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Photo by Chris Woodrow
Pictured from left, back row: Rev. Kat Kowalski, Rev. Ann Wizer and Rev. Robert Drake. Front left front row: Tina Perricone, Elizabeth Grainger, Louise DiMattio and Cynthia Davis
The ChI Interfaith Community last month welcomed seven new interfaith ministers as part of The Chaplaincy Institute’s Spring 2017 Ordination and Credentialing Ceremony at Christ Church in Berkeley.
Also honored as part of the ceremony was Robert Drake for completing the requirements to transfer his ministerial standing to The ChI Interfaith Community.
Gathered for the service and the reception that followed was a congregation of nearly 100 people, including ChI students, clergy, faculty, staff, board members and ordinands' family members, partners, spouses, and friends. The service began with a processional accompanied by the lively drumming and singing of ChI Core Faculty members, Rev. Jim Larkin and Rev. Megan Wagner, Ph.D. ChI Interfaith Community Minister Rev. Jessica Shine, M.Div., delivered the welcome. ChI Admissions Manager and Guest Faulty member Mary Mallahan Hicken, M.S.W, delivered the invocation. The musical offering was provided by Rev. Lilliana Saganich, ordained by ChI in 2011.
During the offering Mary Lee Dodd, Interfaith Studies Certificate Program student, presented ChI with a donation of $80,000, explaining how she came to ChI transformed from a microbiologist to a volunteer providing spiritual care to the ill and elderly. “The financial needs of The Chaplaincy Institute began to tug at her heart,” she recalled. “This time my errand is to provide a big check…to continue to support The Chaplaincy Institute. I encourage you to be the voice that unites hearts.” ChI Executive Director Vicki Weiland, thanked Mary Lee saying “It is time that ChI is financially abundant…and that we are allowed to thrive based on the investment, the heart, the generosity and the courage of people like Mary Lee Dodd.”
Following the offering collection, the ordinands took their vows and Rev. Lauren Van Ham, M.A., Seminary Dean, blessed their ChI stoles. Then The ChI Community on hand confirmed the ordination of the graduates through a ritual of laying on of hands. The service concluded with a Benediction by Rev. Dr. John Mabry, and a recessional rendition of the Navajo Prayer Song, "Now I Walk in Beauty."
► Watch the video here
Rev. Cynthia Davis, Interfaith Chaplain, (Walnut Creek, CA)
Professional violin maker of 20 years, and retired director of multiple agencies serving the needs of elders, is called to enter the good work of Interfaith Chaplaincy.
Cynthia was born when her father was completing his theological studies and entry into service as a minister in the Methodist faith. Both her parents were talented musicians and raised their children in a rich musical environment. She grew up surrounded by the arts, performing in music and musical theater throughout her education.
As a young violinist, and later cellist, she was drawn to the soul of the instruments she played and fascinated with their creation. After completing a degree in music education she entered a private 5-year graduate school for violin-making. Learning and then teaching the art of making instruments led to running her own business for over 20 years. Always active in her community, Cynthia was involved in opening the first Gay & Lesbian Center in her state, hosted a weekly radio program featuring women’s music and interviews with local leaders. Cynthia, through her actions and commitment in serving the needs of elders, was presented with a city volunteer of the year. Work with seniors drew her back to school for a master’s of science in gerontology. As a gerontologist, Cynthia entered administrative roles for seniors needing guardian and conservatorship, dementia-specific adult day health care, and affordable housing communities.
Drawn to her connections with seniors, Cynthia was called to deepen in relationship with others, to focus on meaning making and pastoral care. Currently, she is finishing her 4th unit of Clinical Pastoral Education offering interfaith spiritual care to seniors in assisted living and to families who are homeless. Ordination marks the culmination of one rich step in the process of becoming a board certified hospital chaplain
Rev. Louise DiMattio, Interfaith Chaplain, (San Francisco, CA)
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” This quote from Section V of TS Eliot’s “Four Quartets” summarizes my life in many ways. I was born into a Roman Catholic family in New England and grew up as a part of the Baby Boomer generation. It was a time of optimism and the belief that, with faith and hard work, I could accomplish anything. I was a devout Catholic as a young woman and adored my nurturing Catholic school education. Soon, though, vast changes swept through our nation, changes that included Vietnam War protests, Civil Rights marches, women’s rights activism and, closer to home, Vatican II.
Vatican II made many changes in the Catholic Church that I knew and loved. Studying theology and world religions in college in the early 70’s consisted mostly of deep philosophical discussions in the dorm late at night and participating in protest marches during the day. An idealist, I became a nurse so I could put my Christian ideals into action and help to change the world. After college and a move to California, however, life took on an entirely different set of values as I became a wife, a mother and, in 1980, I entered the work force in the business sector. Professionally, it was a dark time and I am grateful that I had my husband, my daughter, my friends and my family because never was a person so “mis-vocated” as was I in the business world! Raising a child, hearing beautiful music and reading good books saved my sanity.
In the year 2000, many wonderful miracles happened for me in rapid succession. I retired from AT&T. I reentered the field of nursing and worked as a Labor and Delivery Nurse and Nurse Manager at the Birth Center at San Francisco General Hospital, the holiest ground in the City. It was there that I began to make my way back to “where we started”, as Eliot says and to “know the place for the first time.” Every day since then has been a journey back to my original place. My spirituality has deepened and flourished at the Mercy Center in Burlingame. The Chaplaincy Institute, one of my life’s greatest miracles, has led me back to my original path of studying the many ways of finding the Divine. My Clinical Pastoral Education experience at CPMC in San Francisco has been profound. I am grateful for all of my teachers (especially my grandchildren!) and for my family who have supported me, without reservation, in my joyful exploration.
Rev. Elizabeth Anne Grainger, Interfaith Minister, (Claremont, CA)
Elizabeth received a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from the School of the Arts at Columbia University. Elizabeth trained extensively in alternative conflict resolution and mediation and worked at Columbia University School of Law. Elizabeth was called to her vocation with end-of-life care during the AIDS crisis, and first learned about spiritual care of the dying from reading about the work of Issan Dorsey in The New Yorker magazine. She began working as a hospice volunteer over 20 years ago. Following her experiences as a family caregiver for her grandparents, Elizabeth was called to seek ordination as an interfaith minister in order to more fully embrace her vocation. She received Clinical Pastoral Education at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) in Pomona, CA. Elizabeth currently provides spiritual support with the PVHMC Palliative Care team.
Rev. Kristine Ann Kowalski, AKA Chaplain Kat, (Baltimore, MD)
One of my favorite quotes comes from Marc Chagall: “I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars that would allow me to discover the meaning of life.” Perhaps, then, it is no wonder that I have found my way to Interfaith Ministry! With a desire to live a life of love and service, I find great joy in my work as Chaplain for the NICU at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.
I am blessed with loving parents, three siblings I adore, and amazing friends who have enriched my life and supported me in ways big and small. My favorite role in life is “Auntie Krissi” to my 12 nieces and nephews. And I am indebted to my life partner, Eric, who has traveled by my side for over twenty-three years and has taught me the true meaning of love and commitment, all the while keeping me laughing.
Tina Perricone (Sebastapol, CA)
Tina received a B.A. in Humanities from the San Francisco State University, and an MA in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Tina holds certifications in multiple non-toxic healing modalities including hypnotherapy and traditional Chinese Five-Element acupressure, and has been a Reiki practitioner for almost 20 years. Tina received Clinical Pastoral Education as a chaplain resident at the University of California, San Francisco. Tina's current professional role is hospice chaplain in west Sonoma County, and has a private practice as a Threshold Companion/Somatic Spiritual Counselor. Tina is a SoulCollage® Facilitator, Dream-Art-Scientist, consciousness explorer, cloud-watcher, and feather finder. Learn more at TinaPerricone.com
Rev. Ann Wizer, Interfaith Chaplain, (Oakland, CA)
Ann has enjoyed a rich career in art and environmental activism and has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1999. After living in Asia for 30 years she returned to the US, to Oakland where she saw in her first weeks the rise of the Occupy movement. Finding social, racial and political tensions so high she was especially shocked by the resigned acceptance of increased homelessness. Her mantra is always been to say to herself.” That could be me.”
In finding so much separation in our culture she was drawn to Inter-faith discussion of all kinds and in finding ChI, has found a new home. Her studies and practices continue to deepen as she looks forward to beginning a new phase of her artistic career, one fused with more understanding of our common experience as humans.
Working in hospice and end-of-life has been a gift of growth. Rachel Naomi Remen says, “Hospice is the front row on Mystery and Meaning.” Ann hopes to develop new creative end-of-life celebrations for people and families of all faiths as well as those with none at end-of-life.
Rev. Robert Drake (Marin, CA)
Rev. Robert Drake is an Interfaith hospice chaplain, bereavement counselor, eco-theologian and teacher of restorative justice. Bob has a Master of Science in Conflict Resolution and a Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He founded Ocean Soul Renewal, LLC to offer memorials at sea and workshops on the bay for those suffering from grief, loss, trauma and change. Bob teaches and consults in areas of trauma, conflict, end-of-life issues, "Death with Dignity" and home funerals. Bob is married with two amazing daughters and loves to swim and sail the San Francisco Bay.