Starr King’s multireligious affiliations express themselves in a number of ways. There are those that we have through our membership in the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). In addition to the Protestant and Roman Catholic member schools, there are also GTU connections with the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Islamic Studies, as well as opportunities for Mormon and Swedenborgian Studies.
Additionally, Starr King has close relationships and affiliations with several organizations which are highlighted below:
The Institute for Buddhist Studies (GTU)
Starr King School for the Ministry and the Institute for Buddhist Studies enjoy a long history of working together. Established in 1949, the Institute of Buddhist Studies has been providing graduate-level Buddhist education, ministerial and chaplaincy training, and other educational programs in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than sixty years. States the IBS website: “We are affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley with whom we offer a fully accredited Masters Degree in Buddhist Studies. We are affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America — the oldest Buddhist institution in North America — for whom we offer Jodo Shinshu Buddhist ministerial training. The Institute of Buddhist Studies offers a systematic and comprehensive educational program in the entirety of the Buddhist tradition while seeking to serve the educational needs of all Buddhists. Because of our connection through the GTU, currently the Institute for Buddhist Studies online course offerings are offered under the aegis of SKSM.”
The Chaplaincy Institute
Thanks to our new affiliation program with the Chaplaincy Institute, many of our students who are preparing for a multireligious practice of religious leadership will be able to combine their work at SKSM with work at the Chaplaincy Institute. Through study, reflection, writing and engaging with others, students gain a broad understanding of the world’s religious traditions, while simultaneously deepening their relationship to their own spiritual traditions. The curriculum includes class instruction, group interactions, theological study, spiritual care skills, spiritual leadership, and practicum experience. It is inclusive of many aspects of individual spiritual formation for ministry as well. The Chaplaincy Institute website describes their work as follows: “We offer education in in two areas of Interfaith service (interfaith studies and interfaith spiritual direction) for those who seek to fulfill a calling in body, heart, mind and spirit. Both programs respond to the changing climate of religious and spiritual life where faith, peace, and understanding are needed across religious divides. Students who choose the affiliation path will be able to be simultaneously enrolled in a Starr King degree program and interfaith chaplaincy, interfaith spiritual direction, etc. programs at CHI.”
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry
SKSM has had connections to CLGS from its beginning, as various Starr King faculty members have participated in the Center’s programming. The Center is dedicated to the encouragement of new, creative scholarship on the interrelations of religion and sexuality / sexual orientation; to the production and dissemination of innovative resources for the academy, faith communities, activists, and the general public; to the development of enlightened leadership around issues of religion and sexuality through education; and to presenting a new public voice in the debate over sexual identity through media outreach and coalition building. This commitment is stated in CLGS’s mission statement: “To advance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community building and advocacy.”
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
SKSM is strengthening its affiliations with ALEPH. In 2012, the late Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was the Distinguished SKSM Symposium Lecturer and recipient of an honorary doctorate. Aleph and Starr King share a commitment to honoring the intersections of religious traditions, as well as to social justice. One of our faculty members has served as a faculty person for various ALEPH programs.
ALEPH It provides meaningful learning rooted in Torah and tradition, Kabbalah and Hasidism combined with a modern consciousness that is politically progressive, egalitarian and environmentally aware. It nurtures and sustains communities that embrace LGBTQIA people of all genders and multireligious families.
Through faculty presence, SKSM has connections to Wilderness Torah which awakens and celebrates the earth-based traditions to nourish connections between self, community, earth and spirit in Judaism. This is an excellent context for people wanting to work at the intersections of environmental justice, community-building and spirituality.
SKSM was the birthplace of the Radical Tawhid Movement, a movement of predominantly queer/trans Muslims and their allies, dedicated to the intersectional realities of Muslims in the United States and elsewhere. The RTM has a profound commitment to working with Starr King on creating radically inclusive just and regenerative societies and addresses issues of disabilities, prison-industrial complex, food justice, immigration rights, etc.