Interfaith/Interspiritual Worship Services Coming To Sticks And Stones
Reverend Bill Donaldson, spiritual director and resident of Sticks and Stones Farm, will be leading interfaith/interspiritual worship services at the farm, 197 Huntingtown Road, starting September 12, from 10 to 11 am.
His journey to provide this offering began after establishing Love Has A Home, Inc, a nonprofit with the mission of creating a global movement where love is the guiding principle in all human interaction, both with each other and the planet.
Donaldson integrated his nonprofit’s philosophical mindset in his money coaching practice, and it inspired him to become an ordained minister to better serve his clients.
“There are two sides of money: a material side and there’s also a spiritual side, which really means all this stuff happens inside ourselves — our beliefs, our behaviors. The inner world of money is what I refer to as the spiritual side of money,” he explained.
He moved to Sticks and Stones Farm last summer and sought to grow a community there with his ministry.
“My intention was to create a more spiritual retreat, a place for people to come to connect with nature and some deeper inner spiritual work,” Donaldson said. “A place where anyone could come for that and not feel like they have to do it a certain way, because it’s a certain church that has certain practices.”
He continued, “I think a lot of people are going away from that structured model and are looking for something more open. That’s what I’m offering. I’m not a particular denomination or church. I’m very open to many different paths that all lead to the same place.”
Donaldson completed his ministry program and received his ordination during a private retreat three days before a public ceremony on July 12, 2021.
The worship services that Donaldson plans to offer is through the lens of interfaith/interspirituality.
The concept was appealing to him, because it is something that can unify everyone of all different backgrounds and beliefs.
Donaldson explained that the terms “interfaith” and “interspiritual” came from Catholic monks who learned about Eastern spirituality, specifically Buddhism and Hinduism. They explored these other religions while maintaining their Catholic faith.
“They felt the need to share this more global spirituality and one of these monks — his name is Wayne Teasdale, who is no longer with us — coined the term ‘interspiritual,’ because he was really an activist in finding that common ground among the world religions,” he said.
Donaldson decided to create a place where people would feel comfortable exploring their spirituality.
“People that are looking for a home/spiritual community, but don’t feel connected to a specific religion — that’s the fastest growing demographic of religious seekers are the ‘spiritual but not religious,’” Donaldson said.
He added, “On the other hand, there’s no requirement. You can be agnostic and not necessarily be seeking something spiritual, but also people may be looking for that community that’s based in love that’s the underlying foundation of this… love is pretty universal. Everybody can use it.”
In addition to focusing on human connectivity, community, and love, his ministry also concentrates on the importance of nature.
“The whole climate crisis is from feeling separate from nature. You feel separate from nature, it’s easy to exploit it… it’s a living energy that is part of us and we are part of it,” Donaldson said.
He continued, “It’s harder to feel connected to people you don’t like, but there are not too many trees out there you don’t like. Nature is the training ground of human connection, and from there it expands outward once you really feel that and find a way to connect to everything, including human beings, too.”
The first interfaith/interspiritual worship service at Sticks and Stones Farm is set to take place outdoors under a 20- by 40-foot tent next to the main stone barn on September 12.
There is no limit to how many people can attend, but RSVPs are requested through the event page on the Sticks and Stones Farm website, sticksandstonesfarm.com.
Donaldson says, “It’s for all walks of life, from anywhere. All faiths or no faith — it doesn’t matter.”
Each week there will be a theme to the service, with the initial one discussing the earth and spirituality.
“I believe earth-based spirituality is the foundation of every religion. That was around long before any established religion was, going back many thousands of years, so I felt that would be the place to start. The original spirituality is nature based, so there will be a focus on nature and nature connection and exploring the divine through nature,” Donaldson said.
Services will differ week to week to offer new insights, but Donaldson hopes to consistently have a musical component and other spiritual members joining him.
For the latter, he says he has four classmates from seminary in the tri-state area who are interfaith ministers and who have already expressed interest in participating in the service.
“I plan to share the stage, if you will, with others to the extent that I can. It’s not about me preaching. It’s more about experiencing inner peace to the extent possible wherever people are. That’s the goal, to help people find that peaceful place within. So many people are looking for outside things or experiences, and this is all about looking inward to find that everlasting place of happiness for people. There is no certain faith required for that,” Donaldson said.
Future services will be offered monthly on the second and fourth Sunday from 10 to 11 am. Virtual options may be considered but are not offered at this time.
Going forward, Love Has A Home, Inc, will act to support the mission of the ministry as it evolves over time.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at email@example.com.