Our History

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains was founded during the second week of Occupy Portland's encampment, modelled after Boston's Protest Chaplains, which in turn spawned several autonomous chapters in major cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Like the Protest Chaplains, we were started with both a strong emphasis on social justice and experimental approach to spirituality-based community building.  IGC, however, sought to be more reflective of Portland's unique spiritual landscape that is less informed by established liberal Christian churches, but rather by an eclectic mixture of different traditions and practices cross-pollinating and enriching one another.

During the 39 days of occupation in downtown Portland, we have held over 20 religious services, including weekly interfaith service and observances of Jewish holy days.  Based out in a giant sukkah which later turned into our community center during our stay, we also provided an around-the-clock chaplaincy service working closely with Occupy Portland's other support services such as the medical and legal teams.

After Occupy Portland's departure from the downtown parks, we also provided some initial support to the 24/7 prayer vigil in front of the city hall (which eventually became a 600-day-long physical occupation on sidewalks).  We also planned, coordinated, and held Occupy Thanksgiving PDX, a day-long community (well-attended, in spite of the bad weather!) celebration of Thanksgiving Day at the Wallace Park in Northwest Portland.

In 2012, IGC was renamed Interfaith Solidarity Cascadia, which subsequently became Lightspark Commons in 2013.  We continue to maintain the interfaith community shrine at the Friends of Occupy Portland office in Southeast Portland, which contains remnant artifacts from the sukkah.

We are grateful to all of these original members for their dedication:

Founding Members (since the first 39 days):
Miryam B'Shalom
Joey B'Shalom

Other Members for the Year 2011-12:

Amy Gilmore Cairns
Shannon Batts
Kelly Caldwell
Matt Guynn
Kathryn Joy
Kathleen Burton McDade
Daniel Reed Miller
Darla Samuelson
Paul Seif
Rosemary Tustin
Hannah Zaiv

We also thank various supports given in the past by:

The Bridge Christian Church

Multnomah Monthly Meeting of Friends (Josh Von Kuster, MMM-OP Committee liaison)

St. AndrĂ© Bessette Catholic Church (The Rev. Steve Newton, CSC, Pastor)

St. David of Wales Episcopal Church (The Rev. Sara Fischer, Rector)

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