Sacred Snapshots offers you an experience of the divine in many forms. Here is a list of workshops, classes, and rituals/worship. If you are curious about the special events that are part of the day, click here to learn more.
Workshops are still being added in an effort to offer practices from as many traditions as possible. Please check in often. The tentative schedule is below.
Workshops focus on an actual practice of a religious or spiritual tradition.
Classes feature discussion of a religious or spiritual tradition or topic.
Ritual and Worship
These sessions are actual ritual or worship experiences facilitated by the area’s communities of faith.
Praying Through Art- Illuminations
Facilitator: Joan DiStefano
Discover illuminated manuscripts, brief overview of method and medieval tools. Students will make a short personal prayer and decorate their prayer in the medieval style format with supplied materials.
WordLife: Spoken Word as Spiritual Practice
Facilitator: Mahsea Evans
In WordLife, engage different forms of spoken word poetry especially those of a spiritual nature. Whether the poetry takes on a devotional or prophetic form, participants will be able to see how artists use spoken word not only as a form of entertainment but as a medium for meaning making and spiritual practice. There will be opportunities to join in fun exercises that creatively spark one’s own poetic gifts while acquire some tools for on-going practice. By the end of the workshop, participants will begin to recognize, develop, and share their unique poetic “voice” and possibly choose spoken word as a form of their own spiritual practice.
Poetry: Reading and the Moving Sacred
Facilitator: Christina Hutchins
There are many ways a poem can connect and expand the movement of feelings, the natural world, human experiences of life and death, and the divine, but often we are not comfortable reading poetry, finding the language dense or difficult. Together we’ll explore some modes of reading poetry that invite the ease and participation of the reader. In this 45 minute snapshot, we’ll read and discuss several poems, each of which is loosely affiliated with (or departs from) a religious tradition (Buddhism, the Sufi branch of Islam, and Christianity). We’ll notice the motions of language and of image, relating that movement to notions of the sacred that cannot be grasped nor fixed. No prior experience with poetry is required. Participants can join either Poetry Reading or Poetry Writing or both.
Poetry: Writing and the Moving Sacred
Facilitator: Christina Hutchins
Often there exist creative urges within us that may have been practiced as a child or young adult and then abandoned in adulthood. Or forms of creativity we’ve been drawn to try but never have. Writing poems can be a deeply satisfying form of spiritual engagement, a way of following the yearning to coalesce felt experience in never-before ways. In this 45 minute snapshot, participants will be gently prompted to write a poem that carries some authentic motion of the sacred in a personal or communal way. All levels of experience are invited: no previous poetry-writing is required.
Labyrinth: Walking the Sacred Path
Facilitator: Rev. Will McGarvey
Walk the sacred path of the labyrinth with an open mind and open heart in this interactive program. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol found in all religious traditions in various forms over the centuries. Learn how the the labyrinth can become a mirror for where you are in our life. Each turn in the path will provide a new opportunity for reflection and meditation. There is no right or wrong way to walk and each participant will take away something individual from the experience.
Twelve-Step Spirituality: Working with Resentment in a Personal Inventory
Facilitator: Merrill Swiney
The fourth step inventory is one of the core practices in the 12-step tradition. Basically, this practice allows a person to identify personal character traits that stand in the way of spiritual growth. In this workshop, participants will identify a particular resentment in their own life and use the frame of the fourth step to gain greater self-knowledge. Merrill will also provide a brief overview of 12-step spirituality and contextualize the fourth step within the larger practice
The Body of Liberation: Theater of the Oppressed
Facilitator: Niels Teunis
Theater of the Oppressed is designed to help individuals and communities discover ways to identify the mechanisms that oppress them and tools to fight those specific forms of oppression. Created in Brazil during the early 1970s, Theater of the Oppressed gave participants ways to resist and speak out against government abuse and violence. Experience this phenomenon by participating in theater exercises and games. Workshop participants will learn a few of the basic techniques and exercises from the practice.
Bell Meditation and Mindful Eating
Facilitator: Sr. Thich Pho-Chau
In this fast-paced society, we are often being preoccupied with anxieties and fears about the future or the past that we forget to enjoy the present moment. With the sound of the bell or a guidance of mindfulness verse, it will help us to be less distracted by bringing our mind and heart back to the now. Mindfulness brings awareness and caring into everything that we do, and it can be practiced at any place and any time. Even eating can be a type of meditation if you know the method. A nun friend once expressed: “Eating is like sitting meditation, but yummier.”
Facilitator: Kelly Childress
We often go through times in our lives when we hold ourselves or others out of our hearts, when we feel the pain of resentment or anger, or feel weighed down by a burden of regret. There is a way to be free. Explore the concept of forgiveness based on the work of Stephen Levine and engage in a guided meditation focusing on forgiveness of self and others.
Chanting Mantra: A Tool to Protect the Mind
Facilitator: Karen Nelson Villanueva
In Tibetan (Vajrayana) Buddhist practice, positive energy is invoked through the chanting of mantra, syllables noted to correspond with the subtle vibrations within us. Through meditation, visualization, and chant, we will explore mantras reputed to help us grow in love and compassion, and help us to overcome our fears.
Parenting as Spiritual Practice
Facilitator: Wendy Atkins-Pattenson and Rachel Bauman
In this workshop Parents will engage in practices that cultivate awareness,deepen their self-understanding and deepen their connections to their families. These simple practices can be done anywhere, anytime and will support parents in making thoughtful decisions and interacting mindfully with their children.
Praying with the Spirituals
Facilitator: Rev. Ann. Jefferson
In this workshop, participants will engage in a “Lectio Divina” process using African-American Spirituals as the “sacred text.” Through song, work, and image we will have the opportunity to experience these timeless treasures anew and to apply the “Living Word” that emerges to contemporary life and spiritual practice.
Candlelight Prayer in the Style of Taizé
Facilitator: Peter King
Taizé is a candlelight prayer practice focused on contemplation and meditation done through short, repetitive chants and songs. The practice began in the 1940s when a group of Catholic brothers committed to a life of simplicity and celibacy, providing hospitality and worship for sojourners, prisoners of war, pilgrims, and all who desire to come, in a village called Taizé in France. Taizé style candlelight prayer has spread to communities all over the world, inspiring quiet, contemplative worship centered around simple, memorable pieces of music. While the canon of music for traditional Taizé worship is relatively small and very Christian, it has been augmented by music from other intentional or pilgrim communities like the Iona community, as well as chants and music from other religious traditions. Sacred Snapshot’s incarnation of Taizé worship takes a more interfaith or multifaith form, but holds on to the emphasis on quiet, contemplation, and repetitive music.
Bio-Spirituality through Focusing
Facilitator: Nancy McKay
We will affirm the healing of the spirit/flesh dichotomy in much of Christianity. In this practices, we will use our bodies as holy and participating in spiritual communication.
Chanting the Psalms—CANCELED
Facilitator: Rev. Jim Mitulski
The Psalms are the hymnbook of ancient Israel; everyone had them downloaded on their Iphones. These 150 poems can be sung easily and without accompaniment as part of our daily spiritual practice. By blending words and melody and then singing out loud they become an integral voice of praise, lament, thanksgiving and prayer. We will look at some Psalm translations, and learn a few simple chants as we pray the psalms together.
Lectio Divina/Divine Reading – an Arts-Infused Experience of Sacred Scripture
Facilitator: Rev. Joellynn Monahan
Immerse yourself in Lectio Divina (“divine reading”) a contemplative practice from the Christian tradition. Together we read, listen and reflect on selected verses from Sacred scripture and then embody/respond through visual arts. People of all faiths and all artistic abilities are welcome to join in this arts-infused experience of an ancient Christian prayer practice.
Engaging with LDS Scripture —CANCELED (presenter illness)
Facilitator: Sheila Taylor
One of the distinctive aspects of the LDS church lies in its acceptance of other scripture besides the Bible. In this workshop, we will look at uniquely LDS scripture and the role that it plays in the tradition, and see how reading and pondering scripture serves as a kind of spiritual practice both for individuals and the community.
Sent Out: Mary Magdalene and Wo/Men, Anointed and Anointing
Facilitator: Carrie Rehak
In this workshop, offered from a Catholic perspective (but not exclusively so), we will utilize the ancient practice of lectio divina to engage John 20:11-18, and other relevant printed and visual resources, in the hope of coming to know something more about Mary Magdalene and ourselves, as well as our mission as wo/men, anointed and anointing.
Stations of the Cross: Walking with Jesus Through the Heartbreak of the World
Facilitator: Christine Haider-Winnett
Walking the Stations of the Cross is an ancient Christian tradition that is still practiced in many communities today. Originally created as a way to allow Christians to go on a ‘pilgrimage’ without having to travel to Jerusalem, the Stations of the Cross follows Jesus on the last moments of his life leading up to the crucifixion. While many people walk the Stations of the Cross during Lent or on Good Friday, it is a common spiritual practice year-round, particularly in Roman Catholic communities. Participants walk to different stations representing stages in the crucifixion, in order to meditate on Christ’s suffering and death. While walking the stations of the cross, it is also appropriate to reflect on people who are suffering today. As Pope John Paul II wrote, while walking the stations of the cross, pilgrims walk in solidarity with the oppressed in an “unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified.”
This session will be self-directed and available through the day. Pick up your map and description at registration.
Introduction to the Shamanic Journey
Facilitator: Isa Gucciardi
Learn more about the state of consciousness from which all creative inspiration springs. Consciousness is one of the oldest technologies for understanding the world of spirit and energy, and has been used by shamans, mystics, prophets, and spiritual leaders for thousands of years as a vehicle for accessing inner guidance. This method of accessing inner wisdom is available to us today. This workshop emphasizes helping participants understand and interpret the language of the journey. Students learn how to develop a journey practice and use it to step into a more informed and dynamic approach to problem solving, relating to themselves and others, and supporting and sustaining all areas of their spiritual inquiry. This workshop also helps students develop a new understanding of their life’s journey and provides tools for them to develop a deeper understanding of their life’s purpose.
Walking with the Ancestors
Facilitator: Iyanifa Mahealani Uchiyama
This workshop will introduce African wisdom practices for our everyday lives. We will discuss the path of Ifa which recognizes aseʻ (sacred life force) expressed in each being around us, the four legged, the two legged, the feathered, the scaled the leafy, including ourselves.
Cloud of Witnesses
Facilitator: Sonsiris Tamayo
Have you ever felt totally alone in a difficult situation? Did you yearn to have a physical “something” that you can do to communicate with Spirit. Well, there are clouds of witnesses, that is, our ancestors, helping us along the way and longing to be acknowledged. In this workshop, we will learn the basics of honoring our ancestors through the use of prayers and household items to establish and begin to develop relationships with those that have come before us. We are not alone in this journey! The wisdom that will spring forth in our time together springs out of my knowledge as a student and practitioner of the Africa-derived tradition of Lucumi and the guidance of the ancestors. All are welcome!
Concepts of Yoga and Meditation in Hindu Religion
Facilitator: Prabha Duneja
The concept of yoga and meditation originated from the ancient religious traditions of Vedic Dharma as an effort to seek alignment with the source of life in order to live a healthy,happy,spiritual,peaceful, and prosperous life, which is peace and harmony with our own inner-self, with others in society and with nature. A yogi is one who seeks union with the indwelling Supreme-soul for self-realization, God-realization, and attainment of eternal Bliss. The word yoga has been derived from the Sanskrit root word yuj meaning to combine or join together the mind, body and spirit in order to experience union and communication with the indwelling-soul. It is the unity of the conditioned-self with the pure luminous Higher-self. It integrates almost every aspect of our personality and sets up a spiritual force, which is effective, radiant and shines through our activities. Ordinary work is performed with extraordinary efficiency and enthusiasm. A yogi’s life is gracious, glorious, and becomes an example for others. Students will be taken though a guided meditation in this session.
Modes of Worship in Hindu Religion
Facilitator: Prabha Duneja
Hindu philosophical treatises assert clearly, our perennial relationship with the Supreme – soul and also suggest the appropriate means and methods to experience it. In prayers and meditative unity with the deity, the aspirant is introduced to his own inherent potential and guided to make the best use of it. This revelation comes as a grace of the Divine and opens the new vistas of self-understanding and ushers the individual into the accomplishment of his desired goals in life. All the deities may appear to be independent, but in fact they are the different facets of the pure consciousness. The omniscience of the Parabrahman is the only truth that prevails at the heart of the creation. In ritualistic worship of gods and goddesses the devotee offers flowers, leaves, water and food while chanting mantras from the Holy scriptures. The offerings are made in several steps, each having its special significance. There are rituals to bless a person on special occasions and also to bless a new house and business etc.
How You can Interact with the World in a Vedantic Way
Facilitator: Swami Prasannatmananda
Types’ and ‘Traits’ of human mind regulate people’s personal characteristics. Human mind has four powers or faculties –cognition, affection/conation, volition and action, which are the basic components of human traits. The Vedantic way of interaction with the world suggests how we can skillfully face the challenges of life and be eternally joyful by controlling either one of the faculties or combining all four.
A Sufi Path of the Heart
Facilitator: Majida Gibson and Zahira Marla Rabinowitz
Sufis embrace the divine mystery. There are as many ways to practice this mystical path as there are leaves on an ancient, healthy tree. In this brief taste of the Sufi path, we will share an invocation, Sufi poetry, prayer, breathing techniques, and heart-opening practices.
Torah of Awakening- An Awareness Based Approach to Judaism
Facilitator: Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks
Join us for an exploration into the anatomy of consciousness. In this practical workshop we will learn four simple steps for awakening the freedom of present moment awareness and how this applies to Jewish practice.
Blessings: Experiencing the Holy in the Everyday
Facilitator: Rabbi Bridget Wynne
How many times in an ordinary day might you experience awe, gratitude, or deep connection if you knew a simple practice that could enable you to do so? Jewish tradition encourages us to perceive 100 opportunities for blessing, every day! While we may not take this literally, the Jewish practice of offering blessings in one’s daily life gives us an easy to learn, yet profound way to transform seemingly ordinary experiences into holy moments. Join us to explore the power of blessings and to reflect on practical ways you might experiment with bringing this practice into your life.
Movement and the Body
Spirit in Motion: An Introduction to Liturgical Dance
Facilitator: Carla DeSola
Sacred dance can be an integral part of worship, and is an “inclusive language” capable of uniting our bodies, minds and souls. Dancing with liturgical prayers and select passages from scripture, we will find our inner life and congregational expression opening, alive with motion, rhythm, shape and dynamics. This session includes an introduction of theory and practice, moving into dance meditation, and a gentle physical warm-up.
INTERPLAY: Body/Mind/Heart/Spirit are One
Facilitator: Jonathan Leavy
InterPlay integrates body, mind, heart and spirit. InterPlay is devoted to fun. It teaches the language and ethic of play in a deep and powerful way. If you are convinced that seriousness is the path to inner wisdom, then you might want to look elsewhere. If you would like to become a “recovering serious person,” then InterPlay might be for you. InterPlay is firmly based in affirmation and looking for the good. You don’t have to think of yourself as creative in order to do InterPlay. We can teach you that part easily. We get far too much criticism in our lives already. We need to spend more time in the warm bath of acceptance. Interplay begins with simple breath and gentle movements. In this workshop we will introduce participants to a few basic InterPlay forms: Walk-Stop-Run, follow & lead, hand dances and witnessing. We will also welcome the voice as part of our body/spirits as a group.
Facilitator: Khaleghl Quinn
Qigong is the seven-thousand year old art of cultivating vital energy. Originating in Tibet and China, qigong includes breathing practices, and simple meditative movements that stimulate a balance between increasing energy and relaxation. Dr. Khaleghl Quinn teaches seasonal practices that strengthen the health of the internal organs, boost the immune system and increase creativity.
Bhakti: The Yoga of Love and Devotion
Facilitator: Amanda Smith
Experience the healing and invigorating practice of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is the yoga of love and devotion to a source greater than us. This 45 min session will include an introduction to Bhakti, chanting, a dedication, and short vinyasa flow. Come ready to move, open your heart, and experience the big Love.
The Yang long form of Taijiquan
Facilitator: Lin Yi Wu
The flowing movements and dynamics of yin and yang, empty and solid forms put into play all the joints and muscles of the body without over-activating or under-utilizing any one part. The mind is centered on the slowness, evenness, lightness, softness, clarity, precision and centerdness which are the basic qualities of Tai Ji Quan. As the body feels weightless and the mind thoughtless, personal preoccupations vanish. Attention to forms that are impersonal leads one to see oneself without subjective interference. The mental and physical equilibrium does not stop at the end of each practice session, but is expected to permeate gradually other aspects of one’s life.
New Thought/Religious Science
Life Visioning and Prayer
Facilitator: Sheila Thomas
The Life Visioning and Prayer Workshop will share a meditative process that will open one to God’s vision for their lives. The program will include an actual visioning that will include questions about God’s purpose for their lives. It will also provide opportunities for those participants, who choose to do so, to express their creativity through drawing any images that may come through during the visioning. The session will close with a form of affirmative prayer used in Religious Science Churches to support participants’ visions.
Sikh History, Practice, and Chanting
Facilitators: Amar Singh and Sahib-Amar Kaur Khalsa
Intrinsic to Sikh Dharma is the practice of singing the Divine Word. We’ll interweave the practices of the Sikh way of life with the experience of meditation, breathing and mantra. Chanting, based on the science of Naad Yoga, gives us the keys to unlock our inner wisdom and divinity.
The Million Faces of God
Facilitator: Rev. Lauren Van Ham
What does the Divine look like? How might your depiction of the Divine differ today from the face you attributed to the God of your youth? When we expand our image of the Divine to include multiple faiths and multiple faith stages, the face of the Holy often stretches, surprises and inspires us. In this workshop, we will draw upon images of the Divine from many Faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Islam, Judaism, and Wicca. Using simple materials, participants will be invited to create an interfaith icon; a gateway through which one might more deeply explore the million faces of God.
Religion as Literature: Intersections between Imagination and Belief —CANCELED
Facilitator: Devin Zuber
What do religion and literature have in common? This workshop explores the historical relationship between the pleasures of reading fiction and poetry, and the spaces of religious belief. Through a group conversation, we will investigate how literary theory and literary criticism became born out of older traditions of biblical hermeneutics, before playing with the overlap between literary imagination (picturing something that is not sensibly there) and the demands of religious belief (a trust in supernatural, or divine, powers). We will enjoy some collective reading of recent translations of Judeo-Christian scriptures by prominent poets and writers (Willis Barnstone, Harold Bloom), and talk about what it means to read the Bible as literature.
The Basics of the Baha’i Faith
Facilitator: Jaleh Kilpatrick
The history, teachings, and practices of the Baha’i Faith followed by a Q&A.
Love is All You Need? John Lennon, the Gospel, and Messianic Formation
Facilitator: Richard Lindsay
If there is a Beatles Gospel it might be summarized as “Love is All You Need.” This can’t be enough to encapsulate the Christian gospel, with its focus on the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ—or can it? This class will discuss biblical examples pointing to the possibility of a “Love is All You Need” Gospel. It will also look at the process of messianization of Lennon as a clue to understanding the messianization of Jesus Christ, and perhaps reveal new ways of understanding the Christologies of both figures.
Erotic Christianity: Sex as Spiritual Practice
Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson
Christian traditions have more to say about sex than when to do it and with whom. Eros has actually played an important role in the development of Christian ideas and spirituality. In this workshop we’ll consider how erotic desire shapes a Christian understanding of God and how this can inform our own sexual intimacies as forms of spiritual practice.
Queer Christian Spirituality
Facilitator: Bernard Schlager
Hear an overview of some common features of queer Christian spirituality movements. What are these fascinating movements about and can they add anything to my own spiritual journey in life – whether I’m queer or not?
Do the Quran and the Bible send conflicting messages to their followers
Facilitator: Ejaz Naqvi
What are the core beliefs and code of conduct of Islam as taught by the Quran, as well as the Golden rule in Islam? What are the similarities with the teachings of the Bible. What does the Quran teach about husband/wife relations and women? What does the Quran teach about social justice and interfaith relations?
Relevance of Sikh Practice in Today’s Life in America
Facilitator: Harmesh Kumar
This talk with explore Sikh concepts of Manmukh and Gurmukh along with daily practices in living a Sachiaar life (Truthful Living). A Sikh, meaning a seeker or student of truth always tries to find ways to walk and talk ways of truthful living. What helps a human being to avoid temptations in daily life which would distract him or her from truthful living? What is the meaning of true formal and informal education in daily life and how one can work on avoiding the five distractions i.e. lust, anger, greed, undue attachment and boastfulness?
Ritual & Worship
Havdallah:Sacred Ceremony of Transition from Shabbat to the New Week
Facilitator: Shira Batalion
Havdallah is a sacred ceremony that marks the transition from Shabbat, the Jewish day of Rest, Rejoicing, and Reflection, to the beginning of the new week, upon seeing three stars in the sky after sunset on Saturday. We awaken our senses with fire, spices, wine, chanting and blessings that help us integrate the joy and peace of Shabbat (and Sacred Snapshots!) and carry it into the week ahead.
Bhajans: Devotional Singing
Facilitator: Mata Amritanandamayi Center
Her Holiness Sri Mata Amritandamayi Devi, affectionately known the world over as “Amma”, is one of the greatest spiritual leaders of modern times, and a world-renowned humanitarian. A living saint, she has uplifted millions the world over through the simplest of gestures – a hug. Her mission to love and serve is carried out by many, inspired by her selflessness, through various centers with its international headquarters located at the M. A. Center in San Ramon. Amma says, “Bhajans are prayers in the form of songs, rich in meaning and full of devotional essence. When you sing bhajans wholeheartedly, you completely forget yourself and become one with your longing for the divine; this in fact is meditation.” We are representatives from this center, here before you with a humble offering of peace and love to all beings.
Facilitator: Jim Mitulski
More details coming soon