“To Serve Means to Become a Friend” – Talking with Paola Piscitelli, President of the Sant’Egidio Community in the U.S.*

May 23, 2017

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Paola Piscitelli (left) and host Maggi Van Dorn

 

Our Guest: 

This time on “Interfaith Matters,” Maggi talks with Paola Piscitelli, president of the Sant’Egidio Community in the United States, an international lay community in the Roman Catholic Church, with over 60 million members worldwide.

 

Highlights:

On the beginnings of community: It was started by students who were 18 and younger, who gathered to read the scripture and try to put them into practice.  Immediately, they saw that they could not say they were Christian if there were not a component of service to the poor.

On what it means to “serve”: It means to become friends with somebody.  Friendship is a commitment, it’s a ministry, it has the qualities of faithfulness, of generosity, of listening, of being present.

On the hidden poverty among the elderly:  We started visiting the elderly in nursing homes – an aspect of poverty that is hidden but growing. And, as friends of the elderly, when someone requested to go home, we didn’t ignore it, to think it was irrelevant. We started to become surrogate families and facilitate the process of going back home.

How can ordinary people practice peacebuilding: One of the most important things is to be open and curious about others, and not having a defensive attitude. In order to build peace, there is the need to meet “the other,” to have friends who are different from you, to know their tradition.  When you come to know people, to appreciate them, hatred is more difficult.

Learn more about the Sant’Egidio Community at their website http://www.santegidiousa.org/.

Paola Piscitelli can be reached at 646-765-3899 or santegidiousa@gmail.com.

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*A Special Invitation

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The Community of Sant’Egidio will be the recipient of the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award at the Interfaith Center of New York’s 20th Anniversary Gala on June 12.  The Community is being recognized for their leadership and humanitarianism by helping hundreds of Syrian refuges escape conflict and settle safely in Italy. Here in New York, the Community works to galvanize faith and civic leaders to advocate for human rights and immigration reform. For tickets to the Interfaith Center Gala, go to www.interfaithcenter.org, and click on 20th Anniversary. If you are unable to make the event, please consider making a donation as an anniversary gift. Donations from ICNY supporters help to make this podcast possible. 

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This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

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Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

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The Waffle Church - Part 1 of “A Common Language that is Always Present” with Rev. Sarah McCaslin

April 24, 2017

“A Common Language that is Always Present"

 

Rev. Sarah McCaslin on her Spiritual Calling to a Life of Ministry, Psychotherapy, and Waffles

 

 

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Host Maggi Van Dorn (left) With Rev. Sarah McCaslin

 

 

Our Guest: 

 

Rev. Sarah McCaslin, MDiv, LMSW, Waffle Church Minister at St. Lydia’s in Brooklyn, and resident therapist at the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute. In a 2-part episode, Sarah talks with us about how her desire to serve and help others leads her on a simultaneous journey of ministry and psychotherapy.  And yes, there will be waffles along the way!

 

Highlights from Part 1:

 

On "Dinner Church": It links really well to the scriptural stories that we understand about the beginning of Communion, and Jesus and his disciples gathered for a meal. Before there were churches, [early Christians] were kneeling in each other's homes, breaking bread, telling stories, sharing their concerns and helping one another.

 

On Worship with Children: I want to do a worship that is not dumbed down, because children can receive a lot of nuanced complicated information, they just process it differently than we do, and they have things they need to tell us, and we have things we need to learn from them."

 

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A Special Invitation

 

Reverend McCaslin is going to be a featured speaker at ICNY’s upcoming Social Work and Religious Diversity conference on May 10, which will explore the intimate ties between “Religion, Spirituality and Family Life.”  The conference offers 7 continuing education credits for New York State LMSWs and LCSWs.  Registration is open now at The Interfaith Center of New York’s website

 

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Support For Our Work

 

The Interfaith Matters Podcast is made possible by donations to The Interfaith Center of New York, working to overcome prejudice, violence and misunderstanding by activating the power of the city’s religious leaders and communities.

 

 

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This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live."

 

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Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

 

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Psychotherapy and Spirituality - Part 2 of “A Common Language that is Always Present” with Rev. Sarah McCaslin

April 24, 2017

 

“A Common Language that is Always Present"

 

Rev. Sarah McCaslin on her Spiritual Calling to a Life of Ministry, Psychotherapy, and Waffles

 

 

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Host Maggi Van Dorn (left) With Rev. Sarah McCaslin

 

 

Our Guest: 

 

Rev. Sarah McCaslin, MDiv, LMSW, Waffle Church Minister at St. Lydia’s in Brooklyn, and resident therapist at the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute. In a 2-part episode, Sarah talks with us about how her desire to serve and help others leads her on a simultaneous journey of ministry and psychotherapy.  And yes, there will be waffles along the way!

 

Highlights from Part 2:

 

The Call to Ministry vs. the Call to Therapy: "It's very similar, [the yearning to be] available to listen and to receive, to provide a non-judgmental and a non-anxious presence." 

 

On Providing Counseling to People of Different Faiths, or no Faith:  "We have common language and vocabulary, and that's the shared humanity [of] our emotional lives - grief, pain, suffering, estrangement, frustration, despair, hope - that's the language that is always present and accessible." 

 

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A Special Invitation

 

Reverend McCaslin is going to be a featured speaker at ICNY’s upcoming Social Work and Religious Diversity conference on May 10, which will explore the intimate ties between “Religion, Spirituality and Family Life.”  The conference offers 7 continuing education credits for New York State LMSWs and LCSWs.  Registration is open now at The Interfaith Center of New York’s website

 

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Support For Our Work

 

The Interfaith Matters Podcast is made possible by donations to The Interfaith Center of New York, working to overcome prejudice, violence and misunderstanding by activating the power of the city’s religious leaders and communities.

 

 

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This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live."

 

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Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

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“When We Love and Serve, Our Differences Become Minor” - Robert and Vivian DeRosa on their Lives as Latter-day Saints

March 14, 2017

 

 

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Vivian and Robert DeRosa with host Maggi Van Dorn (right)

 

In this latest episode of “Interfaith Matters," Maggi Van Dorn talks with Robert and Vivian DeRosa, leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes known as Mormons. Robert is president of the Lynbrook New York Stake (a geographic area similar to a diocese or parish) that includes Eastern Queens and Western Nassau, Long Island. Vivian is the leader of the young women's programs. 

 

Some Highlights:

 

On the origins of the word "Mormon": "It's a nickname people have given to us over time. It simply refers to the Book of Mormon and the person Mormon, who was the compiler and editor of 1,000 years' worth of history [that comprise the Book of Mormon]."

 

On what attracted the DeRosas to the Mormon faith: "It answered so many questions that I had, and I realized this just feels like home. Families can be together forever... these relationships that we treasure so much in life continue."  


On diversity within the Mormon faith: "[In Queens alone], we have people whose place of birth is from 94 different countries ... there's a great diversity in the church. We have a core set of beliefs, yet there are cultural and ethnic differences that are wonderful, and that enrich our community."

 

On shared Humanity: "We believe that our Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits, that you and I are brother and sister. We don't look at it as an analogy, or a simple way to explain a difficult idea - we literally believe we are children of our Heavenly Father."  "When we love and serve one another, that commonality is much stronger than whatever other differences that we've got."

 

And a Special Invitation:

 

On March 18, Mandarin-speaking New Yorkers are invited to research their family histories at a Family History Discovery Day, held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 145-15 33rd Ave FLUSHING, New York from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.  There is no charge for participating in the event.

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

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“Sanctuary” - Dr. Diane Steinman on Responding to the Plight of Refugees and Undocumented Immigrants

February 23, 2017

From the first week of President Trump’s administration, refugee and immigration issues have become a pressing moral concern for many Americans, with New York City taking center stage as demonstrations spring up everywhere and Mayor de Blasio upholds our status as a “Sanctuary City.”  Even before President Trump launched aggressive new policies targeting undocumented immigrants this week, the Washington Post reported that the number of houses of worship that have declared themselves sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants has doubled nationwide over the past year, while DNAInfo described local congregations signing on to shelter immigrants.  New Yorkers of faith are looking to their religious leaders for guidance, who in turn are gathering to share information and resources.  A lot is happening very quickly and people feel the need to understand not just the events themselves, but what they and their communities can do.   

In this latest episode of the “Interfaith Matters” podcast series, Maggi Van Dorn responds to that need through a conversation with Dr. Diane Steinman, the Director of the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform. In this brief interview, Dr. Steinman offers listeners:

  • A multi-faith appreciation of human value, that resonates with America’s foundational understanding of equality
  • A history of the “Sanctuary City” movement, and the ways such policies have protected both undocumented immigrants and American citizens
  • Immediate steps that faith leaders and communities can take to join the growing advocacy movement, including providing Sanctuary in houses of worship

Have a question for Dr. Diane Steinman? Want to become connected to the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform? Leave a comment on your podcatcher or email us at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.

 

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Special Invitation to New York City Religious and Civic Leaders

 

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As noted above, ICNY is holding a full-day conference for New York’s religious and civic leaders on April 5th, exploring the emerging challenges for religious leadership under the presidency of Donald Trump.  Please click here to register for Hospitality in a Time of Hate: Religious Leadership for an Inclusive City under the Trump Administration.  Participation is entirely free, thanks in part to a grant from the Fellowship in Prayer.

 

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“The S.P.I.C.E.S. of Life” - How Quakerism Taught Andy von Salis to Sit With Silence and Stand in Protest

December 16, 2016

We're launching our new season with a podcast survey

and a chance to win tickets to a new Broadway Musical!

 

See below for details.

 

Click here to take the survey and register for the

 chance to win a pair of tickets to IN TRANSIT

or copy this link into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5ZHVLCN

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Andy von Salis and ICNY Podcast Producer Maggi Van Dorn

 

In this episode of our free podcast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn talks with Andy von Salis, a clerk (or presiding moderator) of the New York Religious Society of Friends, also known as "Quakers," on how the practice of silence and commitment to equality have guided Quakers as some of the most powerful peace and justice makers in American history and have personally empowered his own civil disobedience.

 

On the Fundamental Belief of Quakerism: “There is that of God, an element of the divine, that is alive within each person.”

 

The Quaker “SPICES” (Fundamental Values):

Simplicity

Peace

Integrity

Community

Equality

Service

 

On Taking Oaths: “Quakers had always refused to take oaths right back to George Fox and often went to jail as a result." Quakers' commitment to Integrity impels them to affirm that they speak the truth always, and not differentiate statements under oath.

 

How to visit a Quaker Meeting or Event:

Quaker meetings for worship are held regularly and are open to everyone. There are six Quaker Meetings in New York City, each with its own website and calendar of events. Brooklyn Meeting, for example, offers worship twice every Sunday and Tuesday evenings at 6:30. The Quaker meetinghouse in Flushing (built 1694) is the oldest house of worship in continuous use in New York State.There are occasional public tours of the Quaker-owned cemetery located in the middle of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

 

We hope you will not just listen to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving, jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted when new installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about the faiths of our New York City neighbors.

 

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Take our Survey for a Chance to win 2 Tickets to IN TRANSIT

 

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And as we head into this new season we want you to hear from you! What do you enjoy most about the show? What do you want to learn more about?  In the interest of knowing you better, we’ve created a very brief survey that you can access by clicking the link below. 

 

And here’s the really exciting part: if you complete the survey by January 1, you'll  have a chance to win a pair of tickets to the new Broadway musical IN TRANSIT

 

 

“SHOWSTOPPING AND HEART-PUMPING. IF LOVE ACTUALLY WERE A MUSICAL SET IN THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY SYSTEM, IT WOULD BE IN TRANSIT.“- ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

 

“A RAPTUROUSLY HARMONIOUS AND SURPRISINGLY MOVING EXPERIENCE.“- VARIETY

 

“VIBRANT, PLAYFUL, AND INFECTIOUS. A LOVE LETTER TO NEW YORK CITY.”- THE STAR-LEDGER

 

This new musical follows the story of 11 New Yorkers hoping to catch the express train to their dreams—and all the stops they make along the way.  And it’s a capella score was written by a team that includes the creators of Pitch Perfect and Frozen. It’s a powerful show, not to be missed.

 

So after you listen to this episode, click to fill out the survey and register for the chance to win tickets to IN TRANSIT!

 

Click here to take the survey and register for the

 

chance to win a pair of tickets to IN TRANSIT

 

or copy this link into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5ZHVLCN

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

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“Gifts of Spirit and Caregiving” - Peter Gudaitis on Faith Leadership and Disaster Response

September 10, 2016

 

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MaggiVan Dorn talks with Peter Gudaitis

In the wake of the 9/11tragedy fifteen years ago, an organization called New York Disaster InterfaithServices (NYDIS) came together to coordinate disaster relief.  Since thattime, NYDIS has grown and gone on to provide relief after Hurricane Sandy andother disasters.  In this episode of our free podcast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn talks with Peter B.Gudaitis, Chief Response Officer of NYDIS, about the challenges of coordinatingdisaster relief in a city comprised of hundreds of separate cultural and faithcommunities, and how to train religious leaders to provide emergency responseto a multi-faith population. 

Highlights:

On the current state ofnational disaster relief: "Inthe United States, when a disaster happens, only citizens and green cardholders can get federal disaster assistance… you could be in legal immigrantstatus but not qualify for federal assistance or state assistance."

On the importance of religious diversity literacy: "Is the city prepared to feed [peoplevegetarian, halal or kosher meals]?  Do our medical professionalsunderstand the prohibitions against different genders touching one another? Doour shelters have the ability to shelter men and women separately, or women andchildren separately from men? The answer today quite frankly is no."

On recent advancements in disaster relief: Sincethe Obama administration, F.E.M.A. has adopted something called whole communitydoctrine, which in short means that government needs to be prepared to supportthe needs of all communities at the local level, and not just the majority …that means marginalized communities, non-English speaking communities, thepoor, the well-resourced … men, women, children, gay communities, straightcommunities, all of that."

On the unfortunate reportsof judgmental chaplains at the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting: "If you don’t see the personyou’re caring for as a whole person, if you see the part of them that you findsinful as something that you have to make some sort of navigating decisionsaround, you’re not fully present for that person, and they’re going to be ableto tell."

On disaster chaplains: "Disaster spiritual care isan expertise that has to be taught and learned and practiced … it’s not a giftof the spirit in and of itself.  Certainly since 9/11 there have beensignificant changes in the application of emotional and spiritual care … it'sbeen more structured … it's kind of like the distinction between graduatingfrom medical school and being a brain surgeon.  You might have the basicsbut you really have to develop and practice an expertise."

We hope you will not justlisten to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving,jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted whennew installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about thefaiths of our New York City neighbors.

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Part 1: “The Natural Tendency of the Soul” – Nitin Ajmera on Jainism, Nonviolence, and the Human Struggle for Virtue

August 21, 2016

 

Maggi Van Dorn talks with Nitin Ajmera

 

In this episode of our free podcast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn talks with Nitin Ajmera, former president of the Jain Center of America, located in Elmhurst, Queens.  In this richly informative and entertaining two-part interview, Mr. Ajmera describes the origins of Jainism (one of the oldest religions in the world), and speaks about the three main principals of the Jain faith: devotion to nonviolence (Ahimsa), a rejection of possessiveness (Aparigraha), and embracing the understanding that there are multiple paths that lead to establishment of the truth (Anekantvada). His engaging talk is a rare and valuable opportunity to learn about Jainism and how Jain belief and practice can enlighten world views on Climate Change, vegetarianism, moral responsibility, and much more. 

 

On the doctrine of non-violence known as “ahimsa”: “It is beyond killing of a physical, visible form … ahimsa is like nonviolence in thought, action and speech.”

On diversity: “The identity of a group has to be maintained but as long as we acknowledge that identity allows us to see a different kind of bloom in our garden… it’s beautiful right….why? Because different looks nice.”

 

On Jainism’s understanding of God: “The concept of God as a creator doesn’t exist in Jainism; the concept of God as an Eternal Truth?  Yes.” 

 

On the Jain respect for all life forms, even to the degree of not eating root vegetables so as not to harm earthworms: “Each soul has its own right to survive and meet its own fate. We are nobody in influencing that.  If we can’t make it better, who gives us the right to take it away?”

 

We hope you will not just listen to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving, jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted when new installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about the faiths of our New York City neighbors.

 

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Part 2: “The Natural Tendency of the Soul” – Nitin Ajmera on Jainism, Nonviolence, and the Human Struggle for Virtue

August 21, 2016

 

Maggi Van Dorn talks with Nitin Ajmera

 

In this episode of our free podcast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn talks with Nitin Ajmera, former president of the Jain Center of America, located in Elmhurst, Queens.  In this richly informative and entertaining two-part interview, Mr. Ajmera describes the origins of Jainism (one of the oldest religions in the world), and speaks about the three main principals of the Jain faith: devotion to nonviolence (Ahimsa), a rejection of possessiveness (Aparigraha), and embracing the understanding that there are multiple paths that lead to establishment of the truth (Anekantvada). His engaging talk is a rare and valuable opportunity to learn about Jainism and how Jain belief and practice can enlighten world views on Climate Change, vegetarianism, moral responsibility, and much more. 

 

On the doctrine of non-violence known as “ahimsa”: “It is beyond killing of a physical, visible form … ahimsa is like nonviolence in thought, action and speech.”

On diversity: “The identity of a group has to be maintained but as long as we acknowledge that identity allows us to see a different kind of bloom in our garden… it’s beautiful right….why? Because different looks nice.”

 

On Jainism’s understanding of God: “The concept of God as a creator doesn’t exist in Jainism; the concept of God as an Eternal Truth?  Yes.” 

 

On the Jain respect for all life forms, even to the degree of not eating root vegetables so as not to harm earthworms: “Each soul has its own right to survive and meet its own fate. We are nobody in influencing that.  If we can’t make it better, who gives us the right to take it away?”

 

We hope you will not just listen to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving, jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted when new installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about the faiths of our New York City neighbors.

 

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Father Liam O’Doherty shares an “Incarnational Faith”

July 26, 2016

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Father Liam and ICNY Podcast Producer Maggi Van Dorn 

In this episode of our free podcast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn talks with Father Liam O'Doherty, an Augustinian friar and Catholic priest, currently of Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and formerly of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Staten Island.  Fr. Liam served 18 years as a missionary in Nagoya & Nagasaki, Japan, where he ministered to the descendents of Japan's first Catholic martyrs.  He is renown in Staten Island for his interfaith work in bringing together the Roman Catholic and Muslim communities around shared social justice concerns.  And Fr. Liam is also credited with arranging New York City Cardinal Dolan’s first visit to a mosque.

On Muslim Neighbors: [When I see Muslims pray, I see] that what they have in their hearts is the same thing that I have in my heart - a deep desire to praise God, and to have a relationship with Him.  And the thing that comes out of that is a desire to support each other in their walk of faith, and also to do something for the people outside of the community.” 

On singing as embodied prayer: “When you sing, your body becomes a musical instrument … it’s incarnational.”

On how to Be a Priest/Faith leader: “Show up, be there, and don't get in the way of the action of the Holy Spirit."

We hope you will not just listen to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving, jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted when new installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about the faiths of our New York City neighbors.

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