From Outgoing Chair Robert Patrick


I have been pleased and privileged to work for the last two years as Chair of the Ministry, Advocacy & Leadership Department of Cherry Hill Seminary.  As Chair I have experienced the creativity of continuing the work of building demanding, rigorous seminary programs.   


There is no shortage of seminaries in the United States, but CHS is doing something unique by offering a place where those in the Pagan community who seek a formal education in ministry can gather with the full flexibility of distance and hybrid programs while continuing to live the various demands of their lives.  


A formal seminary education has to be demanding in a number of ways.  It must invite the seminarian into a face-to-face encounter with his/her own spiritual tradition and ask the seminarian to begin to think critically about it.   


A seminary also has the obligation of challenging the seminarian with the wide variety of academic research in various fields of ministry such as ethics, religious histories, and the various practices of ministry like ritual, pastoral care, spiritual guidance, advocacy and social justice works.  A seminary also must take up and pass on the process of ministerial formation that seminaries of all kinds have been practicing for millennia.  


Cherry Hill Seminary's challenge, and in my experience, its promise, is that step by step, year by year, it is providing these encounters, challenges, studies and paths to formation by, with and for the larger Pagan community.  No one else is doing that.  


CHS is doing this unique work at a time when not all in the Pagan community are convinced that they even need a seminary.  What we at Cherry Hill Seminary are finding, and hearing from many sectors, is that Pagan practitioners are finding their way into ministries for which they need formal education, licensure and endorsement. 


It is with pride in this work and some sadness that I had to announce my need to resign from the Chair position.  My own full time work as an educator has landed me in the role of department chair as well, and the demands of both positions were simply more than I could fulfill well.   


I am very pleased that one of our own faculty members, David Kling, M.Div, will be stepping into the position.  I have known David for a number of years and have enjoyed working with him as he prepares to provide leadership for the Ministry, Advocacy and Leadership Department.  The MAL department will be in good hands!  At the same time, I am pleased to continue to teach for CHS from time to time.  


Robert Patrick, M.Div, PhD


Important Dates
For Students
Aug 18 Sum semester ends
Sep 9 Fall semester begins
Sep 16 Fall Drop/Add midnight
Oct 6 Insights 1 classes end
Oct 7
Insights 2 classes begin
Nov 3 Insights 2 classes end
Nov 4 Insights 3 classes begin
Dec 1 Insights 3 classes end
Dec 15 Fall semester ends
Jan 19 Spring classes begin
For Faculty
Aug 18 Sum Insights 1 grades due
Sep 3 All summer grades due
Sep 12 Spg course proposals due
Oct 21 Fall Insights 1 grades due
Nov 18 Insights Fall 2 grades due
Dec 16 Insights Fall 3 grades due
Dec 30 Fall semester grades due
Jan 19 Spring classes begin

New Department Chair for Ministry, Advocacy & Leadership - David Kling, M.Div.

Cherry Hill Seminary is pleased to announce that faculty member David Kling, M.Div., will serve as the new Chair of the Department of Ministry, Advocacy & Leadership.  Many of you have gotten to know David as a professor.  We are happy that he will now share his experience through leading this essential area of our programming.  David took time this week for an interview, below.  We hope you will take time to welcome him as the new department chair and offer him your

You work as a full-time chaplain - what made you choose that career and what's it like?


I started the long journey to become a chaplain after my mother and I made the decision to take my father off life support. During the seven months he was in critical care not once did we see a chaplain. His death was particularly difficult for me and every death I experience since transforms me. It is my intention to be of service to others who are suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It is a wonderful yet often very emotionally painful career path, I cannot imagine doing anything else. I may not have had a chaplain when I needed one, but I hope I can be there for others when they need one.


How does your Pagan identity enhance, detract from or otherwise impact your chaplaincy?


I try to lean into the pain I experience with others and that takes a clear

understanding of my own sense of self.  My Pagan identity is who I am and that is important to me on an interior level.  Most people whom I encounter professionally have no clue as to my spiritual path, or that I'm a veteran, or many of the other experiences I have had, because when I am with them it is not about me but instead it is about them. 

You obviously value CHS programs; what three things do you wish everyone knew about us?


A.  The compassion and commitment that the faculty and staff of CHS have towards the greater Pagan community.  B.  The value of a theological education and how that education can clearly be beneficial across the spectrum of Pagan traditions.  C.  How important CHS is in relation to the growth and development of Paganism in general and the Pagan community in particular - Pagan academics striving for excellence in scholastic and clerical practices in an effort to support our community for long term sustainability.    


Bob Patrick's shoes will be a challenge to fill - what do you hope to accomplish as the new chair of the department?

It is my hope that I can assist current and incoming students navigate through their programs successfully and graduate and settle into various ministry and leadership roles that will be as fulfilling for them as mine is for me. 


A Special Thank You

The students of the Department of Ministry, Advocacy & Leadership thank you, Bob Patrick, for your leadership and wisdom the past two years.  We are also glad you will continue on as faculty!

Margot, Thanks for the Memories
On July 28, 2014, Cherry Hill Seminary lost Board of Advisors member Margot Adler, and the entire world lost a rare individual.

Visit our tribute page to read comments by CHS students and faculty in response to Margot's passing.

Who's In The News?

Maggie Beaumont took part in the June memorial service for Judy Harrow, representing Cherry Hill Seminary in the Air-Intellect and Education part of the ritual, which was followed by several hours of storytelling and feasting in Judy's honor.

Selina Rifkin
was featured in a guest post on, "Carbon Wealth and What's For Dinner: Paganism and the Land."
Carol Kirk and her husband Blake turn up on

Valentine McKay-Riddell is one of the founding mothers of a new group, the Emergent Studies Institute, founded by former faculty, students and alumni of the former Institute for Transpersonal Psychology. ESI will present its first webinar October 4-5, "Ecospirituality: Woman & Nature."

Patrick McCollum and his Peace Violin were featured in a recent Los Angeles Times story about the Sept 7 Trails and Vistas World Concert for peace in Lake Tahoe.
Visit the Cherry Hill Seminary online bookstore for this and other juicy titles. Your purchase benefits CHS! This one is Eros and Touch from a Pagan Perspective: Divided For Love's Sake, by Christine H. Kraemer. Arguing that the erotic is a powerful moral force that can ground a system of ethics, Kraemer integrates approaches from queer theology, therapeutic bodywork, and sexual minority advocacy into a contemporary Pagan religious framework.