Monday, June 30, 2008

Spiritual Bridge Builders

Over this past weekend I attended the graduation ceremony for One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, in New York City, where I was trained as an interfaith minister.

I graduated from the seminary in 2005, and was chosen to be one of two class speakers to represent my classmates during the ceremony.

I was quite honored to be able to take the podium at Riverside Church, in New York city,where the likes of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela have spoken. It was an awesome experience.

I felt that I wanted to share my commencement address (very brief). It was a glimpse into what I see as the role of the interfaith movement in our troubled world.

Commencement Address ~ Rev. Nola Drazdoff
One Spirit Interfaith Seminary
June 26, 2005

It doesn’t really take much to look around at what’s happening in the world and come to the conclusion that, “There must be a better way.” But, it takes tremendous determination and courage to go beyond wishing and talking… and step out to actually create that better way.

The members of the One Spirit graduating class of 2005 have done just that. We have come to this place… this program… because we are committed to participating in a different vision of this world… and the powerful role that spirituality not only can but must play in it.

There is not a single person in this class who has ever sat on the sidelines of life and watched it pass by. Ultimately, each of us has been called to be part of the next wave of spiritual evolution. The Interfaith movement is an essential part of that next wave, and is quite possibly the key element in bringing our troubled world together.

I believe that we all have a role to play in that unfolding process… and that is why we are graduating today from this particular seminary. We… are spiritual bridge builders. We… are spiritual pioneers… leading the way for a massive shift in consciousness... past the old ideas of religious separation, superiority and exclusivity to a place of respect, acceptance and inclusion… for all peoples… and
all spiritual paths.

It’s time for a new paradigm of what it means to be a presence of love and Spirit in this world… of what it means to be a “minister.” One Spirit is on the cutting edge of creating and defining that new paradigm… as are we… the newest officially ordained Interfaith Ministers.

Many are called… but few will answer. We answered... as did everyone who is involved in One Spirit. On behalf of the class of 2005, I would specifically like to thank and honor Rev. Diane Berke and Rev. Michael Pergola the co-founders of One Spirit. Thank you for your vision and your courage to birth and grow this organization! I am certain that this institution will have a global impact that none of us can even imagine!

And… to my classmates: I am truly honored to have walked this path with each one of you this past two years and I personally am comforted and inspired to know that each of you are out there, moving through your corner of the world with powerful presence… shining light into the dark corners of life.

Me giving the commencement address on behalf of my classmates in the magnificent Riverside Church, June 26, 2005.

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