What We All Want

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The light bulb came on for me this week.It was a big interfaith week for me here in South Carolina.  Last Sunday Interfaith Partners held our annual meeting, at which I gave a very brief report on something Cherry Hill Seminary students are doing.  Then Thursday I traveled to Aiken to meet with a fledgling group there.  Yesterday I popped by the big dedication festivities for a new Hindu (BAPS) temple in my own neighborhood.I love this stuff, love the people I meet, love the friends I’ve … [Read more...]

What’s Compassion Got to Do With It?

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In a few hours I'll be on a panel for the annual meeting of Interfaith Partners of S.C.  Each faith represented is supposed to share what they have been up to in terms of expressing compassion.  For months I have wondered how to approach this task.  The following are the remarks I will make when it's my turn; I'd love to hear your responses, or even suggestions for the future.For followers of one of the earth-based spiritual paths which are collectively referred to as Paganism, articulating a … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

One River, Many Wells

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In my work as a hospital chaplain I never know from day to day what I may be called upon to work with as I step into a patient’s room.  Huntsville, Alabama is a religiously diverse community which includes Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians of many denominations, Pagans, Baha'i and others.  While most of my patient encounters to date have been with Christian families, I have also been called upon to act as chaplain in grief work with other faiths as well.  Such encounters demand that … [Read more...]

Growing the Interfaith Garden

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It is April now and here in the South that means that spring is all around us.  The redbuds and dogwoods are in bloom and the trees in the woods behind my house are covered in a pale green lace of tiny leaves.  As the earth has warmed I have been drawn more and more to get my fingers in the dirt.  I’ve been cleaning out the detritus of fall leaves, pruning the rose bushes, and planting new flowers and herbs for the coming season.  It is a fitting reminder that the promise of life renewed has been … [Read more...]

What is a Sacred Place?

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  And just what is a sacred place? What do you see when you hear those words? Standing stones raised by ancient peoples upon a windy plain? Dark caverns where the ancient Mother was first honored? Towering pyramids? Ruined temples to forgotten deities?Perhaps you think of the dim vastness of a famous cathedral, candles flickering in front of the Torah, or images of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Or maybe the sacred is a small church on a village green, or the many-pillared splendor of a … [Read more...]

Interfaith and the U.S. Armed Forces

Dr. Carl Evans of IPSC and Chaplain Mike Lembke, Dir. of the Center for World Religions

The military as an example of daily interfaith relations? Never having been a soldier, it had not occurred to me, but that’s one of the things I heard at a remarkable meeting this week at the U.S. Armed Forces Chaplains School and Center, here in Columbia, S.C., at Fort Jackson. The Chaplains School was hosting the annual meeting of Interfaith Partners of S.C., and “host” would be an understatement for the outstanding experience they provided.From the time I parked my car across the street I … [Read more...]


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