Workshops 2018-02-19T00:56:17+00:00

Sacred Earth ~ Sacred Work: Workshops

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Focus on one aspect of Creation Spirituality the entire gathering, or explore all Six Essentials of Creation Spirituality through our six workshop tracks. Each of the Essentials will have an assigned meeting place where you will have the opportunity to add in your poems, favorite quotes, art, etc. to the room, building up our sense of that essential throughout the weekend.

Workshops will be led by a mix of Creation Spirituality community leaders and leaders from our host city, Asheville, NC.


  • A CODE OF BEING AND BECOMING: Cosmic Beatitudes for this Evolutionary Moment with CK Carol Kilby, Ontario

Carol Kilby. M. Div. D.Min Carol graduated from UCS in 2004. She retired from ministry in the United Church of Canada to become director of the Gaia Centre for Eco Spirituality and Sustainable Work. The most recent reinvention of her lifework is as a writer. At Gaia Farmhouse and across Ontario, she’s led retreats, workshops and more for three decades plus and is known as a courageous, caring, and creative leader.  

Rituals create! Relevant rituals are essential to re-create these critical planetary times. This workshop, based on one of the original rituals in Kilby’s book, Out, In and On the Fringe – Dancing from Christianity to Evolutionary Spirituality ( pending publication). Experience and explore what is an evolutionary ritual and how the Creation Spirituality tradition can serve in these shifting times.

Based on the ways of Universe, the Cosmic Beatitudes show us there is a way forward. Participants will create a personal Code of Being by which to fashion a life-work that’s Gaia conscious, spiritually ethical, and socially responsible.  Here is the new science presented in an ancient liturgical form. In addition to word and movement there will be quiet and shared reflection. Wear comfortable clothing. Bring journal materials. Limited to 25.

  • TELL THE CHILDREN WE ARE STARDUST with Jinny Easterday, Scotts Valley CA

Virginia (Jinni) Easterday earned her DMin in 2001 from UCS in Oakland, CA.  Her passion is interspecies communications and she uses lessons learned from animals to teach the story of the universe. She has just completed her first book, Star Soup: Universal Lessons from Other Species.  Her strong bond with nature is also her inspiration as a cast glass sculptor.

This workshop synthesizes the Story of the Universe into eleven essential points that are easily accessible for children and adults of all ages.  Songs and activities will be provided to further illustrate and illuminate. After the Big Bang and the formation of the elemental powers FIRE EARTH WATER AIR, the plants, trees, and animals arrived.  If we take the time to look and listen deeply, these other life forms provide us with the answers we need to understand the natural and logical progression of how we arrived at this point and what we can do to assist with the outcome.

  • EMPOWERED BY THE COSMOS: NEW WORLD, NEW EYES with Penny Andrews, Cottage Grove, WI

Penny Andrews, DMin. After graduating UCS in 2001, reinvention of work meant becoming a board certified hospital and hospice chaplain, coordinating three Earth Charter Community Summits and guiding the MinGei Center for Creation Spirituality for 15 years.  Retired now, Penny is currently a regular presenter at Free Congregation of Sauk County (last Free Thought Congregation in the country) and using Permaculture Principals on her 10 acres in Cottage Grove, Wi. She has been a presenter at the national, state and local levels on aspects of spirituality and aging, the new cosmology, mindfulness and family caregiving in retreat centers, churches, universities and government agencies.

“The cosmological powers of the Universe are coursing through us moment by moment.  To become aware of these is to touch the source of life”.  Brian Swimme    The intention of this workshop is to extend awareness of our lives in the context of the unfolding story of the Universe. In it, you will experience a taste of Brian  Swimme’s Powers of the Universe through the lens of the visual, the mystical, and the right brain, using language, arts and ritual. Through these activities, you will explore Yugen, a Japanese term pertaining to a profound awareness of the Universe. It is a word which evokes feelings that are inexplicably deep and mysterious- as if the word itself is an extension of awareness.


Vicki Michela Garlock, PhD. is Curriculum Specialist at Jubilee! Community Church in Asheville and the founder of Faith Seeker Kids. She earned a Ph.D. in Psychology with dual specialties in neuroscience and cognitive development and worked as a full-time professor for over a decade. Since then, Vicki has developed a multi-year, multi-age Bible-based, interfaith curriculum for kids in preschool-8th grade.

During this workshop, I will share how we explore creation/creation care with the kids at Jubilee! Community Church. Our curriculum includes the Biblical creation stories, kid-friendly versions of the Big Bang and evolutionary theory, and stories from various ancient cultures (e.g., Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Indigenous Australian, Native American, Sub-Saharan African, Nordic. Using cognitive developmental theory, I will show how we: 1) accommodate children of different ages (preschool through 8th grade), 2) incorporate experiential learning techniques (i.e., crafts and activities), and 3) provide kids with opportunities to share about their own experiences with nature and the world around them.

  • THE ART OF THE CIRCLE with Katie Guarnaccia

Katie Guarnaccia is a community organizer intern at First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh (PA) where she creates spiritual gatherings, gift circles, and organized monthly Love Community Reception featuring the creativity of poets, artists, and musicians. She is on the creative team for the weekly Creation Spirituality based Worship Jam based upon the Four Paths and is the leader of several sacred circle gatherings in the Pittsburgh area.

People need to talk to each other about their struggles, deep thoughts, and new ideas. This workshop will not only give you the opportunity to share and listen to experiences at this gathering, but will also introduce you to the Circle Guidelines by Jean Shinoda Bolen that help sacred circles go smoothly and fair. Katie will also demonstrate gift circles, check-in’s and goddess circles to give you several possibilities for creating and leading a sacred circle at home.


  • SELF CARE WITH CHINESE ACUPRESSURE with Ann Ehringhaus, Ocracoke, VA

Rev. Ann Ehringhaus, DMin. became certified in 1993 in this ancient healing folk art, from the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, Ca.  She is also certified in Rosen Method Emotional Bodywork (1996)  and has been a Reiki Teaching Master since 1997. She sees that bodywork is such a beautiful pathway for healing and awakening in our time! Our bodies can show us many mysteries of being human, and open us to profound states of being.  NC  Bodywork license #1033. A 2006 UCS DMin graduate, She live on an island off the NC coast, where she owns a Bed and Breakfast, and is also an artist and bodyworker.

Together we will explore this ancient healing folk art. We will begin with some Chinese exercises, then explore the concepts of yin/yang and Chi.  Alone and with partners we will learn about the acupoints and energy meridians, and begin to find key points on ourselves and our class partners.  We will include important points for anxiety, sadness, anger, centering, and moving our energy more clearly.  Please join me in the fun and amazement of Chinese Acupressure! We will work with chairs, not massage tables.  Please wear comfortable clothing. All are welcome, and no bodywork experience is needed.


Rev. Roxanne Whitelight, DMin. is “refired” from a multi-faceted career as a psychotherapist, body worker, organizational development consultant and minister. In 2005 she achieved her DMin from UCS (Wisdom U) and her dissertation was “Reinventing the Rite of Ordination in service to the Creation Spirituality Community. She joined the CSC board in 2017 and has contributed to the development of the minister’s circle, ordination program and the Wisdom Retreat.

Homo Sapiens are very skilled at creating stories that both unite and divide us. One of the most powerful types of stories of both division and unity have been religious stories. Since 2005 Roxanne has been using spiritual practice as a way to heal pain that has come from our religious stories and maximize connection that these stories also offer. Specifically, in this workshop we will be exploring practices that are helpful in healing the fabric of religious stories between the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. By sharing practices from each tradition and looking at the deeper and mystical basis for these practices invites participants to explore peace that grows through understanding, first on a personal level and as they are individually transformed to share what they have learned in a larger circle.

  • WRITING TO AWAKEN OUR SOUL with Candace Chellew-Hodge  Hopkins, SC

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge is the pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., and the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians. She is a graduate of the Candler School of Theology and founded the only online magazine for LGBT Christians, called Whosoever, in 1996. She is a former journalist and now lives in Columbia with her wife, Wanda, and several canine and feline companions including a German Shepherd named “The Lord.”

In this workshop we will explore how writing can be used as a spiritual practice to move us from fear to love and compassion, not just for ourselves but for the whole world. Writing to awaken your soul means getting past the small, critical self to reveal the expansive, Divine Self within each of us. We will engage in writing exercises and discussion to learn the tools we need to become the kind of soul-awakened people this world needs.


  • CONNECTING WITH HOLY HELPERS with Mary Ann Maruska, Dmin, Gananoque, ON

A retired graphic designer and educator, Mary Ann Maruska began working in the style of traditional iconography to invite ancient saints into our contemporary consciousness. At UCS / Wisdom University she loved learning about the Universe story and the power of ritual. Her doctoral dissertation Archetypes in Science, Nature, and Design explored nature’s patterns and the creative strategies utilized by the cosmos.

Crossing the threshold into the darkened room you are surrounded by small icon paintings. You are drawn in by one of the Holy Helpers, a group of 2nd century martyrs invoked during the Black Plague to help ease the intense suffering. How might you align with their courage, compassion, and devotion? What healing or growing are you being urged towards? This workshop asks the participant to enter into myth and mystery as it revisits the tradition of seeking the intercession of saints and taps into the cultural heritage of iconography as a portal to the Divine.

  • NAVIGATING VIA NEGATIVA, A ANDEAN PERSPECTIVE with Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, PhD, Asheville, NC

Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, PhD– has been practicing, teaching, and advocating for Indigenous Wisdom traditions for over 20 years.  He is a former University professor and scientist with over 100 publications and patents. He is also a folk healer, tabaquero, ceremonialist, musician, and a walker-between-worlds who calls upon the folk healing traditions of Peru and North America to facilitate personal and planetary healing. Jeff is the co-founder of the Eagle Condor Council, which has become a leading light in the sharing of Andean Wisdom Traditions in the US and in Europe. Given nearly 200 presentation on South America and Andean healing arts (including a TEDx).

Participants in this workshop will learn and experience the Andean Spiritual methods (Paqokuna) of exploring Ukhupacha (the shadow, the underworld, the Via Negativa). In the Andean cosmology, everything on this earth – whether it be a tree, an animal or an idea – starts its life in the darkness. And so the darkness (Ukhupacha) is where we must learn to navigate as part of our spiritual development and awakening. In this workshop we will also explore how we source energy and Wisdom from the Ukhupacha for healing ourselves and the planet. Through meditation and inner-energetic practices , we can learn to face those parts of ourselves that are buried from sight,  transmute that which needs healing, and liberate new energy for leading a happy, healthy life.


Dr. Michael Mansfield’s artful weaving of ritual, social justice, and the arts is the inspiration for several generations of Creation Spirituality leaders. His artistic intent is to put people into physical contact with their own body’s wisdom, their cultural heritage, and their imaginative world through a wide variety of contemporary and ethnic media and styles – from puppetry to improvised drama, and from tap to African-Haitian dance . He has created and led Body Prayer and Art as Meditation classes throughout the history of Creation Spirituality higher education, at prestigious universities across the country, and at many Creation Spirituality gatherings, constantly changing the way we treat our selves, one another, and our world.

In his workshop, Michael will help you develop your own capacity for creating spiritual connection through movement through body prayer, sacred circle dance, improvisation, and ritual development and leadership.

  • FINDING SACRED WORK IN A SACRED WORLD with John Robinson, D.Min, PhD.  Fox Island, WA

Rev. Dr. John C. Robinson is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences across the country. You can learn more about his work at              

Creation Spirituality, this whole wonder-filled orientation to a sacred cosmos, arose from humanity’s universal mystical  experience, and the mystics’ perennial vision has always been this: Heaven on Earth is already here, we are already divine, and all our work is sacred, literally! As I hope to demonstrate in this workshop, this is not just a happy metaphor, fantasy, or sentimental idea, it is our truest perception of reality. I have been exploring this revelation for over two decades and, as a mystic, I can tell you that this vision is not only true, it is critical to the human survival.


After twenty-two years directing music and theatrical ministries, Carol Wimmer experienced an intense time of spiritual growth. Specifically, the text of Genesis 1 came alive through the lens of light, color, and image. The new insights drew her into the field of biblical research, with a focus on the language of Creation that flows consistently throughout sacred text.

Carol’s workshop focuses on the images of Creation described in Genesis 1 within the Hebrew Bible. Participants will view this text through the lens of light, color, and the images of nature. In doing so, 7 core voices of Creation will emerge followed by 7 complementary voices. You will be encouraged to visualize the divine connection between the core and complementary voices. The universality of Creation’s Voice will be celebrated as the images of nature speak within the human heart. The common language of Creation will be shown to transcend customs, culture, rituals and traditions that can cause division instead of harmony.


  • IN THE PRESENCE OF DIVINITY – 65 MILLION REFUGEES with Joan Naylor, Barnardsville, NC

Joan Naylor is an Occupational Therapist and craft entrepreneur. Her passions are grand parenting, painting, hiking in the west, and working with refugees in partnership with her husband Andre. She has taught English as a second language in the jungle, in Calasi France (March 2016) and in New Bern, NC (2017). Joan and Andre have just returned from 7 weeks of volunteering with refugees in Lesvos, Greece and on the Serbia/Croatia border.

In this time in human history, there are 65 million people living as refugees, half of them children, Joan Naylor will be sharing her experiences and insights teaching English in refugee camps in France, Greece, and Serbia, as she experienced the starvation, disease, and unsanitary conditions that the people endure.  How do we protect and help?  How do we dispel fears in our own backyards? Where can we get up to date information? How do we advocate for them in America? How can we become refugee workers ourselves? Naylor will share lessons learned from children, and elders as she helps us determine how we might  stand up for the dignity of all humanity to honor each person’s sacredness, who carry the breath of God.



Paul Taylor is an acclaimed Australian performing artist/educator and Director of the YDP Dreaming Project. He is mentored by Aboriginal Elder Yidumduma Bill Harney and celebrates indigenous wisdom as a national touring artist in education. With story, song, dance, painting and didgeridoo, Paul’s residencies are multi-disciplined featuring his award winning Caring For Country murals. State Finalist Award winner, Australian of the Year 2013 and 2015 WY Governors Arts Award winner.

With Creation Story, ritual, song, dance, rock art, and video, Paul Jalala Taylor offers a gateway to illuminate the world’s oldest living culture, the Dreaming, the spiritual Customary Law, Caring for Country, Songlines, Singing the Land, Paying Attention, Totems… in what Aboriginal Wardaman Elder Yidumduma Bill Harney calls the Bush University. This is the world before there was money where business was to do ritual, to “make the land happy,” to keep the balance. This workshop will celebrate over 27 years of dedicated research as Director of the YDP Dreaming Project and the release of the Bush University DVD.


Pociecham, Lanzillotta, Whitelight, and Ransom
are members of the Creation Spirituality Communities Ordination Council, which guides and implements the CSC Ordination program. TheCouncil is reinventing ordination for a post-modern, intermingled, eco-focused, evolving, non-hierarchical spirituality, calling for a new breadth and style of ministry.  Whitelight, Paulsen, and Ransom have been ordained to ministry through the Creation Spirituality tradition.

In this workshop, you will explore the nature of your sacred work,  how it allows us to participate in the rebuilding and restoration of the world, and how you might be called to expand, deepen, clarify, and empower that work.  We will look at our sacred work in the context of the CS vocations of Mystic, Creator/Artist and Prophet, and the principles and practices of the Creation Spirituality tradition. Through inquiry and conversation, we will ask and respond to questions about how Creation Spirituality ordination might be a support to you as you continue to develop and offer your sacred work to the world.


Marcia McFee is an author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist and a keynote speaker at this event. Her engaging and interactive style has been called “refreshing,” “inspiring,” and “unforgettable.” Marcia combines her background and experience in professional companies of music, theater and dance with a variety of worship and preaching styles in order to bring a fresh experience of the Gospel to each worship setting. Marcia has provided worship design and leadership at numerous international and regional gatherings.

In this workshop, Dr. McFee will let you in on the process she used to develop the six Creation Spirituality based worship services which are being launched here this weekend. She will help you discern the needs of your own congregation and their capacity for incorporating Creation Spirituality elements into worship in accessible and inspiring ways.


Bill, Judy, Michael, Katie, and Howard all create and lead weekly Creation Spirituality community gatherings, Prairie Jubilee! In Tulsa OK, Art in Ukiah, CA, Worship Jam in Pittsburgh, PA, and our host community, Jubilee! In Asheville, NC. Howard, Judy, and Bill are participants in a monthly online conversation with other Creation Spirituality community leaders. Katie and Michael are lead within their own communities in Pittsburgh

Feeling all alone in the wilderness far from other Creation Spirituality cohorts?  Sow your seeds wildly, beat the drum loudly, send out your signal far and wide. Forming a community with other CS people in your area or collaborating with others who may never have heard of Creation Spirituality may inspire you to develop a new community.  This workshop will explore several ways of bringing people together for support and celebration. Come share your best practices and hear people who have already started and sustained CScommunities (along with a peek at what hasn’t worked). We hope to inspire you to create your own Community!


Michelle Smith calls herself a Societal Transformationist working to create a world that works for all in the tradition of Shariff Abdullah.  As Principal and Co-founder of Circle Forward, she provides coaching, facilitation and consultation for organizations and networks seeking to design their own inclusive and equitable governance systems around the principle of Consent.

Communities are complex systems of inter-dependent relationships.  Decision-making in complex systems is challenging to navigate if we’re using 18th & 19th century technologies. People often assume there are only two choices for how groups make decisions: majority voting or consensus. Circle Forward is a system of collaborative governance based on decision-making by consent, which allows for making quick decisions that reflect a diversity of voices. Learn this game-changing principle of collaborative governance, and practice some of the tools that enable groups to address power dynamics, generate more adaptive strategies, and make wise decisions.


Theodore Richards ( is the founder of The Chicago Wisdom Project, a non-profit for youth on the south side of Chicago. He is the author of six books and numerous literary awards. His most recent book is The Great Re-imagining: Spirituality in an Age of Apocalypse. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

In the Re-imagining Lab, we’ll examine the stories of the Modern world that no longer sustain us, bringing us to brink of catastrophe—ecologically, economically, culturally. Our troubles cannot be solved merely through technology, or even politics; rather, we need to re-imagine what it means to be human. We seek new stories, new poetics, new ideas—and we put our ideas and stories into action. All these practices come together through the creative work of our students, wherein they create a “new story”. We’ll do this in three stages: “Education”; “Culture & Psyche”; and “Cosmology & Ecology.”


1. The Universe, and all life within it, is fundamentally a blessing.

2. It is through the work of spiritual practice that we move beyond fear into compassion and discover our deep and true selves.

3. The spiritual journey can be understood as a dance moving in and out of four mystical paths:

          – awe, delight, amazement, joy (known as the Via Positiva)

          – uncertainty, darkness, suffering, letting go (known as the Via Negativa)

          – birthing, creativity, passion (known as the Via Creativa)

          – justice, healing, celebration, rebirth, resurrection (the Via Transformativa)

4. Every one of us carries within us the capacity to be a mystic, to be creative, to be visionary, and to be an agent for positive change. It is our responsibility to cultivate these capacities for the benefit of Earth and all it’s creatures.

5. We rejoice in and courageously honor the rich diversity within the Cosmos which is expressed in every individual and embodies multiple cultures, religions, and ancestral traditions.

6. Ecological justice is our priority as an imperative for the healing, sustainability and harmony among our species and the entire Earth community.

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