Our list of presenters for the Big I 2015 is still growing, please check back for more!
Rev JoAnn Barrett is the Senior Officiant and founder of Gathering of Light Interpiritual Fellowship located in Melville/Dix Hills. Rev JoAnn is one of the founding Board members and current Chairperson of the Council of Interfaith Communities USA, CoChair of Interfaith Anti Bias Task Force of Suffolk County, a Member of Suffolk County Hate Crimes Task Force, a Member of Peace Island Institutes center of Interfaith Studies advisory board. A member of Religions For Peace Long Island (a local branch of a world-wide NGO at the United Nations) and a Member of the “Dignity for All Students Act” Committee which recently helped this bill pass in the state Senate. She is a member of the Huntington Clergy Association, Leadership Huntington Graduate, Class of 2003 and a teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1980. She founded a community service project, “Lightworks” including Starter Packs for homeless. She has been Pastoral Care Associate for North Shore, Syosset and Huntington Hospital and Clinical Director for a major LI substance abuse and addiction treatment center. She preforms personalized wedding ceremonies for couples and has created rituals for all life events for hundreds of people. She has made public spiritual presentations-including Stony Brook School of Social Welfare, and VA Medical Center. She is a published author and poet. She is married and has six grown children.
Rick Clugston, Ph.D, .directs the sustainable development programs of Forum 21, and is Co director of the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future. He directed Earth Charter USA and the Center for Respect of Life and Environment focusing on ethics, spiritual values and sustainable development Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Clugston served as Project Coordinator for the Earth Charter Scholarship Project at the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education (CESE) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) from 2009-2012. His primary responsibilities included developing Earth Charter based resources for higher education, contributing to the sustainability mission of FGCU and representing CESE in the preparations for, negotiations at, and follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also called Rio+20).
Rick and Wynn Calder joined together as co-directors of ULSF in the fall of 2012. Rick served as executive director of the Center for Respect of Life and Environment (CRLE) in Washington, DC, from 1989 to 2007 and was director of ULSF from 1997 to 2007. Rick was the Deputy Editor of The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (MCB University Publications), and publisher and editor of Earth Ethics: Evolving Values for an Earth Community. He was a cofounder of the Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership, and has worked extensively with United Nations agencies and commissions.
Prior to coming to Washington, Rick worked for the University of Minnesota for 11 years, first as a faculty member in the College of Human Ecology, and later as a strategic planner in Academic Affairs, Continuing Education and the Office of the President. He was a consultant to the State Department of Education, the Minnesota Business Partnership, and various colleges and school systems on educational improvement. Rick has taught and published on human development, strategic planning, educational reform, and most recently on environmental ethics, spirituality and sustainability.
Rick received his doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Minnesota (1987), and his masters in Human Development from the University of Chicago (1977). As an undergraduate psychology and biochemistry major at the University of Minnesota (1975), he received the Mayo Foundation Scholarship for Medicine and Medicine Related Fields. His doctoral thesis was selected as dissertation of the year by the American Association of University Administrators.
Dr. Earnest is a Hospital/Hospice Chaplain, Nurse Practitioner, Eden Energy Medicine Advanced Practitioner, Faculty Member for the Eden Energy Medicine Certification Program, and serves as the Director of Education for Innersource. A healthcare professional for over 37 years, she is well versed in walking the delicate edge between the worlds of spirituality and health in a variety of settings. She is a sought after speaker for nurses, chaplains, and integrative/complementary healthcare practitioners across the country. Dr. Earnest has a private integrative health care practice in Fredericksburg, VA and teaches a variety of energy and spirituality classes/workshops. She is a gifted and innovative practitioner/teacher who combines energy work with spiritual direction in a unique mind–body-spirit approach to holistic healing through supportive and innovative work that recognizes the integrative nature of physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I believe wholeness is not just the absence of symptoms, but the realization of inner joy, harmony and balance.
Amy is an interfaith minister, clinical chaplain, and the founder of Emergence Education, which produces educational programs for individual transformation and cultural development. She has a background in Judaic philosophy and Eastern thought from Cornell University. In the early eighties, Amy did intensive practice in Asia with a number of preeminent Vedantic, Theravadan and Tibetan Buddhist teachers. Then in 1986, she began a 27-year indepth exploration of evolutionary spirituality, collective emergence, and cultural development with Andrew Cohen and EnlightenNext. In recognition of this work, OUnI honored her as their Wisdom Keeper of Evolutionary Spirituality. She is an ordained interfaith minister of Evolutionary Spirituality, and now applies her Clinical Pastoral training, MBSR/mindfulness experience, and other spiritually-based tools in innovative programs for the Philadelphia Public Schools and for corporate staff. She maintains an active teaching schedule and contemplative practice and is author of Love, Marriage & Evolution and Great Awakenings: Radical Visions of Spiritual Love & Evolution.
TITLE: TITLE: Andean Despach Ceremony
BIO: Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, OuNI, PhD – Folk Healer, Tabaquero, Ceremonialist & Scientist – enjoys a rich life filled with community, science, music, art, and family. Jeff is an enthusiastic advocate for indigenous healing and wisdom traditions. As both a noted scientist and practitioner of Folk medicine, he seeks to build bridges of understanding. Jeff is a challenging and evocative speaker/storyteller; in 2011 he presented the first TEDx talk on Ayahuasca – inspired by his life-changing sojourn with the Secoya people of the Northern Amazon. Educated at Wake Forest and Bath Universities, as well as Oxford (doctorate in Molecular Biophysics), Jeff has over 100 patents and research publications. He is a founding member of numerous companies including Targacept, Inc. where he led the development of simulation technology to make the process of drug discovery more efficient. He also devotes his time to organizations serving the greater good and has been a board member of 5 non-profit organizations. He is also a Chinese martial Arts expert. Jeff enthusiastically works with clients using sacred healing and counseling methods; one of his greatest joys is bringing people together in sacred community to facilitate personal and planetary healing. Jeff has enjoyed a decades-long relationship with the sacred healing plant tobacco; for many years Jeff studied the neuroprotective properties of compounds found in tobacco and helped start a company to fight diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s based on this research. Over the years his relationship has shifted to working with tobacco as a teacher and catalyst for sacred healing, and as a consequence was given the title “Tabaquero” or one who heals with tobacco. www.firewalker.be
South African born, Rev. Debrah Daya Friedland-VanZyl, is Co-founder and Co-director of All Paths Divinity School, an innovative, online seminary that provides support and training for those who are called to make a difference in the world. She is a recently elected board member to OUnI.
Debrah is a member of the Southern California Vedanta Society, an executive board member of the Southern California Parliament of World Religions, Monks without Borders and the International Museum of World Religions.
In 2013/2014 she co-created and moderated a series of Conversations on Pluralism; in 2013 she co-produced “Seeds of Peace – Meditation and Social Action” at All Saints Church, Pasadena with Marianne Williamson as keynote. In 2012 Peace Sunday/Peace Fest, in LA with James O’Dea as keynote. Debrah conceived and facilitated a panel on “Spiritual Intimacy” at the 2009 Melbourne Parliament of the World’s Religions. She is program chair of the upcoming 2015 Seeds of Peace Conference on the Environment at Loyola Marymount University, LA
She and her husband, Andre, are founders of Awareness NOW Projects, a global initiative that promotes the arts, healing and creativity as a conduit to create sacred community through workshops and retreats. Debrah was a student at Dartington College of Arts, Devon, UK, affiliated to Schumacher College.
Debrah is proud of her inter-spiritual marriage and her wonderful children, Jarryd and Sarina.
Vicki Michela Garlock received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and worked as a full-time psychology professor at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC from 1997-2008. She then accepted a position as Nurture Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist at Jubilee! Community Church in Asheville, NC, a progressive Christian community that regularly incorporates songs, rituals, and practices from other faith traditions. She has developed a Bible-based, multifaith Sunday School curriculum for the kids at Jubilee!, and she is currently writing a book about the multifaith movement in America.
Rev. Philip Goldberg is a spiritual counselor, meditation teacher and ordained Interfaith Minister. The author or coauthor of 19 books, he lectures and leads workshops throughout the country. A novelist and screenwriter as well, he lives in Los Angeles, where he founded Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates (SWAHA). He is Director of Outreach for SpiritualCitizens.net. and blogs regularly on the Huffington Post and Intent.com. His column, “Spiritual Wellness” appears regularly on Healthworld Online and is archived at www.healthy.net. He blogs on www.Intent.com and on his own website, www.PhilipGoldberg.com
Reverend Steven Greenebaum of Lynnwood, Washington holds Masters Degrees in Mythology, Music and Pastoral Studies. The study of myth taught him to appreciate the rich multitude of our planet’s spiritual traditions. Directing Jewish, Methodist, Presbyterian, UU and Interfaith choirs helped Steven understand the profound wisdom of so many of our spiritual traditions. In Pastoral Studies, Steven spent time not only studying scripture but also sharpening his own sense of the call of Interfaith. Founder and minister at Living Interfaith Church, he is the author of The Interfaith Alternative (published in 2012) and Practical Interfaith (published in 2014).
BIO: Rev. Mac Legerton, is a community and eco-minister who is co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Community Action – CCA – (www.centerforca.org) in rural, Robeson County, N.C. CCA is one of the oldest, multicultural nonprofit organizations in the rural South. He is a member and leader in the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, a national training and lifelong learning program in spiritual guidance, mysticism, depth/transpersonal psychology, and evolutionary cosmology. He is also a leader, former Board Member, and Resident of the national, Windcall Institute. For his three-decades of successful, multi-cultural practice in social and environmental justice and sustainability, he received the 2007 Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award of the national Rural Sociological Society. He is founder of River Way Outdoor Adventure and Education Center (www.riverwayadventures.org) and co-founder of Feast DownEast (www.feastdowneast.org), the regional, local food system initiative in Southeastern, N.C. He is a frequent speaker, trainer, retreat leader, and writer in the fields of contemplative spirituality, sustainability, and social justice. He is presently writing a book on contemplative and eco-spirituality entitled: “Spirit Sense: Awakening and Living in the Fullness of God.” He is an ordained minister in the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. He has the following degrees: BA in Religion and Philosophy, St. Andrews University, Laurinburg, NC, MAETS, Union Theological Seminary, NY, NY, ABD-EdD, Columbia University, Teachers College, NY, NY
John Mabry is the Director of Interfaith Spiritual Direction Program at the Chaplaincy Institute. He has been teaching spiritual guidance for ten years. A United Church of Christ pastor, John pastors Grace North Church (Congregational) in Berkeley, CA and teaches spiritual guidance, pastoral ministry, world religions, and comparative theology at various Bay Area schools including Santa Clara University and the Chaplaincy Institute. He is the author of several books on spirituality and interfaith ministry, including Growing Into God: A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Mysticism; Noticing the Divine: An Introduction to Interfaith Spiritual Guidance; and Faith Styles: Ways People Believe, among many others.
Miranda Macpherson is known for her depth of presence and refined capacity as a guide into direct spiritual experience. She teaches and transmits a powerful synthesis of self-inquiry, depth psychology, devotion and embodiment practices. Hers is an integrated and feminine approach to non-dual realisation inspired by Ramana Maharshi, A Course in Miracles, the Diamond Approach, extensive study of the world’s wisdom traditions. With over twenty years teaching experience. Miranda’s love and clarity offers a deep holding in which to taste greater dimensions of consciousness and explore integration into daily life. Miranda founded the “OneSpirit Interfaith Foundation” in London where she trained and ordained over 600 interfaith ministers. Today she leads the ‘Awakening Love and Wisdom’ sangha in Marin and Sonoma counties. She is author of ‘Boundless Love’, teaches internationally and resides in San Fransisco USA. www.mirandamacpherson.com
Hana Maris is a spiritual retreat leader and wilderness guide, inspirational speaker, singer/songwriter, teacher, writer, rites of passage guide and officiant, and mom. Her work brings her to the profound and loving interface between people and the rest of nature. She is interested in encouraging deeply heartfelt connection between people and the wild ones, in service of mutual healing and wonder. Beloved activities include hiking, kayaking, swimming, camping, wilderness exploration, spiritual practice, dancing, and hooting it up with friends.
Ordained as an Interfaith Minister through The Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. What is important to me, as an Interfaith Minister, is to foster those desiring to learn about their own Spiritual Nature. This can be done by encouraging and assisting each person to learn about themselves and their Divine Nature in the vocabulary of their own language. Belonging and having a sense of belonging is an important part of this growth. Often, we cannot find the right group or the right language that makes us feel comfortable, this leads us to ‘not belonging’ and can be detrimental to our personal growth. Hence, learning and conversing in one’s own language can be all that is needed to carry on. Experienced in meditation and energy work, ceremony and ritual, I can be found to be very user friendly for your spiritual wants and desires.
TITLE: Eco-ministry & Climate Engineering
Associate Research Professor at Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV with PhD in Atmospheric Sciences; teaching at graduate level at University of Nevada, Reno. Also majored in psychology and religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Studied under spiritual healers Frank and Jane Jordan for several years and spiritual master Swami Sri Atmananda for 19 years. Currently president of Divine Mission (www.satyachetana.org/dm/), a Satyachetana organization designed to guide spiritual seekers on a yoga path based on the Bhagavad Gita. Have taught meditation and several courses on the Bhagavad Gita since ~ 2000 as a board member of Divine Mission.
Transferred from Masters of Theological Studies program at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH to the Master of Divinity program at Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School, Rochester, NY. Awarded MDiv from CRCDS in May of 1992.
13 years of membership at First Baptist Church in Granville, OH including teaching Sunday School classes and serving on the board. 9 years of associate membership at Broad Street United Methodist Church in Columbus, OH including co-teaching a Disciples Bible study and serving as social justice advocate. 3 years of active participation in Rays of Light Spiritualist Church in Columbus, OH. Various connections with the Buddhist community in central Ohio, including sitting with Blue Heron Sangha from the tradition of Plum Village. Attuned as a reiki master in 2003. Metaphysical and reiki community participation since 2002 including leading workshops and vending in expos since 2010. Leadership roles at various United Methodist AIDS Healing Weekends including facilitating workshops from 2004-2010. Facilitated bi-weekly healing circles at Peace House in Columbus, Ohio, winter and spring of 2012. Facilitated bi-weekly gemstone beading circles at Numinous Zoe spiritual center in Westerville Ohio in 2013.
TITLE: Evolution: A Spiritual Path
Reverend T. S. Pennington. I am an ordained Interfaith and Interspiritual minister. I graduated from One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in 2008. For the last four years I have taught courses in the Religion and Philosophy topic area at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on the campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville. I am currently completing my Doctor of Divinity degree from Wisdom University. This presentation is strongly related to the topic of my dissertation. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, in the town of Fairview.
Swami Ramananda is the President of the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco and a greatly respected senior teacher in the Integral Yoga tradition, who has been practicing Yoga for 40 years. Ramananda offers practical methods of integrating the timeless teachings and practices of yoga into daily life, and transforming the painful aspects of human experience into steps toward realizing our full potential.
He leads beginner, intermediate and advanced level yoga teacher training programs in San Francisco, and offers a variety of programs in many locations in the U. S., Europe and South America. Ramananda trains Yoga teachers to bring Yoga into corporate, hospital and medical settings and has taught mind/body wellness programs in many locations. He is a founding board member of the Yoga Alliance, a national registry that supports and promotes yoga teachers as professionals. His warmth, wisdom and sense of humor have endeared him to many.
BIO: Theodore Richards is a poet, writer, and religious philosopher. He has received degrees from various institutions, including the University of Chicago and The California Institute of Integral Studies, but has learned just as much from practicing the martial art of Bagua; from traveling, working or studying all over the world; and from the youth he has worked with on the South Side of Chicago, Harlem, the South Bronx, and Oakland. He is the author of Handprints on the Womb, a collection of poetry; Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism, and the Birth of a New Myth, recipient of the Independent Publisher Awards Gold Medal in religion and the Nautilus Book Awards Gold Medal; the novel The Crucifixion, recipient of the Independent Publisher Awards bronze medal and the USA Book Award; and Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto, finalist for the USA Book Award. Theodore Richards is the founder of The Chicago Wisdom Project and teaches world religions at The New Seminary. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughters.
BIO: Rabbi Rami is an award winning poet and essayist, whose liturgical writings are used in prayer services throughout North America. He has written over a dozen works of translation, biblical commentary, and nonfiction. Rabbi Rami is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion and hold a doctoral degree in Judaic studies from Union Graduate School. A congregational rabbi for 20 years, Rami is currently Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, and directs One River (www.oneriver.org), a not-for-profit educational foundation devoted to building community through contemplative conversation. His most recent books are The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness, The Divine Feminine, and Ethics of the Sages. He is a board member of OUnI.
BIO: Swami Shraddhananda aka Rev. Dr. Sonya Jones, OUnI is Professor of World Religions and Adviser to the Master of Theological Studies degree program at The New Seminary in New York City. She also teaches Comparative World Religions in the Honors Program at The University of Kentucky. She serves as Spiritual Director of Slate Branch Ashram, home of Adishraddha or Sacred Feet Yoga, an Interfaith/Interspiritual/Intra-Tantric system of spiritual studies. Her book-length text entitled Jesus Was a Shaktipat Guru is scheduled for release from The SACRED FEET Publishing Imprint later this year and as a three-part class for Wholistika, LLC, a new Internet company in northern California Sometimes called “a female Huston Smith,” Swami Shraddhananda has lectured on six continents.
TITLE: Eco-Ministry through an Integral Lens
BIO: Tom Thresher has pastored a nascent Integral Church for the past 12 years. The theory and practice of this endeavor was developed in his book Reverent Irreverence: Integral Church for the 21st Century, from Cradle to Christ-Consciousness. The focus of his work has been on evolving human consciousness. His latest book, Crazy Wisdom: Tools for Evolving Consciousness, presents the tools he as used to nurture individuals and his community through important developmental changes (www.transformationalinquiry.us). Based on his extensive work and experience applying integral theory to the church he is ordained as an Integral Minister in 2012. His ministry is moving to his non-profit CommonHouse, dedicated to continuing his work in an expressly Interspiritual setting. (www.commonhouse.us).
Tom holds a PhD in Education and an MA in Economics from Stanford. He brings this background into conversation with his passion for transformation and spirituality in classes like God and the Economy and his upcoming book, Why We Murder for Money.
TITLE: Interfaithers Ask Earth: “Please Shape Our Lives to OneEarth Living”
BIO: In 1999, Lee Van Ham joined others in forming Jubilee Economics, a nonprofit focused in OneEarth living. Born to a tenant-farming family in Iowa, he pastored in the Midwest for 32 years before switching to work explicitly on the interplay between justice, ecology, economics, and spirituality. He graduated from McCormick Seminary, Chicago. He is the author of Blinded by Progress: Breaking Out of the Illusion that Holds Us (2013). Two forthcoming books focus in the process of changing to Earth-size consciousness and the practices that express that consciousness. He and his spouse live in San Diego, California, USA.
Born in Zimbabwe, co-Founder and co-Director of All Paths Divinity School, Rev. Andre Ananda van Zijl is also an award-winning fine artist and poet-author.
Andre has been a student of Advaita Vedanta for over 40 years beginning as a monastic member of the London Ramakrishna Order. He has taught philosophy, spirituality and art since 1975 including at the University of Cape Town, Antioch College Los Angeles, LA County Museum of Art, LA Cultural Affairs Department, and Folk Art Museum of LA, the Vedanta Society, Hollywood and the Novalis Ubuntu Institute in Cape Town.
Andre is a board member of Monks Without Borders & the Museum of World Religions. As assistant museum director he created workshops and presentations leading to co-founding and co-directing of “All Paths Divinity School” with his wife Debrah and their partner, founder of MWB and MWR, Zachary Perlman. He is also a board member of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. Member of the Vedanta Society, the Mankind Project and the LA County Sheriff’s Executive Clergy Council.
Andre has recently published, with his wife Debrah, the first volume, of a two part series of original art and poetry entitled “Emptied of Myself”. The second volume is provisionally sub-titled “Ascent to the Depths of Love”
Megan is a Therapist, Spiritual Teacher, Author, Ritual Leader and Interfaith Minister. She teaches Psycho-Spiritual Healing and Initiation combining therapy with the sacred arts of drumming, chanting, psychodrama and ritual. She has authored 7 books and many inspirational meditations, sacred chants and 33 ceremonial robes of her own design and creation. Megan is Founding Director of Tree of Life Teachings International and Director of Spiritual Psychology at The Chaplaincy Institute in California. With her Living Temple Project, she travels with her Sacred Robes, inviting people to give blessings, prayers and rituals from their own spiritual tradition, offering hope and creative solutions to the world today. She lives in Redwood City, California, USA www.TreeofLifeTeachings.com
Alex Warden is an Argentinean educator, spiritual counselor and author whose work focuses on the feminine knowing of the essential oneness of life and its role in the evolution of consciousness and the world. Founder of Essential Oneness, she speaks and leads workshops and retreats internationally on spirituality, consciousness, feminine wisdom, spiritual ecology and dreamwork. Alex has experience in Christian, Sufi, and the Great Mother mystical traditions. She contributed to the book How Do You Pray, and recently her spiritual autobiography, El Llamado de mi Corazon, was published in Chile. She lives with her family in San Anselmo, California. http://www.essentialoneness.org/
Research Professor at Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV with PhD in Chemistry. Conducting air quality research, including understanding of chemical processes that affect air quality, visibility, climate, and ultimately human health. Studied under spiritual master Swami Sri Atmananda for 19 years. Currently president of Satyachetana International (SCI), an organizational structure that gives shape and support to a global spiritual movement based on the Yoga of Manifestation. SCI aspires to manifest peace and prosperity for mankind through a fundamental transformation and spiritualization in Earth consciousness through meditation, spiritual education and outreach programs. Have taught meditation and conducted several workshops on the Bhagavad Gita since ~ 2000 as a board member of SCI.