January 2017 Newsletter


January 2017 - News & Events


In Memorial: Huston Smith 

Huston Smith, renowned HustonSmithworld religions scholar and author died after a long illness on Friday, December 31, 2016, at his home in Berkeley, California. He was 97.
Huston was largely responsible for introducing Eastern religion to Americans with his 1950s television series The Religions of Man, which led to his classic textbook, The World's Religions, which sold over two million copies and remains a popular introduction to comparative religion. 

He is credited with bringing Martin Luther King Jr. to lecture at then-segregated Washington University in St. Louis in the 1950s, and with helping first bring the Dalai Lama to the United States.

A friend of ChI's Founder, Rev. Gina Rose Halpern, Mr. Smith was one of the primary inspirations for offering our studies of the world's major religions at The Chaplaincy Institute. Mr. Smith was honored for his interfaith leadership in 2007 at an event co-hosted by ChI. Two weeks after the event, Gina Rose visited with him and he had this to say about ChI: " “In this time when religion is assuming increasing importance—for both good and ill—it is wonderful to have an institution like The Chaplaincy Institute which teaches people how to respect other faiths without falling into relativism.”

Our gratitude to Huston Smith for dedicating his life to paving the way and our prayers to his family and to those who mourn his loss. 

Read more about ChI's event honoring Mr. Smith 
New York Times Obituary


Join ChI in 2017 

Contemplating how you will serve humanity, especially in today's complex political climate? We encourage you to make this the year you attend ChI.   

Lauren Eco-Ministry ThumbnailIn addition to our unique offerings of interfaith ministry, chaplaincy and spiritual direction education, this year ChI is piloting a new Eco-Ministry Intensive that "will 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 Lauren's  message about this new offering.

At The Chaplaincy Institute, we believe that the world is in need of the gifts and talents of every individual called to service. We are dedicated to supporting your unique call.

Join us in 2017! 

Click here to learn more about ChI's programs. 
Read more about Eco-Ministry Intensive
►Or email Mary Hicken, Admissions Manager, for more information

ChI Comings and Goings

Staff - We are pleased to welcome Meg Starbuck, a long-time nonprofit bookkeeper, to our team as Finance Manager. Meg replaces Anne Devlin, who resigned in December, as well as Lisa Thorne, our accountant for the past eight years. "We thank Anne for her short but mighty contributions to moving ChI forward in terms of our systems and processes, and we feel blessed to have Lisa's professionalism and dedication to our mission for so long," says Executive Director Vicki  Weiland. "Lisa has been a strong partner to me and to our staff and board. She will remain involved at ChI, as a graduate of our Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program and as a forever member of our community.  Thank you will never seem enough, Lisa."

Board - Our very special thanks also goes out to volunteer Board President Jim Christiansen and to Treasurer Mike Stamper who both served three, two-year terms, as well as to Tim Geckle who's two-year term as a Board Member At Large also ended December 31. We so appreciate each of their service which will be further acknowledged at our upcoming ordination ceremony in March.

In the meantime, ChI is looking for new board leaders. If you, or someone you know, are interested, please contact board member Sharon Mooney

Read more about Meg
Read more about ChI Board opportunities


Five Ways Spiritual Direction Can Improve Your New Year

spiritual directionHave you included “getting spiritually grounded” on your list of goals for 2017? If so, you may find the practice of spiritual direction helpful. Spiritual direction is a contemplative look at what really matters in your life, says Teresa Blythe, Founder of the Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction, and author of 50Ways to Pray, a popular how-to-book for small group leaders, clergy, spiritual directors and individuals who long for new ways to pray. Here are five ways spiritual direction can be helpful to you, she says:
  1. Spiritual direction provides a safe, confidential space for you to share your hopes, dreams, beliefs, doubts, spiritual experiences and longings. 
  2. Spiritual direction adds one more person to your circle of support.
  3. Spiritual direction can help you discern your role in making the world a more loving and compassionate place.
  4. Spiritual direction can help you process and heal wounds of abuse and exclusion at the hands of religious institutions.
  5. Most importantly, spiritual direction is designed to help you deepen your awareness of the sacred in life. 
ChI has trained more than 100 Interfaith Spiritual Directors that are here to support you along with about 35 Spiritual Director interns gaining field experience toward their certificate. See our directory for a Spiritual Director near you.
Read more from Teresa
Schedule a session with a ChI spiritual director or intern
Learn more about ChI's 2017 Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program

A Message of Hope from John Robinson in Time for the Presidential Inauguration

john_robinson-210In this article, ChI ordained Rev. John Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min., proposes ways to cope with feelings you may have as a result of the recent Presidential election and the January 20th inauguration .

Read article 

In this Issue





ChI Events

Other Events




Community Spotlight

Newly Ordained ChI Clergy Takes Stand Against Hate

KleinbergsRev. Pat Kleinberg, ordained by ChI on September 24th, 2016, attended an Hour of Prayer and Solidarity at the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose last month with her husband, David. The Center was the recipient of a hate-filled letter that was sent by an anonymous writer in November to a number of mosques in California and other states. Grateful for the outpouring of support by the community in response to the letter, the Center decided “to turn a negative event into a positive experience” by inviting everyone to a time of community prayer. “It was heartening,” said Pat, “to see such a wonderful response. There were representatives of manyEvergreen faith traditions, civic leaders, members of congregations, and others who came to show their love and support for the Muslim community. They said this would be a ‘gathering of forgiveness, hope, peace and unity’ and it was. I was grateful that I could be there with everyone else to show my support for the Muslim community who had been targeted. I believe that love is stronger than hate.”


Eco-Ministry Intensive 

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)

Application Deadline: January 31st.

Note to Interfaith Studies students and alumni: If you have taken the February Earth Based Traditions module within the last five years, the April module is available as a single, stand-alone module. Come join us.


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)chaplaincyinstitute.org


February 15-19, 2017 Earth Based Traditions Themed Single 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)chaplaincyinstitute.org

ChI Events

Spring 2017 Ordination Ceremony & Celebration

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Doors open at 2:00pm. Service begins at 2:30

Christ Church
2138 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA

More Info


Interfaith Ministry & Chaplaincy: An Introduction

Saturday, March 18, 2017

ChI Office
1400 Shattuck Ave. Suite 14, Berkeley, CA

More Info
RSVP to mary(at)chaplaincyinstitute.org

Attend Our Monthly Labyrinth Service

January 27, 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. Please 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

Thank You for Your Support

Our gratitude  to those who responded to our year-end annual appeal for support with the invitation to Give Compassion. You contributed $16,916 and $14,250 of that was matched by board members and our Founder for a total of $31,166 in contributions overall to support our important mission. Thank you to all who responded to this call for support. 

Know that its not too late to give! ChI relies on one time and monthly recurring gifts to operate and to fulfill our goals and mission. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Donate Now

Pop-Up Prayer Cards Now Available

popup angelInspired by art created during Rev. Jen Miller's 2015 year at ChI,  these cards were carefully researched, and care was taken to seek out people of each faith for ideas for design, prayers and feedback. All of Jen's angels and cards stand up on their own, are conveniently sized, and have been enthusiastically received. 
Beyond cards for Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, she has designed cards for Healing, Self-Care, and Forgiveness, and she is working on one for Grief. 
Jen is offering her cards at a discount for The ChI Community OR make a donation of $500 or more or a recurring monthly contribution to ChI and receive an angel as our gift to you. 

Visit Jen's website
Donate to ChI


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

Join us: 



Category: News

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