Stirring it up: Interfaith News from SC

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So the interfaith panel at a local American Baptist college went well, even though a student introduced me to the auditorium as the director of Cherry Hill Cemetery! One member of the panel, a Baptist minister, was clearly feeling a bit uptight, but he was polite. The facilitator, a prominent member of our city theater community and much-loved for his portrayal of Frankenfurter in many productions of Rocky Horror Picture Show, put folks on the spot by asking about sexuality. Those are the times … [Read more...]

Peer Network

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(January 12, 2015) I’m on a cold, rainy drive back from the Washington, DC, area following the annual conference of the COMISS Network. It’s gloomy all up and down the East Coast today, but the warmth of the group I just left has left me smiling down the miles of I-95. Judy Harrow used to attend the COMISS meeting each year, and David Oringderff of Sacred Well Congregation has been a member for ten years. David is Chair of the Cherry Hill Seminary Department of Pastoral Care and Counseling. We al … [Read more...]

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

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

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...]


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