Drawing from their professional expertise and personal experiences as chaplains, caregivers, and spiritual leaders, Rev. Jen Bailey, Caitlin Breedlove, Sensei Chodo Robert Campbell, and Mati Esther Engel discuss how to create space for others to process grief while addressing larger systemic inequities that may impact one's bereavement journey. Additionally, they'll share insights on navigating personal grief when tasked with ministering to the needs of others. Discover the power of spiritual support and resilience in times of loss and transformation.
Rev. Jen Bailey
Reverend Jen Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and a leader in the multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a Womanist-led organization focused on “healing the healers” by equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment.
Jen is Co-Founder of the People's Supper, a project that aims to repair the breach in our interpersonal relationships across political, ideological, and identity differences over shared meals. A sought-after commentator and public speaker on the intersection of religion and public life, she has spoken at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, Makers, TEDxSkoll, and the White House. Her work has been featured on OnBeing with Krista Tippett, CBS This Morning, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and dozens of other publications. She is the author of To My Beloveds: Letters on Faith, Race, Loss and Radical Hope (Chalice Press 2021). Rev. Bailey is ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Follow her at @revjenbailey.
Caitlin Breedlove is the Deputy Executive Director at the Women's March. She also serves as the Movement Strategist in Residence at Auburn Seminary. Since 2003, Caitlin has been organizing, writing and building movements in red states: working across race, class, culture, gender, sexuality and faith. She is the former Co-Director of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), where for almost a decade she co-led innovative intersectional movement building work in the LGBTQ sector. Under Caitlin’s co-leadership, SONG led campaigns, trained hundreds of new LGBTQ organizers in the South, built a membership of over 3,000, and became the largest grassroots LGBTQ organization in the South. She is also the former Campaign Director of Standing on the Side of Love at the Unitarian Universalist Association where she served as a bridge between grassroots social movements and the denomination. Caitlin began her work in the South doing popular education and organizer training at the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee. She is the former host of the podcast ‘Fortification‘, which interviewed movement leaders and organizers about their spiritual lives. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her five year old son. Her first book, All In: Cancer, Near Death, New Life. will be published by AK Press in February 2024.
Sensei Chodo Robert Campbell, GC-C
In 2007, Sensei Chodo Robert Campbell, co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care — a non-profit organization that focuses on the teaching of Zen and Buddhist practice with the goal to make them more accessible to people all around the world. The center delivers contemplative approaches to care through education, carepartnership, and meditation practice. To better expand the reach of the program, Chodo co-developed a carefully structured protocol: the Foundations in Contemplative Care Training Program. Today, New York Zen Center’s methodologies are internationally recognized — and have touched the lives of tens of thousands of individuals. Chodo is a dynamic, grounded, and visionary leader and teacher: he has traveled extensively throughout the U.S instructing in various institutions. He has also spent many hours dedicated to bearing witness to the suffering of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Chodo's public programs have introduced thousands to the practices of mindful and compassionate care of the living and dying. Sixty-thousand people listen to his podcasts each year. His passion lies in bereavement counseling and advocating for change in the way our healthcare institutions work with the dying. Chodo is widely recognized as a trailblazer and authority on contemplative care; His work has been featured in the New York Times, PBS, Tricycle, Parabola and other media outlets. He is a recognized Soto Zen Teacher with the American Zen Teachers Association, White Plum Asanga, and Soto Zen Buddhist Association. Chodo is part of the core faculty for the Buddhist Track in the Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling at NYZC’s education partner, New York Theological Seminary. He is also on the faculty of the University of Arizona Medical School’s Center for Integrative Medicine’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship and the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine in San Diego. https://zencare.org
Mati Esther Engel
Mati Esther Engel is a Spiritual Care strategist and consultant. She has extensive training in clinical hospital-based chaplaincy, specializing in treating palliative care patients and serving on transplant and addiction units. She is practiced in accompanying patients and families through important life transitions specifically, end-of-life care, goals of care decision-making, and trauma intervention. Mati uses her training in performance art to develop spiritual care techniques in the service of bringing spiritual care, grief counseling, and theological artistry to a public audience. Her research bridges the worlds of existentialist and humanist thought; utilizing poetics and ritual as mediums for facilitating conversations for our times. She received her Masters’ degree from The University of Chicago and in Jewish studies at the PAIDEIA Jewish Institute. She is currently serving as a Spiritual Consultant for a Spiritual Care startup that is driven to democratize and innovate chaplaincy education and best practices. She also offers psychedelic integration counseling to clients across the United States. You can find her chaplaincy work documented in the recently released U.S Documentary, A Still Small Voice, featured at The Sundance Film Festival in 2023. https://www.matiestherengel.com
About Reimagine and the series "From Suffering to Spiritual Growth"
Reimagine's mission is to help all people face adversity, loss, and mortality, and channel the hard parts of life into meaningful action and growth. www.letsreimagine.org
We all must process adversity, loss, and mortality.
But there are many pathways forward to transform life’s challenges into meaningful growth. This April, join us for the series “From Suffering to Spiritual Growth” to explore the key question: How might the hard things in life lead to a spiritual deepening?
This is for people of all faiths and no faith—and everyone in between. Together, we will learn about fundamental spiritual concepts and rituals to enhance our personal journeys; we will experience the inspiring stories of leaders who have found spirituality to navigate grief and loss; and, through participatory peer-led breakout sessions, we will be guided by a pastor, a Buddhist monk, and a rabbi to take action in our spiritual growth.
About Faith Matters Network
Faith Matters Network catalyzes personal and social change by equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment. https://www.faithmattersnetwork.org/ @faithmattersnetwork
About New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care
The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (NYZC) offers guidance for people interested in beginning meditation or continuing in their existing practice; we train people from all walks of life— including medical professionals, parents, lawyers, artist and bankers—in compassionate caregiving; we support people and their loved ones through serious illness and death, and assist family and friends during their grieving process. We also celebrate and honor many of life’s meaningful moments. https://zencare.org @newyorkzencenter