to be born in us and shared.

This module is not part of the Interfaith Studies Certificate Program. It is only available as part of the new two-module Eco-Ministry Intensive (for those taking this month's Earth Based Traditions module) or as a stand alone offering.

Eco-Ministry Intensive 
►More Information:  Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, 510-631-3066 or mary(at)chaplaincyinstitute.org
ChI Events

Interfaith Labyrinth Walk

labryinthThis is a free-form service, with few words spoken, and lots of freedom as we invite people to pray, sing, meditate, or walk the labyrinth.

When:  6:00pm - 7:00pm., Friday, February 24, 2017
 Christ Church, 2138 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 

Interfaith Ministry & Chaplaincy: An Introduction

Feeling called to serve and grow as a spiritual leader, chaplain or Interfaith minister but unsure of your next steps? We can help! Attend this two-hour session and learn how.

When: 10:30am-12:30pm, Saturday, March 18, 2017
Where: ChI Office, 1400 Shattuck Ave. Suite 14, Berkeley, California.

More Info
RSVP to mary(at)chaplaincyinstitute.org

Spring 2017 Ordination Ceremony & Celebration

Join us as we ordain and welcome as new ministers to The ChI Interfaith Community the following six students:

  • Cynthia Davis 
  • Louise DiMattio
  • Elizabeth Grainger
  • Kat Kowalski
  • Tina Perricone
  • Ann Wizer

When: Saturday, March 18, 2017, Doors open at 2pm. Service begins at 2:30pm
Where: Christ Church, 2138 Cedar Street, Berkeley, California

Make a Gift in Honor of an Ordinand

Other Events

Spiritual Practices for Social Justice Work

spiritual social justice workThe Marin Interfaith Council is holding a day-long retreat providing the spiritual resources and wisdom needed for faith leaders increasingly facing social justice issues arising amid our rapidly changing political environment. Rabbi Chai Levy, a current student in ChI's Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, will be a retreat leader along with Rev. Ted Scott from Westminster Presbyterian. 

When: 10am-4pm, Tomorrow Monday, February 13, 2017
 in Marin, 600 Palm Drive, Novato, California.

More info

LOGO-2016-09-20-800v-3Women Building Bridges of Interfaith Unity

Explore and use the power of Interfaith collaboration to spur positive community change at this first-ever Interfaith Women's Conference. For women of all faiths throughout  the Puget Sound.
When: 8:30am-4:30pm, Saturday, March 4, 2017
Where: Curtis Senior High School, University Place, WA
Registration deadline: Saturday, February 28, 2017

More Info

SDI Logo2017 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

acpe log2017 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

ChI awareHelp Bring Greater Awareness to ChI 

Donate to ChI today and help us have a presence at these conference. Your contribution will help us pay for a booth, or for flyers and other participant materials. Donate online at http://chaplaincyinstitute.org/support-chi/donate/ .

If you plan to attend and would be willing to help man/woman our booth, please email shawn(at)chaplaincyinstitute.org 

Thank you!!!

Support ChI

Donate to ChI, Receive This Angel

popup angel

As you may know, ChI relies upon one time and monthly recurring gifts to operate and to fulfill our goals and mission. But did you also know that these donations fund nearly 40 percent of our annual operating budget and 100 percent of future growth initiatives,  like our new Eco-Ministry Intensive. Contribute today, and receive as a gift an angel like the one pictured produced by recently ordained ChI Clergy, Rev. Jen Miller

Donate Now
Visit Jen's website

We Need You!

There are many ways you can support our work at ChI.
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

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