Introducing the reading for our Winter Series
January 11th through March 14th, 2024
Steven Charleston as a Choctaw Elder and an Episcopal Bishop brings forth his experience of belonging to a culture that survived the end of its world and found ways to summon hope and courage that can guide the rest of us today.
He offers powerful insights on kinship, balance, and harmony that are primary to Native tradition and integral to Christian thought. He also points to parallel concepts in other faith traditions.
He tells us: “The key to the seeker’s quest is not in finding just the right piece of holy real estate on which to stand, but rather, in so preparing his or her awareness that any space he or she occupies can become thin [available to Spirit] through faith” We will be using his book The Four Vision Quests of Jesus which is the core of Bishop Charleston’s writings, but we also invite you to read other of his books including:
2023 – We Survived The End Of The World: Lessons from Native America on Apocalypse & Hope
2023 – Spirit Wheel: Meditations From An Indigenous Elder
2021 – Ladder To The Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage
2015 – Coming Full Circle: Constructing Native Christian Theology (with Elaine Robinson)
Together we will discover a history and spiritual reality that encompasses us all and learn practices that can give us the hope and courage we need to navigate our dark times.
Ten Thursday mornings via Zoom — Series Tuition: $75
We invite you to register today for this inspiring program.
Dates of Program: January 11 thru March 14, 2024
Each Thursday morning – 10:00am – 11:30
How: Zoom Platform
Fee: $75.00 The Thomas Heck Memorial Fund is available to those needing scholarship aid, and we encourage donations to the fund from those who are interested supporting our operating costs and each other.
Our work continues by virtue of many contributions.
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Word and Life
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|TOPIC AND CHAPTER(S)
Chapter 1: The Quest
Dr. Michael Kearney
Chapter 2: The Vision
Rev. Steve Jacobsen
Chapter 3: The Voice
Chapter 4: The Messiah
Chapter 5: The Clown
Video Interview with
Chapter 6: The Wilderness
Chapter 7: The Mountain
Rev. Tina Campbell
Chapter 8: The Garden
Rev. Mary Crist
Chapter 9: The Cross
Fr. Jim Clarke
Backstory of the Series
2024 looks to be a ‘signal year’ for our troubled planet, and we find ourselves seeking the guidance of a dimension of planetary and native wisdom that has been largely unexplored by mainstream traditions. It is the indigenous wisdom of Native America with its roots in the harmony and wholeness of earth and cosmos.
Our intention here is to be mindful and careful of the way we seek to engage this deep wisdom
– acknowledging the appalling history of genocide that the American culture imposed on the original peoples of our shared continent
– and deeply grateful for the work of leaders like Bishop Steven Charleston whose heart and hand are held out to us in sharing some of the dimensions of Indigenous Christianity.
His writings offer lessons from the apocalypse that his people suffered from our common history along with the vision and practices that have kept its spiritual culture alive.
For our Winter series we are embarking on the study of Bishop Charleston’s The Four Vision Quests of Jesus. We invite you to join us as spiritual seekers who are humbled and open to the interface of healing and Indigenous wisdom within our shared Christian tradition. Our hope is that the spiritual insights and practices that emerge here will work to bless our disordered world.
List of Presenters (in alphabetical order)
Joseph Bruchac, PhD
A citizen of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation and a member of their Elder Council, Joseph Bruchac has authored over 180 books in numerous genres. His poems, fiction, and essays have appeared in hundreds of publications from American Poetry Review,Parabola, and National Geographic to Scholastic Scope and Highlights for Children. His ground-breaking book Keepers of the Earth (co-authored with Michael Caduto), which uses Native stories to teach science, has sold over a million copies an adopted in schools throughout the US and Canada.
A graduate of Cornell University, he received his Master’s Degree in Literature from Syracuse University and his Ph.D. from the Union Institute (Ohio). His numerous awards include a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, a CCLM Editors Fellowship, a NYS Writing Fellowship, the Hope S. Dean Memorial Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. A traditional Native musician and storyteller, he has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival and the British Storytelling Festival and performed traditional indigenous music with drum and flute at Caffe Lena, the Old Songs Festival, the Flurry Festival and numerous other venues.
is a second-year PhD student in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary where he studies missiology and public theology. He grew up in the rocky woodlands of New England on lands originally inhabited by the Munsee Lenape people. He currently lives in Santa Barbara, on unceded Chumash land, with his wife and daughter, and is due to have a second child in March. His present call to be spiritually and socially re-formed by the voices of his Indigenous brothers and sisters in Christ informs his research of Native North American contributions to (and critiques of) Christian mission made since the late 1960s. Before beginning his doctoral studies he studied cultural Anthropology and Christian Education at Wheaton College (IL) and received a MSc in World Christianity from the University of Edinburgh, UK.
An adaptation of his master’s thesis is forthcoming in an issue of Studies in World Christianity, published by Edinburgh University Press. After receiving his master’s degree he spent five years serving in student ministry in New York City. During that time, the questions, yearnings, and concerns of his students nurtured a deepening awareness of the Church’s wounded past and the need for a more credible Christian witness in the public sphere. He is a fellow in Fuller’s Mouw Institute for Faith and Public Life and a participant in the Research in Indigenous Studies and Christianity (RISC) network.
The Rev. Canon Tina Campbell
Tina Campbell served as Deacon and then Deacon Associate at Trinity Cathedral in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California. Ordained in 1991 she has served the diocese in a variety of ways: Archdeacon, General Convention Deputy, the Commission on Ministry, and in two Bishop searches. She was on the faculty of the School for Deacons in Berkeley, teaching the Spiritual Formation class for students from Northern California and the Diocese of San Joaquin. In 2020 she was invited by Bp.Traquair to serve as Indigenous Missioner. Latina and Navaho, she worked with a consultant to assist three parishes to craft meaningful Land Acknowledgements.
Living in the traditional homeland of the Nisenan people.
Bishop Steven Charleston
Steven Charleston is an Episcopal Bishop, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, and a Native American elder. After graduating from Trinity College in 1971 with a degree in religion, Steven Charleston earned a master’s of divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His vocation in the church has been extensive. He was the national staff officer for Native American ministries in the Episcopal Church; director of the Dakota Leadership Program, developing new methods of training indigenous laity and clergy. He later because tenured professor in Systematic Theology at Luther-Northwestern Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he was instrumental in the development of the cross-cultural studies program. Steven Charleston also served as diocesan bishop of Alaska.
Bishop Charleston is widely recognized as a leading proponent for justice issues and for spiritual renewal in the church in the United States and Canada. He has published two spiritual diaries, a novel, several collections of spiritual meditations, and numerous articles in theological journals. Today there are over 10,000 people who read his daily meditations on Facebook and thousands more around the world who read his books through Red Moon Publications.
Fr. Jim Clarke
With an extensive academic background in the fields of spirituality, adult education, counseling, ritual and depth psychology, Fr Jim Clarke currently serves as Consultant of Spiritual Formation for the Permanent Diaconate Office for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He also is an Associate Spiritual Director at the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for Priests.
Fr. Jim’s work and further education have taken him to Israel, Mexico, Canada, Africa, Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Pacific Islands. His CD/DVD series and published books have added to his continuing public ministry of retreats, workshops, and conferences throughout the United States for priests, women religious, seminarians, parish and school staffs as well as parishes at large. His newest book is: Rethinking Catholic Devotions: Energy, Engagement, Transformation.
For many years, Fr. Jim has acted as an important contributor to our Word and Life series – often stepping forward to summarize the season’s journey of 9 weeks, weaving it all together into new understanding and usefulness.
The Rev. Canon Mary Crist, Ed.D.
(Piitaki/Eagle Woman) is enrolled Blackfeet from the Douglas family in Montana. She has served as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, serving at St. Michael’s Ministry Center in Riverside. Dr. Crist served on the Presiding Bishop’s Staff as the Coordinator of Indigenous Theological Education in the Department of Ethnic Ministries. She is a Visiting Professor of Education and Indigenous Studies at Bexley Seabury Seminary in Chicago. She has earned the Doctor of Education from Columbia University in New York, Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, Master of Education from Pan American University, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of California Berkeley. She is the author of the articles “Frybread in Canaan” and “Native Christian Perspectives on Reconciliation,” both published in the First Peoples Theology Journal, as well as various articles in early childhood education, special education, and online instructional design. In 2022 she was named a Woman of Distinction for Province VIII by the National Episcopal Church Women.
Rev. Steve Jacobsen
Steve Jacobsen earned a BA in European History from UCSB, a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Seminary and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle University. He served as a Presbyterian pastor for 30 years, with the last 16 in Goleta.
From 2008-2014 he was Executive Director at Hospice of Santa Barbara; from 2014 to May, 2018 he was Director at La Casa de Maria. He has published a book and 11 articles on the relationship of spirituality to various aspects of daily life, including secular work, leadership and digital technology.
He has been active in interfaith projects with Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities. Since “being “released into the wild” and retiring in 2018, he has served as an Interim Pastor, first at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian and now at Summerland Presbyterian. He writes a weekly blog, “Pocket Epiphanies” at www.drjsb.com
Michael Kearney, MD
Michael Kearney has worked for over 40 years as a palliative care and hospice physician, sitting at the bedsides of people who are seriously ill and dying. He recently retired from his full time clinical work to dedicate himself to teaching through the newly founded Becoming Forest Project. He and his wife, Radhule, live in Santa Barbara, California.ourselves, making the world a better place for all.
Ernie Tamminga, PhD
has been reflecting on the dynamics of emerging and cross-cultural spirituality for over 50 years. He earned his doctorate in Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where for five years he was a member of Raimon Panikkar’s graduate seminar in Cross-Cultural Religious Anthropology. His dissertation was an analysis and critique of Teilhard de Chardin’s notion of a “privileged axis” of evolution.
Ernie is a trained Spiritual Director, and for 20 years was a member of the board and teaching faculty of Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality. A Long Time Ago, he was a board member of “The Phenomenon of Man Project,” a nonprofit that offered retreats and presentations centered on the evolutionary vision of Teilhard de Chardin. He describes himself as a “planet empath.” He and his wife Alison have, between them, 12 grandchildren and – as of mid-2023 – one great-grandson… intensifying his sense of urgency about what we are doing to our beloved planet.