Upcoming Events

Contemplative Practice + Social Justice

November 28, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Center for Community Engagement and Social Justice

As part of an emerging set of programs, research, and initiatives related to contemplative social justice, this one-day event will provide essential perspectives, tools and techniques for individuals working on social justice related initiatives.

We will be joined by The Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, PhD., Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and a leader in the fields of womanist theology, racial reconciliation and sexuality, and the black church; and the Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Zen priest and a social visionary that applies wisdom teachings and practice to social issues, and sees transformative social change as America’s next great movement. Through facilitated conversations and smaller group discussions, Dean Douglas and Rev. williams will work with participants to practice the application and use of the tools and techniques presented.

Participants will not only leave the program with a better understanding of contemplative practice and its potential impact on their efforts related to social justice, but they will also have a new set of interreligious tools and techniques to apply to their practice.

Students: No Cost
Union Alumni: $30.00
Non-Profit Affiliates: $50.00
Individuals: $125.00

To register for this event, please click here. Group discount and scholarships are available by emailing communityengagement@uts.columbia.edu.

This event is a collaborative effort between the Thich Nhat Hanh Program for Engaged Buddhism and the Center for Community Engagement and Social Justice.

Kelly Brown Douglas
The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Ph.D., the inaugural Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, leads EDS at Union in the education and preparation of students in fulfilling requirements for ordination in the Episcopal Church while receiving their degree from Union. . Since 2017, she has served as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and continues in that role today.

Prior to joining the Cathedral and EDS, she was the Susan D. Morgan Professor of Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore. Previously, she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity (1987-2001) and Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College (1986-1987).

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Douglas was one of the first 10 black women to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. She was an Associate Priest at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. for over 20 years.

She holds degrees from Denison University and obtained her Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. Her newest book is “Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God,” released in May 2015 by Orbis Books. She splits her time between New York and Washington.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams
Called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Her book was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Her new book, Radical Dharma, explores racial injustice as a barrier to collective awakening.

Ordained as a Zen priest, she is also a Sensei, the second of only four black women recognized as teachers in the Japanese Zen lineage. She is a social visionary that applies wisdom teachings and practice to social issues, and sees Transformative Social Change as America’s next great movement.  She is an early shaper and leading voice in that work and coined the name for the field. In recognition of her work, Rev. angel received the first Creating Enlightened Society Award from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the leader of the international Shambhala Community.

For over 20 years, she has deeply invested her time and energy to putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our inner lives. She has developed comprehensive systems for illuminating both practical personal change and the profoundly liberating potential of mindfulness, yoga, and somatic practices coupled with wisdom teachings. Calling for a paradigm shift that “changes the way change is done,” angel envisions the building of a presence-centered social justice movement as the foundation for personal freedom, a just society and the healing of divisions of race, class, faith and politic.

Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths with love. Her work has been widely covered by such publications as New York TimesBoston GlobeMs., Essence, BuddhadharmaVillage Voice, and on the Oxygen Channel. angel notes, “Love and justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.” Whether in writing, teaching or speaking, her voice is unique.