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).

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