Jesus described Mary Magdalene with these words: “Mary, thou blessed one…perfect in all mysteries…. thou, whose heart is raised to the Kingdom of Heaven more than all thy brethren.”
Mary’s blazing image of discipleship shines for us across the centuries and the practice of anointing is her gift to us. Her gift is not owned by an elite nor locked into any structured tradition, but is a gift to all people. Anointing is a sacred act of reciprocity. We are each both anointer and anointed.
Join us in a celebration of the gift of Mary Magdalene that will include a shared anointing in which all who wish may participate as both anointer and anointed.
About Irene Laudeman, Ph.D.
Irene Laudeman is both a priest and a psychologist who has been immersed in the texts and practices of the so-called “Gnostic” tradition for nearly twenty years. She has deep knowledge of the texts and legends of Mary Magdalene particularly as they appear in the non-canonical texts such as the Gospels of Philip, Thomas and Mary.
Irene’s central passion is the integration of so called “Gnostic” material, including traditions of Mary Magdalene, into the framework of Progressive Christianity where they can be accessed by the broadest possible range of faith communities. Irene has spoken at conferences, preached and taught workshops and seminars in Oregon, Arizona and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Join Lila Wilson on Tuesday, December 10th for an evening of of song and sound healing. Experience the devotional chanting of kirtan, which originates from the Hindu tradition of call and response singing, chanting the names of the divine. The evening will conclude with a group sound healing experience and deep relaxation.
About Erin Lila Wilson:
Erin Lila Wilson is a yoga teacher, musician, and educator. She is the founder and director of RISE Yoga for Youth, a local nonprofit that brings yoga and wellness education to youth in public schools that serve at-risk youth. In her free time Lila enjoys singing and making music. She grew up in a musical family and has been singing and playing the piano since she was a child. Lila loves to weave her spiritual practice with her music through chanting. She leads monthly chanting at Integral Yoga, and leads kirtans locally in the Bay Area. She believes music has the power to heal and connect us to our souls, to each other, and to the divine. Few things give her more joy than sharing music with others.
A special ManyLights event!
Join us for a unique Many Lights experience where we will view a film, The Sessions, together. After the film we will hear some reflections from a sex surrogate and a Roman Catholic priest, and discuss our own reactions to this thought provoking film.
In our queer spiritual community, we believe that all bodies are sacred and our sexuality is a gift. But most of us have struggled from time to time to really hold on to those truths. In this extraordinary film, we see and hear the story of one man who had huge physical challenges standing in the way of his ability to feel whole, as a spiritual, sexual, gifted human being. But he finds a way.
About the film:
THE SESSIONS, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and a host of rave reviews, is, as New York magazine's David Edelstein put it, "a sexual coming-of-age movie"—one in which any audience member can recognize their own carnal hang-ups and triumphs. What's more extraordinary, though, is that it accomplishes that while telling a true-life tale of an extreme circumstance: a paralyzed man losing his virginity.
It's based on the true story of the severely disabled journalist and poet, Mark O'Brien, a survivor of childhood polio using an iron lung and mobile wheelchair-gurney, who in his late 30s saw a sex-surrogate therapist in order to lose his virginity. John Hawkes plays Mark, and Helen Hunt is shrewdly cast as Cheryl, the miraculously sensible and calm therapist. William H Macy is Mark's Catholic priest and confessor, who listens to and supports Mark throughout the process.
How does the director, Ben Lewin, who has the same disability as the subject of his film, manage to make this very-specific material deeply universal? By working to make his protagonist come across as a real, fleshed-out person. His disabled man worries about and obsesses over sex in the same way we all do. His body frustrates him, and his feelings are familiar to anyone who's ever found what they mentally desire to be physically unattainable.
About our speakers:
Fr. Donal Godfrey, S.J., Associate Director for Faculty/Staff Spirituality at USF.
Fr. Donal Godfrey, S.J. was born in Liverpool, England. Donal was educated at Stonyhurst College and at University College, Cork. He is a member of the Irish Bar, and a Jesuit priest of the Irish province of the Society of Jesus. Donal holds degrees in philosophy from the Milltown Institute of Dublin, a Master’s in theology from Regis College at the University of Toronto, a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and a Doctorate in Ministry from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA. He is the author of the book, Gays and Grays: The Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (Lexington, 2007). Prior to coming to USF, Donal worked at Clongowes Wood College, Ireland, the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality in Belfast for reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants, and in ministry at Loyola University, Chicago. Donal's areas of responsibility currently include working with alumni, the USF Law School, promoting Ignatian spirituality, working with the LGBTQ community, spiritual direction, and pastoral counseling.
Linda Poelzl has been active since 1990 as a sex educator - coaching, speaking, writing and counseling women, men, transgender people, couples and groups in a wide variety of topics related to human sexuality. In 1996 she began her work as a professional surrogate partner, seeing clients referred to her by psychotherapists for help with sexual inexperience, body image, sexual orientation and sexual concerns of all kinds. She is certified in sex education, clinical sexology and sexological bodywork through the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. Linda also brought her 25 years of hands-on experience as a massage therapist and teacher to her work as a surrogate partner. A deeply-spiritual person, Linda found her way back to the Catholic Church in 2007 and she is an active and enthusiastic member of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in the Castro. She sees no problem integrating her spiritual beliefs and practices with her professional work as a surrogate partner.
SoulCollage® is an intuitive, creative process by which you can make a beautiful set of collaged cards which have deep, personal meaning for you. In this workshop, we will learn about the SoulCollage® process, the structure of the SoulCollage® deck, and we will have experiences of accessing one’s own intuitive messages and meanings. The best part is creating one or more SoulCollage® cards of your own and beginning to uncover their meaning for you.
About Barbara Broadbent:
Barbara Broadbent was trained as a SoulCollage® facilitator in 2007 and has conducted numerous workshops and retreats on the SoulCollage® process for various groups over the past 6 years. Barbara is a Commissioned Minister in the United Church of Christ, having served for 15 years as an Associate Conference Minister for UCC congregations in northern, California and Nevada. She has a BA in Christian Education and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. A resident of Mountain View, she is currently studying to be a spiritual director at the Chaplaincy Institute, an Interfaith Seminary and Community located in Berkeley. Barbara is married to Rev. Matt Broadbent, a pastor in Los Altos. They have two children and five grandchildren. Barbara’s other main interest is strategizing with groups and organizations using the Appreciative Inquiry process.
During a session of hitbodedut, the practitioner pours out their heart to God in plain language, describing thoughts, feelings, problems and frustrations. This can include the details of mundane daily life — business dealings, conflicting desires and everyday interactions. Even the difficulty of articulating what one wishes to say is a legitimate subject to discuss with God. Participants in this workshop will practice “telling it all to God” through hitbodedut.
About Rabbi David Bauer:
David Dunn Bauer is a Queer academic and activist, theatre artist, sex educator, clergy-person, and body-worker/healer. An alumnus of Yale University, the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, in 2011 he became the first Jew to earn the Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Having served as a congregational rabbi in Western Massachusetts for seven years, he has been an outspoken activist for Queer and Trans rights in both New England and the Bay Area. David has taught about eros, gender, and Queer spirituality, for colleges and seminaries on both coasts, and at countless retreats, camps, and workshops around the United States. His essay “Man-Boy and Daddy-God: The SM Dynamic in Ezekiel’s Call and Commissioning” was published this year in Queer Religion, Vol. 2, edited by Donald Boisvert and Jay Emerson Johnson. Prior to joining the rabbinate, David directed opera on three continents, stage managed for the Bolshoi Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera. Now based in San Francisco, David has served as the Bay Area Director of Programming for “Nehirim,” the leading national provider of community programming for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews, partners, and allies, and he is the founder and coordinator of “The Jewish Queer Sexual Ethics Project” at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion. Visit at www.queerspiritualcounseling.com
MaShiAat (Queen Mother) will speak about prayer and the power of intention from the perspective of the Kemetic tradition. As part of our program, MaShiAt will lead a ceremony that invites us to light candles and burn our petitions to the divine.
Oloya Adedapoidle Tyehimba-Ford carries the title of MaShiAat (Queen Mother), and is co-founder and presiding Queen Mother and Spiritual Leader of the Temples and Kemetic Spiritual organization: The Kindred of ShiEndra and its conglomeration of affiliated Temples nationally and internationally within the Kindred of ShiEndra and the Grand Temple of Divine. MaShiAat Oloya is an ordained IyaNifa in the Ifa tradition and is the third daughter ordained High Priestess within the original Dianic lineage of the Wiccan Goddess/Great Mother tradition.
MaShiAat Oloya lectures and facilitates workshops with many local and national community activists and spiritual leaders. She is often considered a bridge between mainstream religious churches and indigenous spirituality, making it a personal crusade to dispel myths, expose the truth and similarities between the philosophies of these religious groups with the intent to build understanding, respect and unity among the people as a whole.
Many Lights is pleased to host a wonderful ritual that brings together the spiritual wisdom of Judaism and other earth-based traditions, offers a chance to settle accounts with the ancestors, and expresses reverence for the holy perfection of nature.
This ritual invites you to honor the natural cycle of endings and beginnings by
Different parts of the ritual experience, led by Bonnie Faigeles and Emily Hoyer, a multifailth/transdenominational couple and members of MCCSF, will help us to reflect on our own path through these cycles, and for those who wish, there will be an opportunity to share some of our journey with the group.
No preparation is required, but should you wish to think about these cycles ahead of time, here are some questions to consider:
We hope you will find spiritual power and opportunity in considering these questions. Join us at this special Many Lights program on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 7PM at MCCSF.
Ritual is one way we can come together to face things too difficult to face alone. Our ancestors knew how to gather together to celebrate one another, to grieve, and to honor their connection to all life. Together we will step into that connection in the presence of our ancestors, Yemaya, Mother Ocean, and the Elements of Life, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water and witness each other as members of our tribe. Together we will hold one another, celebrate ourselves, and affirm our queerness as holy birthright. This is a participatory ritual in the Reclaiming Tradition of ecofeminist Witchcraft. All are welcome.
About Abel R. Gomez:
Abel R. Gomez is a writer, community organizer, and ritualst dedicated to collective empowerment and ecstatic ritual. Trained in both Reclaiming Tradition Witchcraft and Hindu Shakta Tantra, Abel believes deeply in the power of earth-based ceremony and magic as a catalyst for personal and collective (r)evolution. He has led workshops on pagan spirituality, anthropology, and personal alignment at conferences, universities, and in his home community. In recent years, his work has focused on the intersectionality of earth-based spirituality, queer identity, and social justice. As a freelance writer, Abel has been published in the Reclaiming Quarterly, Llewellyn's Magical Almanac, and WitchEye. He has been interviewed by MTV News, Planet Shifter Magazine, and in the upcoming independent film 'De Colores Spirit Warriors' by Berenice Dimas, premiering at the 2012 Queer Women of Color Film Festival in San Francisco. Abel will be joined by a group of other Reclaiming Witches to present this ceremony.
Through story telling, participatory rituals and spiritual practices, we will explore how Hinduism encourages us to accept the divine in ourselves and others in every day life . We will inquire into some of the philosophies of a religion that practices idol worship of its 30 million gods and goddesses. You will experience how it feels to have divinity on your side: omnipotent and omnipresent, though still flawed.
About Krishnakali (Roke):
Originally from Bengal, India, Roke has lived in the SF Bay Area for the past 20 years, which she now calls home. Growing up amidst mythological bedtime stories, spiritual practices, rituals, deities and altars gave her an everyday closeness to her gods and goddesses that has shaped who she is today. Her deep rooted connection to Hinduism calls her to return to her ancestral village home every year to celebrate the annual visits of Durga, Kali, Ganesh and Krishna. Her faith in Hinduism provides a beacon on her path as a life coach, artist, healer and motivational speaker. Roke believes strongly in Hinduism's vision of the human spirit as indomitable, indestructible, endlessly evolving, and capable of not only overcoming challenges but achieving miracles. Her life's purpose is to help people be who they already are - their highest selves. Roke feels empowered in her gender queer identity by her given name, Krishnakali - a combination of the Hindu god Krishna and goddess Kali.
On Thursday April 5, ManyLights will be hosting a semi-traditional Jewish Passover seder.
Passover is a celebration of collective liberation. It is a time to reflect on our path from enslavement to liberation, and on all the ways our personal liberation comes through the collective efforts of those who share our struggle. And it is a time to reflect on our connection to communities around the world currently engaged in a struggle for liberation.
In the course of the evening, we will be sharing the core texts of the Passover ritual, and so in the spirit of ManyLights, this will be a wonderful opportunity to lean about another faith tradition. (For those of you who may never have been to a seder before … It was at a seder that Jesus and his Disciples shared their final meal.)
One of the central passages of a seder is asking the Four Questions, the first of which is "Why is this night different from all other nights?" If you have been to a seder before, this one will be different from all other seders in that we will be eating all the traditional ritual foods*, but we will not be eating a full meal, so please eat beforehand!
* This event will be alcohol-free.
Let us delight in the nectar of dhikr (Sufi ceremony of Divine Remembrance) and sohbet (spiritual conversation/teaching) on the Path of the Eleven Principles and embodied spiritual practice. An evening of music, movement, chanting, silence. Shoe-free/comfortable clothes space.....
About Ibrahim Baba:
Ibrahim Baba, Professor of Islamic Studies and Cultural Studies, is Provost and Acting President of the Starr King School for the Ministry of the Graduate Theological Union where he is also Senior Research Analyst in the Centre of Islamic Studies of which he was one of the founders. He developed the Andalusia Project for the Starr King School, whereby Jewish, Christian, Unitarian Universalist, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan students and others study their interconnected histories and traditions together. He is a lineage-holder and spiritual teacher (Pir/Shaykh) in the Ajmeri Chishti Sufi tradition and has spiritual students in Turkey, India, Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Switzerland, Mexico, and the United States. He divides his time between California, Turkey, and India. He loves to laugh….
In February each year we celebrate a day devoted to Love. Here at Many Lights we have crafted an evening of song, chant, silence, and some yoga and movement that might even turn into dance -- all about love. For self, others, the world, and God/dess - All That Is.
A Christian hymn, some klezmer music, a few Turkish Muslim songs and prayers, will nourish us, our hearts, our community, and the world, as we circle together and celebrate.
Please bring your favorite short love poem to read, and something sweet to eat that we can share.
There will be a short talk, followed by a gentle experiential exploration. Embodiment begins at conception when we have our first experience of our spirit joining with the physical. As we grow our body in the womb, we are beginning to learn about what it feels like to be a spirit living in a body. At the same time we are living inside of another body! Ideally, during birth we learn how to birth ourselves, which gives us a healthy imprint about how to continue to express our creative impulses in life by emerging into new projects, into new phases of life, to be able to make good transitions, and to be able to follow through from beginning to end. Many experiences during our Journey Into Life can interfere with our being fully present in our bodies, and therefore in our lives, and this journey has profoundly influenced how embodied we are today; You will gently discover something new about your personal story of embodiment that may help you to be more present in the coming new year.
About Karen Melton:
Karen Melton is a Prenatal & Birth Therapist trained in the field of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health. She has a practice in Sebastopol in which she supports babies, kids, adults, and pregnant people who need help with their early imprints. Karen also prevents early trauma and promotes healthy bonding and attachment. She is especially fascinated by the spiritual journey into embodiment.36ixtygroup.com
December 1st is World AIDS Day. When we realized that our next "Many Lights" event would be happening that evening, we decided to do something different. "Many Lights" is a multifaith program and each month we have invited someone from a different faith tradition or practice to share with us. To honor World AIDS Day we decided to create an evening in which people from different spiritual paths will be presenting together. In the course of this evening we will be praying, meditating, and singing with and in support of those in our community and the world who are living with HIV/AIDS, who are caretakers, health care workers, and community activists. We will also have a chance to share stories and rememember those in our lives and in the world who have passed on. Please join us for this unique evening, as we come together in community to mourn, heal, celebrate, and step into the future as people of faith and people of action.
A despacho is an Andean ritual offering or a gift of reciprocity for what we receive every day in our lives. The act of creating a despacho places us in right relationship (ayni) with Mother Earth (Pachamama) and the Mountains (Apukuna). The offering consists of natural items intricately arranged on paper, prayed over, infused with gratitude and thanksgiving, and then folded into a bundle to be burned buried. In this ceremony we will be creating a despacho to honor the ancesters.
The creation of a despacho is a way to give back through prayer, intention, and love. This reciprocal exchange promotes balance and interdependence with Spirit. It is proper to purify one's self and consecrate the ground before preparing a despacho. Each natural item placed in the despacho has a specific meaning which Drake will share as the despacho is created. You will participate by creating a 3-leaf kintu in which you will blow your personal prayers into. These kintus will be added to the despacho.
The end result before folding into a bundle looks like a graphic mandala. When the bundle is burned, the prayers in the despacho ascend to the Spirits in the form of smoke. Since Day of the Dead is the day before this despacho ceremony, the veil between the worlds will still be thin. This ceremony will be a great place to honor our ancestors and those that have already passed. You might want to bring copies of photos to add to the prayer bundle that you will create (and which later will be burned or buried).
Drake, has studied Andean shamanism for many years. He will lead the ceremony in the tradition he learned from the great shamans (pacos) in Peru. He is a member of the Flesh and Spirit community and has been providing monthly Reiki at MCCSF for several years. You can learn more about Drake at his website www.DrakeInnerprizes.com
Can we envision the earth as our lover and not as a mother to exploit and abuse? Noted artist, author, and sex educator Annie Sprinkle will be sharing an evening of art, stories, meditation, and a guided walk through our city streets that will ground us in the natural world. On this walk Annie will lead us through a spiritual practice that will support us in making an energetic connection to the plants and trees, the earth and sky that surround us at every moment, bringing us back Home again to the world in a new vibrant way. Through this process of breath and heart-opening, we will learn to marry the earth, as part of a journey of spiritual healing and transformation.
About Annie Sprinkle, Ph.d:
Annie received a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts and earned a degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. As a writer and performance artist, her work spans more than three decades and is studied in courses at numerous universities.
In preparation for the High Holy Days — Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur — Jews traditionally focus on the practice of T'shuvah, which means Return: Return to the Natural Radiance of the Soul. It is a time for deep Self-Reflection and Renewal of Spiritual Direction.
In this experientially oriented program, we will draw from the rich treasury of Jewish practices (Meditation, Prayer, Chant, and Text Study) to get a taste of the Healing Potential of T'shuvah -- Returning to the Luminous Essence of our Souls.
About Jeffrey Kessler:
Jeffrey Kessler is a lifelong student and teacher of Meditation, Tai-Chi, and Chi Gong, who has participated in the practices and teachings of a wide array of psycho-spiritual traditions. For many years, Jeffrey has taught Meditation and Contemplative Shabbat Services at Chochmat HaLev, a Center for Jewish Spirituality in Berkeley. He also does Somatic Therapy, Soul-Healing, and Body-Based Spiritual Direction.
Are you curious about the Tarot?
Do you wonder what the Tarot really tells you?
Can it be part of a spiritual practice?
How can a deck of cards be deeply meaningful?
Join Donny Lobree and Kirk Prine as they offer an experience with the Tarot. Find out how the Tarot can be a part of your everyday life. Learn how to begin to read the cards yourself and take a real Tarot Journey in Community with us.
About Donny and Kirk:
Donny Lobree has been using the Tarot as part of his spiritual practice for many years. He also has taught the Tarot, beginning and advanced, on many occasions. Donny, an MCCSF member, is a gifted teacher, a deeply spiritual person, and very, very fun!
His partner, Kirk Prine, also an MCCSF member has led many rituals, workshops and retreats.
Both bring humor, compassion and insight to the art of the Tarot.
For more about Donny and Kirk, please visit their website at themissingthread.com/.
Please join Will for an evening of queer spirits and faerie magic as he talks about his work in queer spirituality over the past three decades and shares the practice of Applied Meditation.
About Will Roscoe:
Will Roscoe is one of the most widely published authors in the field of lgbt culture and spirituality. His first book, The Zuni-Man Woman, which explored the two-spirit (“berdache”) tradition of the Zuni Indians, received the Margaret Mead Award and a Lambda Literary Award. He subsequently published Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America and Queer Spirits, a collection of gay myths, stories, and archetypes from around the world. After attending the first radical faerie gathering in 1979, he began working extensively with movement founder Harry Hay, publishing a collection of his writings in 1996. Will received a second Lambda Literary Award for his book Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same-Sex Love, which uncovers hidden connections between same-sex love and mysticism within the earliest traditions of Christianity and traces these back in time and across cultures to their origins in the practices of queer shamans and third gender priesthoods in the world’s oldest civilizations.
For more about Will, please visit his website at www.willsworld.org.
The Channupa Wakan, or the sacred pipe, was given to a camp of people of the plains called the Lakota a very long time ago. It was given to them by White Buffalo Calf Woman in a time of great need, of great famine. She gave it to them as an instrument of communication with the healing spirits and with the Creator his/herself. When we come together, we are reaching out to the infinite amount of healing energy that is available to us at any moment. This ceremony may be used for personal healing and for the healing of relatives and more generally, for the entire world/cosmos.
The ancestors have made it very clear to us: when we speak in prayer, we are heard. And every prayer is answered.
About Lyla Johnston:
Lyla Johnston is a Dine woman from Taos, New Mexico raised with an understanding of the Lakota philosophy: that we are born beautiful for a joyful life. She is honored to have the pipe carry her, and happy to carry it to others as means of connection with each other and with Spirit.
April 22nd is Earth Day. In preparation for Earth Day and to recognize the tragedies that continue to unfold in Japan, and around the world, we will be holding a different kind of "Many Lights" event in April. In the past each program featured a guest presenter from a different faith or spiritual practice. This month we are inviting everyone to become part of a group event that we will create together.
Please bring prayers, poems, and songs for and about planet, and bring a small object to place upon an Earth altar that we will create together. The evening will begin with silence, and then as we feel moved, each one of us will share the words and songs that we have brought with us. We will end the evening as we began, in silence. You do not have to bring anything to partipate in this event, but we hope that together we can create a liturgy of interwoven music and readings that come from all around the world, and from every tradition.
On March 5, 2011 at 5:00pm, Victoria Rue, a Roman Catholic woman priest, along with members of the MCC community will celebrate Eucharist together. This celebration welcomes all to the table. It will be a feminist Eucharist that holds both tradition and new approaches: inclusive language, shared leadership, a shared homily, embodied prayer, the honoring of other faith traditions, silence and song. Please join us!
Dr. Rue MDiv, Union Theological Seminary, NYC, Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Her dissertation focused on how feminist theatre enacts feminist theology. She is a lecturer in Women’s Studies and Comparative Religious Studies at San Jose State University. Her book, Acting Religious: Theatre as Pedagogy in Religious Studies was published in 2005 by Pilgrim Press.
Victoria was among the first four women ordained in North America. Victoria has presided at masses at Call to Action, Dignity NYC and Hawaii, and throughout the U.S. She has spoken about RCWP in Korea, Costa Rica, the U.K., and most recently in Indonesia.
She presides at a monthly liturgy of a Eucharistic community in Santa Cruz, the Sophia Catholic Community. She is also a Spiritual Care Counselor at VNA and Hospice in Salinas.
Dr. Rue is a theatre writer and director whose plays have been produced at the Mark Taper Forum, the American Conservatory Theatre and other theatres.
Victoria and her partner of 20 years, Kathryn Poethig were married in September’08.
In a world so sadly divided by religious disagreements, Andrew Ramer made a vow to God that for the entire year of 2010 he would pray once a week in a religion other than his own. An active member of a Reform-affiliated synagogue, Sha'ar Zahav, Andrew spent the year attending Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Baha'i, Hindu, and Wiccan services. During the year he gave two sermons in a church, participated in two Muslim-Jewish dialogue groups, organized a Christian-Jewish interfaith service at Sha'ar Zahav, as well as a day of Muslim and Jewish prayer and conversation. He was also invited to be on the planning committee at MCC for this series, "Many Lights," which each month offers an evening of spiritual practice from a different faith tradition.
Praying with others helped to open Andrew's heart, and by the end of the year he found himself paradoxically more grounded in his Jewish life and more open to other religions. Join Andrew as he shares the story of his year, leads a series of guided meditations that will evoke/invoke different spiritual paths – and consider taking a similar vow yourself. Recognizing the challenge of praying this way each week, Andrew hopes that you will join him for a year of praying once a month in a faith tradition other than your own.
In a world so sadly divided by religious disagreements, this is an invitation to you to become an active agent for change. To support you on your journey, Andrew will be offering simple guidelines to follow in your year of prayer, and will be hosting three follow-up sessions (dates and locations to be announced later) for the group to gather, share their adventures, and support each other in making the world a better place.
This award winning documentary film about the ordination of Roman Catholic Women Priest is being premiered in San Francisco at the Balboa Theatre (Balboa at 38th ave) The film will be followed by a Q &A with Film Director Jules Hart and Rev, Victoria Rue, Roman Catholic Woman Priest featured in the film. Tickets are $10 in advance.
If you would like to join the MCCSF group attending this film, feel free to RSVP to Barbara Buckley and we can arrange to sit together. Many Lights is planning a program/worship with Rev Rue at MCCSF early in 2011.
Whether or not you knew ChiSing when he led QSangha at MCCSF, this will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with him and with others in community who want to experience the peace and joy of mindfulness and meditation.
Brother ChiSIng will lead us in a heart-opening evening of sitting meditation, walking meditation, and mindful movement
Br. ChiSing, M.Div., M.A. is an Interfaith retreat facilitator, spiritual director, ritual artist, musician, and the founder of Awakening Heart
His primary meditation teacher is the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, and he was ordained by him into the "Order of Interbeing" (Unified Buddhist Church) in 2003 with the spiritual name of "True Wonderful Happiness." He was also commissioned into ministry by a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1995.
Br. ChiSing's vision for ministry is to encourage Buddhist, Christian and other faith communities to practice Mindful Spirituality in an Interfaith Earth-based way, with an emphasis on creativity, music and the arts.
Music is one of the most universal tools for triggering religious experiences. And one of the most powerful techniques is to combine the sonic driving of a steady drumbeat with ecstatic dance to induce trance states that open into spiritual worlds. To begin this evening, Dr. Sylvan examines the relationship between music, trance, dance, and religious experience in a number of different religious and musical cultures, including the rave/electronic dance music scene, identifies key features of this phenomenon, and explores recent brain science research that confirms the 'trance forming' power of music. Then we will have a hands-on experience of trance dancing, as he leads us through an electronic dance music ceremony. Using intentionality, ritual practices, and specific movements and formations, we will focus and direct the powerful energy of the trance dance experience in a specially designed hour-long sequence that traces the arc of a ceremony – creating a sacred container, generating energy, and dedicating that energy.
Robin Sylvan, Ph.D., is the founder and director of The Sacred Center, a spiritually oriented educational organization. He has taught in both mainstream academic and alternative experiential contexts, including the Library of Congress, Graduate Theological Union, The California Institute of Integral Studies, Naropa University, The University of California Davis, The College of Wooster, and The Ojai Foundation. He is the author of Trance Formation: The Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of Global Rave Culture. His most recent project has been a major study for the Templeton Advanced Research Program on "Music, Religion, Spirituality, and the Human Brain."
InterPlay is a set of practices for connection, community, and change. It asks you to do a few simple actions, then notice what's happening. Doing this alone, and with others, in playful ways, leads to surprising conclusions. Unlock the wisdom you've accumulated in your body. Come experience this sneaky spiritual practice.
Randy Newswanger has been an MCCSF member for 12 years. He is currently studying toward a Master of Divinity degree at Starr King School in Berkeley. He says, "I'm currently curious about bewilderment. When are you surprised or intrigued to look at the world differently than you expected?"
We are delighted to welcome Sharon Bernstein, Cantor of Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, leading us in an evening of reflection, story telling and singing. Sharon will share and teach “niggunim” — wordless melodies from the mystical Hasidic tradition, which was founded on the belief that spirituality and joy should dominate one's relationship to G-d.
Sharon Bernstein (voice, piano) has been involved in Jewish music for over 20 years. As both a Cantor and Yiddish singer, she likes to delve into the relationship between text and music: incorporating musical expressions of life and prayers from around the world, unearthing the stories of forgotten songs and melodies, weaving new rituals, and writing music for liturgy and Yiddish poems. Her work has been featured at festivals and concerts in Europe, Israel, and the US, and on the CDs Metamorphosis and Af Di Gasn Fun Der Shtot. Since 2007, she has been happily ensconced as the Cantor of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco.
Tantra (a Sanskrit word meaning “weave”) is a set of principles, practices, and attitudes that include the mind, heart, and whole body on the path to enlightenment. Far more than just being a way to improve your sex life, Tantra offers us the potential of experiencing our erotic energy as spiritual "rocket fuel"! Tapping into living tradition, in this evening’s experience, we will practice movement and meditation, both individually and in connection.
A student of classical Tantra for more than ten years and a psychotherapist, Alex is also on the faculty of the Body Electric School. Among her specialties are gender exploration, classical Tantra and exploring with an open mind and heart.
Judaism is a spirit path that is profoundly relational. We can be good Jews with or without God but we cannot be good Jews without each other. This relational aspect extends to our interaction with the world as a whole, with food, and touch, with taste and song. In this evening, we will experience the ritual of Havdallah which is a ritual of awakening and engaging with the physical world through our senses.
Jhos Singer a Maggid (preacher) serving the Coastside Jewish Community in Half Moon Bay. He has served as the Coastside Rabbi since 2000. His humor, energy and down-on-it approach to Judaism has been appreciated by congregations (both Jewish and not) all around the bay area.
Universal Sufism, as brought to the West by Hazrat Inayat Khan, is a message of spiritual liberty, a message of unity of religious ideals, respect of all religions, prophets and holy books of humanity. It is a mystical path with its roots tracing back into the hermetic tradition in Egypt.
In this evening we will share some of the wealth of this message, as well as taste its effect through body prayer practice. Our guest presenter is Isa Magdalena, who has been been on the Sufi path for more than twenty years. Namaste,
The Rev. Jana Drakka of Zenkei Zen Sangha works with homeless people in San Francisco. She will give a dharma talk and meditation in the Zen Buddhist tradition.
Through demonstration, interactive exercises and informative discussion, Rik will support us in the process of reconnecting to the natural unity of our mind, body & heart. A somatic mindfulness approach to stress, anxiety, grief or loss can enlarge our experience of being more fully present in the moment and connected to our spiritual heart.
Rik Center is a Buddhist/Interfaith Chaplain, Certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction & Meditation Teacher. For more info about Rik, visit www.comingintobalance.com