March:April 2017 FCM Newsletter

newsletters

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.

A Reflection

Ray Gurney, FCM..................................................................................Page 11

Regional News

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

FCM Communications

Antoinette Marold,.............................................................................Page 25

The Meaning of the Trinity Icon

Dan Pellegrin, Northeast V.P...................................................Pages 26-28

FCM Directory.................................................Page 29


tom stricker

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

spiritual body.

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

world.

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

who suffer.

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

freedom.

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

segregation.

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

not victory.

• 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

the earth.

chairperson@FCMmail.org

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2

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

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tom cusack

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.

(https://www.facebook.com/pages/Federation-of-Christian-Ministries/179262215432851)

We came

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

colleague.

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

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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.

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Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2

chairperson.....tom stricker

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.

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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.

4 Cont'd.

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

chairperson@fcmmail.org with any questions, concerns or comments. We can all be the change we want to see.

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(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 (northeastvp@fcmmail.org) or Tom (president@fcmmail.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.

Theological Foundation

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

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JULY 20 - 22, 2018

DOUBLETREE BY HILTON HOTEL

PHILADELPHIA AIRPORT

4509 Island Avenue

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

www.federationofchristianministries.org


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

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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

Hospitalization Program.

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.

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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

gatherings are:

March 18th

Christ’s Hospital, 2139 Auburn Ave, Cincinnati, OH

in the Gambel Medical Library @ 10:00 a.m.

March 19th

Elise Leitzel’s home @ 2:00 p.m.

10502 Townley Ct, Reminderville, OH 44202

(Cleveland area)

May 20th

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

1st.

Our goal is to put a committee together in early

March and to have the program developed by April

30th.

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

valuable.

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

Nik.

12


vice president.....diane dougherty

Please feel free to contact me southernvp@fcmmail.org 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

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Southern Con't.

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

campus.

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.

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/cary-

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.

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-spirit-continues-to-guide-and.html

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

14


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

ministry.

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.

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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)

16


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.

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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

locations.

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.

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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.

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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.

Louis, Missouri.

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

Hill, Missouri.

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,

Missouri.

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.

19-2


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

Webpage: www.eddyfarm.com

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

need.

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.

20

Cont'd next page.


Northeast Con't

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

imagination.”

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?’”

21


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

Webpage: www.eddyfarm.com

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:_____________________________________________________________________________

address: ____________________________________City:___________________State:_______zip:______

dietary needs:____________________________________________________

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

Speakers

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.


group member

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

24


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”.

FACEBOOK

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.

25


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.”

26


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

relationship itself.”

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

like them.

“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!”

n

“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!"

27


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

invited!”

n

“Just like the Trinity, we are not a substance, but a relationship. Always in the process of being loved and

passing along love.”

n

“God as Trinity makes competitive religious thinking largely a waste of time.”

n

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

true.”

n

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.

Peace,

Dan Pellegrin

28


Newsletter - March/April 2017 VOL. 51 NO. 2

FCM NEWSLETTER......VOL. 50 NO 5 September/October - 2016

Newsletter Editor...John Polanski

Email: newsletter@FCMmail.org

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

FCM CERTIFICATES

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.

COORDINATORS

Carolyn Horvath & Tom Leonhardt

Emails: membership@FCMmail.org

centraloffice@FCMmail.org

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

REGIONAL VICE-PRESIDENTS

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:

www.federationofchristianministries.org

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: j.ruane@usp.edu

Prayer Support Coordinator (on the website or):

Susan Ferman Email: prayersupport@FCMmail.org

FCM Communications: Antoinette Marold

Email: communication@FCMmail.org

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