Learn More About the Upper Room Community

Welcome to the web site of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community. Click here to learn more about this intentional Eucharistic community whose goal is to achieve full equality for all people through the vision of Jesus in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.

To speak to a member or leave a message, call (518) 952-4172.



							

NEW, AFFORDABLE MASTER IN PASTORAL MINISTRY DEGREE, APPLY NOW

If you are interested in this degree, there is scholarship money available at: http://www.womensordination.org/programs/scholarship

NEW, AFFORDABLE MASTER IN PASTORAL MINISTRY DEGREE, APPLY NOW *It is with great joy that we announce a new adventure between Global Ministries University (www.globalministriesuniversity.org ) and People’s Catholic Seminary (www.pcseminary.org ). Beginning in January, 2018, we will collaboratively offer a Master in Pastoral Ministry degree. The degree will be granted by GMU and PCS will provide the courses. This affordable master’€™s program is designed for those who are walking the pathway to ordination, the ordained, and members of our inclusive communities who seek to continue their education within an interactive supportive seminary environment. Credit is awarded for life experience and previous education. Global Ministries University is an accredited member of the International Association of Distance Learning.  For more information about the degree, please contact Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com <mailto:peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com>.

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GLOBAL MINISTRIES UNIVERSITY and PEOPLE’s CATHOLIC SEMINARY

MASTER IN PASTORAL MINISTRY

COURSES: (Descriptions below)

100 Introductory / Foundational 101. Contemporary Theology for the People of God

102. Feminist Introduction to the Bible

103. A Feminist Sacramental Theology

200 Jesus, Life and Teachings

201. Rediscovering Jesus in a Companionship of Empowerment

202. Parables as Subversive Stories

300 Women and Religion

301. Spiritual Encounters with Women Mystics

302. Women in the Hebrew Scripture

303. Women in the Gospels

304. Women in the Early Church

400 Sacraments

401. Sacraments: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

402. Eucharist: Embracing an Open Table

403. Baptism and Confirmation

404. Reshaping the Priesthood as a Discipleship of Equals

405. Marriage, Sexuality and Just-Love

406. Anointing of the Sick

407: Sacrament of Reconciliation

500 Future Church

501. Future Church: Evolving, Empowering and Egalitarian

502. Social Justice and Ethics

600 Pastoral Development

601. Homiletics and Preaching

602. Spiritual Direction: Spiritual Companions on a Journey

603. Spirituality of Art

700. Final Ministerial Project

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

MM101. Contemporary Theology for the People of God This course introduces pastoral leaders in inclusive communities to an accessible contemporary theology that presents a tapestry of the Divine Presence Who lovingly invites us into the fullness of life for all creation, explores the diverse and fuller naming of the Divine that encompasses the full reality of women and men of all races and classes, and illuminates a rich variety of theological approaches to compassionate living in our work for peace, justice and ecological wholeness.

MM102. Feminist Introduction to the Bible This course presents a comprehensive, biblical reading of the Scripture and introduces the message using historical/critical tools to understand the different authors.

MM103. A Feminist Sacramental Theology This course offers a feminist analysis of the main dimensions of sacramental theology –those have to do with the body, with symbols, and with ethics, exposes how women because of gender are given a place on the margins- outside of the sacraments proposes that women involved in sacramental ministry contribute to sacramental theology through their commitment to the wider church, and reimagines a feminist sacramental theology for the 21st century.

MM201. Rediscovering Jesus in a Companionship of Empowerment This course introduces the deep wisdom of recent biblical scholarship on the life and teachings of Jesus and the challenges it presents to believers today, and reimagines the Christian call to live as co-creators and empowered individuals within an egalitarian church community.

MM301. Spiritual Encounters with Women Mystics This course explores the Christian’s call to be a visible mystic and agent of prophetic witness in the church and world community through a ministry rooted in contemplation and action.

MM302. Women in the Hebrew Scripture This course recounts the stories of women in the Hebrew Scripture as an inspirational example of women’€™s empowerment, encompasses scholarship of feminist theologians on the background and context of women in the bible, and offers women as role models for contemporary women and men in living fully and courageously.

MM303. Women in the Gospels This course studies the stories of women in the Gospel as companions and equals with the male disciples, incorporates feminist theological scholarship on the background and context of women in the Gospels, and explores women in the Gospel as role models for contemporary women and men in ministry.

MM304. Women in the Early Church This course covers the stories of women in the early Church as liturgical leaders and preachers of the Gospel, reflects feminist theological scholarship on the background and context of women in the early Church and to explore women in the early Church as role models for contemporary women and men leading the church today toward a new model of partnership, equality and inclusivity.

MM401. Sacraments: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow This course presents sacramental development throughout history, exposes how church fathers and scholastic theologians misinterpreted ancient texts to prove Catholic doctrine, introduces critical analysis of sacramental theologies that no longer meet the needs of contemporary Catholics and re-imagines sacramental experiences and rituals in a diversified global church.

MM402. Eucharist: Embracing an Open Table This course covers the development of the sacrament of the Eucharist from atonement theology to a theology of blessing, supports pastoral leaders in developing and praying contemporary Eucharistic celebrations through the liturgical year and builds a database of creative resources for a contemporary lectionary.

MM403. Baptism and Confirmation This course explores the development of the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, articulates the commitment to Gospel living by integrating theological reflection, spirituality and ministerial experience, and supports pastoral leaders in developing contemporary baptism and confirmation rituals for their Christian Communities that reflect the heart of the call to live the Gospel as mystics, prophets and sacramental celebrators of life.

MM404. Reshaping the Priesthood as a Discipleship of Equals This course examines the role of the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement in reshaping and redefining priestly and pastoral ministry as a discipleship of equals in the 21st century.

MM405. Marriage, Sexuality and Just-Love This course provides an overview of the development of the sacrament of marriage, and presents Christian sexual ethics within a just-love framework. It integrates theological reflection, spirituality and ministerial experience in order to support pastoral leaders in developing contemporary marriage rituals for their Christian Communities that reflect the heart of the call to live the Gospel as mystics, prophets and sacramental celebrators of life.

MM406. Anointing of the Sick This course explores the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick as an encounter with divine healing love that energizes and transforms body, mind, and spirit, reflects on meditation as a tool in self-healing and vitality, and creates create contemporary celebrations of Anointing of the Sick that respond to diverse pastoral needs.

MM407. Sacrament of Reconciliation This course presents the sacrament of reconciliation as an encounter with Divine healing and transforming love, reflects on role of priest and community, and creates a contemporary celebration of reconciliation that responds to diverse pastoral needs.

MM501. Future Church: Evolving, Empowering and Egalitarian The course proposes a visionary framework for understanding the evolution of religions and specifically the transitions that continue to evolve in Christianity. Paul Smith, author of Integral Christianity introduces the integral approach that Jesus advocated in his time and that traditional Christianity has been unable to see. This course invites participants to analyze this framework and apply it to the present evolving changes occurring in Christianity, specifically the Roman Catholic Church.

MM502. Social Justice and Ethics This course explores issues and theologies of social justice and ethics that build a just society; reflects on the scriptural foundations of Catholic social teaching, and examines the social and moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in light of concrete issues such as human rights, refugees, peace-building, war, violence, discrimination, environmental degradation, economic exploitation, reproductive rights, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

MM601. Homiletics and Preaching This course creates inspiring homilies and implements effective delivery, incorporates contemporary scholarship of scripture for preaching and introduces various approaches of sermon development and performance.

MM602. Spiritual Direction: Spiritual Companions on a Journey This course provides an introduction to the ancient practice of spiritual companionship or spiritual friendship in the Christian tradition. It gives helpful input about what to look for in searching for a spiritual director, how to prepare to be one, and how to help those who are called to this distinctive ministry.

MM603. Spirituality of Art This course provides a path to creative expression of the Divine Presence and oneness of all people and creation. Through readings, videos, art-making, students will express their mystical, prophetic, sacramental vision of ministry for the 21st century.

MM700. Master in Ministry: Ministerial Project (6 credits) A student will choose a primary focus of ministry that is related to the student’€™s interests and/or practices of ministry as the topic of the Master of Ministry Project. The written reflection on this Master of Ministry Project should state the goals of the selected ministry action, and clearly demonstrate the student’€™s knowledge and skills in the practice of ministry. This project should also describe the context of ministerial action, and integrate the learning from course work and readings in the Master of Ministry program. It should articulate the student’€™s vision of ministry, a description of personal gifts, opportunities, challenges, hopes and dreams for self and others involved in the project. The reflection paper should also describe the participation of people/faith community in the project and conclude with an annotated bibliography of sources used in the ministry project. The student should work closely with the administrators during this phase of the program.

Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., D.Min.

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

www.arcwp.org

People’s Catholic Seminary

www.pcseminary.org

People’s Catholic Seminary opens new course on Baptism and Confirmation

PCS 601: Baptism and Confirmation

Welcome to PCS 601. The purpose of this course is to reflect on baptism and confirmation as sacraments of welcome to the Christian community and commitment to Gospel living. The course integrates theological reflection, spirituality and ministerial experience.

The two main resources for this course are from Ilia Delio and Greg Boyle. Ilia Delio, in a YouTube lecture, presents her reflection on what it means to live the Gospel in an age that is global, plural and scientific. Greg Boyle presents what his baptismal call and confirmation commitment look like in his work with gang members from LA.

The course is divided into 6 sessions over 12 weeks. Each session is two weeks in length. During the first week, participants listen to, or read, the resources. In the second week participants write a reflection based on the questions in each assignment. This is an interactive experience and participants are encourage to read and respond to each other’s inspired words.


Course Facilitators:
Bridget Mary Meehan, D. Min.
Mary Theresa Streck, D. Min.

Registration is ongoing.

Cost of program: $100 (financial aid is available)

Register now at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com

Mail check or money order to:
People’s Catholic Seminary
PO Box 421

Watervliet, NY 12189

Other courses available at www.pcseminary.org


Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., D.Min.
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Join us for our Mary Magdalene Celebration! Thursday July 20 at 7:00pm

We invite you and your friends to a Eucharistic Celebration in honor of Mary Magdalene. Our celebrant will be Fr. John Kirwin. Please call Joan Horgan with questions and to volunteer. She may be reached at the Hubbard Sanctuary at horganj@mail.strose.edu or call 518-454-5296.

Thursday July 20, 2017 at 7:00pm
Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary,
959 Madison Ave
College of St. Rose, Albany, NY

People’s Catholic Seminary Programs

People’s Catholic Seminary and Christian Mystics

People€™s Catholic Seminary (PCS), a seminary without walls, offers programs  in theology and spirituality for groups and individuals. Program facilitators accompany groups and individuals throughout the programs.
Currently PCS is offering a 12 week program on the Christian Mystics. This program explores the life of six mystics using text from Bridget Mary Meehan€™s book, Praying with Visionary Women, along with supplemental materials from YouTube and Blogger, an on-line vehicle for sharing information. Through the use of Blogger, participants post responses to assignments. Other participants are able to read the posts and respond to them. This cohort model is a great learning opportunity for those who like to work and interact in groups.
Courtney Allen is currently enrolled in the mystic€™s program. Her response (below) to an assignment on Catherine of Siena is a very good example of the quality of work submitted by the program participants.
About Courtney Allen

 Courtney Allen is an Italian-American Catholic with a deep and abiding love for the faith, and for the ways it can grow through the gifts of inclusive visionaries.  As a former academic medievalist, she has a special place in her heart for women mystics and is delighted to explore their modern-day relevance with the ARCWP.  Courtney currently resides in Southern California and enjoys a career in the museum field, while she discerns God’s call regarding how she can be of most useful service.

Catherine of Siena by Courtney Allen
The treatment of body as sacred space is prehistoric.  In Greek thought, the concept for development of mind, body, and spirit toward virtue was termed €œarete.€  Arete meant striving for the highest good, the most excellent self, that state of holiness in which one desired to dwell.  This process required an integrated approach, with the improvement of all components depending on each other and leading one€™s quest to the most sacred purpose: contemplation.  Henri Nouwen refers to this intersection of mind, body, and spirit as €œthe heart,€ the place within ourselves where we can best listen to God.  From ancient to contemporary, mystics have offered testimony on the sanctity of self-unity.
Much medieval Christian theology builds upon the foundations of ancient philosophy; however, attitudes of body positivity did not always make the transition during this period, and were replaced in some cases with mortification practices.  Catherine of Siena did not ascribe to contemplation through integration.  In fact, she believed the exact opposite €“ that the body and spirit are in fundamental conflict, as evidenced in her Treatise of Prayer (18. Light of reason), in which she states: €œthe fragility of the body is a cause of humiliation to the soul.€  Today, we may deem Catherine€™s separation from her body as unhealthy, rather than a method of discipline to heighten the spirit.  We might note in her Dialogue (particularly Treatise of Prayer, 19) the obsession to become €œperfect,€ as a sign of body dysmorphia.  We may ask why her family would enable such behaviors, or point to them as a cause of her lack of confidence in her own control or agency.  We might ponder how plague throughout her family changed her relationship to life and death, and thereby her body.  We could simplify Catherine€™s piety as self-loathing, pointing to her Treatise of Divine Providence (7), in which she claims that €œself-love€¦is the principle and foundation of every evil.€  
However, there is a more telling issue at the center of these discussions, and that is the aversion to our own discomfort.  As people of faith, God asks us to sit with people who are in pain, including self-inflicted pain or inescapable pain that lives inside them.  Places of discomfort and pain are where God is most present, and where we are most needed.  Naturally, this is not as comfortable as sitting with someone like Hildegard €“ someone whom we, through our contemporary lens, identify with as strong and empowered.  Or with someone like Julian, who encourages us to believe in our goodness by virtue of being made in God€™s image.  We can learn from Catherine in a different way.  Catherine€™s vulnerability holds up a mirror to our own souls in a way we would rather not acknowledge.  Everyone feels less than worthy of God at some point, forgetting our belovedness, forgetting that God€™s love is not something we can earn but rather something that is freely given.  In those moments, I would hope to be reminded of my belovedness, not judged for my insecurity.
Furthermore, women are often judged by their bodies and their relationships to their bodies, while men are judged solely on their work.  Rather than accuse Catherine of being complicit in her own oppression, without regard to the historical context, a feminist perspective asks us to focus on Catherine€™s strengths and her offerings to us!  We can glimpse this best not through her treatises, but rather her letters.  Of the approximately 385 letters that remain, possibly the most powerful are her letters to Pope Gregory XI from around 1375-1378, at the end of the Avignon Papacy and approaching the Western Schism.  Catherine holds the Pope responsible for the divided Church, stating in her first letter to him that €œtemporal things are failing you from no other cause than from your neglect of the spiritual.€  Catherine believes that the Church has come to hold earthly wealth too dear, but that Catholics (including some clergy, though not all) may return by God€™s healing.  She encourages the Pope to let go of conflict and forgive with kindness, reminding him in her second letter that €œthese sheep€¦cannot be won back by wrath or war.€  Pope Gregory XI eventually does relocate the Holy See to Rome, but does not heed Catherine€™s pleas; consequently, she declares €œyou should use your virtue and power: and if you are not willing to use it, it would be better for you to resign what you have assumed.€ Catherine masterfully walks a fine and dangerous line, writing directly about her concerns, but in a conversational tone that indicates she is trying to engage, rather than berate, the letters€™ recipient.  Catherine speaks truth with love, and with a long vision toward unity.  She reminds the Pope that action is required for change: €œIf you want justice, you can execute it.  You can have peace.€  Justice, peace, and unity require conscientious work.
The same conscientious work is needed in the Church today.  While the Church remains united and rooted in its progressive stances on such critical issues as charity, pluralism, and the environment, we are in the midst of another sort of schism.  The Church is diversifying and growing globally, and yet the same system exists that enables organizational, doctrinal, and policy power to be held by a select few, while large demographics (such as women and LGBTQ folks) are not recognized as being called by God to the same leadership roles.  This inequality alienates Catholics from our religious home.  When we think about reform in the Church today, what we really mean is radicalism, returning to our roots: a community of disciples in which individual and differing voices are heard, represented, celebrated, and loved.  Respectful, kind, and open communication is critical to building unity; however, dialogue requires a place at the table.  A place at the table requires the constant presence and persistence demonstrated by Catherine.  We can use her tools: initiating brave conversations with a wide range of people, including those in power; voicing our ideas repeatedly and in written form, especially when they are not solicited; and building allies for support.  We do this out of love of our faith and the belief that it can and should be more inclusive.  That we can do better.  That the body of the Church should be striving for arete.
Catherine, you led a life peppered with self-doubt.  Yet through your trials, you surrendered your heart to God.  You accepted God€™s call to €œrise out of yourself,€ from an interior life that at times was tumultuous, in order to bravely speak truth with love.  Guide us to transform our feelings of brokenness into belief in belovedness, and to share the message of belovedness with others through service.  Remind us to love God in our wholeness, in our bodies, and in our imperfection.  Give us strength, bravery, and compassion to open difficult dialogues and to advocate for inclusion.  Help us to grow each day in our understanding of the €œtwo things [necessary to be] blessed: who we are, and who God is.€

For more information about PCS, contact Bridget Mary and Mary Theresa at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com or visit the PCS website at www.pcseminary.blogspot.com. Individual programs are available on request. Group programs begin again in the fall.

ARCWP Albany Ordination – July 8, 2017 – All Are Welcome

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
joyfully invites you

to the
Priestly Ordination
of
Lindy Sanford

And the
Diaconate Ordination
of
Lynn Kinlan
Margaret Alderman
Anne Keller

Ordaining Bishop: Bridget Mary Meehan
********************
July 8, 2017
2:00 PM
First Unitarian Universalist Church
405 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12206

*******

Reception
Fuller Road Firehouse
1342 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205

Reception Reservations:

Please RSVP by July 1, 2017.

Please send a check for $26 per person made out to the Upper Room ICC to
Joan Chesterfield
12 Oakwood Boulevard
Clifton Park, NY 12065-7414

Peoples’ Catholic Seminary – Spiritual Encounters with Women Mystics for the 21st Century

Spiritual Encounters with Women Mystics for the 21st Century invites you to catch the living spirit of amazing women witnesses to the inbreaking of the Holy One’s infinite love in our midst and to our oneness with all creation.

In the reflections, discussion starters, and prayer experiences from Praying with Visionary Women that accompany each woman’s story, you are invited to reflect on her words and actions in light of your own life experience and the Spirit of God working within you.

In prayer and journaling, you dialogue with these soul sisters, and contemplate their wisdom, compassion and courage as a reflection of the feminine face of God for all times. Their words and actions are a rich source of inspiration and renewal in our prophetic commitment to work for justice, peace, and equality in our world.

As the bondage of sexism, racism, militarism, and ageism continues, this course offers us a rich variety of resources to nurture your inner mystic and calling to be a courageous disciple of Gospel justice and empowerment in the 21st century.

This on-line course opens the week of May 1, 2017 and concludes the week of July 17, 2017. The course is presented in six sessions. Each session is two weeks long. In the first week participants read and reflect on course materials and in the second week, participants write a refection on the session’s theme.

Course Faciloitators:

Bridget Mary Meehan, MA, DMin, ARCWP

Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., DMin

Cost: $100 (financial aid available)
Register now at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com

Mail check or money order to:
People’s Catholic Seminary
PO Box 421
Watervliet, NY 12189

For further information, call 518-441-9649

 

Stop the Hate Interfaith Prayer Service

PEOPLE’S CATHOLIC SEMINARY OPENS NEW COURSE ON JESUS

REDISCOVERING JESUS IN A COMPANIONSHIP OF EMPOWERMENT FOR THE 21st CENTURY


Course Description: In this course, adult faith seekers will primarily use Diarmuid O’Murchu’s text Christianity’s Dangerous Memory: A Rediscovery of the Revolutionary Jesus along with supplemental materials available on the Internet. This course provides a liberating spirituality for a companionship of empowerment rooted in compassion, justice and equality that expands what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the 21st Century. Class participants will explore a Christian faith that is much bigger, deeper and more challenging than churches have ever acknowledged or proclaimed.

This on-line course opens the week of January 30, 2017 and concludes the week of April 10, 2017. The course is presented in six sessions. Each session is two weeks long. In the first week participants read and reflect on course materials and in the second week, participants write a refection on the session’s theme.
Registration closes January 27, 2017

Course Facilitators


Bridget Mary Meehan, MA, DMin, ARCWP, a Sister for Christian Community, is one of the founding members of the People’s Catholic Seminary. She is a member of the pastoral team at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Bridget Mary presides at liturgies, officiates at weddings and offers sacramental ministry. She is an author of twenty books. Her work in communications media include programs about women priests on Google and YouTube. Bridget Mary was ordained a priest in the first USA ordination in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006 and was ordained a bishop in Santa Barbara, California on April 19, 2009.

Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., DMin, is one of the founding members of the People’s Catholic Seminary. She is a member of the pastoral team at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany, NY. She presides at liturgies, officiates at weddings and offers sacramental ministry and is a member of the ARCWP Program of Preparation team. She earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the Sage Colleges and a Doctorate in Ministry from Global Ministries University. She was ordained a priest on September 15, 2013.

Cost: $200 (financial aid available)
Register now at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com

Mail check or money order to:
People’s Catholic Seminary
PO Box 421
Watervliet, NY 12189
(paypal coming soon!)

Christianity’s Most Dangerous Memory​ – ​
Book Review from www.amazon.com

Drawing from the best contemporary scholarship, bestselling author Diarmuid O’Murchu deconstructs the history of Christianity, and specifically the life of Jesus Christ, as it has evolved over the past two thousand years. With rich language and clear metaphors, O’Murchu speaks to every Christian who is fed up with a revisionist Christian doctrine based on banal ideas and who desperately seeks affirmation that the Christian faith is a much bigger, deeper, and more challenging institution than churches have ever acknowledged or proclaimed. According to O’Murchu, Jesus was never an earthly prince, but rather the first rebel, a countercultural outsider who sought to empower the oppressed and marginalized while questioning the core beliefs of longstanding institutions—and ultimately paying a mortal price for his convictions. Using this portrait of Jesus, each chapter addresses a range of common human problems that Christ himself overcame, such as understanding others, resolving hostilities, discovering empowerment by suffering, and preserving personal identity in a globalized world. O’Murchu’s stunning conclusions serve to reintroduce the world to the revolutionary Jesus, giving His story new life and relevance for the modern age.

Visiting Israel

Kathie Ryan, ARCWP, and member of the Upper Room Community in Albany, NY, recently visited Israel.

Here are two pictures she sent from Israel:

The is the Upper Room in Jerusalem. Below is King David’s tomb and above is a mosque. Very inclusive.

sea-of-galileeSunrise on the Sea of Galilee