Journey to Ithaca: Remembering Dr. Hal French

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“When you start on your journey to Ithaca, then pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.” (from “Ithaca” by Constantine Cavafy)On Wednesday I attended the funeral of my venerable friend, Dr. Hal French, along with 400 or more others.  The ceremony was grand, loving, thought-provoking and tender, with three lovely hymns, three eulogies and a magnificent organ-recital piece at the close. The line to greet family stretched through and in and out of several buildings; wai … [Read more...]

Sensitivity How-To’s

(Here is a handout I wrote for our S.C. folks to use.  It's been very handy.  Please feel free to copy and use it yourself.)Religious and Cultural Sensitivity Demonstrating appropriate sensitivity for cultures different from our own is arguably the topic which creates the most anxiety in those new to interfaith dialog. In the past, we have simply avoided discussions which might bring up uncomfortable differences, hoping to prevent possible misunderstandings. And yet, it is these very di … [Read more...]

Cherry Hill Seminary Stands Behind Student Embroiled in Controversy

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For Immediate Release on June 27, 2014COLUMBIA - Cherry Hill Seminary supports Master of Divinity student Carol Kirk and her husband Blake Kirk as they unexpectedly find themselves in the midst of a media flurry over Blake’s removal from last night’s Huntsville, Alabama, City Council agenda.Widespread publicity over council’s decision to “uninvite” Blake from delivering an opening invocation as he did in January of this year took the Kirks by surprise yesterday when they were contacted by … [Read more...]

When Tolerance Is Unacceptable

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You have two kinds of people in interfaith, says my friend Jack. Some people join up because they want to prove to everyone else that their religion is valid. The rest of us are interfaith junkies; we really love the whole scene, however quirky it may at times seem. I do take seriously my role in the first category because somebody has to stand up for Paganism. Whether I like it or not, people will judge me based on the only satanic-panic speaker they heard one time, so I might as well put my … [Read more...]

How to Do Interfaith: Basics For Pagan Beginners, Part 2

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Interfaith got you curious?  Feel like moving from the wading pool to the deep end of the pool?  So what do you do next?Look for an existing interfaith group in your area.  You’d be surprised how many groups are already out there.  Sometimes they are languishing, needing new energy such as yours.  And then again, some groups call themselves interfaith, but are really a consortium of inter-denominational Christian ministers (more properly called ecumenical), or an alliance of Jews, Christ … [Read more...]

How to Do Interfaith: Basics For Pagan Beginners, Part 1

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Someone asked me recently, however did you gain acceptance in South Carolina as a Pagan interfaith leader?  Honestly, the story is not much of a mystery, but I’ve learned some things along the way which you may find useful.1.  Show up.  Patrick McCollum was asked once what is the key to successfully building Pagan community.  His answer was, “Show up.”  If you want to be part of something, you have to be there when the action happens.  That may mean visiting religious services, meetings, disc … [Read more...]

Not Politics

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"I ask you to keep doing what you are doing," said the governor. Here in South Carolina it is rare that a public official acknowledges any religions besides Christianity and sometimes Judaism.   But Governor Nikki Haley is no stranger to the minority experience, having grown up as a first-generation Indian-American in rural S.C. in a family which practiced the Sikh religion.  As she noted on a previous occasion, she has faced several challenges in her career: being female, being "ethnic" a … [Read more...]

Interfaith in Prison

(By Molly Moore — The Washington Post)

Today I talked by phone for a bit with a chaplain in an Alaska prison. One of the inmates had contacted Cherry Hill Seminary about our new Pagan Life Academy print lessons for incarcerated Pagans, and I called the chaplain with a question. Our conversation surprised me.Like many correctional systems around the country, Alaska was prompted by a lawsuit to institute improvements in their religious accommodation of diverse faiths among inmates. In the past, a contracted evangelical Christian … [Read more...]


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