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Interfaith Peace Conference at Lake Junaluska

Leadership

November 10-13

Dr. Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Agrarian Studies at Duke Divinity School, pursues research and teaching interests at the intersections of theology, philosophy, ecology, and agrarian and environmental studies. His work focuses on understanding and promoting practices that can equip both rural and urban church communities to be more faithful and responsible members of creation. 

Professor Wirzba has published The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age and Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight. His most recent books are From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, and (with Fred Bahnson) Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation. He also has edited several books, including The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry.

Rabia Terri Harris is an essayist, editor, peace activist, public intellectual, practicing chaplain, freelance theologian, sometime translator, and aspiring servant of Allah. In 1994 Ms. Harris founded the Muslim Peace Fellowship, the first organization specifically devoted to the theory and practice of authentically Islamic active nonviolence. Today she serves as Director of MPF and Resident Elder at Dar Anwaras-Salam, the Muslim component of the Community of Living Traditions, atripartite Abrahamic residential peace community located in Stony Point, New York. She is also among the organizers of a new venture in Islamic pastoral care; the Muslim Chaplains Association. 

Ms. Harris holds a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in the field of Religion, a Master’s from Columbia University in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, and a Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary. She has spent fifteen years as a columnist and contributing editor at Fellowship, the magazine of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  

Rabbi David Seidenberg, the creator of NeoHasid, teaches text and music, dance, and ecology, and all aspects of Jewish thought and spirituality, in their own right and in relation to ecology and the environment. Areas include Kabbalah and Chasidut, Talmud, davening, evolution and cosmology, sustainability, Maimonides, Buber, and more. David has smikhah (ordination) from the Jewish Theological Seminary and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and is one of the world's foremost scholars on Judaism and ecology. His book on ecology and Kabbalah, based on his doctorate at JTS, will be published in 2013. David has also worked as an activist and community organizer, and he founded the first Chasidic-egalitarian minyan in the world on NYC's Upper West Side, which was the inspiration for neohasid.org. He has taught at well over 100 synagogues, communities, retreats and conferences across North America (and a few in Israel), and is published widely on ecology and Judaism.

Bishop Ciriaco Francisco is the acting Bishop in the Davao Episcopal Area of the Philippines, elected in 2012, a year before Typhoon Haiyan hit his country.  He is married to Restetita Victoria Francisco, a university professor in the field of guidance and counseling in Manila. They have three grown-up children — one girl and two boys.

Bishop Francisco is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational management and is now doing research to complete his dissertation.

Four-time Grammy Award winner, David Holt, fell in love with the banjo and traditional mountain music as a young man, and he moved to western North Carolina in 1968.  Holt started traveling around the region to meet hundreds of old-time mountaineers with a wealth of folk music, stories, and wisdom.  Holt learned banjo tunes from Wade Mainer, stories from Ray Hicks, and how to play the washboard from 122-year-old Susie Brunson.  Today, he is a master at 10 different acoustic instruments, not to mention a host of unusual instruments, like the jaw harp, mouthbow, and even the paper bag.