For more information:
phone 216/283-1507

Cleveland Ecumenical
Institute for Religious Studies

Joe LaGuardia, Dean

St. Paul’s Church
2747 Fairmount Boulevard
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106


Fall 2014 Course Offerings

Meditations from the Buddhist Tradition: Awareness, Compassion, and Wisdom

Ani Palmo Rybicki

Six Mondays | September 15 to October 20, 2014 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | $90 (Does not include text)
Songsten Gampo Buddhist Center of Cleveland | 3546 West 98th Street | Cleveland | 44102

Whether you are just a beginner or have been meditating for years, this six-week series dedicated to various meditation techniques in the Buddhist tradition will enrich and deepen your practice. Participants will be learning Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation along with analytical meditations on Impermanence, Death Awareness, Love, Compassion and more. Text: How to Meditate by Kathleen McDonald (Please purchase before first class).
       Ani Palmo Rybicki (nee: Catherine Rybicki), was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition since 1994. She has been a practicing Buddhist since 1988 and undergone extensive training under the guidance of her teachers in France and Asia–completing two 3-year group retreats as well as a 1-year retreat in solitude. Ani Palmo is the director of Songtsen Gampo Buddhist Center of Cleveland and offers public talks and classes in Buddhism and Meditation throughout the Greater Cleveland area.


The Spirituality of Henri Nouwen
Wayne Simsic, M.A.

Eight Tuesdays | September 30 to November 18, 2014 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | $120
Fairmount Presbyterian Church | 2757 Fairmount Boulevard | Cleveland Heights | 44118

This course will introduce the dynamics of the spiritual life using the insights of Henri Nouwen in his book, Reaching Out, and in his other writings. Nouwen’s journey, which he embodied throughout his lived experience, reveals the struggle we all face when we are honest about our own frailties, and teaches us an openness to the Spirit in the midst of human imperfection. Please purchase the two books required: (1) Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, Image Books, 1975; (2) The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, Image Books, 1996.
       Wayne Simsic, M.A., teaches in the Religious Studies Department and the Ministry Program at Ursuline College. He directs retreats and workshops on the mystics and has authored several books on spirituality including Thomas Merton: An Invitation to the Contemplative Life, and, most recently, Seeking the Beloved: A Prayer Journey with St. John of the Cross.


Bad Girls of the Bible
Rev. Barbara J. Essex, Ph.D.

Four Thursdays | October 2 to October 23, 2014 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | $60
Church of the Gesu | 2470 Miramar Boulevard | University Heights | 44118


Women often get short-changed in the Bible--their stories are scarce, one-dimensional, incomplete, and biased. We will explore the stories of four biblical women, looking at their strengths, flaws, and faith: Eve, Jezebel, the Syrophoenician woman and Mary Magdalene. And we will listen for the lessons they have for us today.
      Rev. Barbara J. Essex, Ph.D., is an ordained United Church of Christ minister. She is a sought-after preacher and speaker. Her Bible study books focus on biblical personalities. Her work is ecumenical, Bible-based, and theologically and socially progressive. She is presently the Executive Director of United Protestant Campus Ministries in Cleveland and oversees ministries at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, and Cuyahoga
Community College, Metro Campus.


Pope Francis–A Joyful Revisiting of the Gospel Message
Natalie Kertes Weaver, Ph.D.


Four Thursdays | October 30 to November 20, 2014 | 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | $60
Ursuline College | 2550 Lander Road | Pepper Pike | 44124 | Room TBA


In less than two years, Pope Francis has established himself as a celebrity Pope. His demeanor, along with a gentler attitude toward homosexuality, an energized approach to interfaith work, and a strong stance against economic injustice, represent for many a joyful revisiting of the Gospel message. This course will explore Francis’ words and actions in light of both his fans and his critics as we strive to understand better the needs and challenges of the 21st century Church.
       Natalie Kertes Weaver, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor of Religious Studies at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Natalie has published several academic and art books. She is currently writing Made in the Image of God: Intersex and the Revisioning of Theological Anthropology (Wipf & Stock, 2014).  Natalie’s areas of interest and expertise include: feminist theology; theology of suffering; theology of the family; (inter)sex and theology, and ecclesiology.





















Can We Talk about Race?

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