In 1893 the Parliament of the World's Religions met in Chicago as part
of the world's fair. It marked humanity's entry into the 20th
century as well as the beginning of a global interfaith dialogue. For
the first time in the history of humankind, people of different faiths
came together in the name of progress and peace. In 1993, the second
Parliament met to discuss the opportunities for peace in the 21st century.
Today, that interfaith dialogue continues with such efforts as United
Religions Initiative. As the turn of the millennium approaches, communities
of different spiritual paths are coming together in peace, prayer, and
This vision the potential for global peace inherent in interfaith
dialogue while huge in scope is being fostered in a small but
important way in our own community. Evidence of this vision can be found
at the Interfaith Spiritual Center in SE Portland founded last
fall by Sr. Cecilia Ranger, S.N.J.M, Ph.D., Chair of Religion and Philosophy
at Marylhurst University. Sr. Cecilia invited several people to join
her in a long-held vision of creating a center where people interested
in exploring their relationship with God or the sacred; those seeking
movement toward a deeper spiritual life; and those seeking spiritual
self-reliance, discernment, and a life of balance could be met by trained
and compassionate individuals offering spiritual guidance through education
and spiritual direction.
In November 1998, the Interfaith Spiritual Center opened its
doors in the elegant 1914 Rectory of the Sacred Heart Parish in the
Brooklyn District of SE Portland. Easy access and ample parking make
the location ideal.
The concept of spiritual communities offering spiritual resources to
others is not new. What is new is that the spiritual directors at the
Interfaith Spiritual Center represent a number of different faith traditions
and in turn offer services to practitioners from all traditions. The
work of the center is to nurture each person's freedom to walk his or
her own spiritual path, thereby fostering peace among religions and
cultures. The center offers individual, family or group sessions with
a trained spiritual director/mentor and retreats and workshops on spiritual
life and practices of the major world religions.
Beginning in September, the ISC will offer a series entitled First
Wednesdays, a series on East and West spiritual practices, on the
first Wednesday night of each month at 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. The series,
both educational and experiential, will begin with the ancient Christian
tradition of Centering Prayer. The series is open to the public, and
donations to the center will be accepted.
Those seeking spiritual consultation, direction or resource information
are invited to call the Interfaith Spiritual Center at 503-233-2026.
All ISC services and resources are provided on the basis of income and
ability to pay.