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Our Faculty

Study Buddhism from a Buddhist, Quakerism from a Quaker
and Shia Islam from a Shiite.

What would the world be like today if we humans truly understood each other? Understanding belief systems that appear radically different from our own can be a challenge. Yet most of us have managed to create lasting friendships with people with whom we initially thought we had nothing in common. We became friends by talking with one another.

That’s why we bring instructors from all faith traditions to the School. During class and over lunch, you will have ample opportunity to learn about each religious or faith tradition from individuals who come directly from that tradition. Likewise, when we introduce topics relative to chaplaincy, we bring in the experienced.

We offer over 50 topics of study. Classes are predominantly taught by guest lecturers, over 40 in all, as well as by members of the Advisory Circle. This is an extraordinary opportunity to meet and learn from a truly diverse group of people. Let the journey begin!

Scroll down to learn about a few of our instructors. A full list of faculty is available upon request.

faculty

“For me it’s the heart of the instructors that has kept me riveted throughout the Saturday lecture and discussions.” N. Cardella

Meet a Few Members of Our Outstanding Faculty

Dr. Tom Legere, Ph.D., CAS: Classes include Esoteric Christianity, Jungian Implication and Theory, Depression and Suicide, Techniques of Counseling, among others.

Dr. Legere is a highly regarded teacher of esoteric Christianity and psychotherapy. His numerous academic achievements include a PhD in Psychology (with a specialization in transpersonal psychology) from Union Institute and University, and degrees in philosophy (B.A. Marquette University), theology (through the Vatican’s Urban University in Rome), and Spirituality (M.A. Fordham University), among others. Throughout his long career, Dr. Legere has been a professor or adjunct professor at numerous colleges and universities, including Rowan University, Rutgers University, Gwynedd Mercy College, LaSalle University and Immaculata Univeristy. In 2006, he was voted “Outstanding Adjunct Professor” by Alvernia College. More recently, Dr. Legere was honored with the Sapientia et Doctrina award from Fordham University, a lifetime achievement award for excellence in teaching and Pastoral Counseling.

The author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Legere has also been a regular presenter on “Real to Reel” (WPHL television program, 1982-1990) and served as Retreat Master for several retreat houses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Today, Legere maintains his teaching and writing schedule while maintaining a private practice for adults and adolescents utilizing transpersonal psychology and Jungian theory base. His full resume may be found at www.tomlegere.com.

Shirley and Dar Khabbaz: Native American Spiritual Traditions

Shirley Khabbaz specializes in working with death practices and is of Cherokee descent. She has worked with Lakota elders on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota for over twenty years. Her more recent interests and studies include shamanic teachings from South America, ancient Egyptian healing practices and Kahuna healing. A teacher in the public schools for over twenty-five years, Ms Khabbaz was voted one of the top teachers of the gifted in the state of Pennsylvania. Ms Khabbaz lectures with her son, Dar Khabbaz, who is a practitioner of herbal medicine and Native spirituality, trained in both the Cherokee and Lakota traditions.

Dr. Bandaru: Hinduism and the Vedic Scriptures

Dr. Bandura has numerous academic and professional achievements, including a Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Technology, and Ph.D. in Electrical and Control Systems Engineering. Dr. Bandaru has launched several startup companies in biomedical, electronics, and telecommunications, including Trinity Consultants, Inc., a New Jersey based Telecommunications Management Consulting and Systems Integration Company. In addition to his well-documented successes in optical fiber technology, network management systems (Bell Laboratories), and Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Bandaru has published and lectured extensively in his many fields of interest.

Born in Ramapatnam, a coastal town in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, Dr. Bandaru has also dedicated himself to the study of Vedic Scripture, for which he has received several awards and honors, including the title of Veda-Vidya-Rakshak (Protector of Vedic Knowledge) by the World Association of Vedic Studies. Dr. Bandaru is also a keen student of Telugu literature (one of the languages of India with roots as early as 4th Century BCE), Sanskrit, Ancient Indian History, Philosophy and the evolution of Indian Culture through the ages. He teaches Sanskrit and Hinduism. Three of his books on Sanskrit grammar and a book on Sanatana Dharma and Prayer are under review for publication. Dr.Bandaru serves as a Hindu Chaplain at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (New Brunswick, New Jersey).

The Rev. Dr. Moses O. Biney: African Religions

The Rev. Dr. Moses O. Biney is Assistant Professor of Religion and Society, and Research Director for the Center for the Study and Practice of Urban Religion at New York Theological Seminary. He is also a minister at First Presbyterian Church of Irvington in New Jersey.

Dr. Biney is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where he earned both the Th. M. and the Ph. D in Social Ethics. In addition he holds an M. Phil. from the University of Ghana, a Dip. Theology, from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a Dip. Ed. and B. A. from the University of Cape Coast. He has served on the faculty of the University of Ghana and as an adjunct professor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Dr. Biney has served in various ministerial positions including school chaplain, organizing pastor for a Ghanaian immigrant congregation in the Bronx, and the director of overseas mission for the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in the United States.

Dr. Biney’s research and teaching interests include the religions of Africa and the African Diaspora, religion and transnationalism, religion and culture, Christian social Ethics, and congregational studies. He is the author of From Africa to America: Religion and Adaptation among Ghanaian Immigrants in New York (New York University Press).

For more information about Dr. Biney, see http://nyts.edu/academic-resources/faculty/rev-dr-moses-biney.

Rabbi Sigal Dagan Brier: Judaism and the Kabbalah

Rabbi Brier is the rabbi of Kesher Shalom in Jenkintown, PA. She is a contemporary spiritual teacher and experienced spiritual facilitator with an integrative approach. A yogini for thirty years, she is trained in many yogic, holistic, and psychospiritual modalities. She is an ordained rabbi with Masters degrees in Psychology and Jewish Studies. A popular speaker, Rabbi Brier teaches in diverse academic, holistic, and religious organizations, including Temple University and Kripalu Center. She is an accomplished musician who has recorded a number of CDs, the founder of Integrative Spirituality, and the creator of Sh’maYoga™ and Sankalpa™. To learn more about Rabbi Brier and her work, visit: www.rabbiSigal.org, and www.zigizen.com.

Lynn Miller: Arts & Spirituality

Lynn Miller is the coordinator for the Music for People Graduate Program, co-coordinator for the Musicianship Program and on staff for the Music for People International Program in Switzerland. She is a former adjunct faculty member in Music Therapy at Immaculata University, and co-founder of the non-profit Expressive Therapy Concepts. Internationally, she builds community through singing workshops, community-designed and installed large-scale mosaic murals, and Giant Puppet build and parades. She works as an expressive arts therapist with diverse populations and ages empowering people through the arts. Go to www.musicforpeople.org to learn more about Lynn and her work with Music for People.

Christopher Largent: Foundational Topics for Studying Spirituality; Science and Spirituality

Christopher Largent has taught university-level philosophy and comparative religion for over forty years. The author of many articles, he is co-author of The Soul of Economies, The Paradigm Conspiracy, and Love, Soul, and Freedom. His essays have been included in several anthologies, including Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow (Georg and Trisha Feuerstein, editors), Imagine (Marianne Williamson, editor), and the widely acclaimed From the Ashes: A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America (Rodale, Inc, publishers).

Christopher’s career as an impactful lecturer is too extensive for these pages, but include lectures throughout the United States, Canada, and England at such places as the Omega Institute, the Foundation for Global Community (Palo Alto), the Global Renaissance Alliance (Seattle), the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, the American Society for Quality Management, and the World Business Academy. He is a coach-counselor and runs his own consulting business for management, workforce development, communication, and conflict resolution. For more information about Christopher Largent, please visit his website, www.theseventhacademy.org.

John Welshons: Bereavement

John Welshons is a beloved meditation teacher, lecturer, and seminar leader. He is the author of three highly acclaimed books: Awakening from Grief, When Prayers Aren’t Answered, and One Soul, One Love, One Heart: The Sacred Path to Healing All Relationships, as well as numerous audio programs on meditation and spirituality. He holds degrees in Comparative Religion from the University of South Florida and Florida State University. In the 1970's and 1980's he traveled extensively in India. In 1976 he trained with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and for many years worked closely with spiritual luminaries Ram Dass and Stephen Levine. John has practiced meditation and various forms of yoga for nearly forty years. John is founder and president of Open Heart Seminars, an organization dedicated to enhancing spiritual education and awareness in our society. For more information about John Welshons, please visit his website, www.onesoulonelove.com.

Scott McBride: Buddhism; Mindfulness

Scott McBridge is Co-Director of the Clear Light Meditation Group. He has practiced Buddhist meditation for over 30 years and taught group seminars in Buddhist meditation and study since 1978. Scott has completed the traditional Tibetan three-year meditation retreat and has been authorized to teach by the late Chogyam Trungpa and Thrangu Rinpoche. A founding member and former Director of the Philadelphia Shambhala Center, he also served for five years as a Director of the Shambhala Center of Halifax, Nova Scotia, one of the largest urban meditation centers in North America. Scott was ordained as a Buddhist minister in 1988. He has extensive knowledge of western psychology and has been teaching mindfulness-based stress management for 10 years, currently through the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has a private practice in Spiritual Counseling and Healing oriented to support those on the path of meditation. Visit www.clearlightmeditation.org

Sr. Maria Hornung, MMS: Spiritual Leadership

Sister Maria Hornung is the Adult Learning Consultant at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. She served in her Medical Mission Sisters community’s World Wide Mission in Africa for 25 years and in its international leadership circle for twelve.

Maria obtained her MEd from Temple University in 1970 and her MA in Interreligious Relations from Temple University in 2005. Her thesis work included the development of a grassroots model for introducing adults to the art of interreligious engagement. This work has been published as Encountering Other Faiths (Paulist Press, 2007) with an accompanying workbook, Workbook for Encountering Other Faiths (Interfaith Center, 2006).

Maria has wide experience in facilitating groups of different cultural backgrounds and religious traditions. She has developed a creative and enjoyable curriculum for adults with her colleagues of the Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Baha’i, Christian and other faiths. To learn more about interreligious dialogue in the greater Philadelphia area, visit www.interfaithcenterpa.org

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