Monday, October 31, 2011

6 p.m.: Festival of Tamala

Harvest Festival - a sacrifice of food during ...Image via Wikipedia
The festival of Tamala, in Filianism, is a three-day feast that falls on the first three days of the Filianic month of Werde.  Corresponding always with the Neo-Pagan and Wiccan celebration of Samhain as well as with the Roman Catholic observances of the All Saints' and All Souls' Days, the concept behind Tamala is quite similar: to give thanks to life and to the Life-Giver (as a form of harvest festival) and to remember the souls of the deceased.

Traditional Tamala food includes apple, potatoes and corn, as well as bread.

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains will be holding a small and somewhat informal Tamala celebration today at 6 p.m., at the Sacred Space Area (300 SW Salmon St.).  In keeping with the themes of the Occupy movement we also remember those who have died in dedication to the causes of justice, peace and freedom, as well as those who died victims of this unjust, greed-driven system.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oct. 30 service program

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
Service Program
* Final version (Sunday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m.)*

Noon: Meditation and Reflection around the Lord’s Table. The Revs. Tim Graves & Jason Derr

2 p.m.: Holy Eucharist (Anglican). The Revs. Sara Fischer and Griff Griffin
The Book of Common Prayer 1979, Rite II

3 p.m.: Interfaith Service.
Lighting of the Candles
The Smudging and the Calling of Cardinal Directions Amanda Schueler
Song 1 Morning Has Broken (Elearnor Farjeon) ss 1, 2 & 4**
A reading from a sacred text 1 Julia Mrescko
A reading from a sacred text 2 The Rt. Rev. Sarah-Andrea Morrigan
Song 2 Love Is All You Need (Paul McCartney, John Lennon)**
A reading from a sacred text 3 The Rev. Tim Graves
A panel talk: On healing Panel members:
The Rev. Catherine Alder
Ps. Amanda Schueler
Gil George Facilitator: S. Morrigan
Reflections and Prayers on Healing “Prayer by Rabbi Marc Sirinsky”*
The Prayers of the People Julia Mrescko and Amanda Schueler
A Time for Silence Gil George
Song 3 Mi Shebeirach (Debbie Friedman)**
Benedictions The Rt. Rev. Sarah-Andrea Morrigan

* Need a volunteer to read this
Prayer by Rabbi Marc Sirinsky

My Sweet Lord,
that power, that energy that challenges us
and leads us to feel more whole and holy,
I am thankful for the life you have given me.
Let me, let us, let all who live in the world
see the sacred in the eyes of every human life.
Let us not be governed by an economy of acquisition.
Rather, let us be governed by an endless well of love,
mindfulness, and compassion.
Let me, let us, be ever mindful of the words that come from our lips.
Let us be mindful of the harm our utterances might cause.
Let me look for ways to make others feel that their life matters,
and let me avoid ways and words that can be hurtful.
Let me speak not only with my words, but with my hands and feet
which are in service to You, to that which is sacred and holy in this universe.
Let arrogance and insensitivity have no place in our lives,
rather, let cooperation and the joy of life be ever present.
Let all men and women and cats know peace and security.
Let all women and men and cats know love, self-love, the love of another,
the love of family and friends, the love of life.
May we have the courage to make the transformations necessary
to manifest these yearnings into a reality.



Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the word.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where God’s feet pass.

Cool the gray clouds roll, peaking the mountains,
Gull in her free flight, swooping the skies.
Praise for the mystery, misting the morning,
Behind the shadow, waiting to shine.

Love Is All You Need

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time - It's easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

Mi Shebeirakh

Mi shebeirakh avoteinu
M'kor hab'rakha l'imoteinu
May the source of strength,
Who blessed the ones before us,
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing,
and let us say, Amen.

Mi shebeirakh imoteinu
M'kor habrakhah l'avoteinu

Bless those in need of healing with r'fuah sh'leimah,
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
And let us say, Amen

Sacred Text 1 (Julia)

Sacred Text 2

Thoughts of the mind neither pass away, nor vanish into air. For every thought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you. Thoughts of beauty and of things of the Spirit refine and purify the soul, making her fair to look upon and graceful in her movements, uniting her with the universal music of eternity and gathering about her the servants of the archangels. But harsh thoughts harden the soul; coarse thoughts coarsen the soul; thoughts bound only to material things load the soul with heavy chains. My children, I speak not in pictures, for truly these things are real and to be seen by all whose eyes can penetrate the veil of illusion. Does she not know that the thoughts of her mind neither pass away nor vanish into air? Does she not know that every thought of greed, of hate, of lust or of anger is a scar upon her subtle body? Does she not see that she surrounds herself with hateful things that are the forms of her thoughts? Does she not see that evil demons harbour in these forms even as rats infest a dunghill? Does she not know that when her mortal body is passed into the earth she will have no place to dwell except in that subtle body her thoughts have so distorted, and among the forms of her creation? Then be not bound by the world of matter, but turn your thoughts upon eternity, and the path of light shall be made clear. Forget not the power of words, for a word has all the power of a thought, and a thought has power to move the earth and the heavens. Therefore do not speak evil in idleness, or fall into the custom of ill-speaking, but govern your words even as your actions.

-- The Filianic Scriptures 3:1:1-21

Sacred Text 3 (Tim)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On #OccupyPortland's expansion into the Pearl District

Jamison Square Park in Portland, Oregon, Unite...Image via Wikipedia
In keeping with the support roles chaplains have traditionally played, we are not directly involved with any specific action taken by the #OccupyPortland's General Assembly.  We are however closely monitoring the development over this evening's action at the Jamison Square Park in the Pearl District.

Since this "expansion" appears to be tentative and potentially a one-time action (the GA did not specify whether this would continue or would only be for tonight), we did not make any concrete plan to provide chaplain presence there at this time.

The on-site chaplain is also monitoring the phone line.  It is preferred that any report of emergency be brief and text-messaged to both 503-427-8269 and 503-890-7724.  We will return call as appropriate and as soon as practicable.

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Quick and easy ways to help us out right now

We are looking for a great weekend as far as the chaplains are concerned at the Occupation.  But it is very important that the word gets out and more people come!  Remember: all our services are open to everyone who is interested.

1.  Print this PDF out, make a few photocopies, cut in four, distribute/post widely:

2. We have a lot of things going on.  Print out this schedule and distribute/post widely:

Thanks for your help!


Friday, October 28, 2011

This weekend

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
Event Updates for Oct. 29-31, 2011

Here is a brief summary of what we are up to this weekend.  Feel free to print out this page, photocopy it, and post it throughout the Occupation.  Thanks!

Saturday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.: Havdalah service (Location: Sacred Space). A Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and holidays, and ushers in the new week. Shabbat ends on Saturday night after the appearance of three stars in the sky.

Sunday, Oct. 30, noon: Meditation and Reflection around the Lord's Table (Location: Sacred Space). A communion service in a progressive Protestant Christian tradition.

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m.: Holy Eucharist (Location: Sacred Space).  An Anglican sacramental liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer 1979, with the Rev. Sara Fischer and the Rev. P. Joshua "Griff" Griffin from St. David of Wales Episcopal Church. -- All are welcome.

Sunday, Oct. 30, 3 p.m.: Interfaith Sunday Service (Location: Sacred Space).  This week we will be focusing on healing of individuals, relationships, communities, and the world.  An informal and participatory service featuring a facilitated panel talk to reflect the diversity of our community.

Monday, Oct. 31, 6 p.m.: The Divine Service of Tamala (Location: Sacred Space).  This Goddess-centric ceremony celebrates the life through remembrance of those who have gone before us.  On this occasion we will also remember those who have died for freedom and justice, and those who have fallen victims of the unjust, greedy and oppressive system.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Request from Sarah for Monday

Apple fritters made with cider batterImage via WikipediaAccording to the Filianic traditions, the festival of Tamala (1-3 Werde, which corresponds to October 31-November 2 of each year) is celebrated with apples and fire.

Fire is a symbol of transformation (of which death is one element), while apple is a symbol of eternity (the otherworld is called Avala, which comes from the word for apple).

I'd like to see this to be a festive occasion -- and yet at the Occupation, cooking capacity is limited.  Hence my request: If anyone can bring in some of the traditional Tamala food -- such as baked apples, apple cider, baked potatoes, and popcorn -- like a kind of potluck, that will be greatly appreciated!

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The Sacred Space Area needs your support!

The Sacred Space Area has been a work of love by SaraHope Smith so far.  As it is clear that our entire community is benefitting from her efforts, we would like to support the maintenance of this area as a community, as well.  In particular the area is in need of volunteers with construction/carpentry expertise, as well as donations of construction materials.

Hi Sarah -
I am continuing the winterizing effort. At this point I am realizing that I am not going to hold regular space down there as you all are committing to doing. So I kind of don't know why I am doing this solo effort to winterize.
I do want to reserve the option to lead something around Hannukah.
I just went out and spent a bunch of money on supplies - which seems a bit crazy since I am unemployed.  I wonder if there is a way I could collect some donations to offset the cost? How do you think that might work?

I am looking for help - especially knowledgable builders that can help build.
Today I am going to go pick up some more wood and maybe some more nails.

Perhaps you can post the call for help today and for future supplies on your blog?

Future supplies to keep everyone out of the mud include:
* thin, but sturdy plywood to cover the pallets 1/4 inch seems like it would do it.
* alternatively it could be the peg board so that the holes would allow water to go through - but then we really need to keep those dry
* more pallets

* a low table like we had as our central alter area (since the pallets will be usedfor the floor.)

that's all I know for now.

thanks for your help on this!

SaraHope Smith
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

An addendum to this week's Spiritual Life Newsletter

Sunday, Oct. 30, noon: A moment of meditation and reflection, followed by a Protestant holy communion service (an open communion-open to all who desire).  Location: Sacred Space Area

Updated wish list (Oct. 27)

Wish List (Revised Oct. 27)
  • Altar supplies and Eucharistic supplies
  • Books such as the BibleTanakhQuranBook of Common PrayerNovus Ordo MissaeSiddurimMishnahBuddhist sutras, etc. 
  • Candles, incense, bells, singing bowls, etc.
  • A large bottle of hand sanitizer
  • A $30 Virgin Mobile "PayLO" card -- to defray the cost of Sarah's mobile phone/internet services -- any Safeway or Fred Meyer has one, and also RadioShack accepts direct cash payment to the account (Sarah's number is 503-890-7724 -- no PIN or vKey is needed at RadioShack).
  • A generator to power both Legal Team tent and the Sacred Space Area
  • Practical camp needs in this cooler climate, for both on-site crew and to share with the community: hand/foot warmers, razors, socks, blankets, etc.
  • Sarah also requests either a solar-powered lantern or LED-based lantern for office use as it is getting dark very early.  Also she requests some office supplies such as paper, a few clip boards (to make fliers, etc.), and a FedEx Office (aka Kinko's) self-serve photocopy card.
  • and more on-site presence.  If you have a practical ministry experience in any religious tradition and can spend an hour a day at the Occupation, you are much needed to expand our on-site presence and chaplain availability.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

#OccupyPortland Spiritual Life Newsletter, Oct. 26, 2011

Ofrenda del dia de los muertos 6Image via Wikipedia

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
Twitter @OccupyPDXigc; hashtag #ChaplainsOccupyPDX
(revised edition: Oct. 27, 2011 - 6:30 p.m.)

A little note from Sarah: Mic check! It has been quite a week here at the Occupation!  Things are changing and moved around, all kinds of things are happening, our community is still growing and is about to expand to the Pearl District, and yes, it is surely getting cold all of sudden!  We are at the epicenter of all the interesting things that make history.  Here at the IGC, we too are rapidly growing -- and learning!  Now we have 14 active chaplains on our team, which means one new chaplain every day on average since we began.  While we are a very diverse, ragtag bunch of people with different beliefs, practices and experiences, what unite us are our solidarity with the Occupy movement and our own discontent or dissatisfaction with the religious institutions at large to a varying extent.  So feel free to talk to us and join us for many different things we are putting together.  We now have a new and improved armband -- a yellow one with a blue stripe and a heart <3 symbol (which was adopted for being a neutral symbol so as not to privilege one religious tradition over the others). 

Peace out,
IGC on-site coordinator

1. Upcoming Services This Week:

Saturday evening 7 p.m.: Havdalah service -- a Jewish ceremony of ending a shabbat and starting a new week, with a lighting of special (braided) candles.  Songs are part of this celebration.  Usually observed in a household, this short ceremony wishes participants a good week (shavuah tov).  At the Sacred Space (the sukkah), in Camp Beta North.

Sunday, Oct. 30, noon: A moment of meditation and reflection, followed by a Protestant holy communion service (an open communion-open to all who desire).  Location: Sacred Space Area

Sunday afternoon 3 p.m.: Ecumenical/interfaith worship service.  This week it will be at the Schrunk Plaza the Sacred Space Area.

Monday evening 6 p.m.: Remembering death and giving thanks to life that sustains us: This evening will be a Goddess-centered, eclectic and multicultural celebration of Tamala, Samhain, and el Dia de los Muertos, to remember those who died for justice and freedom, those who died because of the system of oppression and greed, and those who have gone before us who are the sources of our wisdom and inspiration.  In observance of this night, which ancient Celts have believed is the night when the "thin place" between the material world and the otherworld is the thinnest, we also clear the spiritual fields of this current world, and invite the spirit of love into our world.  Location TBA.

2. Community Events of Interest (not sponsored by the IGC):

Friday, Oct. 28, noon-1:30 p.m.: "This Land is Your Land" Free Pink Martini and Storm Large concert at Pioneer Courthouse Square in support of #OccupyPortland, at the Pioneer Courthouse Square.  Speeches by local clergy including Rabbi Emanuel Rose, the Very Rev. William Lupfer, the Rev. Bill Sinkford, Pastor Lynne Smouse-Lopez, Imam Mikal Shabazz, as well as by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, AFL-CIO state president Tom Chamberlain, and Kathleen Saadat.

Saturday, Oct. 29, 7-9 p.m.: Bhutanese Buddhist healing ritual led by Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Avenue. (Free.)

3. Volunteers:
  • The #OccupyPortland Guanyin Temple is under construction and is in need of volunteers with construction and/or handy-people skills.  Talk to Freya Joy (the lady with Quantum kitten on her shoulder).
  • The Community Sukkah is being soon renovated into a stronger and more weatherized structure. Those who can help, contact SaraHope or Kernel (Moses).
4. Requests:
  • We are always in search for more team members who can add to the diversity of our chaplaincy. Specifically, we would like to see at least one Imam, as well as a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox priest who can properly consecrate the Eucharistic elements for those who come from the sacramental traditions.  Contact Sarah at 503-427-8269 or through Facebook/Twitter direct message, or with this online email form.
  • We are compiling a list of local (mostly downtown area) resources for spiritual life.  The list would include local church services, masses (Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican/Episcopal), minyanim, Islamic prayers, Zen sessions, Quaker meetings, as well as other useful information such as nearby vegan restaurants, kosher food outlets, and markets that sell halal meat.  Contact Sarah (see above) with any information you know.  Thanks.
  • Our latest wish list is here:
5. Upcoming events on the horizon:
  • A community forum on peace and nonviolence
  • Women's spirituality discussion and sharing group
  • Queer spiritual life support
  • Meditation sessions
  • More ideas? Talk to Sarah or any other chaplain on site.
6.  The up-to-date events and other listings are now online.  Look for the calendar at the bottom of any webpage at or see

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reminder: Interfaith Service at 3 p.m.

Interfaith Service this afternoon! All welcome!

     Gather at 3:00p.m. on Sunday the 23 at the Sukkah tent to be sure we know what we are doing together. That is at the far right of both encampments as you are going up hill, and is built with branches and leaves on top.  Address: SE Salmon and 4th/5th?  right?

     Walking with candles singing “Return Again” (Rivkah leads)
     Bring your own candle.

     Opening Prayer for peace and justice:  Donna

     Song:  We Shall Overcome (2.We are not afraid, 3. Live in peace,)     
     Catherine Leads
     Christian teaching on nonviolence and justice making:        Catherine Alder   

     Song  “Let It Be”  - Catherine leads

     Rivkah reads Bishop Tutu and shares from the Jewish faith  

     Rabbi Shefa Gold meditational chant  - Rivkah 
     Quaker Introduction to Silence:   Gil George  
     Prayer for Courage, Nonviolence, Peace and Justice:       Miryam or Rivkah Wood

     Blessings from each faith as a benediction prayer of peace:

        Christian Blessing:  Jason Derr

        Jewish Blessing:    “Shalom Aleichem”     Rivkah Wood
    Song:      "We are Marching in the Light of God"    Catherine Alder leads
    Catherine plans to then offer communion throughout the camp if others wish to come along.

                                         Let It Be                                        The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

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What I have been doing of late

Sarah reflects on the beginning of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Healing the healers: Saturday contemplative service

As Occupiers, we are engaging in the work of repairing this damaged world in various capacities.  As an activist, a healer, and as a revolutionary, we often give too much of our resources sometimes to our own detriment.  We sometimes need to take an intentional time off to cleanse the energy, nurture ourselves, and renew our purpose and connection with the Divine.

This Saturday morning, we are having a short service in observance of Shabbat -- the day of rest and renewal -- with meditations to bring serenity, to heal the stress we take up as we go helping others, and to restore a joyful connection with God.  It is a service of gratitude and prayer for consecrating the space with peace and healing.

The service is simply adapted from a traditional Jewish service, with re-translation to focus on the constructive things we can do with our time in this world to heal the harms caused by violence and injustice.

All are welcome.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. at the Sacred Space Area (the Sukkah), near the intersection of SW 3rd Avenue and Salmon Street.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chaplain Profile: Sarah Morrigan

The Rt. Rev. Sarah-Andrea Morrigan, the instigator of this gang of chaplains in the #OccupyPortland community, is truly someone who lives in the world of interfaith and ecumenism.  A lifelong student of ways people believe and practice spirituality, she has studied all kinds of religions, from Buddhism to Wicca, and in each of these traditions she had immersed herself into that particular culture and religion to attain a deep knowledge and understanding of their respective ways.

Her exploration took her through fundamentalist Baptist churches (in which she joined a summer rural mission team to preach in mountain villages of central Japan), Pentecostal churches, both Orthodox (in Seattle) and Reform Judaism (in Portland), Unitarian Universalism, progressive Protestantism, and then to two different independent Catholic denominations.  She became an ordained priest in 2005, and by 2007, she became the youngest (at the age of 32 then) bishop to be consecrated in the now-defunct denomination.  After experiencing a series of unfortunate incidents and witnessing unethical actions within the church, Sarah had left the church -- and eventually left Christianity altogether to pursue two of her passions: feminine spirituality and solidarity with the oppressed.  Sarah had since been "adopted" by the Filianic faith, a small Goddess-centric traditionalist community that began in Oxford, England.  In 2009, Sarah had founded what is now the Centre for Reformed Filianic Studies, in order to preserve the Filianic scriptural texts, disseminate Filianism, and to modernize many of the Filianic practices to make it more accessible and relevant.  One of the landmark projects she had undertaken so far is the publication of the New Celestial Union Version of the Filianic Scriptures, a modern English version of collected Filianic sacred texts that had been long out-of-print.   Her work led to the formation of the Collyridian Filianic Communion (CFC), with active churches and membership now primarily in the East Coast.  Sarah serves as one of CFC's first bishops (general superintendents).

To better equip herself with further learning, Sarah had returned to school last year to pursue a Master of Divinity degree in feminist theology at Ocean Seminary College.  One of her papers, "Towards a Goddess Model of Soteriology," is slated to be published in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.

Sarah thinks of her ministries and leadership as that of inspiring, instigating, facilitating, and presenting ideas and questions -- rather than a conventional form of "leading."  Her belief is that it is more important to have a right question than a right answer.  In an ecumenical and interfaith setting, aware of always being a religious minority, she sees her roles as those of a diplomat, a kind of neutral party to bring about reconciliations.

In addition to her ministries and studies, Sarah is a working visual artist and graphic designer.  People sometimes think she is a "Catholic" (not "Catholic" as in "universal", but "Cat-holic" -- addicted to cats).

Sarah speaks and understands multiple languages, including Cat.

Update (Jan. 4, 2012): Sarah has resigned from the Collyridian Filianic Communion to form the Metroum: A Reformed Filianic General Association.  She also is organizing the Portland, Oregon Priory of the Order of the Serene Wisdom (OSW).

#OccupyPortland Spiritual Life Newsletter, Oct. 20, 2011

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains -
Twitter @OccupyPDXigc; hashtag #ChaplainsOccupyPDX

1. Upcoming Services This Week:

  • Jewish: Erev Shabbat candle lighting with Sara Hope, 6 p.m. Friday at the Sukkah (300 SW Salmon St.)
  • Jewish: Shabbat morning prayer service with Rivkah, 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Sukkah
  • Sunday interfaith service, 3 p.m. Sunday; procession begins at the Sukkah and proceeds to the Obelisk in Camp Beta.
2. Community Events of Interest (not sponsored by the IGC):
  • Friday, 11:30 a.m.: A march to abolish death penalty, with Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, (author of Dead Man Walking), from the #OccupyPortland to the Pioneer Courthouse Square.
  • Saturday, 2-4 p.m.: A community forum on movements and organizing around #OccupyPortland and Right2SurviveToo.  At Sisters Of The Road (133 NW 6th Avenue -- Take the MAX Green or Yellow Line from the City Hall station, get off at the Davis station.)
3. Volunteers:
  • The #OccupyPortland Guanyin Temple is under construction and is in need of volunteers with construction and/or handy-people skills.  Talk to Freya Joy (the lady with Quantum kitten on her shoulder).
  • The Community Sukkah is being soon renovated into a stronger and more weatherized structure. Those who can help, contact Sara Hope or Kernel (Moses).
4. Requests:
  • We are always in search for more team members who can add to the diversity of our chaplaincy. Specifically, we would like to see at least one Imam, as well as a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox priest who can properly consecrate the Eucharistic elements for those who come from the sacramental traditions. Additionally, we are looking for a Wiccan or Neo-Pagan priestess who is willing to lead rituals.  Contact Sarah at 503-427-8269 or through Facebook/Twitter direct message, or with this online email form.
5. Upcoming events on the horizon:
  • A community forum on peace and nonviolence
  • Women's spirituality discussion and sharing group
  • Queer spiritual life support
  • Meditation sessions
  • More ideas? Talk to Sarah or any other chaplain on site.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What it means to be "interfaith"

candleImage by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flickr
It just occurred to me that there may be some confusion over the notion of "interfaith." It has come to my attention that everything we do are devoid of any sectarian references, or even a mention of "God."

Right now, the only explicitly "interfaith" thing is the interfaith Sunday service that is planned, which is largely designed at this moment as mostly a non-denominational Protestant service with elements drawn from Judaism, and could also be familiar to many Unitarian Universalists.

Aside from events specifically noted as "interfaith," everything else should follow the customs and uses of whichever the traditions and belief systems associated with each individual chaplain or chaplains -- and they all have a freedom to do so.  The only "ground rules" we have laid out as part of the Statement of Purpose is that we are to be good listeners, to respect each person's dignity, beliefs, and practices, and do not use this ministry primarily as a tool of proselytizing.  Additionally, while acknowledging that there are widely different opinions on matters such as family, reproductive choices, gender, and sexuality, we aim for the greatest possible degree of inclusion and hospitality on the basis of love and respect; and in keeping with the recent General Assembly consensus, it is our intention to keep our community a safe place free from sexism, racism, and homophobia.

So far there have been mostly Jewish services and events at #OccupyPortland.  As we become a larger group, we hope that our diversity will also grow.


Sarah Morrigan
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No support is too small!

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy ...Image via Wikipedia
One of the things I learned from the evangelical Christians many many years ago was how they put a lot of importance on "intercessory prayer."

No missionary would even consider going out even on a short mission trip without first having recruited a team (sometimes hundreds!) of people who pledge to pray for them on a regular basis. One sermon that I have heard on this topic quoted from Exodus 17:11 - the story in which Moses, aged and fragile, sat atop a hill overlooking a battleground. Down there, an army of the Israelites was fighting. Interestingly, the Israelites prevailed in battle when Moses' hand was up; whenever he lowered his hand because of fatigue, the army began to lose. Eventually a couple of men stood besides Moses and held his hand up until the Israelites gained the ultimate victory.

The war metaphor aside, the moral of the story is that in order to make things successful, it takes both people on the ground -- some of us who are on site -- as well as those who are off site in the supportive capacities. And on a more spiritual side, none of what we do succeeds unless we unite in a common intention. So even when you feel like you are "doing nothing" you are doing a lot to support our team.

Any prayers, good intentions, etc., are of great importance to us first and foremost.

Secondly, there are many ways you can contribute to this work.  Every day more and more Occupiers are beginning to appreciate the spiritual presence and space in #OccupyPortland.  If you can bring a ritual or a small celebration from your religious tradition, that is great!  And there are many (mostly small things) that we are always in need of (see the wish list here) in order to make things work smoothly.  On a more practical level, the site lacks much of the amenities we often take for granted.  Water and electricity are in short supply.  Someone needs to literally fetch the water every half an hour or so, and generators are only available to some of the key functions of the camp, such as the Medical and the Media.  Even someone who can bring an airpot of coffee for our events and meetings, or those who can provide us with solar-powered lantern would be highly prized here.  Also, Sarah is the only on-site resident chaplain at the moment and is making her cell phone available for afterhour contacts.  While her phone has a great rate (7 cents a minute/7 cents per text) that has been coming out of her own pocket and extra calls and text messages mean extra expenses to her.  If you have a plan for shopping at a mall or a supermarket, consider contributing towards the phone expense (Radio Shack takes cash payments from any person so long as you know the phone number, 503-890-7724, and the carrier, Virgin Mobile; also, any "PayLo" card sold at Fred Meyer or Safeway works with the account.).

Remember: This is a community effort, just like the rest of the #OccupyPortland movement is.


Sarah Morrigan
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A story of a sukkah

This evening marks the beginning of Shemini Atzeret, and tomorrow evening is the festival of Simchat Torah, according to Jewish customs.

This afternoon, a group of Occupiers and their allies filled the #OccupyPortland community sukkah for a joyous celebration of the week of Sukkot.  We are privileged to have Rabbah D'vorah Kolodny, from P'nai Or of Portland, to lead the festivity.   Even as we went through the various songs and mitzvot of Sukkot, the sukkah drew people in -- some without any clue as for what we were doing -- and several passers-by were busy photographing this amazing spectacle of a massive sukkah in the heart of downtown Portland, with a vibrant celebration in songs.

It has become pretty clear to us during this celebration, through conversations, that the sukkah has become a de facto spiritual center of #OccupyPortland.  Aside from the "All-Denomination Church Area" sign put up by Wayne (to keep new tents from encroaching upon the sukkah), people of all or no religious faiths have been naturally drawn to this area for meditation, contemplation, and for just a quiet time away from the noises and actions of the movement.

The whole #OccupyPortland community is, I believe, appreciative of all the efforts put together by Sara Hope and her friends -- as well as Kernel (aka Moses) and an army of volunteers he recruited -- to make this possible.

The sukkah will be kept as it is for time being, although s'chach that has been s'chaccupying will soon be removed for fire safety and in order to make the roof stronger and more rain-proof in preparation for the coming rainy and windy days.

True to the tradition of Judaism, the sukkah is a symbol of hospitality.

We request that all Occupiers of the #OccupyPortland community to respect the sanctity and intentions of this area.

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