Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Normal” -Rev. Robert McCluskey

In this reflection, Rev. Robert McCluskey explores the theme of “Normalcy” in times of collective suffering and emergency. How does our concept of what is “normal” determine how effectively we can be agents of positive change and regeneration?

Click below for a printable PDF version of Rev. McCluskey’s message:

Rev. Robert McCluskey, B.A., M.A., is a graduate of the Swedenborg School of Religion, and was ordained into the Swedenborgian Church of North America in 1984.

Rev. McCluskey has pastored Swedenborgian churches in Portland, Maine and New York City, and for 17 years served as Swedenborgian representative to the National Council of Churches. 

He currently serves Wayfarer’s Chapel, the National Monument to Emanuel Swedenborg, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

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“Swedenborg and the Ancient Art of Internal Breathing” -Eleanor Schnarr

In this piece, Eleanor Schnarr, lifelong Swedenborgian and student at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, explores the breathing practices of Emanuel Swedenborg and their role in his spiritual and mystical process.

Click below for a printable PDF version of the article:


Eleanor Schnarr is an artist, poet, and Swedenborgian mystic who lives and works at Hillside Swedenborgian Church in El Ceritto, California.

Eleanor holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, a Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and is currently studying at the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

A Seventh generation Swedenborgian, Eleanor has been involved in the practice and study of the work of the Swedish mystic since childhood. In her visual work Eleanor uses oil paint on paper to recreate the visionary experiences of the interior world in a language of line and color; an esthetic which evokes the stained glass windows of the cathedral her hometown of Bryn Athyn, PA.

Her practice centers around the refinement of the interoceptive sense through Swedenborgian spirituality and meditation, or in other words, the “Yoga of the North”. 

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“I Have Called You by Name” -Rev. Robert McCluskey

In this sermon, Rev. Robert McCluskey explores several passages in scripture which invite us to discover and embrace our unique life-ministry.

Click below for a printable PDF version of Rev. McCluskey’s sermon:

Rev. Robert McCluskey, B.A., M.A., is a graduate of the Swedenborg School of Religion, and was ordained into the Swedenborgian Church of North America in 1984.

Rev. McCluskey has pastored Swedenborgian churches in Portland, Maine and New York City, and for 17 years served as Swedenborgian representative to the National Council of Churches. 

He currently serves Wayfarer’s Chapel, the National Monument to Emanuel Swedenborg, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

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ODB Artist Portrait: The Music of Ken Turley

In this interview with ODB’s Rev. Thom Muller, Rev. Ken Turley shares about his artistic journey as a musician, what has moved him spirituallly and musically, and some recent projects he’s been working on.

Click below for a printable version of our interview with Rev. Turley:

You can check out Rev. Turley’s music on his YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPrq3Jpq3E7uHUJyPpA5Atw

Rev. Ken Turley, now retired after 30 years as parish minister and serving as president of Convention, and his wife Laurie, live in Bridgton, ME. While she continues her career as a public school music teacher, Ken devotes his time to composing music, producing music videos, gardening and keeping house. Performing and rehearsing have ground to a halt with the isolation required by the virus, but the  more solitary aspects of his life continue unabated. 

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“Racism and Leadership” -Rev. Christopher A. Barber

In this reflection, Rev. Christopher A. Barber, Swedenborgian minister and teacher at the Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, PA, explores the current socio-political issues surrounding systemic racism in the United States from a New Church perspective.

Click below for a printable PDF version of Rev. Barber’s message:

The Rev. Christopher A. Barber teaches Religion in the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools. He writes on matters of church doctrine, history, and life, and loves to help students grasp biblical and theological concepts in the light of a New Church worldview. He lives in Huntingdon Valley with his wife, Annika (Fitzpatrick), and their son.
Contact: www.ChrisBarber.info     

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Why Jesus Could Have Been… -Rev. Ken Turley

There are three good reasons that Jesus could have been black:

-He called everyone “bother” and “sister”

-He liked gospel and sang after dinner

-He couldn’t get a fair trial

Three equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:

-He went into his Father’s business

-He lived at home until he was 33

-He was sure his Mother was a virgin and she was sure he was

Three equally good reasons Jesus could have been Italian:

-He talked with his hands

-He had wine with every meal

-He used olive oil

Three equally good reasons Jesus could have been from SoCal:

-Really? The hair and beard??? Dude.

-He wore sandals or went barefoot

-He started a new religion

Three equally good reasons that Jesus could have been Irish:

-He never got married

-He was always telling stories

-He loved green pastures

Most compelling reasons that Jesus could have been a woman:

-He fed a crowd at a moments notice with barely nothing

-He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just
didn’t get it

-Even dead, He had to get up because there was more work to do

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“The Perpetual Sabbath” -Rev. Shada Sullivan

Rev. Shada Sullivan of the Church of the Holy City in Wilmington, Delaware, discusses the challenges and opportunities of the current reality of socially-distanced worship, and explores the 1950 Liturgy of the Swedenborgian Church, and how it may speak to us today.

Click below for a printable PDF version of Rev. Shada’s sermon:

Rev. Shada Sullivan is a graduate of United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia and The Center for Swedenborgian Studies in Berkeley, CA. She grew up in Australia, and  came to the United States in 1994 to attend Bryn Athyn College, a small Swedenborgian liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia. She has spent time as a chaplain as a stay-at-home Mom, and as leader of the sermon writing team at NewChurch Live (newchurchlive.tv). She now lives in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two children and serves the Church of the Holy City in Wilmington, Delaware as Pastor.

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Virtual General Convention of the Swedenborgian Church 2020

May 16, 2020

As we all struggle to adapt to the restrictions and challenges surrounding COVID-19, it has been announced that the 2020 General Convention of the New Jerusalem (aka. Swedenborgian Church of North America) will be held in virtual/online format from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28. The theme will be “Spiritual Vision – Transcending Time and Space”.

This years General Convention had been scheduled to take place at Bridgewater University in Bridgewater, MA, but had to be cancelled due to Covid.

While this may be a challenge for some, it is also an opportunity for Swedenborgians to find new ways of connecting. There will be plenty of mini-courses to attend virtually, and churches will be presenting on their ministries in creative ways.

“Transcending Time and Space”, obviously alluding to the virtual/online nature of this year’s Convenion, also has a special spiritual meaning in Swedenborgian spirituality. It is the notion that while being physically apart, we can be -quite literally- be present with each other on the level of spirit. We can assemble in spiritual societies and interact with associate beings. This speaks to the unique nature of this Convention as being an opportunity to cultivate that deeper connection, which truly transcends time and space, with each other.

As we read in True Christianity §29:

“In the spiritual world, there are no physical units of space or corresponding units of time. Yet there appear to be. Apparent space and time follow the different states of mind that spirits and angels go through there.”*

We will once again have the pleasure of having the Rev. Dr. George Dole as our keynote speaker.

Another way in which this can serve to bring us together in new ways is through inviting folks to attend this virtual Convention online from their homes. This can be an opportunity to re-connect with Swedenborgians and other seekers who are not currently involved in any New Church community. Invite your friends!

Rev. Thom Muller

*Swedenborg, Emanuel. True Christianity. Translated by Jonathan Rose. West Chester: Swedenborg Foundation, 2010.

Find out more about this year’s virtual Convention at https://swedenborg.org/news/2020-spiritual-vision-transcending-time-and-space/

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