Chaplain and Spiritual Life
600 First Street SW
Mount Vernon, IA 52314-1098
Borrowing the words of that tenacious French saint, Thérèse of Lisieux, my vocation is love. While far from sainthood, as a mystically wired college chaplain I live out this vocation by providing pastoral care, spiritual healing and guidance to students, faculty, and staff. Additionally I work with Spiritual Life Office student leaders in both SOULfriends (Christian) and Interfaith Understanding & Exploration to provide voluntary worship/devotional opportunities, inter-spiritual healing wisdom and inter-faith dialogue events, meditation and mind-body-Spirit practice programs, as well as social justice offerings, retreats, and vigils for cultivating compassion, healing beauty, hope, and peace.
The care and growth of souls is a humbling, holy privilege. It is an honor to spiritually accompany others on the journey as they seek transformative healing and explore the BIG questions (i.e. about suffering, differing understandings of the Divine, beauty in the flaw, hope, life purpose, love). This is done with students, faculty, and staff of diverse backgrounds and needs within Christianity, other faiths, among the spiritual-but-not-religious, and people with secular perspectives. Together we explore their interior lives, discern their sense of meaning and purpose, and expand their awareness of inter-connective oneness between self, others, creation, and the Divine however each person understands it.
Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality with focus on the contemplative Divine within mystical tradition and related teachings of Teresa of Avila and Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi. Doctoral research project included creation and teaching of a heart focused compassion meditation/interior prayer program involving 30 participants to explore whether this practice contributes to a) personal and communal/interpersonal healing and b) increased awareness of oneness between self, others, and the Sacred. Washington Theological Union, Washington, D.C. (2014).
Doctoral work in Theology, Ethics and Culture. University of Iowa School of Religion, 1994-96 (left to become chaplain of my alma mater and a mother).
Clinical Pastoral Education, Univ. of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Summer 1994).
Master of Divinity, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California (1994).
Master of Arts blending inter-faith studies, religion and the visual arts, and theology of human suffering with a thesis on the Jewish use of christological imagery in post-Holocaust interpretive art. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA (1994).
Bachelor of Arts, Religion and Art majors, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon IA (1989).
ADDITIONAL TRAINING (MEDITATION & THE HEALING ARTS):
Kavi Yoga Teacher Training and Yogi Immersion Study/Training (2016-17).
Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry Certified Practitioner
Reiki Master and Teacher in the Usui system of Reiki healing.
Spring Forest Qi Gong Levels 1, 2, and 3.Includes seated and movement based mind-body-spirit practices as well as helping others heal (2015- 2016).
Meditation Instructor Certification, American Institute of Healthcare Professionals (renewal 2015).
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course U of I Hospitals & Clinics (2007).
ORDINATION: Sacred Order of Priests of the Episcopal Church (2006-present). The United Church of Christ (1996-2005).
- Priest Associate, Trinity Episcopal Church – Iowa City, Iowa since 2006. Assist with preaching, presiding, funerals, spiritual care and healing.
- Co-Director and Practitioner of the Mt. Vernon Community Healing Touch Circle A free monthly clinic held at the Mt. Vernon, Iowa Presbyterian Church.
- The Inter-Religious Council of Linn County Board of Directors (2016).
- Thaler Holocaust Committee, Linn County (1985-1990; 1996-2010; 2015 - present).
- Consultant, The Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education (1996 – present).
- Director of The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa Summer Ministry School & Retreat (2006-2009).
- Previously on Board of Directors & Strategic Planning Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa.
MEDITATION WORKSHOP & SPIRITUAL RETREAT LEADING SAMPLER:
- Seated and movement based energy medicine practices, Spiritual Practices Sacred Activism course, Illuminations, Cedar Rapids, IA (Aug. 6 & 19th, 2016).
- Radiance: An Inter-Spiritual Advent Retreat for Conscious Carriers of Light, Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center, Hiawatha, Iowa (Nov. 13-15, 2015). A similar version of this retreat was also offered through The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa Ministries School & Retreat (July 19-21, 2015).
- Weekly Meditation, Mindfulness, and Mind-Body-Spirit Practice instruction for stress reduction, healing, and vitality at Cornell College (ongoing).
ACADEMIC COURSES CREATED & TAUGHT THROUGH THE RELIGION DEPT.:
- Jesus and Judaism
- Suffering and the Sacred
- Namaste: Mysticism, Meditation, and Servant Leadership--a contemplative Hindu and Christian inter-spirituality course in India.
PUBLICATIONS, LECTURES, ART EXHIBITIONS, etc. etc.
- Doctoral dissertation: Deep Abiding: Praying, Living, & Loving From The Inside Out (Spring 2014).
- Institute of HeartMath featured doctoral dissertation: Doctoral Research Project Explores Healing with Heart-Focused Prayer/Compassion Meditation email distribution internationally July 7, 2014.
- Forgiveness, Ethical Perspectives on the News an Interreligious Council of Linn County televised broadcast on ABC-KCRG, TV9, (Oct. 4, 2011).
- 9/11 10th Anniversary speaker, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2011.
- Namaste: Visual Meditations on Mystical Theology & The Divine Within Cornell College; The Lincoln Cafe; Trinity Episcopal-Iowa City (2009-2010)
- Curator for Episcopal Church and Visual Arts: Recognition & Return exhibit, Lent 2010.
- Mother & Child & Namaste Mandala images in ECVA's "Ubuntu" Exhibit, Summer 2009
- Inner Journey Iowa State Fair B/W Photo Exhibition entry ('09)
- Incarnation: Reflections on the Spirit of Dr. Meers. Wapsipinicon Almanac, No. 14, 2007.
- "Modern Jewish Art and the Crucifixion: a Study in Appropriation." Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal Vol. LXXX, No. 1 (Spring 1997):133-152.
- "Christian Theology After the Jewish Use of Christological Imagery in Holocaust Art" The Holocaust: Lessons for the Third Generation. Ed. Dominick A. Iorio, Richard L. Libowitz,
and Marcia S. Littell. University Press of America, 1997. 81-90.
JOY: Family especially my daughter Rachel and life mate Craig. Belly laughter. Board games. Quiet long runs down back country roads. Mystical landscape painting (oil on canvas). Spiritual writing. Gardening. Mind-Body-Spirit energy medicine practices. Study of East-West mystical contemplative traditions; and a reverent sacramental lens for glimpsing the Sacred in the ordinary and flaw.