November 2016 Newsletter

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November 2016 - News & Events

ChI News

Special Message From the Dean

ecoministryIn 2017-18, ChI will be piloting some new practices and content. In addition to curriculum focused on eco-leadership and emerging vocations in eco-ministry, a handful of Interfaith Studies classes, currently happening live in a classroom, will launch in an online format.  

Many of you have been asking for this for a long time!  

ChI is excited to be in the right position now to make these ideas real, with your help. If you want to share ChI with a more diverse audience in places across the United States regardless of an individual's ability to travel to and from Berkeley, if you want ChI to provide a greater number of classes and resources that invite eco-action and earth ministry, then we want to hear from you! Your contributions of financial and volunteer support are equally needed as we continue to research, consult and prepare for these exciting and much-needed offerings. 

With gratitude, Rev. Lauren Van Ham

Donate Now
►More information: Contact lauren(at)

ChI Announces New Board Member

Mary NelsonMary Nelson is President Emeritus of Bethel New Life, where she served for 26 years. Bethel pioneered in creative community based efforts to build healthier, sustainable and equitable communities on Chicago’s west side. She serves on the Boards of Sojourners, Christian Community Development Association, Good City and is past Board President of Woodstock Institute. Mary
was Interim Executive Director of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions for three years, and led it through the 2015 Parliament in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also has been on the World Bank Interfaith Committee working on the pledge to eliminate extreme poverty.
Mary has a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School, six honorary Ph.Ds and now consults, writes and teaches in faith-based community development. Mary seeks to be faithful to God’s call to work for justice and community. She lives, works and worships on the Westside of Chicago. 

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In this Issue





ChI Events

Other Events



Community Spotlight

Spirituality and Politics

Jacquelyn Sneed


Following up on last month's meeting on the Spiritual Dimension of Politics held by the Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda, Albany, and Richmond, California (BEAR) satellite group of ChI alumni, students and staff, Rev. Jacquelyn Sneed, a 2012 ChI graduate, ponders love vs. fear and the importance of deep listening in the context of this year's highly contentious Presidential election. 

► Read More
Visit our Facebook page




Contra Costa County, CA Satellite Meeting

Nov East Bay CoCoCo Satellite mtg
The team spent much of its October meeting in deep sharing with Rev. Don Oyao, ChI transfer of ministerial standing alum, about his experience and insights of being homeless on the streets of San Francisco in service as a chaplain to that community. "It was very educational and sparked a discussion about our roles as givers vs. receivers and the difficult responsibility of both," says Rev. Margaret Northall, the group's chair. "It dug at the heart of housing and social justice issues, of how to resolve the problematic cycle of being two paychecks away from being homeless, and the mental health and complex issues that follow, including  disparate challenges of who gets granted shelter beds for the night, or whether they remain homeless." 
Margaret says the discussion closed inconclusively in some sense, but lives on with each one present asking themselves, "How shall we engage now?" and "What am I called to in this regard?"

Pictured above from left to right (back row): Mary Lee Dodd, Rev. Don Oyao, Sharon Campton, and Rev. Margaret Northall. Front Row: Rev. Doug Myers, Vicki Weiland, Rev. Maria Kivel, Rev. Jessica Shine, Rev. Jean Weiss, and Margaret Niles

Meet Rev. Felicia Parazaider, Revivalist in the New Paradigm

Spiritual Renewal Minister, Berkeley, CA

Rev Felicia 
Felicia is a minister and visionary working in a new paradigm, within an old-fashioned "revival meeting" approach, providing spiritual renewal outreach to the broader community while based in a rooted local ministry. Her ministry, “Revolution of Love” arises from her desire to call people home to their truth, to a place of love and expansiveness. 

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!

Animals on Reiki: Teachings on the Principles of Energy Healing

Animals on Reiki
Rev. Nancy Schluntz, a ChI graduate, animal chaplain and animal communicator, has written a new book on the wisdom of animals and how they can help humans gain a deeper understanding of anger, humility, honesty and compassion. "Teacher animals from Bee to Owl, from Field Mouse to Mountain Lion, from Dolphin to Llama, and many others, offer answers," Nancy says. 

Read more
Purchase the Book


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)


January 18-20, 2017 Catholicism & Orthodox Christianity Themed Module

In the month of January we explore Christianity through the lens of Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity. In addition to introductory classes on Catholicism, students will explore the teachings of the women Christian mystics, the sacrament of communion, and the sacred scriptures of Christianity. They also will get an overview of the professional field of spiritual care, with a specific focus on tending to Roman Catholics. Social justice teaching will address the threads that make up a transformative worldview. For the arts element in January, students will explore connection and communion through Expressive Arts, as well as have a dream theater session with Rev. Tristy Taylor. For field learning experience, students will spend Sunday morning at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.

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

You are Invited: Ordination Ceremony and Celebration

2014 OrdinationOn Saturday, November 19th six Interfaith Studies Certificate Program students will graduate and be ordained at ChI's Fall Ordination Ceremony and Celebration. They are: 
  • Sharon Campton
  • Ann Robben Dott
  • Sue Gimpel
  • Molly Johnson
  • Toni Saul
  • Lisa Winston
At this event ChI will also honor Betty Spamer for completing the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program.

The Fall Ordination will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Christ Church, 2138 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. Street parking only, so plan to arrive early.

The weekend of celebration will include a Kirtan at Christ Church on Friday, the night before the ordination. All are invited.

Kirtan event details
Ordination event details
Make a gift in honor of an ordinand or graduate

Interfaith Ministry & Chaplaincy: An Introduction

Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 pm

An Interfaith perspective is one of mutual respect and harmonious living among people of all faith traditions. It provides a road map for navigating the boundaries between people, religion and cultures and helps to bridge the religious schisms that divide our world. What is Interfaith? Am I a spiritual leader? What is ministry? What is chaplaincy? 

Join us for a 2-hour introductory session where we will consider these questions together. Through brief presentations by faculty and alumni, you will learn more about Interfaith theology, the Interfaith movement, and vocational opportunities calling you to serve and grow as a spiritual leader, chaplain or Interfaith minister. Information about The Chaplaincy Institute’s Interfaith Studies Certificate, Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate, Spiritual Psychology and Transfer/Dual Ministerial Standing programs will be provided.

Those in attendance are warmly invited to attend The ChI Interfaith Community’s Ordination Ceremony beginning at 5:00 p.m. Come meet our community and celebrate with us as we confer a cohort of ChI graduates as Interfaith ministers!

Location: ChI office: 1400 Shattuck Avenue, #14, Berkeley, CA
Registration: necessary, as space is limited. Call 510-631-3066 or email mary(at)

Attend Our Monthly Labyrinth Service

November 25, 2016 - Interfaith Labyrinth Service


Other Events

Awakening to Life in Transition

A Retreat with Ralph Steele and Alexandra Kennedy

awakeningThis retreat is an opportunity and an invitation to awaken to life more fully in the moment and to trust life flowing through us with all of its challenges and gifts. Instead of reacting to these changes with anxiety and fear, we can discover at our source a deep sense of peace and well-being.
When: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Thursday October 27-Saturday October 29, 2017
Where: Land of the Medicine Buddha retreat center, 5800 Prescott Rd., Soquel, CA
Registration & Further Information: Life Transition Meditation Center, 505-982-4183 ext. 2 or info(at)

► More info

Support ChI

Year End Appeal for Support

Please watch your snail mail and email boxes within the next couple of weeks where you will find a request for financial support of ChI’s important mission.  We rely on donations to fund our programs.  The theme of this year’s campaign is Compassion.
com-pas-sion   noun
The response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.

Every day Interfaith ministers, chaplains and spiritual directors offer spiritual companionship and care to the sick, dying and marginalized. Lives are deeply changed, one compassionate heart at a time.
Your gift to ChI 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. As our collective work grows, we will be closer to achieving ChI’s vision: A just world that honors the sacred connection of all.

Thank you for your ongoing support of ChI.

► Donate Now
► For more information contact: vicki(at) or 925-588-6189


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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