Stephen Miller, new Assistant Director of Shem Center
With gratitude and anticipation Shem Center announces the appointment of Steve Miller to Shem Center’s staff as Assistant Director with Joe Kilikevice, its Founding Director.
Steve’s involvement with Shem Center’s Male Spirit program for many years both as a participant and co-leader with Joe holds an impressive history of creative, joyful, profoundly moving and memorable sacred gatherings. Driving to the retreat at LaSalle Manor in Plano, Illinois from from South Dakota with his sons, presenting them, each in turn for a Male Spirit rite of passage, bringing his son-in-law, Luke and some students from the University of South Dakota, all speaks to his enthusiastic embrace of what Shem Center and its Male Spirit program offers. The mutual respect that marks his friendship with Joe is a gift that strengthens Shem Center’s presence in a world that struggles to remember how preeminent respect is.
Steve’s own spiritual path, enhanced by years of ministry as a Pastor in the UCC Church, a teacher at the University of South Dakota and his respect and friendship with the Lakota People has forged him into an energetic adherent to Shem Center’s interfaith mission of respect and radical inclusivity. Bringing his considerable music skills as well as certification as a leader in the Dances of Universal Peace greatly enhances the gifts he brings to Shem Center programs.
The Board of Directors of Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality is pleased to offer Steve the position of Assistant Director, joining Joseph Kilikevice who holds the title, Founding Director. This position commences on January 1, 2022.
As we envision and welcome the many possibilities that present themselves with Steve joining Joe in what lies ahead for Shem Center, we are grateful that the mission of Shem Center begun during the 1993 Chicago Parliament of the World’s Religions will continue.
Welcome Steve, and thank you for all you have already brought to us. We look forward to the Shem Center story that has yet to be lived in the sacred scripture of our lives.
With respect and gratitude,
Wayne Vanek, Treasurer
Joe Kilikevice, President
Terry Kinsey, Secretary
Monday, January 24, 2022
Shem Center Board of Directors
Dear Joe, Terry, and Wayne,
In January 1992, I attended my first interfaith retreat with Brother Joe. It was a Male Spirit gathering held at the Resurrection Center in Woodstock, Illinois. The following year, the Shem Center was founded and in these intervening years, I have participated regularly in a myriad of programs and offerings (Male Spirit, Circle of Brothers, Bread-Baking, Aramaic Jesus, Dances of Universal Peace, Parliament of World Religions). Participation in Shem Center offerings has allowed me to develop amazing relationships with deeply spiritual people from a wide variety of backgrounds, taught me the value of respectful and practical exploration and dialogue with other faith traditions, and finally, has provided a profound spiritual canvas from which I may continue to imagine and create a world of peace and unity that is the on-going dream of the generations of humankind.
Beyond the programmatic aspects of Shem Center, Joe has become a revered mentor and a lifelong friend. His constant presence in my life has been the precious gift of a faithful guide and companion. When another friend once asked why this connection was so important to me, I replied without thinking, “When I am engaged with Joe and these people, doing this vital work, it is the closest I have ever felt to heaven on earth.”
At this point in of my life, I have begun to grow into what Hindus would call Vanaprastha – a time of moving away from social and economic responsibility and into a focus much more deeply on the spiritual aspects of life, a move from the center of action and leadership into the helping role of elder or advisor. I have just recently become pastor of a much smaller part time church in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Couple this emerging time and space with my deep love of chant and dance and spiritual exploration and world religions and silence, and I am poised for my next great adventure albeit a slow and quiet path.
It is, therefore, with great excitement and respect, that I accept your offer to become the new assistant director of the Shem Center. I am eager to work beside Joe to continue the amazing work of Shem into the future. I am ready to start as soon as the board decides, and I look forward to working the practical details of this new position with Joe.
Rumi reminds us to “Let the beauty we love, be what we do!” Thank you for giving me this honor and opportunity.
With deep respect,
Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality
708 North Harvey Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
Photo Credits: Emory Mead, Stephen B. Starr, Joseph Kilikevice
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