I have over 30 years of speaking experience – first as a part-time lecturer while I was a graduate student, then as a full-time college professor, and most recently as the founder of World Religions for Kids.
My speaking experience includes everything from academic research presentations to conference plenaries to small-group workshops to Sunday morning sermons. Specific titles are listed under the various headings below. Where possible, links to my PowerPoint slides are also included.
Social Studies Conferences
Teaching teachers is the best! Our schools are loaded with caring, committed educators. And I’m always amazed at how gracefully they navigate all the competing demands they face on a daily basis.
These presentations tend to focus on how classroom teachers can teach about the world’s religions, even in public schools, while still maintaining the appropriate separation of church and state. And props to my colleague and frequent co-presenter, Tim Hall, K-12 Instructional Specialist for Vance County Schools in NC.
Getting to Yes! Alignment with the Constitution and NC Standards
Presented at the 2023 NC Council for Social Studies Conference.
Sharing the World’s Religious Holidays with K-5 Students
Presented with Tim Hall of Religion Matters at the 2022 NC Council for Social Studies Conference.
Most conferences I attend have so many incredible offerings — all happening in various rooms at the same time! There’s just no way to get to all the talks I’ve highlighted in my program. In addition, there are exhibits to peruse, friends and colleagues to catch up with, and new people to meet as we all breathlessly move from one event to the next. The joy of plenary sessions is that they bring everyone together in one room. And that almost certainly means a broad range of perspectives and an almost-dizzying array of questions.
Finding Your Voice…Interfaith and Storytelling, Ripple Interfaith Conference at Elon University, Elon, NC, February, 2019. Plenary Panel with (L to R) Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Rev. Yolanda, Kiah Glenn, Me, and Jem Jebbia.
Interfaith Education for Kids: Themes, Narratives, Crafts, Activities
ConNext Summit: Casting a Vision for Progressive Faith Formation, October 2017, Buffalo, MN
Parliament of the World’s Religions
The Parliament is an amazing experience that brings together thousands of people and hundreds of faith traditions for a week-long period every few years. I get to present with some of my favorite friends and colleagues (like Edwina Cowell and Dorjé Lopön Dr. Hun Lye), meet some of my theological heroes (like Matthew Fox), and experience lived religious practice through events like the Sikh langar, offered daily. Salt Lake City hosted the 2015 Parliament. Toronto hosted the 2018 Parliament. And the 2021 Parliament was held virtually (#ThanksCOVID). In 2023, the Parliament was held in its home city of Chicago, IL, celebrating its 130-year history.
Countervailing Extremism with Interfaith Education
Virtual Parliament, October 2021. Presented with Edwina Cowell (Spiritual Playdate).
Small Group Workshops
Even though I love presenting — both in-person and on-line — workshops offer unparalleled opportunities for all of us to learn from one another. This is especially true when we’re all engaging in the creative process — whether it’s making art, writing poetry, or designing a lesson plan. The real magic happens when we let go of our egos and our boundaries and imagine something new and beautiful together.
Moses, the Hebrews, and the Plagues: History and Interpretations
Nacho Mama’s Bible Study, September, 2018, Jubilee! Community Church, Asheville, NC.
Creation and Creation Care for Kids Using Multiple Faith Traditions
Lake Junaluska Interfaith Peace Conference, November, 2016.
I’m always amazed by the connections across faith traditions and sacred texts. Amazed…but not surprised. To be sure, religions have been used to inflict a great deal of harm over the centuries…and even today. But religions, at their best, teach us how to live in harmony with the Divine (however we might define and articulate that), the Earth, and one another. So, of course, there are lots of connections!
Raised in the Christian traditions, it makes sense for the Christian Bible to be my foundational text. But I see no reason to limit myself! My sermons draw from a variety of sources, including the Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, Jewish rabbis, Qur’an, and Sufi poets.
Still With Me?
If you’re still scrolling, you must really like to read about presentations! But, thank you so much for your interest!! Here are the last few I’ll share.
Humans as Storytellers: Implications for Interfaith Education. Ripple Conference: Interfaith and Storytelling, February, 2019, Elon University, Elon, NC.
Embracing the Darkness: Age-Appropriate Narratives, Crafts, and Activities from Around the World. ConNext Summit: Casting a Vision for Progressive Faith Formation, October 2017, Buffalo, MN
Interfaith Education for Kids: Age-Appropriate Narratives, Crafts, and Activities from World Creation Stories
North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) Conference, August 2017, San Diego, CA.
Interfaith Bible Study for Children and Youth: Sacred Listening by Teaching Peace
North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) Conference, July, 2015, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Ministering for the Earth…Tending the Heart of the Planet: Water Rituals in the Various Faith Traditions
Big I Conference, February, 2015, Burlingame, CA. Blog versions of this talk can be found here: Part I and Part II.
How Can I Help?
I love talking to kids and adults about anything and everything related to the world’s faith traditions. Here are few topic ideas. Feel free to reach out!
• Welcome to the 21st Century: Religious Literacy and Global Competence
• Once Upon a Time: Teaching Religions Through Ancient Story
• The Christian Bible: How Unique Is It Really?
• Let’s Celebrate! Pros and Cons of Teaching World Religions Through Holydays
• Prominent Themes across the World’s Religious Traditions: Peace, Anger, Nature
• Faith Development: Kids as Co-Creators