Reflectionary by Rev Mark Gallup

A Reflection on Ostara


It’s All Such a Delicate Balance

And it’s all such a delicate balance.
It takes away just as much as it gives.
But to live it is real,
And to love it is to feel
That you’re a part of what everything is.[1]

“Equinox” means “equal night” and marks the two days each year when the duration of sunlight and darkness are equal. The Spring Equinox is known as “Ostara” in the Celtic lands and as “Eostre” – from which we get the word “Easter” – in old English after the goddess Ostern who ruled over this day.
The equinox is a metaphor for the balance of light and darkness in our individual lives. I don’t mean by this the equilibrium between joy and sorrow as might first seem implied. What I mean by the equinoctial life is recognizing the shadow side of our being and the role it has to play in who we are.
We all have a persona, what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world. “Persona” is a Latin word that literally means “mask”. We put on many masks that we wear depending upon the situation. We take on our persona growing up and learning how to live in the world. Putting it another way, we act so as to give the world what we think it wants.
Masking ourselves often results in giving up primal and natural instincts, desires, and talents that are our birthright. Actually, we don’t give them up; they are repressed into the subliminal psyche. This is our shadow self of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, wildness, and desires. Our cultural upbringing has taught us to fear the shadow self and to see it as dark. So we close it out of our consciousness, tucking it away where we won’t have to deal with it.
This is not healthy. Not only is the shadow self often the source of our authenticity – our birthright – but also a source of creative energy. We need to open the door of the shadow self and balance what we find with the public persona we present to the world.
This does not mean that we give ourselves over totally to instinct and impulse. We do still need to live in the world and get along with people after all. It is a delicate balance. But our public persona needs to be balanced with our natural primal self for us to be who we really are. We can’t be an honest part of “what everything is” unless we do. To live this way is real. Love the balance.
So what aspect of your shadow self comes to mind as you read these words? And how will you engage it in the delicate dance with the persona you present to the world?

[1] “Delicate Balance” written and sung by Tom Dundee from the 1997 album Lyfe Tyme a Rhyme
Photo © 2015 Emm Jay Molotov, “Light and Dark Vodu part 1”, in The Alternative Spirit





Rev. Mark Gallup is a Pagan high priest, interfaith minister, spiritual seeker, mystic, and diviner of the Natural World. Mark has been a practicing Pagan for nearly 30 years. He is a graduate of the College of Wicca and Old Lore as well as being trained in Feri. Mark was ordained in 2013 as an interfaith minister by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. Along with his wife, Mary Gelfand, he leads Earth-centered spiritual events and classes at 1st Parish UU Church in Portland, ME.


Refelctionary by Yehezkel Landau

A Jew Looks at Easter Passover and Lent

This year Good Friday and the Passover seder fall on the same day, April 3. This convergence of sacred times for Christians and Jews prompts this reflection. I am also conscious that this October marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II document that ushered in a new era in Christian-Jewish relations. By decrying the sin of anti-Semitism and repudiating the deicide charge against the Jewish people that had haunted relations between the two faith communities for close to two millennia, the Catholic Church took a major step in cleansing its official theology of both anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism.
Christians and Jews alike can be thankful to God that the Christian demonization and scapegoating of Jews has been supplanted by more inclusively compassionate, and historically accurate, interpretations of what happened on the hill of Golgotha almost 2000 years ago. Surmounting this theological hurdle has opened up exciting possibilities for Jews and Christians to learn from one another.[1] The two communities, while retaining their spiritual identities and loyalties, can now appreciate how their respective stories of liberation and redemption can be mutually instructive, even inspirational. We can read the Passover and Easter stories without imposing self-referencing interpretations on one or the other. We can explore together the Suffering Servant passages in Isaiah 52-53 and hear why Christians see Jesus on the Cross in that portrayal, while Jews, basing themselves on earlier references in Isaiah to God’s servant Jacob, tend to see the People Israel allegorized in those prophetic texts.
I try to appreciate the Lenten journey undertaken by my Christian sisters and brothers as a path of discipleship, a devotional act of imitatio Christi. Even though I do not view Jesus as divine or as the messiah anticipated by most Jews, he is nonetheless one of my most influential Jewish teachers. I see him as a Galilean rabbi and faith healer at the radical edge of the Pharisaic spectrum, calling his fellow Jews, in particular “the lost sheep of the House of Israel,” to a more heart-centered way of living out the Torah. Unfortunately, some Christians still see Torah, which means Divine teaching, as a legalistic framework that was supplanted by the Gospel of Love. The perceived dichotomy between Law and Love remains the greatest stumbling block in healing the tragic divide separating Christians and Jews.
As we Jews prepare to symbolically go forth from Egypt once again to receive the Torah at Sinai 50 days later, and as Christians prepare for Easter and the Good News of the Resurrection, let us appreciate the saving grace in both faith traditions. For both are blessed by God, in ways we cannot fully fathom.
Sadly, at this critical moment in history, both Jews and Christians are being targeted by hateful jihadists who do not understand them in this way. Conversely, Muslims are viewed generically by many Christians and Jews as inherently hostile and threatening. This painful reality compels us all to uphold simultaneously two faith responses that are often in tension: compassion for misguided adversaries who, in the words of the dying Jesus, “know not what they do”; and, at the same time, a commitment to the protection of vulnerable human beings who are endangered by murderous hatred. If we believe that God is the Source of both Love and Justice, then Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others can together exemplify imitatio Deo by combating hatred and violence perpetrated by anyone in the name of religion. In so doing, we can ensure that the lives and dignity of our fellow human beings, created in the Divine Image, will be enshrined as sacred values that transcend any theology, creed, or professed devotion to God.

[1] Among the many helpful resources now available, I would recommend the following books for joint study by Christians and Jews: The Synoptic Gospels Set Free: Preaching Without Anti-Judaism by Daniel Harrington, SJ, and
The Gospel of John Set Free: Preaching Without Anti-Judaism by Fr. George Smiga (both from Paulist Press), Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus by Harvey Falk (from Wipf & Stock Publishers), and The Jewish Annotated New Testament edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler (from Oxford University Press).


Yehezkel Landau pic


Dr. Yehezkel Landau is Associate Professor of Interfaith Relations and Holder of the Abrahamic Partnerships Chair at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he directs an interfaith training program for Jews, Christians, and Muslims called “Building Abrahamic Partnerships.” A dual Israeli-American citizen, his work has been in the fields of interfaith education and Jewish-Arab peacemaking. He directed the Oz veShalom-Netivot Shalom religious peace movement in Israel during the 1980’s. From 1991 to 2003, he was co-founder and co-director of the Open House Center for Jewish-Arab Coexistence and Reconciliation in Ramle, Israel. (See He co-edited Voices from Jerusalem: Jews and Christians Reflect on the Holy Land (Paulist Press, 1992) and authored a research report entitled Healing the Holy Land: Interreligious Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine (published by the U.S. Institute of Peace in 2003 and accessible at



Reflectionary by Myra Robinson


I dive bare into
My imagination’s pool
To inform my truth

I open my heart
Escape the walls I made there
And risk my freedom

But what is escape?
Am I running or seeking?
There’s a difference

Go out or come in?
Confusing to say the least
Asking these questions

I’ve heard it said to
Go gently into that deep
Dark night of the soul

Let the answers come
As easily as a breath
In meditation

Throw open the gates
Of my own confining thoughts
Embrace the journey

It amuses me
I can travel so far yet
Stay right where I am



Myra Robinson photo


Myra Robinson started off in art school, but then was a Medical Secretary for many years, before finding her calling in a music, art, and writing. Currently, she is a student at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME) to become an Interfaith Minister; and as part of her internship she facilitates a class on journal writing as a spiritual practice for women. She is an accomplished singer/songwriter in her band Bluezberry Jam, and sings locally in several groups including the hospice choir, Harbour Singers, that sings for those at end-of-life. She is a teacher of “Creative Songwriting” at conferences and adult ed., and conducts music workshops called “Sacred Sounds and Song” for My Sister’s Keeper, a mentoring program for incarcerated (and recently released) women to help them integrate back into the community. Since starting this spiritual journey, Myra has developed a practice of what she calls, Prayer Poetry that combines her talents as a wordsmith with a desire to channel Grace. She is deepening that experience of connection by continuing to be of service to her community, and challenging herself to, as she puts it, “let Spirit flow from the music of my soul.”

Positive American-Islamic Relations by Joel Grossman



Positive American-Islamic Relations

On Sat., 9/5/15, I headed from Boston to the annual ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) Convention in Chicago. You might ask, why would a “nice Jewish boy”, and interfaith minister, be attending the ISNA Convention? It’s because I’ve been wanting to do work on healing the Muslim – non-Muslim divide in the U.S. ever since 1999, when I did an impromptu reconciliation service on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict in seminary.

I was heading to the Convention to promote my new blog site, “Positive American-Islamic Relations” (P.A.I.R.). I felt I was given a Divine gift of reassurance when it turned out that the woman sitting next to me on the plane was a young Muslim woman who was born in Pakistan, now living outside Boston. She shared with me about her life as a Muslim in the U.S., and was very supportive of this P.A.I.R. project.

At the ISNA convention I was so heartened by the responses that I received from the hundreds of people I spoke with who were staffing the roughly 500 booths at the Convention’s bazaar. So many said this was a great idea. The energy throughout the Convention was joyful and uplifting. It has reinforced my belief that as we interact with people of different faiths and backgrounds with an open mind, we can have most positive experiences. As the public hears about these experiences, my hope is that it will bring about an openness of minds and hearts when having connections with Muslims.

So I invite you to share about your interactions with Muslims at the blog




Joel Grossman pic


Rev. Joel Grossman was ordained an Interfaith Minister by the Chaplaincy Institute for the Arts and Interfaith Ministry, “ChI”, in 2000. He has been a spiritually based psychotherapist since the 1970’s, and has been serving as a hospice chaplain for over ten years. He was a founding faculty member of the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, “ChIME”, and created and directed it’s MA campus. He lives in West Newbury, MA. He invites you to view, and submit to, his blog “Positive American-Islamic Relations” (P.A.I.R.) at

Reflection on Imbolc by Rev Mark Gallup



February 2nd is Midwinter Day or the Celtic festival of Imbolc. It marks the turn from high winter to the warmth that will eventually bring spring. In this country, we know it as Groundhog Day.
“If this day be sunny and bright, Winter again will show its might.
If this day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away.”[1]

Whatever the weather of the day, Imbolc gives us reason to contemplate the changing seasons. Though the harshness and bitterness of winter is at its height, small indications of new life began to appear. So dress warm and go outside to sit in contemplation – in daylight and in darkness – on the changing of the seasons. See if the day be “sunny and bright” or “cloudy and gray”. Do this weekly and see if you don’t notice the mating squirrels chase each other, hear the territorial “phee-bee” call of the chickadees sound in the trees, and observe the northward march on the horizon of the setting sun. Plant a seed and watch it grow in anticipation of spring.

Imbolc has a Pagan pedigree with its ancient roots in the Celtic lands of Britain and Ireland. It is traditionally the time when lambs are born and ewe’s come into their milk. “Imbolc” comes from two words that refer to this lactation. This flow of milk foreshadows the turn of the seasons to spring when life-giving forces return.
Imbolc was also the festival of Brigid, the Celtic Triple Goddess.
“When she raised her white wand on this day, it is said to have breathed life into the mouth of the dead Winter and to bring him to open his eyes to the tears and the smiles, the sighs and the laughter of Spring.”[2]

Brigid is associated with wells and the healing arts, with poetry and inspiration, and with fire and smith-crafting. Brigid’s wells are scattered throughout the British Isles and are still visited regularly by those who continue to seek her energy and healing. On Imbolc, Brigid’s sacred springs and wells were cleaned and her shrines lit with candles. This is in part why the early church replaced this festival with Candlemas.

In Ireland this day commemorates St. Brigit, and there is considerable truth to this saint being derived from the goddess Brigid. By tradition St. Brigit is the daughter of a Druid and later became abbess of Kildare. Having been born while her mother crossed a threshold, she was said to be “neither within nor without”, between the worlds.
So take heart, observe the turn from winter to spring, and spend time in the outdoors connecting with the spirits of the natural world. And – should you desire Brigid’s or St. Brigit’s healing and blessing – leave a silk ribbon on your doorstep for her to bless when you go out.

[1] Eric Sloane, 1963, Folklore of American Weather, p. 39.
[2] Caitlin Matthews, 1999, The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, p. 103.


Rev. Mark gallup is a Pagan high priest, interfaith minister, spiritual seeker, mystic, and diviner of the Natural World. Mark has been a practicing Pagan for nearly 30 years. He is a graduate of the College of Wicca and Old Lore as well as being trained in Feri. Mark was ordained in 2013 as an interfaith minister by the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine. Along with his wife, Mary Gelfand, he leads Earth-centered spiritual events and classes at 1st Parish UU Church in Portland, ME.



CPTCSM Guidelines 1.18.16








Program Guidelines

Clinical Pastoral Training Center of Southern Maine CPTCSM



Providing professional training and field experience for chaplains of varying traditions, in varying settings with the modern religious and spiritual landscape in mind.






A program of the Abbey of HOPE



Supervision provided by Rev. Lori Whittemore, MDiv. BCCC, BCPC, CPSP-SIT. CPTCSM is provisionally accredited by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy as a training site under the supervision of Rev Dr. M. Dwight Sweezy, DMin, CPSP-TS








Table of Contents




Introduction                                                                                                          3

General Information                                                                                           4

Mission and Vision                                                                                               5

Overview of Clinical Pastoral Training                                                        6

Standards for program  (from CPSP standards)                                      7

Code of Professional Ethics                                                                              8-9

Unit descriptions                                                                                                 10-11

Outcomes                                                                                                                12-13

Bibliography                                                                                                          14-15

Program Details                                                                                                   16

Written Requirements                                                                                      17

Guidelines for written requirements                                                          18-27

Admission Guidelines                                                                                        28

Financial policies                                                                                                 29

Dismissal Policy                                                                                                    30

Complaints                                                                                                                         31

Application                                                                                                             32-33


Current unit calendar                                                                                        34-35

Signatures                                                                                                              36



























These program guidelines are intended to provide information about the clinical pastoral training offered by the Clinical Pastoral Training Center of Southern Maine (CPTCSM), a program of the Abbey of HOPE. This manual provides information about the training program, including admission and program requirements for successful completion of the training. Included in this handbook are some of the standards provided by CPSP (College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy) for certification as a clinical chaplain, associate clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor. Certification for those designations happens through participation and presentation to an active chapter of CPSP. Maintenance of designation also requires ongoing participation in CPSP chapter. CPTCSM offers Clinical Pastoral Training to individuals interested in preparing professionally to provide spiritual care in a variety of settings within a paradigm of collaboration with interdisciplinary teams. This Handbook will outline the duties and responsibilities of the Clinical Pastoral trainees registered in CPTCSM and for their site location.



















General Information




Name:   Clinical Pastoral Training Center of Southern Maine-CPTCSM


Program Supervisor: Rev. Lori Whittemore, MDiv, BCCC, BCPC, CPSP-SIT

In training with Rev Dr. M. Dwight Sweezy, DMin, CPSP-TS


Address:      TBD


Telephone: 207-699-8991




Training Schedule: 3 units per year





CPT unit hours: 400 per unit


Duration of each unit 13-15 weeks (extended units available)


Extended Unit: available and individually negotiated


Mission and Vision of CPTCSM


Clinical pastoral training at CPTCSM provides field training for chaplains and spiritual care providers from varying traditions with the evolving religious and spiritual landscape in mind. CPTCSM provides training in the form of clinical training units, to prepare people to provide professional spiritual care in a variety of settings, including churches, hospitals, cancer clinics, police cars, and prisons. Completing a unit of training is a way to deepen one’s current ministry, help someone prepare for pastoral visitation ministry, or prepare themselves for a volunteer position. Additional units in conjunction with education could be sought in preparation for trainees to become board certified clinical chaplains or associate board certified clinical chaplains within the CPSP modality. Each unit of training builds on the trainees unique life and work experience and helps them integrate their story to provide spiritual care, where their own call meet this community’s greatest need.


Most organizations, including ones in which you presently work for or volunteer have a need for spiritual care provided in a professional, inclusive way. Formalizing a relationship with them as a chaplain trainee, and developing your ability to demonstrate your chaplain skills and document your encounters sufficiently, as well as participate in clinical supervision to satisfy part of your clinical training hours. If you choose to do this, you may also need additional time in another setting to expand your knowledge, skills and abilities.


CPTCSM offers high quality training under the direction of skilled supervisors and chaplains and may be accessed remotely through web technology. Supervision, interpersonal group, didactic and discussions may be accessed remotely. This is intended to develop a program that is inclusive of trainees with different abilities, geographical locations, cultures and traditions.


Details of the CPSP certification process can be found on the CPSP website at This training is a great resource for deepening one’s own skills in ministry or preparing to facilitate or participate in pastoral visitation ministry. Our program can prepare helping professionals of all sorts by offering integrative training coupled with field experiences in providing spiritual support as a chaplain.


By placing trainees in a variety of settings, CPTCSM provides pastoral support to organizations and offers continuing development and certification to those already serving in ministerial settings.   A collaborative team oriented program, trainees will engage in giving and receiving consultation with interfaith spiritual care colleagues, and with interdisciplinary team members in their specific setting. As a part of the program they will be required to develop and participate in professional cohorts for ongoing support and accountability.


As a program of the Abbey of HOPE, CPTCSM prepares spiritual caregivers to provide professional, holistic care to people of various traditions, in a variety of settings, with today’s religious and spiritual landscape in mind

Overview-Clinical Pastoral Training


CPT provides interfaith professional training for ministry. It brings theological students, ministers, chaplains, and other helping professionals of any and all faiths, as well as faithful people who wish to prepare to provide spiritual care into encounter with persons who are ill, in crisis, or in need.   From involvement with persons in need of spiritual support, and with the feedback from peers and supervisors, trainees develop new awareness of themselves as individuals and of the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological and psychosocial reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping people, they develop skills in intrapersonal, interpersonal and inter-professional relationships. The CPT method uses: the pastoral experience, reflection on the pastoral experience by the chaplain in written and oral reports, and reflection and critique of those reported experiences by members of the peer group and the supervisor.

Group formation exercises, group interaction, evaluation and sharing become a laboratory for learning. Trainees are encouraged to recognize their differing gifts for ministry and how those gifts may be shaped and improved with the guidance of the supervisor. Both peers and supervisor serve as consultants, challengers, and supporters in the process of self-learning and self-growth. The basic impetus for learning and spiritual growth, however, comes from the trainees themselves, as they become aware of their personal and professional issues, review their autobiography, and invest in the learning opportunities available to them. Patients, clients, parishioners, family, peer, staff and supervisor encounters, all contain the seeds for challenge and support which can lead to professional, personal, interpersonal, emotional, and spiritual growth and development.

CPT mainly grows out of the experiences of the trainees in a clinical context (e.g., congregation, clinic, wards, prison block, cancer center, food bank etc.). There is also an extended body of knowledge of pastoral care, social awareness, psychology, sociology, theology, ethics and technical aspects of health and human care that will be communicated to the trainees through seminars and workshops. Seminars and training will be led by the supervisor and content experts from the broader community, religious and educational institutions. Since some of these subjects are of universal concern, certain subjects are routinely scheduled into the CPT program. Since CPT is also a form of adult education and experience-driven learning, other subjects are added to each CPT unit based on the an assessment of the trainees in a particular unit. Co-learning experiences such as joining with other CPT centers or visits to other facilities may also be scheduled into the CPT program



Clinical Pastoral Training


CPSP requires that all Accredited CPSP Programs which offer Clinical Pastoral Training

function in accordance with commonly held standards which address criteria for admission to training, program content and structure, and objectives for the various levels of training.


  1. 210. Program Standards for Clinical Pastoral Training (CPT)

Clinical Pastoral Training was conceived as a method of learning pastoral practice in a

clinical setting under supervision. The concept was promoted by Anton T. Boisen to

include a case study method of theological inquiry—a study of “living human

documents.” For over eighty years CPT has developed its principles and methods through,

interaction and close collaboration with persons from the disciplines of medicine, psychology, the

behavioral sciences, as well as with theology.


210.1 Program standards for CPE include the following:


210.1.1 No less than 400 hours of supervised learning for a unit/quarter of CPE. At

least 240 hours of supervised learning is required for a half unit/quarter of



210.1.2 The actual practice of ministry to an appropriate variety of persons.


210.1.3 Pastoral supervision by a CPSP Diplomate in CPE Supervision or by a

Supervisor-in-Training who is in direct supervision with a CPSP Diplomate in

CPE Supervision.


210.1.4 Detailed reporting and evaluation of the practice of ministry.


210.1.5 A process model of learning.


210.1.6 Participation of students/trainees in a peer group (3-8 people) which is large enough to

enable students to experience a variety of relationships and small enough to

provide time for each student to enter a creative interpersonal process for

growth and learning.


210.1.7 Didactic instruction to enable the students/trainees to understand the particular

needs of persons receiving ministry and the variety of ways of helping those

persons. Material is utilized from all sources and disciplines which assist the

students/trainees’ integration of theological understanding and knowledge of

behavior sciences with personal and pastoral functioning.


210.1.8 A curriculum which enables students/trainees to meet the objectives of CPE,

utilizes the unique resources of the center, takes into account the

students/trainees’ interests, gifts, learning and growth needs and areas of individuals.




All CPSP certified and non-certified members, students and trainees are required to maintain the highest level of personal, professional, moral and ethical standards. Certified and non-certified members of CPSP are expected to adhere to the Code of Ethics below. When questions arise about a member adherence to ethical standards below; the Chapter will initiate a meeting for engaging the person and issue.These engagements are expected to be redemptive and problem-solving in intent and nature.


The CPSP Code of Ethics follows.

The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) seeks to maintain the highest standards of professional ethics. Therefore members covenant to work together with colleagues, students, clients and institutions in an attitude characterized by respect, commitment and professionalism consistent with the CPSP Covenant.



Professional ethics for CPSP members is rooted in respect for all persons regardless of their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, age, abilities or sexual orientation. In other words, who they are is the reason for our respect. Members agree to commend the call, vocation and personal lives of coworkers, counselees, students, supervisees, and parishioners. Members respect each other. When there is an allegation of misconduct, all responses will be intentional while maintaining an attitude characterized by forgiveness, compassion, humility, and an empowering love. All responses to allegations will focus on accountability, education, redemption, reconciliation, and growth. Respect includes issues of confidentiality. Therefore what we know about students, colleagues and counsels will be used in their best interest.



Members are committed and accountable to each other through Chapter participation. Therefore, members will be pro-active in issues of professional abilities, continuing education, pastoral concerns, ethics and personal integrity. This form of peer review is crucial to our covenant with each other.



CPSP members recognize those who have gone before us, endeavoring to preserve, create and implement the body of knowledge in the fields of pastoral education and counseling. CPSP members maintain professional relationships with other persons in their institutions, their community, and with members of other professional organizations.


Collegial Judgment

CPSP recognizes that not all ethical issues can be detailed through this or any other code. Therefore, we depend on the professional judgment of our colleagues and agree to abide by and to engage their decisions.






Colleagues, students, clients, parishioners, and patients deserve our respect. Therefore, members will not proselytize nor force their own theologies, beliefs or spiritual practices on others. CPSP members will refrain from exploiting relationships or using them to their own advantage. Exploitation includes emotional, financial, sexual, and/or social gain. Records, evaluations, personal notes, and informational conversations will be kept confidential.



Members will maintain their commitment and good standing with their CPSP Chapters. Members will maintain good standing outside of CPSP, including faith groups, endorsing agencies, licensing agencies, and employing institutions. CPSP members will take concerns of impairment, incompetence, or behavioral problems seriously. Concerns for such are expected to be addressed within each Chapter.



CPSP members will continue to use their Chapters, as well as other resources, for

professional and personal growth. This includes attention to spiritual, family and health related issues which are always significant to the professional functioning of members. CPSP members will represent their qualifications correctly, limiting their practice only to their level and area of certification. CPSP members will keep accurate financial and training records, will be accurate in professional brochures, and will make timely responses to inquiries and applications. Members are expected to be good stewards of their spiritual, collegial and financial resources and responsibilities. CPSP members have the freedom to share their private and public opinions, distinguishing these from the positions of CPSP.



Unit descriptions



Unit 1-Individual Preparation


Psychotherapeutic approach to pastoral care

Understanding one’s own story as a background for ministry

Using supervision

Understanding and employing spiritual assessment tools

Introduction to pastoral care models


OUTCOME: Ability to tell your story, how it led you to this place and how and where it affects the care that you give. Become familiar with spiritual assessment tools and determine which one/s work for you. Understand the current models of pastoral care and see which, if any resonate

Unit 2-Understanding Groups


Motivation for ministry

Understanding how your issues have led to call to helping profession

Understanding models of group process and navigating conflict

Trainees will develop confidence and skill in giving and receiving feedback

Trainees will learn about IDT and how to function on a clinical team

Learning about the development and culture of CPSP.


OUTCOME: Ability to work well in groups, giving and receiving appropriate and helpful feedback in a timely fashion. Become comfortable bringing a spiritual voice to the clinical table for the wholeness and healing of patient/client/staff or organization.



Unit 3-Case studies and theological reflection


Focus on pastoral diagnosis, theological reflection and pastoral intervention and guidance


OUTCOME: Strengthen skills as a pastoral diagnostician by re-examining personal theology in the context of the work that is being done. Refine internal and external process of reflecting through preparing case studies. Become proficient at understanding how and where personal issues show up in the giving of Pastoral and Spiritual Care.


Unit 4-Theory and Practice of Spiritual Care



Develop understanding of contemporary religious and spiritual philosophies and practices and of the spiritual landscape in which trainee lives and works. Integrate evolving theology and model of spiritual care based on practical experience and expanding tool and skill sets. Understand how one’s own journey has called them to this work. Recognize where one’s own issues show up in clinic and develop ability to set them aside in order to be fully present to another.   Be able to articulate one’s own experience of what is sacred/holy in a broad range of settings. Engage actively in supervision and collegial group process for wholeness and healing of self and others and for professional development.


OUTCOME: As a trainee progress through the units, they will become more aware of their ability as spiritual caregiver and more confident. By the end of the 4th unit they should be aware in real time of their own issues and feelings that are happening during an encounter and have developed the professional skill to set them aside. Trainee will be aware of their pastoral/spiritual identity and how it informs the care they provide. Trainee will understand professional resources and how to access them for support and development. Trainee will demonstrate willingness to provide spiritual care AND do so in a collaborative, team environment.





Introductory Units

At the conclusion of one unit of CPT the trainee should be able to:

  1. Articulate central themes of her or his religious/spiritual heritage and the theological understanding that informs one’s ministry
  2. Identify and discuss major life events and relationships that impact on  personal identity as expressed in pastoral functioning
  3. Demonstrate the ability to initiate helping relationships
  4. Initiate peer group and supervisory consultation and receive critique about one’s ministry and practice
  5. Risk offering appropriate and timely critique
  6. Utilize the clinical method of learning to achieve his or her educational and professional objectives
  7. Demonstrate the ability to integrate in pastoral practice conceptual understandings presented in the curriculum
  8. Formulate clear and specific objectives for continuing pastoral formation with reference to one’s strengths and weaknesses
  9. Recognize relational dynamics within group contexts.
  10. Understand one’s own psycho-social and spiritual issues and how these may have influence call to helping profession

Progressive Units  

At the conclusion of units 3-4 of CPT the trainee should be able to:

1     To demonstrate the ability to make use of the clinical process and the clinical method of learning. This includes the formulation of clinical data, the ability to receive and utilize feedback and consultation, and to make creative use of supervision.

2     To demonstrate the self as a work in progress and to cultivate the understanding of the self as the principal tool in pastoral care and counseling. This includes the ability to reflect and interpret one’s own life story both psychologically and theologically.

3     To demonstrate the ability to establish a pastoral bond with persons and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances.

4     To demonstrate basic care and counseling skills including listening, empathy, reflection, analysis of problems, conflict resolution, theological reflection and the demonstration of a critical eye so as to examine and evaluate human behavior and religious symbols for their meaning and significance.

5     To demonstrate the ability to make pastoral diagnosis with special reference to the nature and quality of religious and spiritual values.

6     To demonstrate the ability to provide a critical analysis of one’s own religious tradition.

7     To demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of group behavior and the variety of group experiences, and to utilize the support, confrontation and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.

8  To demonstrate the ability to communicate and engage in ministry with persons across cultural boundaries.

9 To demonstrate the ability to utilize individual supervision for personal and professional growth and for developing the capacity to evaluate one’s ministry.

10 To demonstrate the ability to work as a pastoral member on an interdisciplinary team.

  1. To demonstrate the ability to make effective use of the behavioral sciences in pastoral ministry.
  2. To demonstrate increasing leadership ability and personal authority.
  3. To demonstrate familiarity with the basic literature of the field: clinical, behavioral


CPTCSM Bibliography



Augsburger, David. Caring Enough to Confront; Regal Books; Ventura, California; 2009.


Bion, W.R. Experience in Groups; Tavistock Publicans Limited; East Sussex, GB, 1961.


Boisen, Anton T. The Exploration of the Inner World; A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience; University of Philadelphia Press; Philadelphia, Pa.; 1936.


Brown, Robert McAfee; Liberation Theology; John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky;1993.


Capps, Donald. The Depleted Self; sin in a narcissistic age. Augsburg Fortress Press; Minneapolis, Mn; 1993.


Doehring, Carrie; Practice of Pastoral Care: a postmodern approach. Westminster John Knox Press; Louisville, KY; 2006.


Dykstra, Robert C (ed); Images of Pastoral Care classic readings. Chalice Press; St Louis, MO:2005.


Everly, George ; Pastoral Crisis Intervention; Chevron Publishing; Ellicott, Md; 2007.


Everly, George and Mitchell, Jeffrey; Integrative Crisis Intervention and Disaster Mental Health; Chevron Publishing; Ellicott, Md; 2008.


Goulart, Frances Sheridan; God Has No Religion, Blending Traditions For Prayer; Sorin Books; Notre Dame, Indiana; 2005.


Jennifer Cisney and Kevin Ellers; The First 48 Hours, Spiritual Caregivers as First Responders; Abingdon Press; Nashville; 2009.


Kanel, Kristi; A Guide to Crisis Intervention; Thomas Brooks Cole Higher Education Publishers; Belmont, Ca; 2006.


Kirkwood, Neville; A Hospital Handbook on Multi-culturalism and Religion, Practical Guidelines for Health Care Workers; Morehouse Publishing; Harrisburg, Pa; 2005.


Lee, Jung Young; Marginality; The Key to Multicultural Theology; Fortress Press; Minneapolis, Mn.;1995.


Nottram, Kenneth P; Caring for those in Crisis; Brazos Press;Grnd Rapids, Michigan, 2007


Paget, Naomi and McCormack, Janet; The Work of the Chaplain; Judson Press; Valley Forge, PA, 2006.


Pruyser, Paul W. The Minister as Diagnostician; Westminster Press; Philadelphia; 1976.


Pulchalski, Christina; A Time For Listening and Caring, Spirituality and the Care of the Chronically Ill and Dying; Oxford University Press; New York; 2006.


Rabbi Stephen Roberts and Rev William Ashley Sr. (editors); Disaster Spiritual Care, Practical Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy; Skylights Paths; Vermont; 2008.


Ramsay, Nancy; Pastoral Diagnosis; A resource for Ministries of Care and Counseling; Fortress Press; Minneapolis, Mn.; 1989.


Rinpoche, Sogyal,; The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying; Harper Collins: New York, New York; 2002


Ripple, Paula; Growing Strong at the Broken Places; Ave Maria Press; Notre Dame, In.; 1991.


Thich Nhat Hanh; The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching, Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy and Liberation; Broadway Books, New York, New York, 1998.


Wainrub, Barbara Rubin; Healing Crisis and Trauma With Mind, Body and Spirit: Springer Publishing; New York; 2006


Program Details


Each Unit of CPT


Program Length:       13-15 weeks


Approximate breakdown of 400 unit hours


Clinical time:              320


Case studies:              30


Clinical Supervision  12


Midterm and Final    6


Didactics                     20


CPSP participation    12


Students must have access to internet and Microsoft word. Electronic drop boxes will be set up for sharing work with the supervisor


Units of CPT are available remotely by the zoom video conferencing program. This offers the possibility for broaden access to training along with the possibility of allowing for great diversity of students and settings.


When case studies are to be presented, the presenter must provide enough copies for their peer group.


Written Requirements



Learning Contract




Impression Report


Clinical Case Studies


Mid Unit evaluation


Final Evaluation


Motivation for ministry paper


Theory Paper





Learning Contract


The learning contract is an essential tool for you to focus on personal and professional areas of learning and growth. It should take into account your unique qualities; strengths and weaknesses. The CPT experience gives trainees the container to process their own spiritual journey in the context of accompanying others in a supportive way. The clinic and peer group present opportunity for getting in touch with powerful feelings and learning how to process them in new ways.


The following may help you formulate your goals:


  1. Name several strong qualities that you think will help you make a good chaplain.
  2. Name several weak qualities that you think will hinder your ability to be fully present to other.
  3. Select two from each list and reflect on them more deeply.
  4. With the two strengths listed, how could you build on them individually and with the help of peers to become a more skilled care giver.
  5. With the two weakness listed, how will you gain more insight into how these affect your ability to be present and give thorough attention and care.
  6. From this exercise, select 2-3realistic and attainable things to focus on during this unit
  7. Write them out in very clear and succinct language.
  8. State the ways you will be monitoring and measuring the changes taking place in these areas and how you would like the supervisor and peer group to support you





You will negotiate and finalize this at your first supervision





Trainees will become familiar with the models of spiritual assessment and how to use them informally and formally. These assessments are often used as a part of clinical documentation for charting purposes. Completing spiritual assessments helps create a plan of care in conjunction with other disciplines. It also facilitates a continuum of care, when another chaplain or clinician provides care to the same person.


For purposes of CPT please consider the following questions and sketch out how you addresses these in your encounters:


  1. situation of your encounter with person
  2. how did you initially introduce or connect yourself to person
  3. were they able to name the situation or reason for the encounter
  4. how did you reflect back their experience to them and validate their feelings
  5. were you able to help them identify their spiritual tools/resources for coping
  6. how did you encourage connection to those tools and resources
  7. did this encounter merit a referral, consultation or collaboration
  8. what is your spiritual diagnosi


Impression Reports


Impression reports are a tool for helping chaplains connect to their feelings in real time, while providing spiritual care. These reports are written after the fact, however are intended to train a chaplain to be processing some of these questions in the moment.


1, Describe an encounter that left you feeling uneasy?


  1. Name the patient care issue?


  1. Where does this patient care issue come up for me elsewhere?

Other patients, or for me directly?


  1. How did it affect my giving full attention and care to the client?


  1. How have you/will you tend that wound?


Suggested Outline for Case Studies



I           Background



II         Preliminary Patient/Client data



III        Background Information and Story



IV        Observations



V          Reason for presenting this visit



VI        Verbatim



VII       Assessment



VIII      Analysis of Pastoral Functioning



  1. Background


Chaplain name:

Case Study Number

Unit Number


Date of Visit

Date Presented



II         Preliminary Data


Patient initials



Religious belief

Date of encounter

Where encountered

Length of visit


Marriage status

Pastoral diagnosis


III. Background and History


Please share additional information known prior to visit, summary of previous visits, information from charts or consultations with other team members. Briefly tell what happened and the steps you took to prepare for encounter.


IV        Observations


Note the specific conditions of the encounter.   Note condition of the client/patient, personal effects, cleanliness, and their specific physical context. Who is present with them? Where is the person sitting/ standing in conjunction to the people around them? What feelings come up for you as you encounter this situation?


V          Reason for presenting this as a case study


What questions or issues were raised for you? How does this tie in with your personal story? What are you hoping to learn with the help of your peer group?

VI        Verbatim


Include all verbal and nonverbal communication. Put non verbal in parenthesis ( ) Number the dialogue and note the speakers using a key:


C          chaplain

P          patient

D         doctor

CL        client

PO       police officer


The verbatim does not have to include an entire encounter, it may be a segment of a longer visit. Speakers should be numbered as they speak.











VIII      Spiritual Assessment


How did your client name the situation? Did you reflect back their experience? Were you able to normalize their feelings? Did they identify any spiritual tools? Were you able to help them connect to those tools? Is a referral or consultation with another chaplain or professional necessary?


VIII      Pastoral Functioning


Evaluate your successes and shortcomings in this encounter. Did any of your own issues or fears get triggered? If so, how did those impact your ability to be present? Were you able to remain objective during the visit? What have you learned about yourself from preparing this case study? Did this encounter effect your theology or beliefs? How were you stretched?


Mid Unit Evaluation


Presented Orally based on these questions


1          state your training objectives and briefly describe your progress.


2          how have you changed thus far during the unit


  1. describe your relationship to your peers. What have you learned from each of them individually? What specifically are their strengths and growing edges? How have you shared your observations with them


  1. describe your relationship your supervisor. What have you learned from her? What are her strengths and growing edges? How do you experience her pastoral care?


  1. How do you see yourself interacting with your site staff and training site supervisor or mentor?


Final Evaluation




Final Evaluation

Trainee Name

Unit #


Supervisor: Rev. Lori Whittemore



Summarize responses to these questions:

  1. State your training objectives and describe your progress. Are you ready to move forward to additional units and address new objectives?
  2. How have you changed in this unit?
  3. Describe a pastoral encounter that illustrates your gifts and growing edges that you have not previously presented? Describe how you used the clinical method of “action-reflection-action” to learn from the encounter
  4. How has your perception of the role of chaplain changed for you? How do you feel about yourself in this role?
  5. Describe your relationship with each of your peers?
  6. What relationships have been challenging for you? How have you used those areas of discomfort for personal growth?
  7. What relationships have been helpful for you? What makes them so?
  8. In what ways has supervision been helpful for you?
  9. In what ways has it been a challenge?
  10. Talk about the relationship you have with your site supervisor.
  11. What is your relationship with your peers at your site?



Prior to beginning this assignment, read Clinical Pastoral Education-Exploring Covenants with God by The Rev. Dennis E. Kenny, D.Min, in the “The Journal of Pastoral Care, June 1980, Vol. XXXIV, No. 2, available from your Supervisor.


  1. “Human” or psychological motivation

a.     Do I see myself motivated by





  1. “Spiritual” motivation

a.     How have I understood

the “Spiritual” dimension

of my “Call”





  1. Strengths and skills for the ministry

(objective strengths that other

People affirm)


“reasons” I’d be pleased to tell a

Vocations committee

  1. Weakness, doubts, etc.

(these may be subjective or

Weaknesses that other people


“reasons” I wish to hide & tell no one

but a best friend, only if they keep it




  1. Significant people and events

that have influenced me to seek

a career in the ministry (include

family & how they handle feelings)

  1. Faith Development

(you may use Fowler or Westerhoff’s categories but write about your own




  1. Explore Covenants with God


“Life Prayer”

“Unforgivable sin”

“Covenant” ramifications of the

covenant in relationships

  1. Directions for continuing personal

Growth and understanding of my Call to the ministry.




Theory Paper outline





CPTCSM Admission Process



In accordance with CPSP application process. A completed application is submitted to the Director, Rev. Lori Whittemore, together with a non refundable check in the amount of $50. Checks can be mailed to 5 Northwood Road, Yarmouth, Maine 04096.


An interview with the CPTCSM Supervisor Lori Whittemore and her training supervisor Dwight Sweezy shall be conducted at an agreed upon time and location.


Applicants will be informed of the status of their applications. Applicants will be subject to a background check and may need to participate in other screening based on placement location. If a trainee is placed at a site that serves youth, additional screening/training may be required of the trainees.


CPTCSM does not discriminate against any individuals for reasons of race, color, national origin, gender, age physical disability, sexual orientation, faith group or military status. Equal access to education opportunities is extended to all qualified persons based on program availability.


This policy, not withstanding, all trainees accepted into this program shall be able, with reasonable accommodation, to physically perform the duties as a Trainee.


The trainee needs to sustain sufficient physical and emotional health to delver appropriate spiritual care to those he or she encounters as well as meet the other program requirements. The trainee must demonstrate a capacity to endure and cope with moderate amounts of chaos that accompany normal parts of institutional culture of a varied settings



CPTCSM Tuition Policy


Tuition must be paid before the end of the first week of a unit of CPT.


Tuition for a unit is $750


Special arrangements can be made with Supervisor prior to the unit if there is financial hardship.


Once the unit has begun, full payment is expected


Tuition refunds:


$50 application fee is not refundable


50% of tuition will be refunded if person withdraws from unit up to the end of the second full week


No refund after the 2nd full week


Dismissal Policy


Dismissal ends the trainee’s participation in the CPT program and is initiated by the CPT Supervisor,


Dismissal may occur as a result of:



Failure to complete the written requirements of the unit


Failure to participate in the peer group conducive to growth of self and peers


Failure to act responsibly in pastoral role

Not responding to calls

Inappropriate absences

Responding inappropriately to the needs of clients, families and staff.

Sexual misconduct


Failure to observe standards of professional behavior during assignment

Violating HIPPA privacy laws

Participating in illegal activities

Breach of confidentiality

Deception or dishonesty


CPT Complaint Protocol


CPTCSM will maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct. Any incident of

ethical violation, or presumed violation, will be processed in the following manner:


  1. Any person with an ethical complaint against a CPE/T supervisor, will first inform

the training supervisor, M. Dwight Sweezy. He can be reached at   If both the supervisor and training supervisor are involved in the grievance, a complaint should be filed with the training supervisor’s CPSP Chapter. (Princeton Chapter)


  1. The Chapter convener, in consultation with chapter members, decide if the complaint has merit. If the complaint is deemed without merit, the complainant will be notified to that effect. If the complaint is judged to have merit, it will be referred to the Chapter where the object of the complaint has credentials.


  1. The Chapter on receiving the complaint will process it, interview the parties as needed, and make a judgment on any appropriate recompense or penalties required, and notify the complainant of such.


  1. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Chapter’s judgment, he or she may again notify the General Secretary, or President, who will together create a Panel to review the complaint and the Chapter’s decision. The Panel may sustain the Chapter’s decision or overrule it and make its own decision, and notify the complainant.


  1. The Panel’s decision may be appealed to the Executive Committee, and if the

complainant is not satisfied, he or she may appeal next to the Governing Council. The decision of the Governing Council will be final.


  1. The Person against whom the complaint is made may similarly appeal any decision to the Executive Committee, and next to the Governing Council. The decision of the Governing

Council will be final.



Application for Clinical Pastoral Education


Unit Desired (Check one)
     Fall Unit (September to December)

Winter Unit (January to March)

Spring Unit   (April to June)


Applicant Information

First Name Last Name


Home Phone:






Email Address:

Other Phone:


Denomination/Faith Group Information

Name of religious Body:




Conference, Presbytery, Diocese, Association
Ordained? Date of Ordination


Education                                                                                                               Degree






Graduate Study:








Previous Clinical Pastoral Education

Dates Centre Supervisor


References and Addresses











Include with Application:

  1. Three “stories” (one-half to one page each) of important events/people/ memories in your life. These may be anything of significance, but pay special attention to those which triggered life-changes for you.
  2. An autobiography outlining your spiritual journey and highlighting key social and emotional turning points in your life. Include information about faith group/denominational activities of each parent prior to your birth. If you have held leadership positions of any kind in your faith group, describe each one.
  3. An account of a time when you helped someone else (one-half to one page). Be specific about the need as you understood it, and about how you provided help.
  4. A statement about why you want to receive Clinical Pastoral Training. If you have specific ideas about what you would like to learn, include them.
  5. If you have had previous Clinical Pastoral Education, please include copies of evaluations written by you and by your supervisor(s).
  6. Tuition is $750 per unit. To reserve your place, please include a check for $50 as a nonrefundable deposit with your application.

Signature                                                                            Date









(This calendar is subject to change)

Date Event Activity Presenter(s)
January 6 IPR 330-630pm Introduction to unit

Introduction of group and supervision scheduling

January 13 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
January 20 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
January 27 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
January 25 DIDACTIC 9am-5pm Didactic Supervisor/
February 10 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
February 17 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies-midterm evals All
February 29 DIDACTIC 9am-5pm Didactic Supervisor/
March 2 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
March 9 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
March 16 IPR 330-630pm Case studies All
March 23 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
March 30 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies/final eval all
ON OWN 8 hours Personal ministry didactics (CEUs) All
ON Own 3-6 hours Chapter meeting  























SPRING UNIT CPT 2016 (subject to change)


Date Event Activity Presenter(s)
April 6 IPR 330-630pm Introductions/cases

supervision scheduling

April 13 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
April 20 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
April 27 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
May 4 DIDACTIC 9am-5pm Didactic Supervisor/
May tbd NCTS Cases and didactic  
May 11 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
May 18 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies-midterm evals All
May 25 DIDACTIC 9am-5pm Didactic Supervisor/
June 1 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
June 8 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
June 15 IPR 330-630pm Case studies All
June 22 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies All
June 29 IPR 330-630pm Case Studies/final eval all
ON OWN 8 hours Personal ministry didactics (CEUs) All


Consents and acknowledgements:


Consent to Video Tape


I agree to be videotaped during IPR sessions and individual supervision for purposes of peer review, consultation and certification:



Trainee Signature




Release of Written Materials


I agree to let my supervisor use my written materials for consultation and certification purposes:



Trainee signature




Agreement to Maintain Confidentiality


I agree to maintain my client/patient’s confidentiality wherever I am assigned.



Trainee Signature




Acknowledge of understanding of program guidelines


I have read and am familiar with the program guidelines for CPTCSM and the standards and expectations therein:



Trainee Signature




Reflectionary by Rev Christina SIllari 1.16.16

“What’s In Your Heart?” Reverend Christina Sillari

In his final years Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. heart was deeply troubled by the state of the world. He felt that his dream had not been fulfilled. He was depressed and prone to weeping; he smoked more, and took comfort in fried chicken and sweet potato pie, the foods of his childhood. But he did not lose heart. He stayed committed to non-violence and to love. He allowed the pain of the world to enter his heart and move him to action. “True compassion,” King declared, “is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

In February of 1968, one month before he was assassinated, told his congregation in Atlanta Georgia that “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t need to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermo-dynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

A heart full of grace…a soul generated by love. King demonstrated such grace and love by the manner in which he faced violence and oppression. After time in jail, bombings to his home, a near fatal stabbing, and regular death threats, King still chose love over hate, compassion over bitterness and creativity over victimhood. “If only to save myself” he told the Christian Centaury, “I have attempted to see my personal ordeals as an opportunity to transform myself and heal the people involved in these tragic situations.”
How often do we struggle with this choice – and it is a choice – to love or hate, when we feel we have been done harm? Can we, as King calls us to do, rise to the position of loving the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed the person does?

“Unfulfilled Dreams” was the last sermon King preached to his home congregation. He asks the congregation to “notice that life is a continual story of shattered dreams.” Listening to an audio recording of that sermon, I am struck by the pain and longing in King’s voice. “Yet even so,” he continues “we still have hearts that we can fill with meaning.” He then asked them, “What’s in your heart this morning?” “Is your heart right?”

True compassion is neither a naïve sentiment nor a noble sacrificial emotion. Biblical scholars view compassion as a divinely inspired state of being that has three components: knowledge, moral outrage, and the capacity to truly identify with the other. It is not wrong to live our lives simply and quietly without protest or petition. It is not wrong to maintain our status quo and help our neighbor or the closest charity when we are asked to do so. Yet, I believe King would think it wrong to not look into our hearts, to not see, feel, and experience the pain and suffering in ourselves and the world around us, to not find out how much compassion we are capable of. Because King believed that love is the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.

Our hearts are a doorway into the mystery of life and to our salvation here and now. We are all troubled at times by our own pain, fear, regret, loss and sorrow. These sufferings are part of the human condition.

It may not be easy to look into our own hearts, at times we fear the pain we find, perhaps, at times we fear the joy. Yet it is easier to experience the stirrings and storms of the heart when we ground ourselves in more than knowledge and outrage but in a deep appreciation and affirmation of life’s goodness. When we practice that which we find fulfilling and nurturing whether that be prayer, meditation, art, music, gardening, cooking, time in nature, creating or listening to music, or any regular practice which brings us a feeling of peace and well being, then we are more prepared to fully experience the moments in life that invite us to look at what’s in our hearts. Salvation comes not when we are free of suffering or conflict but rather when we are able to face suffering and conflict while grounded in love and compassion.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspiration to me. He calls me to experience the holy in everything. King calls me not only to protest in marches and demonstrations for human rights and justice but to protest against the closing of my own heart, so that I can truly experience compassion for myself and the world around me. He reminds me to keep asking myself, “What’s in my heart? Is my heart right?”

Microsoft Word - CMS PIC.doc


Christina Sillari is a Unitarian Universalist minister who is passionate about yoga, shamanism, star beings, and justice. She serves First Parish in Portland Maine, The UUA Commission on Social Witness, Equality Maine, and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USM. She loves swimming, cooking, and the natural world. She lives in Portland with her husband, daughter, and yellow lab.

1.11.16 Compassionate Cafe Meeting

Agenda for Compassionate Cafe, January 19
With notes from 1.11.16
Compassionate Café,


THIS NEXT MEETING IS 11:30-12:45pm…bring your own lunch,

at the State Street United Church of Christ
159 State Street
Portland, Maine
Fireside Room

Principles and Purpose of Compassionate Cafe



Coffee talk

2016 compassionate cafe meetings

Dinner Dialogue January 26 at 5:45pm
share with your community
help publicize
invite friendS
come and enjoy

Compassionate City
Meeting with USM school of Social Work
Upcoming meeting with Mayor

Friends Forever
Field Trip…March 4

Compassionate Housing Campaign

PARIVASH ROHANI, from the Baha’i community has invited folks who are interested to join her at to discuss the proclamation…The Promise of World Peace. The discussion will take place on January 19 at 7:00pm at Payson Smith Hall, room 201 on the USM campus. A copy of the proclamation can be found at this link:

Pass the Peace…Bring a friend!

The Promise of World Peace, Bahai

October 1985

The Promise of World Peace

To the Peoples of the World:

The Great Peace towards which people of good will throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet—in the words of one great thinker, “the planetization of mankind”.

Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity’s stubborn clinging to old patterns of behaviour, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth. At this critical juncture when the intractable problems confronting nations have been fused into one common concern for the whole world, failure to stem the tide of conflict and disorder would be unconscionably irresponsible.

Among the favourable signs are the steadily growing strength of the steps towards world order taken initially near the beginning of this century in the creation of the League of Nations, succeeded by the more broadly based United Nations Organization; the achievement since the Second World War of independence by the majority of all the nations on earth, indicating the completion of the process of nation building, and the involvement of these fledgling nations with older ones in matters of mutual concern; the consequent vast increase in co-operation among hitherto isolated and antagonistic peoples and groups in international undertakings in the scientific, educational, legal, economic and cultural fields; the rise in recent decades of an unprecedented number of international humanitarian organizations; the spread of women’s and youth movements calling for an end to war; and the spontaneous spawning of widening networks of ordinary people seeking understanding through personal communication.

The scientific and technological advances occurring in this unusually blessed century portend a great surge forward in the social evolution of the planet, and indicate the means by which the practical problems of humanity may be solved. They provide, indeed, the very means for the administration of the complex life of a united world. Yet barriers persist. Doubts, misconceptions, prejudices, suspicions and narrow self-interest beset nations and peoples in their relations one to another.

It is out of a deep sense of spiritual and moral duty that we are impelled at this opportune moment to invite your attention to the penetrating insights first communicated to the rulers of mankind more than a century ago by Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, of which we are the Trustees.

“The winds of despair”, Bahá’u’lláh wrote, “are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appears to be lamentably defective.” This prophetic judgement has been amply confirmed by the common experience of humanity. Flaws in the prevailing order are conspicuous in the inability of sovereign states organized as United Nations to exorcize the spectre of war, the threatened collapse of the international economic order, the spread of anarchy and terrorism, and the intense suffering which these and other afflictions are causing to increasing millions. Indeed, so much have aggression and conflict come to characterize our social, economic and religious systems, that many have succumbed to the view that such behaviour is intrinsic to human nature and therefore ineradicable.

With the entrenchment of this view, a paralyzing contradiction has developed in human affairs. On the one hand, people of all nations proclaim not only their readiness but their longing for peace and harmony, for an end to the harrowing apprehensions tormenting their daily lives. On the other, uncritical assent is given to the proposition that human beings are incorrigibly selfish and aggressive and thus incapable of erecting a social system at once progressive and peaceful, dynamic and harmonious, a system giving free play to individual creativity and initiative but based on co-operation and reciprocity.

As the need for peace becomes more urgent, this fundamental contradiction, which hinders its realization, demands a reassessment of the assumptions upon which the commonly held view of mankind’s historical predicament is based. Dispassionately examined, the evidence reveals that such conduct, far from expressing man’s true self, represents a distortion of the human spirit. Satisfaction on this point will enable all people to set in motion constructive social forces which, because they are consistent with human nature, will encourage harmony and co-operation instead of war and conflict.

To choose such a course is not to deny humanity’s past but to understand it. The Bahá’í Faith regards the current world confusion and calamitous condition in human affairs as a natural phase in an organic process leading ultimately and irresistibly to the unification of the human race in a single social order whose boundaries are those of the planet. The human race, as a distinct, organic unit, has passed through evolutionary stages analogous to the stages of infancy and childhood in the lives of its individual members, and is now in the culminating period of its turbulent adolescence approaching its long-awaited coming of age.

A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world. That such an enterprise is possible, that the necessary constructive forces do exist, that unifying social structures can be erected, is the theme we urge you to examine.

Whatever suffering and turmoil the years immediately ahead may hold, however dark the immediate circumstances, the Bahá’í community believes that humanity can confront this supreme trial with confidence in its ultimate outcome. Far from signalizing the end of civilization, the convulsive changes towards which humanity is being ever more rapidly impelled will serve to release the “potentialities inherent in the station of man” and reveal “the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality”.


The endowments which distinguish the human race from all other forms of life are summed up in what is known as the human spirit; the mind is its essential quality. These endowments have enabled humanity to build civilizations and to prosper materially. But such accomplishments alone have never satisfied the human spirit, whose mysterious nature inclines it towards transcendence, a reaching towards an invisible realm, towards the ultimate reality, that unknowable essence of essences called God. The religions brought to mankind by a succession of spiritual luminaries have been the primary link between humanity and that ultimate reality, and have galvanized and refined mankind’s capacity to achieve spiritual success together with social progress.

No serious attempt to set human affairs aright, to achieve world peace, can ignore religion. Man’s perception and practice of it are largely the stuff of history. An eminent historian described religion as a “faculty of human nature”. That the perversion of this faculty has contributed to much of the confusion in society and the conflicts in and between individuals can hardly be denied. But neither can any fair-minded observer discount the preponderating influence exerted by religion on the vital expressions of civilization. Furthermore, its indispensability to social order has repeatedly been demonstrated by its direct effect on laws and morality.

Writing of religion as a social force, Bahá’u’lláh said: “Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein.” Referring to the eclipse or corruption of religion, he wrote: “Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine.” In an enumeration of such consequences the Bahá’í writings point out that the “perversion of human nature, the degradation of human conduct, the corruption and dissolution of human institutions, reveal themselves, under such circumstances, in their worst and most revolting aspects. Human character is debased, confidence is shaken, the nerves of discipline are relaxed, the voice of human conscience is stilled, the sense of decency and shame is obscured, conceptions of duty, of solidarity, of reciprocity and loyalty are distorted, and the very feeling of peacefulness, of joy and of hope is gradually extinguished.”

If, therefore, humanity has come to a point of paralyzing conflict it must look to itself, to its own negligence, to the siren voices to which it has listened, for the source of the misunderstandings and confusion perpetrated in the name of religion. Those who have held blindly and selfishly to their particular orthodoxies, who have imposed on their votaries erroneous and conflicting interpretations of the pronouncements of the Prophets of God, bear heavy responsibility for this confusion—a confusion compounded by the artificial barriers erected between faith and reason, science and religion. For from a fair-minded examination of the actual utterances of the Founders of the great religions, and of the social milieus in which they were obliged to carry out their missions, there is nothing to support the contentions and prejudices deranging the religious communities of mankind and therefore all human affairs.

The teaching that we should treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated, an ethic variously repeated in all the great religions, lends force to this latter observation in two particular respects: it sums up the moral attitude, the peace-inducing aspect, extending through these religions irrespective of their place or time of origin; it also signifies an aspect of unity which is their essential virtue, a virtue mankind in its disjointed view of history has failed to appreciate.

Had humanity seen the Educators of its collective childhood in their true character, as agents of one civilizing process, it would no doubt have reaped incalculably greater benefits from the cumulative effects of their successive missions. This, alas, it failed to do.

The resurgence of fanatical religious fervour occurring in many lands cannot be regarded as more than a dying convulsion. The very nature of the violent and disruptive phenomena associated with it testifies to the spiritual bankruptcy it represents. Indeed, one of the strangest and saddest features of the current outbreak of religious fanaticism is the extent to which, in each case, it is undermining not only the spiritual values which are conducive to the unity of mankind but also those unique moral victories won by the particular religion it purports to serve.

However vital a force religion has been in the history of mankind, and however dramatic the current resurgence of militant religious fanaticism, religion and religious institutions have, for many decades, been viewed by increasing numbers of people as irrelevant to the major concerns of the modern world. In its place they have turned either to the hedonistic pursuit of material satisfactions or to the following of man-made ideologies designed to rescue society from the evident evils under which it groans. All too many of these ideologies, alas, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, have tended to deify the state, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or to callously abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in a condition of affluence scarcely dreamed of by our forebears.

How tragic is the record of the substitute faiths that the worldly-wise of our age have created. In the massive disillusionment of entire populations who have been taught to worship at their altars can be read history’s irreversible verdict on their value. The fruits these doctrines have produced, after decades of an increasingly unrestrained exercise of power by those who owe their ascendancy in human affairs to them, are the social and economic ills that blight every region of our world in the closing years of the twentieth century. Underlying all these outward afflictions is the spiritual damage reflected in the apathy that has gripped the mass of the peoples of all nations and by the extinction of hope in the hearts of deprived and anguished millions.

The time has come when those who preach the dogmas of materialism, whether of the east or the west, whether of capitalism or socialism, must give account of the moral stewardship they have presumed to exercise. Where is the “new world” promised by these ideologies? Where is the international peace to whose ideals they proclaim their devotion? Where are the breakthroughs into new realms of cultural achievement produced by the aggrandizement of this race, of that nation or of a particular class? Why is the vast majority of the world’s peoples sinking ever deeper into hunger and wretchedness when wealth on a scale undreamed of by the Pharaohs, the Caesars, or even the imperialist powers of the nineteenth century is at the disposal of the present arbiters of human affairs?

Most particularly, it is in the glorification of material pursuits, at once the progenitor and common feature of all such ideologies, that we find the roots which nourish the falsehood that human beings are incorrigibly selfish and aggressive. It is here that the ground must be cleared for the building of a new world fit for our descendants.

That materialistic ideals have, in the light of experience, failed to satisfy the needs of mankind calls for an honest acknowledgement that a fresh effort must now be made to find the solutions to the agonizing problems of the planet. The intolerable conditions pervading society bespeak a common failure of all, a circumstance which tends to incite rather than relieve the entrenchment on every side. Clearly, a common remedial effort is urgently required. It is primarily a matter of attitude. Will humanity continue in its waywardness, holding to outworn concepts and unworkable assumptions? Or will its leaders, regardless of ideology, step forth and, with a resolute will, consult together in a united search for appropriate solutions?

Those who care for the future of the human race may well ponder this advice. “If long- cherished ideals and time-honoured institutions, if certain social assumptions and religious formulae have ceased to promote the welfare of the generality of mankind, if they no longer minister to the needs of a continually evolving humanity, let them be swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines. Why should these, in a world subject to the immutable law of change and decay, be exempt from the deterioration that must needs overtake every human institution? For legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole, and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine.”


Banning nuclear weapons, prohibiting the use of poison gases, or outlawing germ warfare will not remove the root causes of war. However important such practical measures obviously are as elements of the peace process, they are in themselves too superficial to exert enduring influence. Peoples are ingenious enough to invent yet other forms of warfare, and to use food, raw materials, finance, industrial power, ideology, and terrorism to subvert one another in an endless quest for supremacy and dominion. Nor can the present massive dislocation in the affairs of humanity be resolved through the settlement of specific conflicts or disagreements among nations. A genuine universal framework must be adopted.

Certainly, there is no lack of recognition by national leaders of the world-wide character of the problem, which is self-evident in the mounting issues that confront them daily. And there are the accumulating studies and solutions proposed by many concerned and enlightened groups as well as by agencies of the United Nations, to remove any possibility of ignorance as to the challenging requirements to be met. There is, however, a paralysis of will; and it is this that must be carefully examined and resolutely dealt with. This paralysis is rooted, as we have stated, in a deep-seated conviction of the inevitable quarrelsomeness of mankind, which has led to the reluctance to entertain the possibility of subordinating national self-interest to the requirements of world order, and in an unwillingness to face courageously the far- reaching implications of establishing a united world authority. It is also traceable to the incapacity of largely ignorant and subjugated masses to articulate their desire for a new order in which they can live in peace, harmony and prosperity with all humanity.

The tentative steps towards world order, especially since World War II, give hopeful signs. The increasing tendency of groups of nations to formalize relationships which enable them to co-operate in matters of mutual interest suggests that eventually all nations could overcome this paralysis. The Association of South East Asian Nations, the Caribbean Community and Common Market, the Central American Common Market, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the European Communities, the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of American States, the South Pacific Forum—all the joint endeavours represented by such organizations prepare the path to world order.

The increasing attention being focused on some of the most deep-rooted problems of the planet is yet another hopeful sign. Despite the obvious shortcomings of the United Nations, the more than two score declarations and conventions adopted by that organization, even where governments have not been enthusiastic in their commitment, have given ordinary people a sense of a new lease on life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the similar measures concerned with eliminating all forms of discrimination based on race, sex or religious belief; upholding the rights of the child; protecting all persons against being subjected to torture; eradicating hunger and malnutrition; using scientific and technological progress in the interest of peace and the benefit of mankind—all such measures, if courageously enforced and expanded, will advance the day when the spectre of war will have lost its power to dominate international relations. There is no need to stress the significance of the issues addressed by these declarations and conventions. However, a few such issues, because of their immediate relevance to establishing world peace, deserve additional comment.

Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Recognition of the oneness of mankind, implemented by appropriate legal measures, must be universally upheld if this problem is to be overcome.

The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war. Few societies have dealt effectively with this situation. The solution calls for the combined application of spiritual, moral and practical approaches. A fresh look at the problem is required, entailing consultation with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines, devoid of economic and ideological polemics, and involving the people directly affected in the decisions that must urgently be made. It is an issue that is bound up not only with the necessity for eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty but also with those spiritual verities the understanding of which can produce a new universal attitude. Fostering such an attitude is itself a major part of the solution.

Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole. Bahá’u’lláh’s statement is: “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” The concept of world citizenship is a direct result of the contraction of the world into a single neighbourhood through scientific advances and of the indisputable interdependence of nations. Love of all the world’s peoples does not exclude love of one’s country. The advantage of the part in a world society is best served by promoting the advantage of the whole. Current international activities in various fields which nurture mutual affection and a sense of solidarity among peoples need greatly to be increased.

Religious strife, throughout history, has been the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts, a major blight to progress, and is increasingly abhorrent to the people of all faiths and no faith. Followers of all religions must be willing to face the basic questions which this strife raises, and to arrive at clear answers. How are the differences between them to be resolved, both in theory and in practice? The challenge facing the religious leaders of mankind is to contemplate, with hearts filled with the spirit of compassion and a desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether they cannot, in humility before their Almighty Creator, submerge their theological differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.

The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world’s population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.

The cause of universal education, which has already enlisted in its service an army of dedicated people from every faith and nation, deserves the utmost support that the governments of the world can lend it. For ignorance is indisputably the principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples and the perpetuation of prejudice. No nation can achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens. Lack of resources limits the ability of many nations to fulfil this necessity, imposing a certain ordering of priorities. The decision-making agencies involved would do well to consider giving first priority to the education of women and girls, since it is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society. In keeping with the requirements of the times, consideration should also be given to teaching the concept of world citizenship as part of the standard education of every child.

A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolving this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention.

Two points bear emphasizing in all these issues. One is that the abolition of war is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace. Based on political agreements alone, the idea of collective security is a chimera. The other point is that the primary challenge in dealing with issues of peace is to raise the context to the level of principle, as distinct from pure pragmatism. For, in essence, peace stems from an inner state supported by a spiritual or moral attitude, and it is chiefly in evoking this attitude that the possibility of enduring solutions can be found.

There are spiritual principles, or what some call human values, by which solutions can be found for every social problem. Any well-intentioned group can in a general sense devise practical solutions to its problems, but good intentions and practical knowledge are usually not enough. The essential merit of spiritual principle is that it not only presents a perspective which harmonizes with that which is immanent in human nature, it also induces an attitude, a dynamic, a will, an aspiration, which facilitate the discovery and implementation of practical measures. Leaders of governments and all in authority would be well served in their efforts to solve problems if they would first seek to identify the principles involved and then be guided by them.


The primary question to be resolved is how the present world, with its entrenched pattern of conflict, can change to a world in which harmony and co-operation will prevail.

World order can be founded only on an unshakeable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth which all the human sciences confirm. Anthropology, physiology, psychology, recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this truth requires abandonment of prejudice—prejudice of every kind—race, class, colour, creed, nation, sex, degree of material civilization, everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others.

Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. It should therefore be universally proclaimed, taught in schools, and constantly asserted in every nation as preparation for the organic change in the structure of society which it implies.

In the Bahá’í view, recognition of the oneness of mankind “calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world—a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.”

Elaborating the implications of this pivotal principle, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, commented in 1931 that: “Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men’s hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity”.

The achievement of such ends requires several stages in the adjustment of national political attitudes, which now verge on anarchy in the absence of clearly defined laws or universally accepted and enforceable principles regulating the relationships between nations. The League of Nations, the United Nations, and the many organizations and agreements produced by them have unquestionably been helpful in attenuating some of the negative effects of international conflicts, but they have shown themselves incapable of preventing war. Indeed, there have been scores of wars since the end of the Second World War; many are yet raging.

The predominant aspects of this problem had already emerged in the nineteenth century when Bahá’u’lláh first advanced his proposals for the establishment of world peace. The principle of collective security was propounded by him in statements addressed to the rulers of the world. Shoghi Effendi commented on his meaning: “What else could these weighty words signify,” he wrote, “if they did not point to the inevitable curtailment of unfettered national sovereignty as an indispensable preliminary to the formation of the future Commonwealth of all the nations of the world? Some form of a world super-state must needs be evolved, in whose favour all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit an International Executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; a World Parliament whose members shall be elected by the people in their respective countries and whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a Supreme Tribunal whose judgement will have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration.

“A world community in which all economic barriers will have been permanently demolished and the interdependence of capital and labour definitely recognized; in which the clamour of religious fanaticism and strife will have been forever stilled; in which the flame of racial animosity will have been finally extinguished; in which a single code of international law— the product of the considered judgement of the world’s federated representatives—shall have as its sanction the instant and coercive intervention of the combined forces of the federated units; and finally a world community in which the fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have been transmuted into an abiding consciousness of world citizenship— such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, the Order anticipated by Bahá’u’lláh, an Order that shall come to be regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age.”

The implementation of these far-reaching measures was indicated by Bahá’u’lláh: “The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world’s Great Peace amongst men.”

The courage, the resolution, the pure motive, the selfless love of one people for another—all the spiritual and moral qualities required for effecting this momentous step towards peace are focused on the will to act. And it is towards arousing the necessary volition that earnest consideration must be given to the reality of man, namely, his thought. To understand the relevance of this potent reality is also to appreciate the social necessity of actualizing its unique value through candid, dispassionate and cordial consultation, and of acting upon the results of this process. Bahá’u’lláh insistently drew attention to the virtues and indispensability of consultation for ordering human affairs. He said: “Consultation bestows greater awareness and transmutes conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leads the way and guides. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation.” The very attempt to achieve peace through the consultative action he proposed can release such a salutary spirit among the peoples of the earth that no power could resist the final, triumphal outcome.

Concerning the proceedings for this world gathering, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh and authorized interpreter of his teachings, offered these insights: “They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They

must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking—the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world—should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure.”

The holding of this mighty convocation is long overdue.

With all the ardour of our hearts, we appeal to the leaders of all nations to seize this opportune moment and take irreversible steps to convoke this world meeting. All the forces of history impel the human race towards this act which will mark for all time the dawn of its long-awaited maturity.

Will not the United Nations, with the full support of its membership, rise to the high purposes of such a crowning event?

Let men and women, youth and children everywhere recognize the eternal merit of this imperative action for all peoples and lift up their voices in willing assent. Indeed, let it be this generation that inaugurates this glorious stage in the evolution of social life on the planet.


The source of the optimism we feel is a vision transcending the cessation of war and the creation of agencies of international co-operation. Permanent peace among nations is an essential stage, but not, Bahá’u’lláh asserts, the ultimate goal of the social development of humanity. Beyond the initial armistice forced upon the world by the fear of nuclear holocaust, beyond the political peace reluctantly entered into by suspicious rival nations, beyond pragmatic arrangements for security and coexistence, beyond even the many experiments in co-operation which these steps will make possible lies the crowning goal: the unification of all the peoples of the world in one universal family.

Disunity is a danger that the nations and peoples of the earth can no longer endure; the consequences are too terrible to contemplate, too obvious to require any demonstration. “The well-being of mankind,” Bahá’u’lláh wrote more than a century ago, “its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” In observing that “mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom”, Shoghi Effendi further commented that: “Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.”

All contemporary forces of change validate this view. The proofs can be discerned in the many examples already cited of the favourable signs towards world peace in current international movements and developments. The army of men and women, drawn from virtually every culture, race and nation on earth, who serve the multifarious agencies of the United Nations, represent a planetary “civil service” whose impressive accomplishments are indicative of the degree of co-operation that can be attained even under discouraging conditions. An urge towards unity, like a spiritual springtime, struggles to express itself through countless international congresses that bring together people from a vast array of disciplines. It motivates appeals for international projects involving children and youth. Indeed, it is the real source of the remarkable movement towards ecumenism by which members of historically antagonistic religions and sects seem irresistibly drawn towards one another. Together with the opposing tendency to warfare and self-aggrandizement against which it ceaselessly struggles, the drive towards world unity is one of the dominant, pervasive features of life on the planet during the closing years of the twentieth century.

The experience of the Bahá’í community may be seen as an example of this enlarging unity. It is a community of some three to four million people drawn from many nations, cultures, classes and creeds, engaged in a wide range of activities serving the spiritual, social and economic needs of the peoples of many lands. It is a single social organism, representative of the diversity of the human family, conducting its affairs through a system of commonly accepted consultative principles, and cherishing equally all the great outpourings of divine guidance in human history. Its existence is yet another convincing proof of the practicality of its Founder’s vision of a united world, another evidence that humanity can live as one global society, equal to whatever challenges its coming of age may entail. If the Bahá’í experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.

In contemplating the supreme importance of the task now challenging the entire world, we bow our heads in humility before the awesome majesty of the divine Creator, Who out of His infinite love has created all humanity from the same stock; exalted the gem-like reality of man; honoured it with intellect and wisdom, nobility and immortality; and conferred upon man the “unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him”, a capacity that “must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation.”

We hold firmly the conviction that all human beings have been created “to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization”; that “to act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man”; that the virtues that befit human dignity are trustworthiness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all peoples. We reaffirm the belief that the “potentialities inherent in the station of man, the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality, must all be manifested in this promised Day of God.” These are the motivations for our unshakeable faith that unity and peace are the attainable goal towards which humanity is striving.

At this writing, the expectant voices of Bahá’ís can be heard despite the persecution they still endure in the land in which their Faith was born. By their example of steadfast hope, they bear witness to the belief that the imminent realization of this age-old dream of peace is now, by virtue of the transforming effects of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation, invested with the force of divine authority. Thus we convey to you not only a vision in words: we summon the power of deeds of faith and sacrifice; we convey the anxious plea of our co-religionists everywhere for peace and unity. We join with all who are the victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.

In the earnestness of our desire to impart to you the fervour of our hope and the depth of our confidence, we cite the emphatic promise of Bahá’u’lláh: “These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”


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