Here is where your ceremonies and rituals are crafted to make your vision and intention alive and vibrant, and where the ear of my heart listens and echoes back the answers you have in your own heart. It’s a place of symbols and stories – maybe one of them is yours, waiting to reveal itself – poetry and mystical traditions.
I was ordained as a Minister of Spiritual Science in 1992. Out of 29 years of Ministry, 26 of them have been in Vermont. When I moved here from New York City’s Upper West Side in 1995, I had no idea what direction my Ministry — or my life — would take.
I was launched on a ceremonial path in Vermont, coupled with counseling and teaching. Once I arrived here, the ceremonies flowed. The first one was for a beloved cat that had been with her human through many life changes and events, and I remember the beautiful peony bush planted by the attending friends to blossom and give sanctuary to her ashes. Then weddings, both local and destination, and I became a regular and eventually a “Preferred” officiant at the local Inns: The West Mountain Inn, The Inn at Manchester, The Wilburton Inn. Funerals came to me as well, as the community got to know me and how I worked, by seeing the ceremonies I crafted with people. Then Baby Blessings and Welcome to the World Christenings, House Blessings – every rite of passage and life event people were having seemed to find me. Families passed me along, from one ceremony to another. Ceremonies are how we create and ground our memories in time. They are blessings we craft that remain in the core of our beings. We draw upon them for strength, solace, and joy, whenever we need them.
For twelve years, I was Minister in Residence at Sunderland Union Church on Hill Farm Road in Sunderland, VT. It was a rich and varied time, and helped shape A Community Ministry in the Mountains. Sunderland Union Church’s history was grounded in the community. In the late 19th C., Sunderland didn’t have enough of a population for every denomination to have their own church, so the members of the Grange figured if they all pooled their resources and built one church, everyone could share it. And so different ministers came at different times to offer services for all the denominations. These roots were perfect for my Ministry, as Spiritual Science is an Interfaith, Metaphysical Ministry. The Ordination Program was four years of rigorous study, and I also did three years of Certified Rubenfeld Synergy Training, a body/mind psychotherapy.
I founded and ran a Spiritual Science Center in NYC, The North Light Center, and from there I revamped and taught the Ordination Program, and hosted many extraordinary and renowned teachers: Rachel Pollack, Rob Hand, John Matthews, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, and others.
At the time, I also had a psychotherapy practice. The North Light Center also hosted the first Aromatherapy Certification Training in the US, taught by Joan Radcliffe of the DeFraine School of Aromatherapy, who made the journey from England every few months to teach the modules.
Out of Sunderland Union Church also came the Lyme Disease Support Group of Southwestern Vermont, instrumental in getting information out about Lyme disease in those early days when diagnosis and treatment were so challenging to achieve.
Sunderland Union Church hosted many remarkable ceremonies, as well as Winter Solstice Rituals, Midnight Candlelight Services at Christmas, and it was its own miracle to see the rustic church transform as people decorated it to express their visions!
A Community Ministry in the Mountains was created in 2012, to give a name to what I had been doing for so many years: ceremonial craft, counseling, and teaching the spirituality of creativity, particularly through writing. My Teaching Practicum for my MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College was on Ritual and Ceremonial Writing. The final class was held in the Church, a ritual of memoir and life continuity written by the group.
I’ve had the privilege of so many ceremonies, in so many places, over the years: New York, New Jersey, Vermont from South to North, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Ireland and England. It continues to be a path creating itself for my feet, mind, and heart to follow!