Date & Time Details:
Every Wednesday from March 27 -
May 1, 2024
Time: 10 am PST/ 12 pm CST/ 1 pm EST

Location: Online (via Zoom)

Email us about program

Poetry for the Journey (Free Online Series)

With Jay McDaniel, Sophia Said, Reverend Patricia Lewis Matthews, Mary Elizabeth Moore and Kathleen Wakefield

March 27 - May 1, 2024

Creating a Spiritual Space for People on all Paths 

We are delighted to present the spring 2024 session of Interfaith Explorations. Hosted by Bethlehem Centre in collaborative partnership with The Interfaith Center of Arkansas,  The Cobb Institute and Process and Faith, “Poetry for the Journey” is a six week online series that will provide an inclusive environment for individuals from different religious traditions and spiritual independents to come together to share and discuss poetry.

The group’s primary focus is on “spiritual poetry”, a term inspired by Jane Hirshfield, an acclaimed poet, essayist, and translator with ten collections of poetry. On the Poetry Foundation’s website, Hirshfield shares 22 spiritual poems that delve into themes such as permeability, embracing life with a resounding ‘Yes,’ abundance, longing, spiritual dialogue, love, vibration, and meditation. These are the kinds of themes we will explore during the class sessions.

The selected poems will be ancient, classical, and contemporary works from diverse cultures and faith backgrounds. They will be presented in English to ensure accessibility for participants. The poems will serve as launching pads for reflection and discussion, allowing participants to contemplate on various aspects of everyday life, historical moments, and philosophical ideas.

The interfaith exploration series will be held on Wednesdays, with a guided exploration of three poems during each session. The three poems for each week will be distributed before the class so that participants can read them in advance if they wish.

Experienced facilitators of poetry explorations will lead each of these sessions. Zoom details will be sent to register participants.


Jay McDaniel
Jay McDaniel is Chair of the Board of the Cobb Institute for Process and Community. He taught the world’s religions at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, for 39 years. He is the author or editor of more than fifteen books, including Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism and Gandhi’s Hope: Learning from Other Religions. Jay also curates and edits the world’s largest website on the ideas and practice of process thought: Open Horizons ( Working in mainland China as a leader of workshops on process thought, he is also a member of the Board of the…
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Sophia Said
Sophia Said is the founder and president of Madina Institute, a mosque and community center serving the spiritual, social, and educational needs of a growing Muslim population in Central Arkansas. She has also helped developed The Interfaith Center of Arkansas and led it for ten years as the executive director. Sophia has been conferred many awards for her interfaith work and peacemaking efforts in the state of Arkansas. Born and raised in Pakistan, Sophia moved to the United States for higher education. She has a master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service. Sophia has been working at the…
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Reverend Patricia Lewis Matthews
The Reverend Patricia Lewis Matthews is an Episcopal Priest living and working in Arkansas. Patricia has a deep love of interfaith dialogue and has integrated it into her 26 years of ministry in the Episcopal Church. She is currently serving as the executive director of The Interfaith Center of Arkansas. She believes that the peacemaking work of The Interfaith Center is an integral part of a functioning and harmonious society. Patricia’s affinity for poetry, discovered as an English major in college and as a explorer of used book stores in Chicago, has influenced her ability to analyze and experience traditionally…
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Mary Elizabeth Moore
Mary Elizabeth Moore is Professor Emerita of Theology and Education and Dean Emerita of the School of Theology, Boston University. Her passion is to journey with others to build compassionate and prophetic communities, and a more just, peaceful, and ecologically thriving world. Central to that work is building intercultural, interracial, and interreligious relationships. She has written numerous books, including Teaching as a Sacramental Act; Teaching from the Heart; and Ministering with the Earth, as well as co-edited volumes such as Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World and Deep Understanding for Divisive Times. She has also published numerous articles…
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Kathleen Wakefield
Kathleen A. Wakefield has two written books of poetry, Notations on the Visible World (2000), which won the 1999 Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and Grip, Give and Sway (Silver Birch Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in such journals as the Alaska Quarterly Review, Blue Line, The Christian Century, The Georgia Review, Hubbub HumanaObscura, Image, One, Poetry, Rattle, River Styx, Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, and Visions International. Kathleen has worked in public libraries for over two decades in addition to teaching creative writing at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester. She has also enjoyed working as a…
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