Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
The Ongoing Work of Creation
FCM Circle of Directors
Tom Stricker, FCM Chairperson................................................Pages 2-3
Increased Involvement Our Shared Goal
Long-Term Planning and FCM
Tom Cusack, FCM President........................................................Pages 4-5
FCM 2017 Action Plan
Tom Stricker, FCM Chairperson................................................Pages 6-7
Endowment Plan Underway
Tom Cusack, FCM President & Dan Pellegrin, Northeast VP...Page 8
Save the Date 2018 Assembly........................................................Page 9
FCM Christian Identity: From Chaos to Clarity
Diane Dougherty, Southern VP with
Tom Stricker, FCM Chairperson......................................................Page 10
We know from the Christ-resurrection experience
that we currently dwell in two worlds. They are
the physical-mortal and the spiritual-eternal.
Ash Wednesday memorializes this condition by
presenting us a physical reminder
of mortality--the ashes.
May the help of Jesus bring us conscious
awareness of our soul's eternal quest,
Christ-manifested union with God.
Ray Gurney, FCM..................................................................................Page 11
Great Lakes...New Endorsement, Upcoming Gatherings
Amy Simpson Bennethum & Ron Davis, Great Lakes V.P.s........Page.12
Southern....Writers, New Members and Workshop Making News
Diane Dougherty, Southern V.P...............................................Pages 13-14
Mountains & Plains...
Salt and Light in the Midst of an American Winter
Richard James Mountains & Plains V.P...............................Pages 15-19/2
Northeast ....Grateful for New Members, May Gathering
Dan Pellegrin, Northeast V.P....................................................Pages 20-23
Justice & Peace
FCM Group DignityUSA
John & Bev Titus.................................................................................Page 24
Antoinette Marold,.............................................................................Page 25
The Meaning of the Trinity Icon
Dan Pellegrin, Northeast V.P...................................................Pages 26-28
FCM Directory.................................................Page 29
I write this having just returned from the Circle
Meeting, enthused about the task before us in
FCM. We discussed many exciting issues as we
head into the new year: building a closer
relationship with Group Members, a new IT system
with the potential to improve communication,
building a stronger future with the establishment of
an endowment, lively discussions on how we will
address the social justice issues of our day as a
At the same time I see our country and world in so
much chaos. What are we called to do as spiritual
leaders? I believe it is to embrace the chaos as the
Creator did in the Genesis story. We are cocreators,
are we not? We must be open to the
Spirit and allow that power to enter our hearts so
that we may recreate and renew the face of the
earth. Allow me to paraphrase Rev. Da Vita
McCallister here: Our role is not to be the voice of
the people suffering injustice, presuming what they
need. Our role is to use our resources to increase
the audience of those often unheard and silenced
by personal injustice and systemic injustice in our
One of the decisions the Circle made was that the
theme of our regional gatherings this year will be
“Spirituality is the Engine of Social Justice.”
Both as a spiritual body and as spiritual leaders,
FCM must address the division we see in our
country and in our world today. Founded in
spirituality, we need to see that in truth we are all
one, or as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, “We are here
to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
Before we go any further let me say this is not a
partisan political issue. When we begin as
partisans we are divided and incapable of
addressing systemic injustice as allies. We need to
face the struggles of our nation and world as one
people, hearing and acting on the wisdom of each
other, actively listening to and standing with those
This is by no means an easy task; it is daunting
but not impossible. Understanding the difficulty
reinforces the reason we need to be grounded in
spirituality. Created in God’s image, we are
charged to bring creation to completion. Each
generation is duty bound to contribute to this
growth, so that humankind’s ideals do not become
stagnant and stationary.
So where do we start? Perhaps a look to history will
help. In 1921 and in 1930 the marchers who
participated with Mahatma Gandhi seeking freedom
from the oppression of England’s colonization made
promises and commitments to the cause of peaceful
In 1963, following Gandhi’s footsteps Martin Luther
King Jr. challenged his followers to make a
commitment to further the effort of seeking justice
and reconciliation from the oppression of
In the light of this challenge let us make our
commitment to justice and peace in our day:
• I promise to meditate daily.
• I promise to remember the nonviolent
movement seeks justice and reconciliation
• I will walk and talk in the manner of love,
for God is love.
• I will perform service for others and for the world.
• I will refrain from violence of fist, tongue and heart.
* I will strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
• I will speak out nonviolently concerning any act of
violence or injustice that I see, writing my
congressman or senator (both Democrat and
Republican), and participating in action that will
bring about justice.
I sincerely believe our relevance as the Federation
of Christian Ministries depends on taking a stand for
social justice. In the coming months I will be writing
about strategies we might want to follow as
individuals, communities and the organization as a
whole. Please feel free to send me your thoughts
and ideas on these important issues. We are in this
together. May God’s spirit once again hover over us
that we might be empowered to renew the face of
Left back row: Tom Leonhardt & Carolyn Horvath, Central Office & Membership..Ron Davis, Great Lakes,
Co-Vice President...Richard James, Mountain & Plains Vice President...Bill Appleton, Secretary...
Anthony Ercolano, Commissioning Chair...Tom Cusack, President....
Left middle row: Sue Ross, Treasurer...Carl Yusavitz, Vice Chair Specialized Ministries...Dan Pellegrin,
Northeast Vice President...Tom Stricker, Chairperson....Amy Simpson Bennethum, Great Lakes Co-Vice President
Left front row: Eileen DiFranco, Denominational Concerns Chair...Christy Howard Steele, Chair Specialized
Ministries....Diane Dougherty, Southern Vice President...not pictured: Donnieau Snyder, Pacific Vice President
Our Circle of Directors meeting in Cleveland at the
beginning of February was inspirational. The
Circle is currently made up of 16 FCM members of
great dedication and thoughtfulness.
together at a unique time in our country’s history
and that of the world. Our Chairperson, Tom
Stricker mentions in his current article his
observation of chaos developing in the world. I
want to affirm that observation.
We are experiencing evolutionary forces at work
across the globe. I suggest there is something
profound happening, the meaning of which is not
yet clear. Its manifestations include a shakeup of
the post-World War II order of nations, as led by
the United States. It includes the movement of
large numbers of refugees across the globe,
causing new pressures and dangers. We see the
advance of global warming with its results in
intensified weather experiences, oceanic
acidification, the retreat of ice caps and glaciers
with the resulting rise of ocean levels. We see the
usual sources of “news and truth” (the main line
media) being assailed by criticism and the formal
assaults of manufactured-news. With all this the
foundations of the stability we have experienced
after World War II are shaking, crumbling, and
rearranging. How will we respond as individuals
and as FCM? The increased involvement of each
of us, guided by our inner connection with the
Spirit is, I believe, critical at this moment.
I would like to address that response within
FCM at the micro level and the macro level. The
micro level focuses on us as individual members
of FCM. I request of you an increased activity in
your own spiritual life, introducing into your
devotions 2 x 2 4 FCM [two minutes daily of
prayer and of meditation for the benefit of FCM as
a religious body]. In addition please add to your
devotions Tuesday 10 4 FCM [10 minutes of
prayer and meditation for FCM each Tuesday].
This sequence of dedicated spiritual activity will
energize and guide FCM and yourself under the
direction of the Holy Spirit. Consciously step up
your random acts of kindness, reach out and talk
"nonviolently" (lovingly) to people with whom you
disagree. Be the change you hope to see.
On a more external plane, please make
systematic your interaction with your FCM
ministerial colleague. Look into the free
application, Zoom https://zoom.us which
supports videoconferencing and use it with your
Second, volunteer as an Area Representative to
work with your FCM regional Vice President in
building community within FCM.
Third, wear your FCM pin when acting as an
FCM minister. It is a striking pin which elicits
questions. Memorize a version of this elevator
speech to answer those questions: FCM was
founded 50 years ago by men who had
resigned from the Roman Catholic
priesthood, typically to marry. Because they
wanted to continue to minister they founded
FCM. Now we include both men and women.
We commission ministers. We endorse
chaplains and pastoral counselors. And we
gather faith communities.
On the macro level FCM as a religious body will
navigate the 501 (C) (3) prohibitions on political
involvements and influences. We will
consistently comment on issues of social justice
from an educational viewpoint providing a basis
for you to consider the directions your own
efforts can take. We will not suggest specific
responses to political developments except to
observe them and comment on them as to how
our values might impact them. At the same time
FCM’s leadership will be looking for you to make
personally felt declarations to the membership
through our Constant Contact email facility.
Finally, take the time to find the contact
information for your federal and state legislators,
available online and write to them. Your
influence is essential as they make decisions
affecting all of us. As you make this effort, do so
with the awareness that in this new context of
increasing global chaos we must go deep within
to our soul’s level to gain the inner calm and
direction needed to successfully be in the
moment as we navigate a new landscape.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
by tom cusack
As FCM continues its evolution from being a ministerial association to presenting as a religious body with
faith communities and a close-knit group of individual ministers and endorsees, developing a greater
awareness of funding is significant. In this article I bring your attention to the arena of wills and planning for
the benefit of your family and for the benefit of FCM.
The Circle of Directors is now investigating the feasibility of establishing an endowment fund for FCM’s
long term financial stability and strength. With this fund in place the possibility for members to designate
FCM as one of the beneficiaries of their wills emerges. With the potential for more significant funding,
FCM’s future would be placed on more solid ground.
Despite the necessity of having a will, many fail to fulfill this task. This comment extends from the youngest
to the oldest, from the single to the married and to the committed. A will and its accompanying documents
are often critical for those remaining behind. It brings simplicity and an ease of process that each of us
should put into place for the benefit of our loved ones who survive us.
It is safest to engage the help of an attorney to draw up your will and its supporting documents, including a
living will, a durable power of attorney, and a health proxy. As you know, the living will provides instructions
in the event you become terminally ill. The health proxy designates a person who is authorized to make
health decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. The durable power of attorney designates a
person who can make significant decisions for you while you are incapacitated. These decisions could
involve real estate processes that are already underway or other legal matters.
Having a will provides clear direction on the disposition of your assets and arranges guardianship for your
minor children if necessary. Along with consideration of any dependents you may have as well as other
family members, you may consider charitable institutions which have impacted your life. I place in this latter
category the Federation of Christian Ministries which has offered community and ministerial authorization
to you. In many cases members’ careers and meaningful ministerial activities would not be available
without the support of FCM. Through your will you can make a bequest that will live on to benefit the lives
of other FCM members for years into the future.
If you do not have a will and its supporting documents, make this a project to complete it in the next six
months. If you have a will already, please consider adding a codicil (amendment) by which you include
FCM in your will. Your generosity will be recognized (if you wish) to the entire membership and will inspire
others to follow.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
As individuals and a community of faith, we need to have a strategy to address individual and systemic injustice. Our FCM
Mission calls us first to be grounded in personal spiritual practice and to welcome people of all spiritual persuasions. We
are called to ministry. What does that mean? Diane Dougherty’s article elsewhere in this issue (“FCM Christian Identity:
From Chaos to Clarity”) explains what our response needs to be in these times. If we are to be a people and a
community of faith we must have a plan and response.
To paraphrase Da Vita McCallister, our role is not to be the voice of people who suffer injustice, presuming we know what
they need. Our role is to use our resources to increase the audience of those often unheard and silenced by person and
systematic injustices in our communities, country and world. This is NOT a partisan issue. When we begin as partisans we
are already living in division and avoid addressing the systematic injustices.
The following outline is an adaptation from the document put out by “Indivisible,” a national citizen action organization. It
is my belief that we as a Faith Community could follow this adapted plan as we seek to live our faith and enlarge the
audience of those who are often unheard and silenced.
1. Grass Roots Advocacy is important. We all have a role in speaking to our representatives.
a. Become part of a local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoC). At the Federal level,
you have three Members of Congress (MoCs) – one representative and two senators. Like it or not they
are your voices in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are in fact speaking for you. Look here for
local groups: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/groups-nav
b. A pro-active approach – asking for what you want – is important (see “Strategic Choice #2” below).
2. Your Member of Congress (MoC) thinks: Re-election, Re-election, Re-election.
a. MoC’s want their constituents to think well of them and they want good local press. They hate surprises,
wasted time, and most of all bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable and vulnerable.
You want to use these interests to make them listen to you and act.
b. Calling your representatives is good but be prepared to realize their office lines are limited and you may
get busy signals. Be persistent. E-mail your MoC. Try a Twitter Account which can be faster.
3. Identify or organize your local groups
a. Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own?
4. Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. There are four key opportunity areas that just a
handful of local constituents can use to great effect. Always record encounters on video, prepare questions
ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to the local media.
a. Town Halls MoC’s regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents.
Make them listen to you, and report when they do not. Be aware that with some representatives you
need to be persistent in your requests for town halls.
b. Non-town Hall events. MoC’s love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get
photo-ops without questions about racism, white privilege authoritarianism and corruption.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2...page 2 ...Tom Stricker
Cont'd.. Outline is an adaptation from the document put out by “Indivisible,” a national citizen action organization.
c. District Office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Request a
meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.
d. Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have an impact. Organize your local groups to barrage
your MoCs at an opportune moment about and on a specific issue. (If your Senators and Representative
are not saved in your contacts, do it today. If you don’t know who they are, text your zip code to
520-200-2223. You will get your information back immediately.)
Two key strategic choices.
1. Be locally focused. Realize you are the most important ingredient in a democracy. YOU make a difference.
a. If you are dissatisfied talk to others. Talk on line. Realize that the locally-based discussion groups
themselves are a powerful tool
b. Groups can be small, local and dedicated. A group of 10 or smaller can make a difference. Dedication of
your personal time and resources is important. Communicate often and track developments in Washington.
Coordinated advocacy efforts together.
c. Come to realize the power of a few. For example, on any given day in 2009 or 2010 only 20 local events –
meetings, trainings, town halls, etc. – were scheduled. In short, a relatively small number of groups can
have a big impact on the national debate.
d. Organize a group to do advocacy by op-ed in all newspapers.
2. Ask for what you want.
a. “Stop the Ban on Immigrants” is asking for what you don’t want. “I want people who have us to see people
as people and help them in their need. That is an American Value. That honors all people. We, the USA,
are a people of many differences. Let us celebrate the differences that make us STRONG.”
b. “Stop the police brutality especially on people of color” is asking for what you do not want.
“I want to have police and the communities working together as one. I want to see team work with the
police and community keeping all of us safe especially developing relationships with ALL people.”
I am very interested in your thoughts on implementing this or any action plan in your area. Please contact me
firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or comments. We can all be the change we want to see.
(Editor’s note: Even as the Circle is actively reviewing and planning for the initiation of an endowment fund for FCM, it is important that as members we
make ourselves aware of the basics of this instrument. And should you have interest and/or expertise in this area and wish to become involved in this
meaningful effort within FCM, please contact Dan (email@example.com) or Tom (firstname.lastname@example.org). Many thanks to Tom and Dan and the
entire Circle for their foresight and consideration.)
TC: In January, Chairperson Tom Stricker reviewed a document from the International Council of Community Churches
(ICCC) that included the bylaws of the ICCC’s endowment fund. Tom started brainstorming and moved a discussion to the
Circle and into the able hands of Dan Pelligren, Northeast Regional VP. Prior to the Circle meeting in early February, Tom
and I spoke to Robert Harris, chair of the ICCC Endowment Fund. We gained several important insights and an understanding
of the processes of handling an endowment. Dan reported his findings to the Circle, who affirmed the need to move into
planning for this funding effort for FCM.
DP: As I explored the creation of an endowment fund for FCM, I came across several significant concerns spelled out below
that are worth our understanding and consideration.
The Presbyterian Foundation states: “Endowment gifts are theological statements which demonstrate one’s belief that we are
never ultimately proprietors, owners, but only stewards, lifetime guardians entrusted by God to use wisely what God has
placed in our hands. When an individual creates an endowment gift for [FCM] during or beyond their lifetime, it declares to the
present and future generations the importance of our faith and trust in God,” and our desire for the aims of FCM to be reached.
What Is An Endowment Fund?
Think of an endowment fund as a savings account which can never be touched. Only the interest from the fund can be spent,
not the principal that anchors the endowment. The fund can have assets of different kinds: cash, stocks, bonds, etc. Usually,
only a portion of the interest or earnings from the endowment (typically 5%) can be spent annually to make sure that the
original funds grow over time. Professional money managers often oversee endowment funds, investing the money in stocks,
bonds and other investments. The creator of the fund can require that managers use socially responsible investing practices.
Consider the following as an example: The ICCC (to which FCM belongs) has an endowment fund managed by the
Presbyterian Foundation. If $100,000 was put into an endowment fund in 1981, at the end of 2015 it would have paid out
$415,000, and have a present value of $225,000.
Pros and Cons
Pros: An endowment fund reduces vulnerability to virtually every economic crisis. Such a fund is attractive to donors who
may be considering a substantial gift, particularly if the organization manages its resources well and plans efficiently and so will
likely be able to maintain the fund. Donors also appreciate the option of providing a gift that keeps on giving well into the
future, as well as being able to support the needs of the moment, such as operating and program funding.
Cons: The organization may be subject to criticism if its fund becomes too large, as some universities have discovered lately.
Additional areas of concern for FCM include what might happen if our membership were unable to raise funds or assume
higher dues to support our annual operating budget which might necessitate an increase in withdrawals from the fund.
Questions To Ask
• What are our dreams for new or expanded initiatives?
• Does our mission serve a purpose or need that is likely to exist on a long-term basis?
• Do we anticipate decreased levels of giving as long-term, committed members face old age, disability, and death?
• Are we a growing organization?
The general belief of the Circle is that the establishment of an endowment fund for FCM is a positive and forward-looking
action. We will keep you informed as this new possibility develops over the following months.
by tom cusack & daniel pelegrin
JULY 20 - 22, 2018
DOUBLETREE BY HILTON HOTEL
4509 Island Avenue
I gave a shocking response to a colleague who asked, “What should FCM’s response be in this period of political chaos?” Off the
top of my head I said, “That depended on which Christian God you believe in!”….and everyone became silent…even myself. I went
on to explain lived Christianity is politicized into many camps, walled in and justified by the biblical, “traditional” and ecclesial laws
embedded in the society and culture that surrounds them.
In the Abrahamic traditions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – leadership draws from scriptures and tradition to find teachings that
justify marginalization: the divorced, homosexuals, gays who marry and women who become ordained are excommunicated.
Taking it a step further, they condone a polarization of these members using a militarization of sorts to banish the other. Their
actions are supported by a god that follows their rules and unequivocally offers justification of their particular interpretations.
For instance, of present concern is a Catholic extremist group called the Church Militant that is working to draw in Catholic youth.
In concert with this, America’s National Security Chief, Steve Bannon visited the Vatican .........
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/white-house-red-hat pleading with the hierarchy to use the authority of God to punish
others as misfits and infidels who demean God’s intentions and are set to ruin the church. This is an alarming alliance which could
promote a marriage of sorts between a government and religion on a global field. In this same vein but more locally influenced, you
have the Westboro Baptists who protest the funerals of gays in the name of Righteous God who condemns homosexuality, and the
KKK, a national Christian hate group, promoting God’s will to restore white supremacy, by condoning gun violence among blacks
to “clear the streets of ‘niggers.’”
Acculturated into each of these “Christian” organization is a leadership that claims it IS embedded in the Christian God of their
understanding who is calling them to RESIST factions that would change the foundations of their organization itself, and the warrior
God who leads them on to slay their identified infidel/enemy before they became neutered and powerless.
Perhaps the silver lining during these tense times is that we have visuals in front of us that help us connect the common
misinterpretations of religions that condone violence. By separating and naming what is embedded in societies as cultural norms
not religious, we can stand against the false gods to which they adhere.
Two world leaders are clarifying voices in this dark age. They give witness to the prominent notions of a universal God of love who
desires that we understand WE ARE ONE regardless of religious affiliation.
Pope Francis reminds us that in any social and civil context, authentic Christianity… “does not create walls, but builds bridges.”
He goes on to say, “ A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not
Christian….this is not in the Gospel.”
In clarifying the role of World Religions, the Dalai Lama says that terrorists who use a religious title e.g., Christian, Muslim or Jew,
cannot be identified with the religion, because all world religions send the message of love, tolerance, compassion, and
forgiveness. This is the basis of the God that lives within us as a religious people: non-violent self discipline is the common ground
and practice of all religions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZRzefQTAxI
Going back to the question I started out with: “What should FCM’s response be in this period of political chaos?” It seems obvious
to me that the Federation remains in line with all Christian leaders who preach and teach a gospel of love for all. Members profess
we are “grounded in our calling by God’s Spirit that directs our personal spiritual practice.” We promote an inclusion that is “
welcoming of all spiritual persuasions.” And we believe in a partnership that celebrates our “equality” as co-creators with a God
who delights in all humankind.
Regarding our present political chaos, the Federation of Christian Ministers reads the signs of our time.
http://federationofchristianministries.org/ We recognize that it is incumbent that we openly encourage RESISTANCE to any forces,
internal or external, that would diminish love of others. With the clarity of vision our voices must and will cry out against any form of
force or fear that would divide. We stand tall giving loud voice and witness to the God that strengthens us as we push imaginary
boundaries until there is universal understanding WE ARE ALL ONE.
by diane dougherty with tom stricker
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
a reflection by ray gurney, fcm member mts. & plains
Growing up in a liberal Lutheran church and migrating to
the United Methodist Church because of its strong social
action stance in the 1970s, it was only natural to seek a
Master of Divinity and ordination from that institution. After
three years of meaningful studies at Garrett Evangelical
Seminary in Evanston and Naperville, Illinois and four
years of parish ministry, I discovered my sense of mission
did not match the needs of the Wisconsin Conference of
the United Methodist Church.
Several decades passed before I became a member of
FCM. Since then I have been able to fill a professional
role at a large county psychiatric hospital where my
colleagues respect the positions FCM takes in the
emerging nature and mission of the “church.” They have
been able see me as a well-trained clergy person who
can speaks the spiritual needs of Christian patients as
well as to those who come from other traditions or reject
any form of organized religions.
My title is Spirituality Integration Coordinator, which
describes my role quite well. Besides the usual chaplain
duties, I teach the de-escalation techniques used at the
hospital to reduce violence and injuries. Psychiatric
nursing is known as being more dangerous than jail and
prison nursing. It is satisfying to know I’m seen as a
skilled peacemaker with out of control patients.
Current projects include assisting with writing programs that
will be used for our Recovery and Stabilization groups and
the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Groups to become
licensed as an Intensive Outpatient Program and Partial
I cannot imagine any other religious credentialing body so
accepting and supportive of the wide ranging roles I have at
the hospital. Nor can I imagine any other group of religious
professionals who are as supporting of my ministry.
I still follow the positions and roles the United Methodist
Church is playing in world religions. I’m happy however
that my ministry no longer depends on such a top down
decision making process. I can understand that from the
point of view of the institution, but it seems to me if I had
remained I would still be trying to help a bureaucracy enter
the 21st century. I’m much happier in FCM when I can help
people cope spiritually with the 21st century.
To fulfill my ministry over the last nine years I have
earned a Certificate in Buddhist Studies from the
University of Wisconsin – Waukesha, created a series of
spirituality discussion group topics that include videos,
handouts, and time for discussion, and a monthly Faith in
Recovery support group that is open to the general public.
The most exciting project has been the annual collecting
of monarch butterfly eggs from the Monarch Waystation I
developed and then raising the caterpillars to the chrysalis
stage in a display case on the main hall of the hospital. A
few days after the adult butterfly emerges, staff and
patients release them into the wild.
co-vice presidents.....amy simpson bennethum & ron davis
We just came back from a Circle of Director’s meeting in sunny Cleveland, Ohio. It was great
to connect with other Circle members and work together to continue the mission and vision of
FCM. One of the highlights has always been the commissioning and endorsement of our
members. We are pleased to announce that CINDY JONES was endorsed unanimously by the
Circle of Directors at our meeting.
Cindy is a staff chaplain at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital working
primarily in the Heart Institute. Cindy joined FCM and was
commissioned in July of 2015. Cindy has a B.S. from Georgetown
College, a Master of Education from Northern Kentucky University,
and a M.Div. from Lexington Theological Seminary. She also has 15
hours towards a Certificate of Anglican Studies from the Church
Divinity School of the Pacific. Cindy has two grown children; Lauren,
who is a UCC Pastor, and Kyle, who is a teacher and she has three
grandchildren; Livia age 10, Judy age 8 and Taft age 4. Cindy is
currently serving FCM as the Coordinator of the Great Lakes Region
’s VP election. She looks forward to finding more ways to be
involved with FCM. Congratulations Cindy!
As winter moves towards spring, please be aware
that we are hosting local gatherings in cities across
the Great Lakes Region of FCM. Upcoming
Christ’s Hospital, 2139 Auburn Ave, Cincinnati, OH
in the Gambel Medical Library @ 10:00 a.m.
Elise Leitzel’s home @ 2:00 p.m.
10502 Townley Ct, Reminderville, OH 44202
Louisville, KY gathering @ 10:00 a.m.
We are working to put together our fall retreat at
Maria Stein’s Conference Center which will take
place the weekend of September 29th – October
Our goal is to put a committee together in early
March and to have the program developed by April
Our aim is to reach out to several members to
participate on this committee. Yet, if you are
interested in participating, please feel free to make
contact with Ron about your interest. Your input is
It is with much sadness that we share that Nik
Smolinski, the son of Delmar and Ruth Smolinski,
died on February 11 after a long, hard-fought
battle with cancer. Below is information shared
from Del and Ruth:
Nikolaus Simon Smolinski, age 40, our beloved
son, brother, uncle-to-be, nephew, cousin,
neighbor, and friend, died February 11, 2017,
World Day of the Sick (started by Pope St. John
Paul II), at the James E. Cartwright Care Center
in Saginaw, MI, after a relentless, nearly 4-year
battle with cancer. We had visited Nik earlier that
morning and we were with him, when he was
pronounced at 1:43 in the afternoon. Our
daughter, Katrina, had flown in from Milwaukee,
WI, to be with Nik for several days prior to his
death and stayed in touch with him via texting
and telephone. We kept vigil with Nik throughout
his final days and nights – his and our and
Katrina’s agony in the garden of Gethsemane.
At Nik’s request, his body is being cremated and
there will be no Funeral Service: Nik wanted to
be remembered as he was before cancer. We
entrust him – body and spirit – to God. May he
rest in Peace.
Thank you for your concern and faithful, prayerful
support during this difficult and sorrowful journey.
Nik can say with St. Paul (II Timothy 4:7): “I have
fought the good fight.”
Please keep Del, Ruth and the family in your
thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of
vice president.....diane dougherty
Please feel free to contact me email@example.com at any time to talk, chat or if you have any
questions about FCM. Between now and our next Circle meeting in July, I hope to visit with the North/South
Carolina Group, meet members around Palm Coast, FL , around Hollywood, FL and in Sarasota, hoping to
strengthen relationships and share the joy.
Our region’s members have something to say…
Being in this position I am able to meet some interesting and exciting people. In this issue I thought I would introduce
you to some great Southern members who have created new books for reflection, conversation and dialogue.
Eugene Bianchi, of Athens GA. is one of the early founders and first president of
FCM. He is due to have a new book of poems out this spring, his eighth titled,
"Chewing Down My Barn." You are invited to find more information on books, poetry
and his aging blog at http://www.bianchibooks.com
“You are invited to reflect with me in my weekly blogs on aging well. I see creative aging
as living midlife and elderhood in ways that foster inner development and help us to
better serve wider human communities. Each week I open a topic for discussion on
positive and negative aspects of growing older. As aging populations throughout the
world increase, people are looking for roads to mental, physical and spiritual growth.
They also want to contribute to the welfare of others near and far. Please join me in our
mutual search for innovative ways of aging creatively. The blog allows you to comment
on weekly reflections from your own experiences.”
Gerald and Marita Grudzen have led interfaith training in Kenya for the past six
years among clergy, community leaders and teachers. They will be visiting Kenya in
April of 2017 for their annual interfaith training program in Mombasa, Kenya.
“Burying the Sword” analyzes the historical and political context in which various forms
of violent extremism (jihadism) have emerged in the Middle East, Europe, and in Africa
since 9/11/2001. The growth of the jihadism can be attributed in part to the oppressive
regimes of the Middle East which have curtailed the democratic impulses of their youth.
Alternative youth movements such as we saw in the Arab Spring can serve as a source
of inspiration and model for renewal of these regions. The book also analyzes the role
that technology can play in organizing future youth movements and serve as part of an
interfaith educational program that has already been initiated in Kenya. New models of
interfaith education in public and private schools throughout Africa are needed to
counteract the growth of extremist ideologies among the youth of this region.
Jim Barrens, active for many years in peace and justice tells about his book “In Our
Time: How Catholics and Jews Built a New Relationship:” I write this book from a Roman
Catholic perspective. But being married to a Jewish woman for over thirty years, and
experiencing Jewish life and customs so intimately, has given me a precious perspective
on Jewish life and how it is lived, day by day, season after season, year after year. At
times, I sense that perhaps I am experiencing the Sabbath or a Seder or the High
Holidays in a special way, perhaps, in some small way, as Jesus himself might have
experienced them. For a Catholic Christian, this can be a most powerful experience. My
experiences in Judaism have strongly informed my Christian faith, and motivated me to
pursue the cause of peace and reconciliation, both personally and professionally, for the
past forty years.” For more information or to contact him:
JamesBarrens@TheJusticeFactory.org The Justice Factory Website
Catholic-Jewish Relations Facebook Page
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
John Raymaker offers the following on “Bernard Lonergan’s Third Way of the
Heart and Mind:” Today the world is confronted with many religious wars and the
migrations of millions of persons due to these conflicts. There is a need for informed
dialog as to the roots of the conflicts and ways of addressing these in ways that speak to
peoples' minds and hearts.
This is what this book attempts to do from the viewpoint of major religious and ethical thinkers. The book relies on Bernard
Lonergan's foundational method to address problems systematically with a view to achieve breakthroughs in our openness to
one another. The book appeals to the teachings of the Buddha, Jesus, and Mohammad, relying on the mystical and insights
of these religious founders as well as those of dozens of their followers so as to find commonalities that can build bridges of
Congratulations to the following newly commissioned members...
David Nyland David is a multitalented minister in both music and religious arts. He is pursuing a
chaplaincy in Oldsmar, Florida with the intention of serving as a full time chaplain. He has also been a
music minister whose goal is to lead authentic worship with excellence. He is skilled on the acoustic
guitar or piano/keyboard. After commissioning, David hopes to move on to endorsement.
Lisa Koch Lisa is recommended to FCM by Jeanne Hale who was worked with her for 2 ½ years
at WakeMed Hospital in the Spiritual Care Department Raleigh, NC. At present she works as a parttime
staff chaplain in Cary, NC and is a counselor in the Cardiac Rehab program on the Raleigh
People who worked with her for the past 10 years think Lisa is thoughtful, compassionate, insightful
and always willing to assist wherever needed. As a woman of faith, they depend on her reliability and
steadfastness when the need arises. She will move on to pursue endorsement. This article from the
local paper gives a glimpse of Lisa’s compassionate ministry.
Donna Rougeux Donna holds a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Lexington Theological Seminary,
and is in the process of pursuing Clinical Pastoral Education with Hospice. In 2012 she was ordained a
Roman Catholic Woman Priest and is working in the reform movement. Her priestly ministry includes
reaching out to people who have been marginalized in the church due to their sexual orientation, marital
status or gender. Donna is now in Albuquerque, NM working in a hospice and will pursue endorsement.
She is pictured with a priest at the Woman’s March. This is an article she submitted about her journey.
Newly Endorsed: Ralph Garofano, Sr. is a CPE manager at Palmetto Health Alliance in Columbia, South
Carolina. He was ordained as a minister in the Church of God in 1995. Because of his marital breakup, and because the
Church does not allow ministers to continue if they are involved in a marriage breakup, he became involved with FCM to
provide his commissioning status in 2014 and is pro-actively transferring his endorsement because he appreciates the
interfaith connections FCM holds by allowing members to express a variety of beliefs that go beyond the present doctrines
and dogma’s presented in his former denomination.
All the best to these wonderful people! Your gifts enrich the Southern Region and FCM.
Southern Region Members Plan Interfaith Workshop
Building an Interfaith Community - June 3, 2017 - Location TBA
vice president.....richard james
Greetings and salutations to all FCM members across
the nation, and especially in the Mountain and Plains
Region. As always, I trust that you are experiencing
good health, the well-being of peace of mind and spirit,
the satisfaction of relevant ministry that responds to the
needs of real persons, and answers the Divine call.
Please allow me to take a few moments to highlight a
few upcoming events under the theme “Salt and Light
in the Midst of an American Winter.”
As I look out of my window at a tree, it seems that
spring is budding early here in Chicago. However, to
the contrary let me share a little prophetic groundhog
metaphor. Once upon a recent time, two groundhogs
came out of their burrows to see if they could see their
shadow. One saw its shadow, suggesting that spring
was near. The other did not, intimating that there was
still six weeks of severe winter weather. I realize that
some across our nation might say that spring is here.
However, metaphorically speaking I do declare, as
Gil Scott-Heron might say, it's “Winter in America.” Not
only that, spring may be at least four years away at the
dawning of the next American presidential election.
When you view the morning television news, listen to
the all-news radio station on your drive to work, read
the internet news notifications flash across your phone
during the day or watch the evening television news, do
you find yourself railing against those news reports and
in a bewildered-bluesy state of mind? This experience
is my confession. I find myself disappointed and chilled
by our present “Winter in America.” I sometimes
become anxious regarding the confusion, injustices,
and disunity within the United States of America, and its
ripples worldwide. Oh, me! Oh, my! Here, I seek to give
a response to the question, “What shall FCM Members
do who view themselves called by God to be Christians
to follow Jesus in ministry?”
Well, I can tell you what I am going to do. I'm going to
continue to what I have been doing. That is, “Serving
Humanity Inspired by Divine Benevolent Intent.”
Perhaps you have seen that closing salutation at the
bottom of each e-mail that I send. This phrase is not
just a slogan. It is my compass for the life journey of
Christian discipleship and ministry. This datum point
has kept me inspired, encouraged, resilient during the
best of times and the worst of times in my life and
I suggest that we ought to remember to stay focused
on our divinely-given identity and mission by
remembering that we “…are the salt of the earth…”
and we “…are the light of the world.” (ESV Mt 5:13
–16) Now and then I take the time to hear the gentle
voice of the Holy Spirit asking, “Where does your
piquancy as salt, and the intensity of your light
come from for the sake of ministry?” Then I must
confess it originates from the revelation of the Holy
Scriptures, particularly from reflection upon the life,
teaching, and ministry of Jesus Christ. I have read
the Bible from cover to cover many times over and
continue to do so. I have learned many things, yet I
am still learning. But the most significant thing that I
have learned is that Divinity has chosen to express
Divine-Self in the personality of Father/Mother
Parent, or as Jesus Christ the Son of God, and as
the Holy Spirit, consistently having benevolent intent
toward all human beings. I define benevolent intent
as the divinely-inspired concern for the well-being of
all persons regardless of their circumstances,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, faith
perspective or status.
Seeing how Jesus was obedient to God's call and
prepared and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and his
obedient response to God's call, I find myself
encouraged. I too seek to answer that Divine call to
be Christ-Like, to be a Christian doing ministry. This
commitment is not an easy thing. In fact, it is a very
hard thing to do, and the cost is often exorbitant.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, “The Cost of
Discipleship proclaims “When Christ calls a
person, he bids him come and die.” FCM
Members ought not to forget that they are persons
of faith who have discerned the cost of Christian
discipleship. Let that discernment be your guide,
staying connected, focused, developing a keen
sense of your calling and mission in Christian
Ministry that the Spirit of God has called you to
practice during this extended “Winter in America.”
Remember, “…with God all things are possible.”
(ESV Mt 19:26) Be encouraged!
There are four goals that FCM Members in the
Mountain and Plains Region ought to achieve to
renew and preserve the piquancy and intensity of
our divinely-given identity and ministry.
Mts. & Plains Con't
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
There are four goals that FCM Members in the Mountain and Plains Region ought to achieve to renew and preserve the
piquancy and intensity of our divinely-given identity and ministry. Our first goal is to share and make known the relevant
ministry that FCM Members are doing across Mountain and Plains Region. That ministry should not remain hidden. Therefore,
we continue to encourage FCM Members to share their ministry with each other and the world by writing “Reflections on
Ministry” vignettes for publication in future FCM Newsletters.
Our second goal is to enhance FCM’s leadership. We are seeking to establish seven FCM Area Representatives during the
first quarter of 2017. We are making progress on this aim. I am very pleased to announce that Conner Joseph Simms has
agreed to serve as the Area Representative of the St. Paul, Minnesota Area. Still, we are looking for persons to serve as FCM
Area Representatives in the following areas; Chicago Illinois, St. Louis Missouri, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Albuquerque New
Mexico, Denver Colorado, and Dallas Texas. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, I am hopeful that we will be able to
announce that we have all seven Mountains and Plains Region Area Representatives in place. In support of this goal, we are
encouraging increased frequency of fellowship via online computer video conferencing, via the free software program Zoom.
Therefore, each Wednesday evening from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (CST), I will make myself available for face-time communication
via internet/computer Zoom meetings. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Our third goal is to gather FCM Mountain Plains Region Members for in-person fellowship. I am pleased to announce that you
are invited to the Federation of Christian Ministries, Mountains and Plains Regions' Retreat Gathering 2017. This Retreat
Gathering is for FCM Mountain Plains Region Members. We also extend an invitation and welcome anyone thinking about
joining FCM. The Retreat Gathering will take place on October 14-15, 2017, at Lake Williamson Christian Center, located at
17280 Lakeside Drive, Carlinville IL 62626. The cost: Per-Person of Motel Style Rates for Adult Guests, Single Occupancy:
$125.00, Double Occupancy: $115.00, Triple Occupancy: $107.50, and Quad Occupancy: $97.00. For registration instructions,
please see the recent e-mail entitled, “Invitation to FCM Mountain Plains Region Retreat Gathering 2017,” sent to all FCM
Mountain Plains Region Members. Please know that if your membership with FCM is in good standing, and you reside in the
States of: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri,
Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, then you are a part of the FCM Mountains and Plains Region. We are so
looking forward to your retreat registration and seeing you at the Mountains and Plains Regions' Retreat Gathering 2017 at the
Lake Williamson Christian Center. Your presence will enhance our FCM fellowship and encourage our ministry.
Finally, our fourth goal is to remember to pray for one another. Because Jesus and the disciples made space in their busy
schedule to pray for others and one another’s ministry; we too ought to remember to pray for one another. FCM Minister
Josiah Armstrong, extends this request for our prayers.
“I have been called to serve as the Spiritual Director at The Commons on Marice in Eagan, MN. The Commons is a facility
under The Goodman Group that offers quality care in assisted living, independent living, and memory care for seniors. As the
new spiritual director, I will be serving as, essentially, ‘community pastor’ for the residents, their families, and the staff. I will
provide daily chaplain services to all residents, regardless of faith tradition, and weekly Bible studies, prayer, and worship
services. My wife Cari and I have never been so excited for a new call to ministry! I ask for the prayers of all members of FCM
as I move forward.”
During my ministry over the years, I have discovered that there is a Negro Spiritual entitled “This Little Light of Mine.” This
hymn is sung across our country in many African-American churches, and beyond regardless of denominational persuasion. It
is my hope that FCM Members will allow their little light to shine, in the various contextual settings of their ministry, where
human need and suffering are at stake. I prayer that we will bring our various gifts and the skills, sense of call and mission to
bear, guiding our ministry, allowing our little light to shine in the Midst of our “American Winter.” As we allow our little light to
shine, persons might know, that we like Jesus, have come that those we serve “...that they may have life and have it
abundantly.” (ESV John 10:10)
Mts. & Plains Con't - 3
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
Conner Joseph Simms was born about as far south as you can get in this country (Miami)
but has spent the majority of his life in the north. He grew up outside Chicago and now calls
Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area of Minnesota home. Raised in the Roman Catholic
Church, during his sophomore year he was invited to a non-denominational youth group
gathering (Campus Life) and all those stories he was taught in Sunday school just clicked.
He spent the rest of high school on fire for the love that is seen through Jesus and enrolled
at the Moody Bible Institute after graduation, volunteering at a Baptist church plant called The
Church In Lombard (Lombard, IL) in the Chicago area.
Four years later, with diploma in hand and the nagging suspicion that he had only scratched the surface, he enrolled at
Northern Seminary in Chicagoland to pursue his Masters of Divinity.
It was during this time that he was exposed for the first time to the work of hospital chaplaincy and in the process
recognized two abiding loves. One was for Jesus, the other for chaplain work. This was a love in its infancy, though. During
Conner’s time at Northern, he became an associate pastor, while his experience as a chaplain intern stuck with him.
Conner transitioned from that pastoral role after several years to move to Los Angeles, applying to a residency at UCLA
Medical Center. His time in Los Angeles only lasted a year because he came back to Illinois to be a youth pastor in an
Assemblies of God church (New Life Church in Yorkville, IL) for the next two and a half years. It was at this point that he
fell in love and married a girl from Minnesota. He then moved up north and secured the last available CPE residency in the
region one day after returning from his honeymoon.
Upon graduation, he became a per-diem chaplain at Regions & Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN and soon
discovered his call to the work of chaplaincy has solidified itself, leading him to seek commissioning with FCM. With such a
varied theological journey in many different and diverse settings, he believes that he has found the perfect community to
minister alongside others. Conner proclaims, “FCM feels like home. It feels like a place centered upon love. It feels like the
kind of place that can be a prophetic voice in our increasingly polarized and divisive culture. It feels like the perfect place
from which to minister to the sick, hurting, and dying.” While he pursues a full-time chaplain position in the Twin Cities,
Conner and his wife Mayme (pictured above) are awaiting the birth of their first child, a girl.
Gail Schultz resides in Friendship, Wisconsin, with her husband, Allen. She has two adult
children and three delightful grandchildren. Gail is an avid gardener and works to live
sustainably on their wooded land in a rural area. After researching indigenous materials
housing, she and her husband built their cordwood masonry home, where they frequently
welcome guests, especially those who need respite.
Gail was certified as a catechist in the Milwaukee Archdiocese in the 1980’s and pursued
other informal studies in religion and spirituality ever since. In 2007 she received a Bachelor
of Religious Studies from Global Ministries University (GMU). Shortly after, she began
working for GMU as an enrollment specialist.
In 2012 Gail completed a three-year spiritual direction certificate from the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, WI. She
went back for a Master of Theology degree with GMU that she finished in 2015. During that same time, she completed an 18-
month formation program with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) and became an FSPA Affiliate. Gail
regularly attends various workshops and retreats on spirituality related topics.
Gail is now the Registrar for GMU and has recently begun teaching two of the GMU courses. In addition, she has a spiritual
direction practice in her home. Last fall she began facilitating a dream group in her home as well.
With FCM commissioning, Gail would like to grow her ministry to include presiding at marriages, funerals, baptisms,
reconciliations, and other rites as a professional minister. She will expand her dream of creating Chrysalis Spirituality Center,
with the motto “Time and Place Apart for Transformation,” to hold sacred space in which people can worship, celebrate, grieve,
and share according to their needs and beliefs. As a minister, she plans on hosting dialogue groups, book studies, and DVD
learning opportunities with an emphasis on progressive Christianity.
Newsletter - Marh/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2...page 4 ...Mts. Plaines
Kelly Wunderlich is a licensed minister of the Community Baptist Church, an American Baptist
Church, in Warrensville, Illinois. She has earned several degrees. She received a Bachelor of
Science Degree in Business Management, with a Concentration in Organizational Management
from Calumet College of St. Josephs in Whiting, Indiana, a Master of Science Degree in Business
Management from National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois. Kelly also earned a Masters of
Divinity from Northern Theological Seminary, Lombard, Illinois in 2015. She has completed a total
of four units of CPE; the first at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois; then Vitas Hospice in
Lombard, Illinois; and two units at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Currently, Kelly is a Chaplain at the Tyson Corporation in Chicago, serving four locations since October 2015. She provides
compassionate pastoral care and ministry to Tyson associates and their families regardless of their religious affiliation or
beliefs, including those who profess to have no belief, religion or faith. She says, “I walk along side of each of them in their
times of struggle and times of need.” Also, Kelly provides spiritual care as a part-time Chaplain at Elmhurst Memorial
Hospital, Elmhurst, Illinois since June 2013.
Kelly is recommended and describe by her FCM ministry colleague Susan Schaefer, as “a woman of great faith,” “
intentional,” “sincere and authentic.” “She listens for God’s leadings and steps forth when she feels led. She seeks to be the
hands and feet of Christ and to see with God’s eyes in all of her life as well as in her ministry as a chaplain.”
Kelly says, “I choose to walk alongside people in their time of need. I walk along all people... Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists,
Atheists, Christians, LGBTQ, etc. For me, chaplaincy is about the person and what they believe and what is going on in
their life. It is not about me and what I think.” She plans to seek endorsement for chaplaincy and APC board certification.
Ruth Ann Lindstedt is a Roman Catholic Womanpriest, ordained in April 2016 under the
auspices of Roman Catholic Womanpriests USA. Ruth’s call to priesthood developed over many
years. Her first career was as a professional nurse. She earned a B.S.N. and a Master’s of Public
Health. Her primary area of service was in home care and hospice beginning as a staff nurse and
proceeding to supervisory and administrative roles in her chosen field in a variety of geographic
Her call to ministry received renewed attention when she converted to Catholicism in 2000 but
was as yet unfocused. Thereafter, she received a certificate in spiritual direction in 2004 but
continued her nursing career until retirement age.
Beginning in 2011 Ruth undertook theological preparation at Saint John’s University School of Theology (Collegeville,
Minnesota) attracted by ordained Catholic women living their call to the priesthood. She graduated with an M.Div. in 2015.
Since ordination Ruth continues to provide spiritual direction and currently shares a ministry for the inclusive Roman Catholic
faith community of Mary Magdalene First Apostle in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. The divorced mother of two adult children and
grandmother of one, Ruth looks forward to sharing in the enjoyment of their unfolding lives and anticipates soon relocating
nearer them in Idaho.
As a commissioned member of FCM, Ruth envisions having access to an expanded and supportive network of ministers
committed to the call of Jesus to live the gospel in diverse, yet inclusive, communities outside the traditional institutional
church. In addition, through FCM’s resources, regional and national assemblies, Ruth hopes to access continuing education
for her spiritual growth. She hopes to increase her ability to share the Good News in fresh ways with those to whom she
ministers as she preaches, offers spiritual companioning, leads biblical studies, and provides sacramental services in the
Roman Catholic tradition.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
kelly wunderlich, fcm - mts. & plains region
(Editor’s note: Thanks to Kelly for submitting this reflection and for Richard James, Mountains and
Plains VP for encouraging her to do so!)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but
have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through
Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 NKJV
Above is the first scripture I memorized as a child and today it remains one of my favorite verses. When I forget what’s
important, or how I should treat others, I retrieve those verses from my heart.
We are living in interesting, challenging times. Our nation seems divided. People no longer listen to one another -- and
many don’t want to hear another person’s point of view. I learned, at a young age, that it’s okay to disagree. In fact, a sign of
maturity is being able to hear all sides and being okay with disagreeing. People are being threatened on social media for not
going along with the crowd or for opposing what the popular crowd represents.
As a corporate chaplain for Tyson Foods in the heart of Chicago, Illinois I find
myself walking alongside all different types of people: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus,
Atheists, Jews, Christians, LGBTQ people, seekers, churched, unchurched, red,
yellow, black and white.
I remind myself that differences are good: all are created in the image of a loving
God. I tell myself, daily, that chaplaincy is about walking alongside others. It’s not
about me, as the chaplain, and what I think and what I believe. It’s about being
welcomed into someone else’s life and assisting them in their time of need.
As I look ahead to the National Day of Prayer, on Thursday May 4th, 2017, I envision a day where we can gather as
individuals and pray for our workplace, our nation, our state and our communities – both for those who we know and
those who we don’t know. Today, outside of our office building, we see picketers in the streets, and protestors taking a
stand in nearby neighborhoods. The city of Chicago is in the news daily, coping with overwhelming poverty and gang
violence in some neighborhoods and extreme wealth and privilege in others. In addition, our state government is at a
standstill because it cannot agree on a budget.
Amid such an array of issues, what would serve us best? I’m praying about how God would want me to step up my
ministry by including those that may not know Him -- but who may need to feel some support and love at this challenging
time. When considering the diverse landscape of cultural differences that are found both in my company and around our
world today, I ask for guidance on how we can be more inclusive. I ask if we might be better served by organizing
A National Day of Unity, to enable everyone to come together, to celebrate our similarities and share our best wishes,
hopes, and prayers for our sisters and brothers everywhere. We can rejoice in equal measure for our married couples
and our single colleagues. We can applaud all the pet lovers among us -- whether they prefer cats or dogs. We can revel
in the knowledge that some of us are stepparents, some love to dance, some have been bullied, and some were the
bullies. We can observe that some are madly in love, and others are brokenhearted. Some have found the meaning of
life and others have saved lives. Some have parents and grandparents that are aging and dying, some are grieving their
beloved children who have passed away. Some like Italian, Mexican, or Asian food. Some people feel lonely, anxious,
and sad – while others are optimistic, open and joyful. When I think of the National Day of Prayer, I am reminded of all
the blessings and answered prayers I personally have received from God. It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative
news on television or social media. But, I believe that we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ—right here, right
now… right where we are.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2 - Mts. Plains cont'd - 4
What will you be doing on the National Day of Prayer in 2017? Will you be reaching out to those who are the same as you -- or will
you go further? Will you step out in faith and do things in a new way? Will you seek out those who are different? Will you welcome
others into your life as Jesus would have done? How can you show the love of Christ right where you are?
Keep me in your prayers as I begin the process of organizing our first Day of Unity in my workplace at Tyson Foods’ Chicago office.
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD… now, we have to do our part.
Mountains and Plains Member Remembered.. submitted by paul reithmeier, fcm
Frank R. Simoni, 95, of Woodstock Meadows, Woodstock, CT died November 20, 2016, in
Matulaitis Nursing Home after a long illness. Frank lived in the St. Louis area until a few years ago
when he and his wife moved to Connecticut to be close to their daughter. He was a member of
FCM for many years, hosting and attending the monthly meetings of the local FCM group in St.
Frank was the loving husband of Patricia (Pianalto) Simoni for 45 years. Born in Terni, Italy, he was
the son of the late Virgilio and Anna (Romaldini) Simoni. He studied at the Society of St. Paul
Seminary in Rome and served as a priest in Rome, Ireland, and Jefferson City, MO. After receiving
his dispensation from the church, he owned and operated a printing shop (Printing Limited) in Rock
At one time he printed Diaspora (the FCM newsletter) at his printing company and Robert Schutzius affixed the mailing addresses
and made arrangements to mail Diaspora. Later, Frank was a professor for the National Lewis University in St. Louis, MO as well
as several other colleges and universities. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was active in various types of
ministry including officiating at weddings and educational programs at Immaculate Conception Parish of Dardenne in O’Fallon,
In addition to his wife, Frank is survived by his sons, Mario Simoni of Terre Haute, IN, Lucio Simoni of St. Charles, MO; his
daughter, Melita Monahan of Woodstock, CT; and his seven grandchildren: Kiara, Patrick, Tristan, Elisa, Luca, Kyle and Niccolo.
Visitation with Frank’s family was on Saturday, November 26, 2016 from 10:00 to 11:30am in the Gilman Funeral Home &
Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT followed by a Funeral Mass of Christian Burial at 12:00 noon in St. Mary Church of the
Visitation, 218 Providence St. Putnam, Ct. Burial was private. Memorial donations may be made to Matulaitis Nursing Home, 10
Thurber Rd., Putnam, CT 06260. A Missouri Memorial Service for Frank was held on December 17th, 2016 at Immaculate
Conception of Dardenne, 7701 State Highway N, O'Fallon, MO at 11:00 a.m.
vice president.....dan pellegrin
Northeast Regional Gathering - May 19-21, 2017
SPIRITUALITY...Come to the Water
A Source of Renewal, Justice & Healing
Location: Eddy Farm Retreat & Conference Center - - Eddy Farm Road, Sparrow Bush, NY 12780
Event Open to All… We’re ready for you – wherever you’re from! Within our organization we need each
other: for mutual support and inspiration, to relax and pray together, to discover new gifts that enrich and
deepen our faith life. These await you at the Eddy Farm on the bank of the Delaware River in Sparrow Bush,
New York: a 2-hour drive from New York City, 3 hours from Philadelphia, and 4 hours from Boston. The dates
are Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 and members can come for any part of that weekend if such is their
Our theme is: “Spirituality: Come To The Waters – The Source of Renewal, Justice and Healing.” Look
forward to worthwhile presentations, including sessions on contemplative prayer and meditation. For all the
details, please see the separate article in this Newsletter. And remember: all FCM members are welcome.
Zoom Is Coming!... I am committed to making Google’s Zoom https://zoom.us a part of our membership
experience in the Northeast and FCM is supporting this effort. The need became acutely clear when one
member wrote she would be unable to attend a local gathering in Maine in February: “Sorry, but I’ll be on my
way to Florida!” I will be in touch with each of you about this face-to-face video meeting service and how we
can implement it.
Cont'd next page.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
Kudos to Those Newly Commissioned…
A warm welcome to this inspiring group commissioned at February’s Circle meeting. You make us
proud to be a part of FCM!
Katelynn Dalton: A chaplain in Boston, her commissioning materials noted her service began
very early in life: she was the child on the playground at school who sought out the lonely and hurt
to provide presence and friendship to them. She came to FCM because she finds us to be
“a community of ministers where I can be my authentic self both as an individual and a minister.”
FCM’s Ron Hindelang wrote of her: “She is an exquisite chaplain and provider of spiritual care.
She will be a fitting member of FCM, serving God’s people wherever she is called.”
Eileen Hogan: Eileen is a Sister of Mercy who comes to us after serving for 15 years as codirector
of the All-Africa Conference: Sister to Sister. She also was the first Catholic Woman
Correctional Chaplain in the United States. A friend wrote of her: “For over 20 years Eileen has
championed the rights of prisoners and advocated on a national level for systemic change within
the criminal justice system.” Another spoke of her efforts during the 1970’s at the North Truro Air
Force Station on Cape Cod (though he was unsure what the Air Force would have thought of
Eileen’s involvement in the Peace Movement!) A third person spoke of her work in Africa: “I saw
first-hand Eileen’s marvelous ability to cross borders, to energize other people, to stand in
solidarity across continents, to learn that it is possible to weep together and laugh together, and
share one another’s burdens, even in a ‘foreign land.’ I heard more than once an African woman
say to her, ‘You are just like us.’”
Julia Polter: A pastor for the past 12 years of a 250-household progressive church in Brookline,
MA, Julia comes to us from Germany, where she served as pastor for several years and received
her theological training. She anticipated the teaching of Richard Rohr when she wrote: “My
ministry is grounded in the experience of God’s presence in all of creation. The divine is not
separate from the earthly world but reveals itself in wisdom, beauty and love. It continuously
emanates light into the material world and all living beings. I believe that there is a divine task
given to every human being to become co-creators of the world as it evolves according to God’s
Susan Schessler: Susan has lived a life of ministry for over 50 years. She is a Roman
Catholic Woman Priest, and is their Administrator for the Eastern Region. An FCM reference
wrote: “I fully endorse Susan as a commissioned member of FCM, enabling her to officiate at
weddings and to serve the People of God in whatever capacity God presents to her in the
Spirit of truth and inclusivity so valued by all of us who belong to the Federation.” A second
reference encouraged the Circle “to commission Susan and recognize her gifts of ministry she
has shared with the people of God over the past fifty years.”
Gerald Washko: Jerry was ordained a priest in the Scranton, PA diocese in 1970. He completed his advanced studies in
Rome, married in 1985, received laicization in 1990, and has four adult children. It is a tribute to him that he continues to
offer ministry on the local level in his parish, being a member of the pastoral Council and Chair of the Life and Justice
Ministry, among other parish roles. One reference who has known Jerry for 34 years was particularly instructive: “Having
worked with hundreds of married priests over the last 40 years, Jerry stands out. Some men were insecure, angry, very
angry, imperial and handicapped in the ability to love and live with another human being. He is quite the opposite.... What
has always impressed me is his deep humility and expression of love and concern for others just by his presence. People
would often ask without knowing the answer, ‘Were you a priest?’”
Federation of Christian Ministries
Northeast Regional Gathering - May 19-21, 2017
Contact: Northeast V. P. - Dan Pellegrin
Email:Northeastvp@FCMmail.org Phone: 914.328.9732
Location: Eddy Farm Retreat & Conference Center ...Eddy Farm Road, Sparrow Bush, NY 12780
Driving time from New York City 2 hours Philadelphia 3 hours or Boston 4 hours
SPIRITUALITY: Come to the Waters
The Source of Renewal, Justice and Healing
Please consider giving yourself this special gift of spiritual deepening, joy and growth. The weekend will center on
enriching our life in God, and will be in keeping with FCM’s year-long theme of “Spirituality – The Engine of Social
Change.” This is also our opportunity to meet and get to know one another better in FCM. Who among us does
not need the support and encouragement of one another in our ministry?
We encourage you to commit to the conference as soon as possible. A deposit of 50% of the total cost is due by
March 19, 2017. Payment is due in full by April 19, 2017. Registration will be opened after April 19, 2017 on a
first come, first serve basis.
Make checks payable to FCM. Send to: Dan Pellegrin, 11 Linda Ave., White Plains, New York 10605-1110
You can choose to attend for two (2) nights - Friday & Saturday May 19-20, 2017-includes 5 meals, Friday supper, Saturday breakfast,
lunch and supper and Sunday breakfast and lunch. Or one (1) night - Friday - May 19 - includes Friday supper, Saturday breakfast and
lunch. Or one (1) night - Saturday May 20, 2017 includes Saturday supper, Sunday breakfast and lunch. (Saturday lunch may be added for
an addition cost of $12.95)
ROOM RATES: THESE RATES ARE FOR 2 NIGHTS, PER ADULT & 1 NIGHT PER ADULT
Standard Rooms: Single occupancy - $270.00 per adult, 2 nights...1 night $135.00 (no TV or phone)
1 flight or no stairs Double occupancy - $220.00 per adult 2 nights...1 night $110.00 (no TV or phone)
Deluxe Rooms: Single occupancy - $320.00 per adult 2 nights..1 night $160.00 TV and Phone
6 steps to climb Double occupancy - $260.00 per adult 2 nights..1 night $130.00 TV and Phone
Triple occupancy - $240.00 per adult 2 nights..1 night $120.00 TV and Phone
All rooms have private bathrooms, air conditioning and heat...
FCM has been offered a 50% discount for full time ministers & their spouses...take 50% off of the above rates..
*full time ministeries accepted for this discount must be full time Chaplains, pastors or christian
counselors, wedding ministry is not accepted by facility as a full time minister.
Registration Form: may 19-21-two nights...Circle one: standard deluxe triple
friday, may 19 - only....Circle one: standard deluxe triple
saturday, may 20 - only...Circle one: standard deluxe triple
single occupancy_____Double Occupancy_____triple occupancy______ Total cost $_________
Make checks payable to FCM. Send to: Dan Pellegrin, 11 Linda Ave., White Plains, New York 10605-1110
Full time minister (list your Ministry) *see above_________________________________________
name or names:_____________________________________________________________________________
do you need a room with no stairs to climb? yes_____no______
Northeast Regional Gathering....May 19 - 21, 2017
SPIRITUALITY: Come to the Waters
The Source of Renewal, Justice and Healing
Tom Cusack is President of FCM. He joined FCM in 2000 and was commissioned in 2003.
He became Treasurer in 2007 and led our IRS redetermination of FCM (2013) as a religious
body. He served as Chair of Denominational Concerns Committee 2013-2014. His business
career involves 41 years with Prudential. He has learned meditation under the 29 year guidance
of the Indian Spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy.
Ginny Cusack is an executive coach who works with people to identify their leadership
strengths and challenges, perfect their leadership style, set goals for themselves and their
institution, make positive changes, and remove any barriers that prevent them from realizing their
highest potential. Previously, Ginny served as director of Princeton Center for Teacher
Education, Princeton, NJ, for 17 years. She received her coaching certificate from Georgetown
University and did her Enneagram training with Don Riso, which she incorporates in her
coaching. Ginny has a BA in Education and an MA in Theology from New Brunswick Theological
Seminary. She was one of the first Catholic women to take CPE training in Madison, WI in 1969.
William (Bill) Meyer – Bill is a teacher, speaker, and author. He has given dozen of talks on
contemplation, mindfulness, and the modern classroom. He has led meditations for students,
teachers, and parents looking to reconnect to spirit in their lives and in their professions. His
doctoral work connects back to the writings of Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh. He is also
the author of a middle grade adventure series called “Horace and the Time Keepers.” The
second book in the series comes out the fall of 2017.
Maria Gullo - Maria is a Spiritual Director within the Christian tradition. She received her
graduate degree in pastoral counseling and certification in spiritual direction from Neumann
University. She works with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
Maria accompanies people on the spiritual journey as they seek to transform and heal their lives
by developing a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with self,
God and others. In addition to her work in the greater Philadelphia area and New Jersey, Maria
is the Spiritual Director and ministry partner for Living Room at Twin Creeks a contemplative
retreat house nestled in the Cascade Mountains in Enumclaw, WA. She is the director of The
Deeper Connection, a ministry that teaches and nurtures contemplative spirituality through
centering prayer meetings, workshops, cd’s and contemplative worship.
Joanne Blaney - She has made presentations on Restorative Justice at conferences in
Northern Ireland, U.S., Australia and Brazil. She presented her work on ESPERE – Conflict and
Peacemaking at the International Congress of World Religions in Australia in 2009. She has also
co-authored a book on the themes of Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice that is
being used in working with children and adolescents in social-educational centers in São Paulo.
dignity datyon, oh
John and Bev Titus recently spoke to the Living Beatitudes Community after the worship service. They
are the parents of Alicia Nicole Titus who tragically died at the hands of terrorists on September 11,
2001, while working as a flight attendant on UAL 175. They described the horror of that day and the
days that followed with talks of war from government leaders and the media "feeding frenzy" which
hounded them afterwards. John described the daily routine of awakening after a fitful sleep, praying,
meditating, crying and writing in his journal which eventually became a book: Losing Alicia: A
Father's Journey After 9/11. Bev was paralyzed by the grief initially but soon realized she had to be
Alicia's voice for peace and justice in our world.
Immediately after Alicia's death, John and Bev began speaking out against the pending wars, writing
articles for newspapers, attending public forums, researching issues related to 9/11, the causes, why it
wasn't prevented, government policies related to the attack, Islam and the Muslim faith. All the while
calling for the perpetrators to be brought in front of an international court of law for the whole world to
see what the face of justice looked like. "War on Afghanistan would only result in more civilian
casualties like Alicia; while the war in Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11 and would only
destabilize the Middle East", John stated. In the following winter they were introduced to an
organization of other 9/11 families, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who were
speaking out on the same issues. Through "Peaceful Tomorrows", John and Bev began speaking at
conferences, public forums, Universities, churches at every opportunity around the United States,
Canada and Italy for the national peace alliance, Alleati per la Pace. Other PT members were going to
Afghanistan, Iraq and anyplace where there were victims of violence to show support and to call
attention to the perpetual "cycle of violence" that our country was caught up in.
In 2002, the John and Bev, along with a minister friend Betsy Coffman and friends from the
Swedenborgian Church collaborated with Urbana University to initiate the Alicia Titus Memorial
Peace Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to carry out the legacy and spirit of Alicia's life by sponsoring
programs for the University and community that promote and support a culture of peace. Since its
onset, Alicia's Fund has raised over $90,000, endowed a scholarship for an entering freshman woman
who espouses the values of Alicia, and has offered 43 programs on issues of peace and social justice
to the Urbana community. These include an annual event during the "Season for Nonviolence" to
honor the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi; and, "The Great Kindness
Challenge" as a part of the international program, Kids for Peace. This year, there were over 4500
students from local schools who participated, joining 91 countries in doing over 500 million random
acts of kindness! Also, through Alicia's Fund, a cooperative service volunteer program has been
established with the city of Urbana linking Urbana University students and Urbana High School
students with community members who needed a helping hand. In 2016, Alicia's Peace Fund and the
City of Urbana concerted their efforts to proclaim Urbana as an International City of Peace, becoming
just the 145th International City of Peace. Each year an annual fund raiser, the Alicia Titus Memorial
Peace Run on the Saturday closest to September 11th is offered. It is a day of children's peace
activities, music, food and family fun.
Behind these initiatives is a belief that peace is not just an absence of conflict. It is a state of harmony
which occurs when human beings live together with active respect for one another and as responsible
stewards of our natural environment, seeing all of life as integral to the health and wellbeing of the
whole of creation.
DignityUSA’s 23rd biennial conference will be held in Boston, July 6-9, 2017 at the historic and
fabulously renovated Park Plaza Hotel. We will be exploring how our world and our Church can
be welcoming to and affirming to all. Plenary speakers include activist theologian Rev. Dr. Pamela
Lightsey, the only openly lesbian queer ordained elder in the Methodist Church and Associate Dean
of Boston University’s School of Theology; Catholic lesbian theologian Jamie Manson, Transfaith
activist Rev. Louis Mitchell, and Boston Globe Spotlight editor Walter Robinson. We are also
delighted to host Krzysztof Charamsa, the former Vatican official terminated for coming out as a
gay man in a committed relationship, for his first US appearance.
for additional information contact...Marianne Duddy-Burke Executive Director, DignityUSA
617-669-7810 (Mobile) www.dignityusa.org FB: DignityUSA
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
fcm communications...antoinette marold
The “Find a Minister” listings have been updated on the FCM website.
If you have requested to be listed on the website, please go to the listing and review
its contents. If there are any changes to your listing, please go to the FCM Member Login area of the website and submit
the “Ministry Listing Form” to make changes or email me at: communication@FCMmail.org.
If you are not listed in the “Find A Minister” area of the website and would like to be listed, go to the FCM Member Login
area, click on Members Only and complete the “Ministry Listing Form”.
Several members have taken the time to LIKE us on the FCM FACEBOOK. Thank you. If you could share a post from the
FCM page on your FACEBOOK page, it would help FCM to receive additional coverage.
The Circle of Directors have approved an updated
version of the FCM logo, advertising our 50th Anniversary.
We will begin using the logo on all of our materials immediately.
fcm member...dan pellegrin
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
This Trinity Icon is given very special meaning by Richard Rohr in his book,
The Divine Dance and Your Transformation. It was transformative for me,
and so I would like to share it with you.
Rohr starts the book: “The Blessed Trinity is supposed to be a central – or
the paramount – foundational doctrine of our entire Christian belief system.
And yet we’re told, at least I was told as a young boy in Kansas, that we
shouldn’t try to understand it.” It’s a mystery, we were told. But he adds:
“Remember, mystery isn’t something that you cannot understand – it is
something that you can endlessly understand.”
He continues: “Whatever is going on in God, is a flow, a radical relatedness,
a perfect communion between Three – a circle dance of love."
“And God is not just a dancer; God is the dance itself.”
Rohr then spends time with this icon called “The Trinity.” It depicts the three
at a table, loving each other and sharing a meal. But at the table there is a
space for a fourth, and it’s believed the artist put a small mirror there, so the
gazer could see that he/she was meant to be the fourth at the table, with the
hand of the Spirit pointing toward the open and fourth place at the table,
inviting, offering, and clearing space. For you – the Observer! The icon
captures all the following life-giving, blessing, and energizing thought.
The Trinity by St. Andrei Rublev
“At the heart of Christian revelation, God is not seen as a distant, static monarch, but – as we will explore together – a divine
circle dance.... My fondest hope would be that these pages would reposition you in the mirror of divine fellowship, with a
place at the table.... All creation is invited in, and this is the liberation God intended from the very beginning...."
“Are you ready to take your place at this wondrous table? Can you imagine that you are already a part of the dance?"
“Then let’s begin to explore both how and why!”
Rohr calls for a paradigm shift: a major conversion, a genuine transformation of worldview. Rohr sees history as operating
with a static and imperial image of God – as a Supreme Monarch who is mostly living in splendid isolation from the world –
and God is always and exclusively envisioned as male in this model – he created. This God is seen largely as a Critical
Spectator (and his followers do their level best to imitate their Creator in this regard).
Rohr sees God: “Instead of God being the Eternal Threatener, we have God as the Ultimate Participant – in everything – both
the good and the painful."
“How about God being the Life Force of everything?.... How about God being the Life Energy between each and every object
(which we would usually call Love or Spirit)?”
“Theologically, of course, this revolution repositions grace as inherent to creation, not as an occasional additive that some
people occasionally merit...."
“This God is the very one who we have named ‘Trinity’ – the flow who flows through everything, without exception, and who
has done so since the beginning."
“Thus, everything is holy, for those who have learned how to see.”
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2...page 2 ...Trinity cont'd.
This Trinitarian life and loves flows in and through us:
“Whether we know it or not! This is not an invitation that you
can agree with or disagree with. It is a description of what is
already happening in God and in everything created in God’s
image and likeness.”
“St. Bonaventure would later call such a God a
“fountain fullness” of love. Any talk of anger in God,
“wrath” in God, unforgiveness in God, or any kind of holding
back whatsoever, the Cappadocian mystics would see as
theologically impossible and forever undone in a Trinitarian
notion of God. Nothing human can stop the flow of divine love;
we cannot undo the eternal pattern even by our worst sin. God
is always winning, and God’s love will win. Love does not lose,
nor does God lose. You can’t stop the relentless outpouring
force that is the divine dance.”
So Jesus-taught “Christianity” is one of relatedness, love, and
unlimited forgiveness. This is in stark contrast to the typical
Christian “basic relating to [that other] God out of fear and that
religion is, by and large, fire insurance just in case the whole
thing turns out to be real.”
A Major Shift
Rohr next makes a major point. This is a significant part of this
view, and the paradigm shift he sees as needed and happening.
He goes back to Aristotle. Aristotle taught there were ten
different qualities to all things. Rohr deals with two: “substance
” and “relation.” “What defined substance was that it was
independent of all else – so a tree is a substance, whereas “
father” is a relationship. Do you understand the distinction
Jesus is drawing?
“’Son’ is also a relationship, whereas stone is a substance.
Now, Aristotle ranked substance the highest. This is typical of
Greek thinking. Substance is that which is ‘independent’ of all
else and can stand on its own. It isn’t an adjective; it’s a noun.
Nouns are higher than adjectives.”
Rohr says Christianity built itself on this Greek thinking, that
substance is higher than relationship. So it made God foremost
a substance. “Yet, when this Jesus is revealed to us Christians
by calling himself the Son of the Father and yet one with the
Father, he is giving clear primacy to relationship.”
But now, “we are prepared to say that God is not, nor does God
need to be, ‘substance,’ in that historic Aristotelian sense of
something independent of all else, but, in fact, God is
He concludes this section of thought:
“... When you don’t give other people any power in your life,
when you block them, I think you’re spiritually dead. And not
far from evil."
“We – not you, but we – are intrinsically like the Trinity, living
in an absolute relatedness."
“We call this love. We really were made for love.”
And For Dessert
I could end there, but there are some other fine passages
from Rohr in this book that I’d like to share in the hope you will
“But it gets even better: we know and accept ourselves in the
very same movement in which we’re knowing and accepting
God; in surrendering to God, we simultaneously accept our
best and fullest self. What a payoff!”
“What, then, is the path to holiness? It’s the same as the path
to wholeness. And we are never “there” yet. We are always
just in the river.
“Don’t try to push the river or make the river happen; it is
already happening, and you cannot stop it. All you can do is
recognize it, enjoy it, and ever more fully allow it to carry you."
“This is the great surprise, and for some a disappointment:
this divine flow has very little to do with you."
“The flow doesn’t have to flow with you being perfect. It does’t
have to do with you being right. Nor is it ever about belonging
to the right group. You do not even have to understand it.
How could you? You have surely noticed that Jesus never
has any such checklist test before he heals anybody. He just
says, as it were, ‘Are you going to allow yourself to be
touched? If so, let’s go!’”
“The touchable ones are the healed ones; it’s pretty much
that simple. There’s no doctrinal test. There’s no moral test.
There is no checking out if they are Jewish, gay, baptized, or
in their first marriage. There’s only the one question:
“Do you want to be healed?"
“If the answer is a vulnerable, trusting, or confident one, the
flow always happens, and the person is healed. Try to
disprove me on that!”
“As long as you show up, the Spirit will keep working. That’s
why Jesus shows up in this world as a naked, vulnerable one
-- a defenseless baby. Talk about utter relationship!"
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2...page 3 ...Trinity cont'd.
“The foundational good news is that creation and humanity have been drawn into this flow! We are not
outsiders or spectators but inherently part of the divine dance."
“Some mystics who were on real journeys of prayer took this message to its consistent conclusion: creation is
thus ‘the fourth person of the Blessed Trinity.’ Once more, the divine dance isn’t a closed circle – we’re all
“Just like the Trinity, we are not a substance, but a relationship. Always in the process of being loved and
passing along love.”
“God as Trinity makes competitive religious thinking largely a waste of time.”
Rohr wrote about a teaching of a man known as Richard of St. Victor (d. 1173). “For God to be good, God
can be one. For God to be loving, God has to be two, because love is always a relationship, right? But for
God to ‘share excellent joy’ and ‘delight’ – and this is where Richard’s real breakthrough is – God has to be
three because supreme happiness is when two persons share their common delight in a third something –
together. All you need to do is witness a couple at the birth of their new baby, and you know this is supremely
This inspired view is changing my life. It’s a process because I find myself resisting the eureka!, the Halleluia!
the union! in it. I’m working on it. I hope you find love and eureka and Halleluia and union in it.
Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2
FCM NEWSLETTER......VOL. 50 NO 5 September/October - 2016
Newsletter Editor...John Polanski
The FCM Newsletter is published
bi-monthly by the Federation of Christian
Ministries, a non-profit religious body.
As the informational publication of FCM,
its mission is to keep members current
with the organization and its activities, to provide ideas to further
ministry and to promote community building among local FCM
groups and the national organization. All current members receive a
copy. Articles and feedback are welcomed and can be sent to :
newsletter@FCMmail.org by the 15th of each month (February, April,
June, August, October and December).
FCM Website: www.federationofchristianministries.org
FCM Blog: fcmblog.org
These lovely certificates are available from the FCM Central Office.
Please specify your choice: Baptism, Marriage, Holy Union, and the
number of certificates you need. Certificates are $1.00 each or 6 for
$5.00. Each certificate is printed on certificate weight paper in blue
ink; they carry the FCM logo and seal.
Carolyn Horvath & Tom Leonhardt
1709 W. 69th. St., #3
Cleveland, Ohio 44102-2957
Phones: 216.651.4362 - 800.538.8923
Chairperson: Thomas Stricker
Phone: 937.477.0139 | Email: chairperson@FCMmail.org
President: Thomas E. Cusack
Phone: 609.947.0770 | Email: president@FCMmail.org
Treasurer: Susan Ross
Phone: 260.466.7414 | Email: treasurer@FCMmail.org
Secretary: Bill Appleton
Phone: 216.210.0855 | Email: secretary@FCMmail.org
Chair, Denominational Concerns Committee: Eileen DiFranco
Phone: 267.258.6966 | Email: denomcon@FCMmail.org
Chair, Commissioning Committee: Anthony Ercolano
Phone: 718.461.7128 | Email: commissioningchair@FCMmail.org
Chair, Specialized Ministries: Christy Howard-Steele
Phone: 708.285.5845 | Email: specmin@FCMmail.org
Vice Chair, Specialized Ministries: Carl Yusavitz
Phone: 215.453.5170 | Email: specmin@FCMmail.org
Pacific: Donnieau Snyder
Phone: 209.505.4339 | Email: pacificvp@FCMmail.org
Mountains & Plains: Richard E. James
Phone: 773.418.5671 | Email: mts_plainsvp@FCMmail.org
Great Lakes Co-VPs: Ron Davis
Phone: 513.262.2210 | Email: greatlakesvp@FCMmail.org
and Amy Simpson Bennethum
Phone: 513.295.5506 | Email: greatlakesvp@FCMmail.org
Qualified FCM members may apply for “Religious Body Endorsement”
for the specialized ministries of Chaplaincy, Pastoral Counseling, and
Clinical Pastoral Education. Such endorsement is required by
professional certifying organizations and many institutional employers.
The FCM Circle of Directors acts on endorsement applications twice
yearly. Endorsement application materials are available for
downloading on the FCM website at:
Inquiries may be made at:specmin@FCMmail.org
GLOBAL MINISTRIES UNIVERSITY
GMU offers degree completion programs and individual courses
online. FCM members are eligible for a 5% discount on degree
programs. For more information, visit the web site:
www.globalministriesuniversity.org Email: GMU5053@aol.com
Phone: 866 419 8020 toll-free
Southern: Diane Dougherty
Phone: 678.918.1945 | Email: southernvp@FCMmail.org
Northeast: Dan Pellegrin
Phone: 914.328.9732 | Email: northeastvp@FCMmail.org
FCM ADDITIONAL CONTACTS
Ethics Committee: Joseph Ruane
Phone: 215.387.7998 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Support Coordinator (on the website or):
Susan Ferman Email: prayersupport@FCMmail.org
FCM Communications: Antoinette Marold