Speakers Past and Present


Word and Life is proud of its extensive and varied list of qualified speakers, including religious, clergy, scientists, psychologists, and visionary lay men and women. Our speakers have included (in alphabetical order):

  • Mary Sue Anderson (Word & Life member, meditation teacher)
  • Tensie and Dennis Apel (Catholic Worker House, Guadalupe)
  • David Barnhouse, MD (retired physician and Episcopal priest)
  • Mary Becker (“Just Faith” coordinator, peace activist)
  • Fr. William Bennett, OHC (Mt. Calvary Community)
  • Sr. Susan Blomstad (Sister of St. Francis)
  • Christine Boesch, MDR (Master of Dispute Resolution)
  • Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D.(wisdom teacher, retreat leader)
  • Fr. Gregg Boyle (Homeboy Industries, Los Angeles)
  • Rev. Lynn Bruer (Grace Lutheran Church)
  • Beatrice Bruteau (pre-recorded, with speakerphone questions; deceased)
  • +Harriet Burke (Word & Life member, wisdom teacher)
  • Rev. Tim Burnette (Senior Pastor, First Christian Church; Curator, The Way Collective)
  • +Robert Carman, Ed.D. (Emeritus, SBCC, deceased)
  • Paul Chappell (NAPF Peace Literacy Director)
  • Fr. Jim Clarke (Retreat Leader, Diocese of Los Angeles)
  • Rabbi Steven Cohen (Senior Rabbi, B’nai B’rith Congregation)
  • Rev. Paul Collins (retired Rector, All Saints by the Sea)
  • Katherine Collis (spiritual director)
  • Jim Conlon, Ph. D. (Sophia Institute of Oakland)
  • Rev. Dudley Conneely (St. Anthony Community)
  • Rev. Clement Connolly (Pastor, Holy Family Parish, S. Pasadena)
  • Rev. Cyprian Consiglio (monk, spiritual leader, author, musician)
  • Timothy Conway, Ph.D. (author, teacher of east-west spirituality)
  • Rev. Susan Copeland (United Church of Christ, Healing Touch practitioner)
  • +Fr. Virgil Cordano, OFM (Franciscan Community, Mission Santa Barbara, deceased)
  • Fr. Bruce Correiro (Pastor, St. Raphael’s Church)
  • Fr. Michael Crosby, OFM, Cap. (author, speaker, retreat leader)
  • Rt. Rev. Thomas Curry (Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Los Angeles)
  • Rev. Ron David, MD (Episcopal priest, Neonatologist)
  • Randall Day, Rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal, Los Olivos
  • Fr. Ludo DeClippel (Holy Cross Church, our host for many years)
  • Melinda Dewey (HeartMath Trainer)
  • +Bob Doering (Word & Life coordinator)
  • Rev. Michael Dowd (evolutionary theologian)
  • John Draper, Hospital Chaplain
  • Prof. Enda Duffy, English Dept., UCSB (expert on Celtic mythology)
  • Anne Dunn, IHM (the Archdiocesan Regional Consultant in Adult Education)
  • Rev. Suzanne Dunn (Pastor, Catholic Church of the Beatitudes)
  • Mary Ann Evans (Neuropsychologist, Equine Therapist)
  • Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delavette (Rector, All Saints-by-the-Sea)
  • Jim Finley, Ph.D., (former Trappist monk, retreat leader)
  • Michael Fish, OSB (Camaldolese monk)
  • Rev. Franklin Fong, OFM (Franciscan priest and scientist)
  • +Rev. Keith Forster (St. Anthony Community)
  • Matthew Fox (futurist, author, and scholar)
  • Fr. Jim Galvin (St. Mary’s Seminary, deceased)
  • Fr. Bill Garcia (church historian, ethicist, pastor)
  • Gregg Garrison, OSF (Secular Franciscan)
  • Dawn George (marriage & family therapist)
  • Fr. Larry Gosselin (Franciscan priest, Saint Barbara’s Parish)
  • Kathryn Grant (Enneagram workshop and retreat leader)
  • Prof. David Griffin (Process theologian, author)
  • Richard Groves (author & spiritual counselor)
  • Rev. Gary Hall (Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Rev. Julia Hamilton (Lead Minister, The Unitarian Society of S.B.)
  • Anne Goodrich Heck, M.A. (homilist, Catholic Church of the Beatitudes)
  • Thomas F. Heck, Ph.D. (musicologist, Web designer)
  • Tensie Hernandez (Catholic Worker House, Guadalupe, CA)
  • Bro. Jude Hill (Episcopalian Franciscan friar, Jungian analyst)
  • Anne Hillman (retreat leader, author)
  • Rev. Anne Howard (Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Barbara Marx Hubbard (futurist, Foundation for Conscious Evolution)
  • Rev. John Hydar (St. Anthony Community)
  • Steve Jacobsen (Hospice of Santa Barbara)
  • Rev. Ann Jaqua (Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Michael Kearney, MD (Palliative Care physician and author)
  • Eugene Kennedy, Ph.D. (The Unhealed Wound: The Church and Human Sexuality)
  • Rev. Steve Kelly, SJ (peace activist and leader)
  • Paul Lakeland, Ph.D. (The Liberation of the Laity)
  • Perie Longo (marriage & family therapist, poet)
  • Alice MacDonald, M.A.(past leader of Word & Life)
  • Dr. Jeanne Martin (mythologist, harpist)
  • David McArthur (author, Your Spiritual Heart . . .)
  • Patricia McClure (spiritual director, All Saints-by-the-Sea)
  • Rev. Adam McCoy (Prior, Mt. Calvary Monastery, S.B.)
  • Sr. Catherine McGrath (Notre Dame School)
  • Fr. Ken McGuire (St. Mark’s University Parish)
  • Jocelyn McIvers, Attorney, Co-author
  • Mary Mohs with Ron Valle (authors, Opening to Dying and Grieving)
  • Fr. Jim McOwen (St. Mary’s Seminary, deceased)
  • Ched Meyers (Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries)
  • Rev. Elizabeth Molitors (Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Clare Montana, Ph.D. (Word & Life member)
  • Rev. David Moore (ecumenical teacher and author)
  • Michael Morwood (author, Tomorrow’s Catholic)
  • Fr. Pat Mullin (St. Mary Retreat Center)
  • Maureen Murray, RSHM
  • John Philip Newell (author, retreat leader)
  • Imam Yama Niazi (Islamic Society of SB)
  • Georgia Noble (local Parker Palmer Trainer)
  • Diarmuid O’Murchu, MSC (author, futurologist)
  • Fr. Kenan Osborne, OFM (Franciscan Community, Mission Santa Barbara)
  • Fr. Roy Persich (St. Mary’s Seminary)
  • Melinda Pitarre, RN, MTP (member, Word & Life)
  • Anita Pivato, RN (member, Word & Life)
  • Betsy Reifsnider (with Catholic Charities of Stockton, CA)
  • Suzanne Retzinger, ​​PhD, MFT (Counselor, Education Specialist with Hospice of S. B.)
  • Christiane Richards (member, Word & Life)
  • David Richo, Ph.D. (author, psychologist, retreat leader)
  • Dennis Rivers (author, editor, web designer)
  • +Msgr. John Rhode (San Roque Parish, deceased)
  • Prof. Wade Clark Roof (Religious Studies Dept., UCSB)
  • Mary Rosenfeld, RN (spiritual director)
  • Marilyn Rudy, CSJ
  • Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D. (evolutionary biologist, futurist)
  • Robert Sardello (spiritual psychologist)
  • Rev. Larry Schellink (Unity of Santa Barbara)
  • Fr. Joe Scott (St. Mark’s University Parish)
  • Rev. Gwynne Schultz (First Congregational Church)
  • Samir Selmanovic (author, inter-faith advocate)
  • Rev. Martha Siegel (Trinity Episcopal Church community)
  • Jeffrey S. Siker, Ph.D.(Chair, Dept. of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University)
  • Fr. Alberic Smith, OFM (Franciscan Community, Mission Santa Barbara)
  • Rev. Paul Smith (author of Integral Christianity)
  • Daniel Smith-Christopher, Ph.D. (Professor, Loyola Marymount University)
  • Mirabai Starr, Ph.D. (author, adjunct professor of Philosophy and World Religions)
  • Fr. Jack Stoeger (St. John’s Seminary)
  • Rabbi Suzy Stone (Congregation B’nai B’rith)
  • Kathleen Strittmatter (Institute for Adult Spirituality)
  • Rev. Charles Talley (Pastor, St. Barbara’s Parish)
  • Ernie Tamminga (spiritual director with Stillpoint)
  • Rev. Bart Tarman (Pastor, Summer­land Presbyterian Church)
  • Ann Taves, Ph.D. (Professor of Catholic Studies, UCSB)
  • Juliet Spohn Twomey, IHM (La Casa de Maria staff)
  • Judith Valente (author of How to Live. . .), with Judge Charles Reynard, her spouse.
  • Ron Valle with Mary Mohs (authors, Opening to Dying and Grieving)
  • Pravrajika Vrajaprana (Vedanta nun)
  • Wolf & Lisa Wahpepah (native American spiritual leaders, with ancestral roots in Ojai)
  • Garry Van Wyk (member, Word & Life)
  • Fr. Mort Ward (Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Radhule Weininger (Clinical psychologist, Buddhist practitioner)
  • Catherine Weissenberg, MA (Communication Facilitator)
  • Fr. Cletus Wessels (Jesus in the New Universe Story)
  • Rev. Cindy Yoshitomi (St. Anthony Community)
  • Sam Young (retreat leader, contemplative prayer)

Previous Topics / Texts Studied

1978-79 Gospel of Matthew
1979-80 Gospel of John
1980-81 Gospel of Luke
1981-82 Acts of the Apostles
1982-83 Romans, and I and II Corinthinas
1983-84 Hebrews, and Revelation
1984-85 Matthew (Little Rock Scripture Study Series = LRSS)
1985-86 Genesis and Exodus (LRSS)
1986-87 Gospel of Mark, Samuel I and II (LRSS)
1987-88 Isaiah and Jeremiah (LRSS)
1988-89 Gospel of John
1989-90 Gospel of Luke (LRSS)
1990-91 Acts of the Apostles (LRSS)
1991-92 Galatians and Romans (LRSS)
1992-93 Genesis (LRSS)
1993-94 Exodus (LRSS)
1994-95 Gospel of Matthew (LRSS)
1995-96 Gospel of John (LRSS)
1996-97 Psalms (LRSS)
1997-98 Isaiah (LRSS)
1998-99 Overview of the Bible (Scriptures from Scratch), and Women in the Bible (Women in the New Testament, by Irene Nowell, OSB, Liturgical Press, 1997)
1999-2000 The Apocalypse and the Third Millennium, by George T. Montague, SM (Servant Publications, 1998), and Consider Jesus, by Elizabeth Johnson (Crossroad, 1991)
2000-2001 God of Evolution, by Fr. Denis Edwards (Paulist Press, 1999), and The Good News According to Luke, by Richard Rohr, OFM (Crossroad, 1997)
2001-2002 Tomorrow’s Catholic, by Michael Morwood (Twenty-third Publications, 1997), and And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation, by Fr. Robert Barron (Crossroad, 1998)
2002-2003 The Unhealed Wound: The Church and Human Sexuality, by Eugene Kennedy (St. Martin’s Press, 2001), and Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men, by Joan Chittister (Erdmans Publishing, 1998)
2003-2004 Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, by Marcus Borg (Harper, 1994), and Jesus in the New Universe Story, by Fr. Cletus Wessels (Orbis, 2003)
2004-2005 Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate, edited by Jeffrey Siker, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, and Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution, edited by André Trocmé and Charles Moore (Orbis, 2004)
2005-2006 A Biblical Spirituality of Exile: “Theirs” and “Ours”, a series of lectures based on relevant Biblical passages, by Daniel Smith-Christopher, Ph.D., Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Peace Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles Spirituality of the Beatitudes: Matthew’s Vision for the Church in an Unjust World, by Michael Crosby, OFM, Cap. (Orbis, 2005)
2006-2007 Religion in Exile: A Spiritual Homecoming , by Diarmuid O’Murchu (New York: Crossroad, 2000). The author, a priest and social psychologist living in London, lectures internationally. Radical Optimism: Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World, by Beatrice Bruteau (Sentient Publications, 2002)
2007-2008 Imaging Life After Death: A Love That Moves the Sun and Stars, by Kathleen Fischer (New York: Paulist Press, 2004) Jesus Today: A Spirituality of Radical Freedom, by Albert Nolan (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006)
2008-2009 The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus J. Borg (HarperCollins, 2003)) The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem, by Marcus J. Borg & John Dominic Crossan (HarperOne, 2007)
2009-2010 “The Emerging Church,” viewing and discussion of selected video clips by leading authorities such as Richard Rohr, Ken Wilber, Thomas Keating, and others Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, by Richard Rohr (Saint Anthony Messenger Press, 2008)
Fall 2010-Wi/Spr 2011 A People’s History of Christianity…, Diana Butler Bass’s “modest but powerful insight” into the often untold chapters of Church history. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (Crossroads, 2009), by Richard Rohr
May 2011: How to be an Adult in Faith and Spirituality, with Dave Richo
Fall 2011-Wi /Spr 2012 Celtic Spirituality, using as our basic text J. Philip Newell’s Christ of the Celts: ‘The Healing of Creation’ Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Jossey-Bass, 2011), by Richard Rohr
May 2012: The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know, with Dave Richo
Fall 2012-Wi/Spr  2013 Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve, by Paul R. Smith, based on models proposed by Ken Wilber A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul (Jossey-Bass, 2011), by John Philip
May 2013: How to Be an Adult in Love, with Dave Richo
Fall 2013-Wi/Spr  2014 Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, by Karen Armstrong (2010), and Field of Compassion: How the New Cosmology Is Transforming Spiritual Life by Judy Cannato (2011)
May 2014: The Sacred Heart of the World, with Dave Richo
Fall 2014-Wi/Spr  2015 The Book of Forgiving, by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu (2014), and It’s Really All About God: How Islam, Atheism, and Judaism Made Me a Better Christian, by Samir Selmanovic (2009)
May 2015: The Power of Grace: Recognizing the  Unexpected Gifts On Our Path, with Dave Richo
Fall 2015-Wi/Spr 2016 Eager To Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, by Richard Rohr (2016), and A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World, by Thomas Moore (2014)
May 2016:  When Catholic Means Cosmic: Opening To a Big-Hearted Faith, with Dave Richo
Fall 2016-Wi/Spr 2017 Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All, by Stephen Dinan (2016), and The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings, by John Philip Newell (2014)
May 2017: When Mary Becomes Cosmic: A Jungian and Mystical Path to the Divine Feminine, with Dave Richo
Fall 2017-Wi/Spr 2018 The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, by Richard Rohr (2016), and Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth. A Collection of Essays, ed. by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (2018)
May 2018: Everything Ablaze: Meditating On the Mystical Vision of Teilhard de Chardin, with Dave Richo
Fall 2018-Wi/Spr 2019 Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart, by Childre, Martin, Rozman, and McCraty (2016), and God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, by Mirabai Starr (2012)
May 2019: The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know, with Dave Richo
Fall 2019-Wi/Spr 2020 How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community, by Judith Valente (2018)

January 2020:
THE UNIVERSAL CHRIST: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for and Believe, by Richard Rohr (2019)

May 2020:
Triggers: How we Can Stop Reacting and Start Healing, with Dave Richo