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Candid Conversations About Diversity

Honouring Diverse Identities in Spiritual Spaces with Reverends Cassandra Rae and Abigail Schairer

While most of us would rather not talk about race, gender, sexuality, and size in spiritual spaces, it is absolutely necessary. Why? Because every single one of us is living this life in a body. Our skin colour, size, sexuality, and gender impact how we move through the world, including spiritual spaces. Some might say that pointing out differences creates more division. It’s actually the unwillingness to address these differences that causes division. Join us as we reach across identities to explore the challenges and opportunities of diversity with curiosity and respect.

These conversations took place via Facebook live from February 23, 2021 through March 31, 2021. This is part of an ongoing conversation that we're interested in having about how to be inclusive in spiritual spaces. May the dialogue continue!

Rev. Cassandra Rae is an unexpected minister! After being raised in evangelical Christianity and spending her 20's as an atheist, she rediscovered God through a health crisis. Now she is the spiritual director of CSL White Rock in British Columbia, Canada where she is dedicated to an engaged and inclusive spirituality that embraces our humanity as the path of knowing our divinity.

Rev Abigail Schairer is Associate Minister at CSL Seattle and founder of Sister Spirit and NextGEN Retreats. She draws inspiration from the great spiritual masters of all religions, which she integrates with practical guidance in her speaking and teaching. Rev. Abigail believes we are here to help create the life God intended us to have – one of absolute joy, complete abundance, and freedom.

Candid Convo #1 with Rev. Karen Frost

Rev. Karen Frost is the co-founder and senior minister of Spirit Uncensored. She is originally from Chicago, 39 years old, father is Ashkenazi Jewish, mother is a descendant of slaves from Louisiana, able-bodied, cis gender, female, lesbian, New Thought minister, master's degree in media communication, able-bodied, and average size. In this conversation we delve into everything multi-racial.

Candid Convo #2 with Tillie Hasson, RScP

Tillie Hasson, RScP is a licensed practitioner with the Centers for Spiritual Living and a certified Body Trust (TM) provider. Tillie identities as white, Jewish in a Christian nation, mostly able-bodied, cis gender, woman, mostly straight, middle-class, middle-aged, and fat. In this conversation we delve into fat activism, weight stigma, the spectrum of body size, and diet culture.

Candid Convo #3 with Rev. Dr. Raymont Anderson

Rev. Dr. Raymont Anderson is the senior minister of the Center for Spiritual Living Greater Baltimore. He identifies as Black, African-American, male, cis gender, he/him/his, gay, not married, 10 degrees with 4 doctoral degrees, middle-class, grew up in a traumatic household with abuse of the entire spectrum, 5 children of choice (they chose one another), 2 biological children as a donor to a lesbian couple, previously Christian minister and Interfaith minister, now a Centers for Spiritual Living ordained minister, physically abled, and a member of the deaf community. In this conversation we talk about how to connect across identities (especially race and sexuality) and give you specific things you can do to cultivate authentic connection.

Candid Convo #4 with Rev. Champion Norwood Fleming

Rev. Champion Fleming is the Minister of Organizational Development with the Centre for Spiritual Living White Rock. They identify as white, queer, gender non-conforming, beyond binary, trans masculine, master's degree, able-bodied, financially secure, in between average and plus sized. In this conversation we delve into gender identity, living beyond the gender binary, authentic self-expression, leadership, repairing harm (even when it's unintentional), and racism.

Candid Convo #5 with Stephanie Anne Johnson

Stephanie Anne Johnson is a singer, poet, and activist. They identify as Black connecting to the global diaspora of people who are Black, gender fluid, bi-sexual (if they're acknowledging the binary or pan-sexual) if they don't want to acknowledge the binary, bachelor's in English, able-bodied, currently average-sized but spent most of their adult life as plus-sized, American citizen, single, and lower-middle class. In this conversation we explore native land acknowledgements, being Black versus African American, things you can do to be welcoming, participating (or not) in gender, mental health, and many more mind blowing moments!

Candid Convo #6 with Rev. Rafe Ellis

Rev. Rafe Ellis is the senior minister of Sierra Center for Spiritual Living. He identifies as a minister, spiritual seeker, white-skinned, transgender female to male man, married to a mixed race white and black woman, father to a son who is deceased, grandfather, and spent 43 years as a female most of that as lesbian. In this conversation, Rev. Rafe Ellis shares with us his story of gender alignment from female to male. Plus, we delve into everything from Oneness, Love, and Inclusion to addiction, suicide, and sexual assault.


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