Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring get-together and visioning meeting!

On Tuesday, March 27 in Vancouver, Washington.

This would be a good opportunity for those who are new to the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains to meet the other IGC members and find ways to get involved.  Spring is here and we are moving forward with the greater Occupy movement.

Join the IGC Facebook group at for RSVP.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reminder: Saturday, March 10 free community workshop!

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains is presenting a free workshop for both IGC members and public alike tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. at the OccupyPortland HQ Che Room, 1131 SE Oak St.

The workshop helps participants to engage people in community-building, as well as to proactively prevent conflicts that may otherwise escalate into violence, through a method called 'ministry of companionship and presence."  While the original training was developed for mental health chaplaincy in a religious setting (such as churches and faith-based community services), it can be used also in many non-religious settings with little or no modifications, and have indeed been used by many secular social service agencies and even by a few police departments as a way of outreach, de-escalation, and engagement with the vulnerable population.

For more information, see the earlier posting here at

Friday, March 2, 2012

A brief history of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (so far!)

English: Occupy Portland, Day 2 (October 7, 20...
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The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC) was founded on October 15, 2011 at the Camp Beta (Lownsdale Park) in the still-being-constructed community sukkah (later called the Sacred Space, after the sukkot) in downtown Portland, during the second week of the original Occupation.

The IGC was organized mostly by Sarah Morrigan after the Protest Chaplains groups in #OccupyBoston and #OWS (New York City), although with a much broader interfaith emphasis, and at the beginning, with a non-Christian majority membership.  Soon the group grew rapidly and also received various levels of support from a few Portland area churches.

The IGC designated yellow with a blue stripe and a blue heart symbol (chosen for religious neutrality) as the official armband identifier colors. It is one of the earliest non-committee, non-General-Assembly-chartered affinity groups to have been recognized by the Occupy Portland.  During the downtown Occupation the IGC held up to five services at the park every week, ranging from Jewish to ecumenical Protestant to Neo-Pagan to Roman Catholic.
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Upcoming workshop: Building companionship is first step towards solidarity

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The Rt. Rev. Sarah Morrigan from the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC), an affinity group in solidarity with the Occupy movement in the Greater Metropolitan Portland-Vancouver region, will offer a free community training on how to engage people through companionship. Based on the "congregational companionship ministry of presence" developed by the Rev. Craig Rennebohm, this training was originally designed for local churches and in mental health chaplaincy setting, but since then has been successfully used with little or no modification even in non-religious settings such as social service agencies and even by a few police departments in helping connect people with services and resources — and even in preventing escalation of aggressive/disturbing behaviors.

In particular, this training benefits those who are introverted or unaccustomed to interacting with people who are from very different background from who they are.  The training focuses on building first an authentic human-to-human connection, instead of approaching a person through "frames" and roles one plays.  Through a non-confrontational approach, the companionship also facilitates a person to address unwelcome behaviors by others without becoming confrontational and aggressive, and thereby proactively preventing any escalation that may lead to violence.

While this workshop is strongly recommended for current and prospective chaplains of the IGC, those who are from any other committee, caucus, affinity groups and those without affiliation are also welcome, since the same skills can be used for many community-building and civic engagement activities at any Occupation and actions, marches, rallies, or teach-ins.

Saturday, March 10, noon-2 p.m. at the Occupy Portland Headquarters, Che Room, 1131 S.E. Oak St., Portland, Oregon 97214.

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