Recommended Resources from the 2011 CSEE/NAES Chaplains and Teachers of Religion Conference

Chaplains and teachers of religion from across the country gathered at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York from February 2 – 4, 2011 for the annual Chaplains and Teachers of Religion Conference co-sponsored by the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education and the National Association of Episcopal Schools.

Entitled "Chaplaincy and Religion in a Pluralistic Worlld," the conference focused on spiritual development in a pluralistic school, with sessions on religious pluralism in relation to the school’s mission and culture, the content and structure of common gathering times, the religion curriculum, and the role of the chaplain in the school community.

The conference was led by Rabbi Judd Levingston, Barrak Hebrew Academy, Bryn Mawr, PA and the Reverend Timothy Morehouse, Trinity School, New York, New York. Participants offered the following resources as particularly helpful:


Sowing Seeds of Character: The Moral Education of Adolescents in Public and Private Schools by Judd Kruger Levingston
This volume summarizes findings from extensive research in Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, public, Quaker, and Chinese schools. Levingston discusses the centrality  of questions in moral education and identifies three different ways that schools function as moral systems. Judd Levingston co-facilitated the 2011 CSEE/NAES Conference for Chaplains and Teachers of Religion.

Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel recounts coming of age as an Indian, a Muslim, and an American, and coming to understand what led him toward religious pluralism rather than hatred. An insight into identity, culture, and religion.

Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi and a Sheikh by Ted Falcon, Don Mackenzie, and Jamal Rahman
These three faith leaders came together after the events of September 11, 2001 and have continued their dialogue. They outline five stages of the interfaith journey, focus on how people of different faiths can move beyond separation and suspicion, and address forthrightly difficult conversations between their respective faith traditions. Also recommended at Biennial 2010.

Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints
This new work is the official revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. All commemorations in Lesser Feasts and Fasts have been retained, and many new ones added that honor a diverse array of men and women. Included are Karl Barth, the German theologian who challenged the legitimacy of Hitler; Anna Julia Cooper, who was an advocate for African-American women; Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve the President of the United States as a member of the cabinet; the medical pioneers William Mayo and Charles Menninger; the muckraker journalist Jacob Riis, and many more. Includes detailed biographical information, a traditional and contemporary collect, and propers for the day.

Laugh Your Way to Grace by Susan Sparks
The Reverend Susan Sparks is a stand-up comedian and senior pastor of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. Using humor and autobiographical vignettes, she weaves theology and very human experiences to remind readers of the power of laughter as a way to connect with God’s grace.

When Children Ask about God: A Guide for Parents Who Don’t Always Have All the Answers by Harold S. Kushner
Rabbi Harold Kushner explores concepts of God suitable for communicating to children ages 4 to 14 and challenges adults to explore their own concept of God so that they are better equipped to respond thoughtfully to the difficult questions about God that children raise and seek to answer.

Websites and Video

Bullied: the Southern Poverty Law Center
Bullied is a documentary film from the Southern Poverty Law Center that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment.  Bullied is designed to help administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students, not just those who are gay and lesbian. The Bullied kit includes the 40-minute documentary film (DVD), with closed captioning and with Spanish subtitle; and a two-part viewer’s guide with standards-aligned lesson plans and activities for use in staff development. Additional materials available online.

Explore Faith
With a goal “to provide an open, non-judgmental, private place for anyone interested in exploring spiritual issues," this website offers a wide range of resources on religion and spirituality. Primarily Christian in focus, it also provides information and resources related to other religions and spiritual practices. Well-resourced, with related links.

Justice with Michael Sandel
Justice is one of the most popular courses at Harvard University. Professor Michael Sandel challenges his students with difficult, real-life moral dilemmas and asks their opinions about the right thing to do. The website presents videos of class sessions, with guided activities and related discussions. Programs can be used together or as single episodes. Ideal for grades 9 to 12.

On Being
Formerly called Speaking of Faith, On Being is an award-winning weekly radio program "about religion, spirituality, and large questions of meaning in every aspect of life." The web site includes podcasts of current and previous programs plus music, videos, photo essays, articles, and blogs.

Short Videos on Radio Lab, National Public Radio
Radio Lab is a weekly radio program that explores ”big questions” by combining sound, reporting, and storytelling in creative ways. Radio Lab also produces short videos accompanied only by music that can be used as the basis for reflection and discussion. Recommended clips: Parabola, Words, and Moments.

Wing Clips
An on-line library of short excerpts from major motion pictures that illustrate dilemmas and challenges in a wide range of life situations, with a focus on exploring faith and God.


Music for Liturgy, from Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church
Saint Gregory off Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, California has developed a distinctive approach to the Episcopal liturgy. Music for Liturgy is a compilation of hymns, songs, and prayers from all over the world, and includes many original compositions written by and for members of the congregation. All the music is a cappella. Additional information, along with audio and video clips, is available on the Saint Gregory of Nyssa website.

Music By Heart: Paperless Music for Evening Worship
Developed by The New Music Project, Music By Heart is a wire-bound compendium of eighty-five songs to be sung by heart in one of five forms: simple melody, echo, round, call and response, or layered. Each piece is presented with words, music, skill level, and suggested accompaniment, if any. There are songs that can be used in Eucharist services and songs that can accompany school chapel or assembly. The collection varies in style, length, complexity, and languages presented. The introduction offers guidelines for teaching and leading groups. Published by Church Publishing, Inc. Discount for NAES Members.

My Heart Sings Out
Fiona Vidal-White surveyed over 3,000 pieces of music for congregations to compile what she calls “good church music for children.” This volume of 159 songs and hymns is unabashedly contemporary—all of the music was written after 1980—and yet adheres to high standards of musicality and liturgical appropriateness. Many of the selections use simple language, repetition, and storytelling. A spiral-bound Leader’s Guide offers notes for suggested accompaniment, age groups, setting, and musical style. Available from Church Publishing, Inc. Discount for NAES Members.