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THE LAKESHORE INTERFAITH INSTITUTE, offers a nine month Interfaith Certification Course titled "World Religious and Wisdom Traditions in an Interfaith Perspective".

9 MONTH CERTIFICATION COURSE $600. Available Online!

Click here for the 2008 Course...

This course will explore the major religious and wisdom traditions of the world, including contemporary cosmology.Students will be addressed each month by learned practioners of one world faith tradition. Several hours of each meeting will be devoted to round table discussions among the students. Each month, students are offered a suggested reading list and are free to borrow books from the extensive collection in the Institute library. Students are expected to prepare reflection papers on the faith traditions studied each month. Though not rigorously academic, these papers are considered aids to comprehending the new information .The papers are read and commented upon by the Institute staff. They are not graded. In addition, each presenter offers students a prayer or meditation technique which, if practiced, gives an experiential glimpse into the faith tradition.

Certificates will be awarded by the Interfaith Institute to those who engage in and complete the work described below. Certification indicates you are equipped to lead interfaith study groups, or teach in various settings about world religions from an interfaith perspective. For correspondence students each presentation is videotaped or audiotaped and these are mailed to the student.[There are rare occasions when the presenter will not allow any recording]. The program includes an interfaith pilgrimage and retreat in Chicago. To audit the entire series from 2-4pm, we offer a season ticket for $100.00. Tickets for individual talks are $15.00: $10.00 for seniors and students. Scholarships are available.

Courses meet from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,
2nd Saturday of each month from April through December.



Teachings of the Three Fires April 9 , 1:30pm-4pm
Tim Loonsfoot Sr. , Ojibwa Tribe, Keeweenaw Band

Our presenter is Tim Loonsfoot Sr. from the Ojibway tribe. Tim is a Pipe Carrier: this means that he has learned from the Elders of the Tribe the orally transmitted teachings and has understood the mystical symbolism and sacred power of the Pipe and that he has recieved his Pipe from another Pipe Carrier. Tim will explain to the students some of the teachings that can be given to the public about such things as the sacred herbs - sage, sweetgrass, tobacco and cedar. The meaning of the sacred circle and the four sacred directions, the story of the creation of all the creatures and many other stories that he is permitted to tell . Come and hear the wisdom of the Americans who lived for thousands of years upon Turtle Island before Columbus "discovered" it. Mr Loonsfoot will lead the group in the Sacred Pipe Ceremony taught to him by the Elders of his tribe.

10am to 12noon -
Class Discussion of the Native American presentation and spiritual traditions studied in April
12:30-1:30PM - Lunch.
Basic Elements of Hinduism , May 14 -1:30-4:30PM
Dr Sripada Raju, Bharatiya Hindu Temple

Dr. Sri Pada Raju, Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment of Lansing, has taught Hinduism in the US and India for the past 40 years. Well versed in both the philosophy of Vedanta as well as the ritualistic and devotional aspects of hinduism, Dr Raju is highly respected devotee of the Bharatiya Hindu Temple of Lansing and teaches Bhagavad gita and other scriptures on a daily basis in the temple and in various other venues in the Lansing area. An avid exponent of Gandhian social philosophy he spends time every year in India teaching Vedanta in the villages and advising grass root NGOs on sustainable development of the rural populations.
Dr Raju will give an overview of the Hindu religious and theological traditions. He will then lead us in performing in our shrine, an ancient Vedic ritual called a havan or fire worship.

10Am-12noon - Group discussion of Hinduism as presented in May and from readings during the month.
12:30-1:30PM - Lunch.
Jewish Religion and Philosophy : 1:30-4:30 PM
Rabbi Michael Rascoe, Temple Banai Shalom

Rabbi Michael Rascoe serves the Congregation of the Temple Banai Shalom in Benton Harbor, Michigan and two weekends per month he serves Congregation Sons of Abraham in Lafayette, Indiana. He comes most recently from Waukegan, Illinois, and has served a few pulpits in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rabbi Rascoe is active in interfaith dialogue, being a founding member of the Grand Rapids Interfaith Dialogue Association. He has worked with groups formulating minority relations, and prison religious policies. In addition, he has served as a consultant on academic and governmental projects, and been an advisor on counseling and medical issues. He also has taught elementary to college level classes.

Ordained from The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), Rabbi Rascoe has an MA and a BA in Jewish Philosophy from Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA from Columbia University in Political Science.

10 am-12noon - Group discussion of the Jewish presentation in June and from readings during the month.
12:30- 1:30 Lunch
Buddhism for East and West : 1:30 - 4:30 PM
Frank and Paula Jaimson

Our presenters are Frank and Paula Jaimson who are very active members of the West Michigan Buddhist Sangha. We will hear a short overview of essential Buddhist teachings, see a film on Buddhism in Tibet produced by the Jaimsons and learn a Buddhist meditation practice. Frank and Paula travel to Buddhist countries such as India, Tibet, Vietnam and Japan where they interview and film Buddhist monks and lay practioners. Frank and Paula lead a meditation group in Kalamazoo and edit a news letter of Buddhist groups in West Michigan. Our talk will include an account of the current state of Buddhism in Tibet from which the Jaimson will have just returned.

10 am-12noon - Group discussion of the Buddhist presentation in July and from readings during the month.
12:30- 1:30 Lunch

The Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth : 1:30 - 4:30 PM
Dena Blay-Stroba, OCDS
As a member of the secular branch of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Ms. Blay -Stroba is an experienced teacher of two of the Mystical Doctors of the Catholic Church, St John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. She has served as Formation Director to Secular Order Carmelites and has conducted regular retreats and days of recollection for the Order. She has also studied world religions for the past twenty years and has made intensive studies of Vedanta under the tutelage of Swami Bhashyananda. She will present a brief theological history of Christianity with especial emphasis on the mystical traditions.

Ms. Blay-Stroba will focus her presentation on the premise that the various spiritual traditions of the world offer contexts within which individuals strive to evolve to deeper and more profound levels of Consciousness. She will explore the development of Consciousness in human individuals and societies, and will offer observations on how the teachings of Jesus offer a context of principle and practice and how this applies to this process of Self-Realization.

10 am-12noon - Group discussion of the Christian presentation in August and from readings during the month.
12:30- 1:30 Lunch

Taoist Thought Through the Ages : 1:30 - 4:30 PM
Dr. Douglas Chung, Grand Valley State University
Douglas Chung comes from China where he was born into a family of practicing Taoists. He learned Qiqong, the Taoist equivelent of yoga, from his father. As an adept and teacher of Qiqong, Chung has produced videos and several books about this practice of meditation and energy alignment. As President of the Asia Society and professor of social work at Grand Valley University, he has taught extensively about Taoist and Confucian culture and religion. He will give an overview of the essentials of Taoist philosophy, the teachings of Lao Tzu, the Tao Te Ching, the symbols Yin and Yang and the enduring impact of these ideas on Chinese culture and religion . He will lead a Taoist Meditation.

10 am-12noon - Group discussion of the Taoist presentation in September and from readings during the month.
12:30- 1:30 Lunch

The Dynamic Message of Islam: 1:30 - 4:30 PM
Dustin Byrd (Ismail AbdulLah), Western Michigan University
Our presenter for The Tenets and Practices of Islam is Dustin Byrd. Mr. Byrd is a local from South Haven, Michigan who became attracted to Islam while in high school. Impressed by its message of radical social equality, Dustin saw Islam as the completion of the message given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Mr. Byrd made the Declaration of Faith, assumed the spiritual name Ismail Abdullah, completed his education and is now teaching Islam at Western Michigan University and other institutions of higher learning. His area of expertise is the dynamic tension between Wahabism and Sufism.

10 am-12noon - Group discussion of the Islam presentation in October and from readings during the month.
12:30- 1:30 Lunch

Our New Vision of the Universe: 1:30 - 4:30 PM
Dr. Eric Carlson, Adler Planetarium
Eric Carlson, for 28 years senior astronomer at Adler Planetarium, combines the best qualities of a scientist with the intuition of a theologian. After studying for several years at the University of Chicago Divinity School with Huston Smith, Eric went on to do his Phd in Astronomy at Northwestern University. Now retired, Dr. Carlson is developing his skills as Astro-Theologian. The starry vault above was, is, and will surely continue to be, the source of most religious speculation and intuition. Using the latest photographs from The Hubble Telescope and the latest discoveries and theories about the origin nature and ultimate fate of this and other Universes, Eric will take us on a trip through space and time into the Ultimate Mystery of Being and Consciousness.

Our study program concludes with a Retreat and Pilgrimage [Dates to be determined] to Chicago [the 2003, 2004 & 2005 trips have been a fabulous experience for all].

For eight months we have met together sharing our insights, dreams and visions. Now we will retreat together for closer bonding, and simultaneously we will visit holy places of other faiths and share insights with practitioners of these faiths putting our newly acquired interfaith skills to work. Through the Institute Alumni Club, we will continue to meet regularly for study and discussion. We will be points of understanding and light in the world and work to bring this light and understanding to the greater society.
The task is enormous and of utmost importance.

Cost for the entire program is $600.00
The Pilgrimage to Chicago includes additional incidental costs of room board etc.
For information about the Interfaith Studies Program, please contact Mothers Trust:
For information contact:
Swami Atmalokananda (616) 293-6884 (

Copyright 2002/2003 Mother's Trust, Mother's Place. Technical Partner -Midriff