The Tree of Life Interfaith Temple, Inc., is a non-denominational church, formed as a nonprofit corporation in the State of New Hampshire in September of 2009 and received 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code in June of 2010. The three-fold purpose for the formation of the church is to provide a place of worship, to engage in community charitable activities and to ordain and oversee interfaith ministers as graduated from The Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary. We are a community of ordinary people forging the extra-ordinary mission to create a place where we may practice truly seeing the Divine within all peoples of all religions.
The Board of Directors are:
John Silva, Chair
Bob Chapin, Treasurer
Rev. Ilona Kwiecien
Rev. Laurie Biggers
Rev. Peggy Marcellino
Presiding Minister, Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Spiritual Advisor
We believe that God is expressed as the body of all creation, the heart of each faith tradition and the infinite Soul of each person.
When this is recognized, we begin to see ourselves in all beings and all beings in our self. We can begin the practice of loving saint and sinner the same as we look beyond the external conditions to the internal, infinite, truth of each being. No one need be outside the bounds of our love. No one. We can now begin to truly love our neighbor as our self.
We believe that it is through the practice of meditative prayer that we awaken to our Divinity and come to know God.
Mother Teresa said that when we pray we talk to God and when we meditate we listen to God. Meditative prayer is not an intellectual experience but rather a quieting of the mind which allows for a humble opening of the heart. In such moments of quiet opening, we experience our deepest desire to be one with our Creator and to become instruments for a greater good.
We believe that each person, being a spark of the Divine flame, has a unique part to play in the Divine Plan.
Though it may appear that some play a more visible or far reaching role, in truth, no one's role is more valuable to the whole than another's. Each of us was created to be holy and to offer our unique gifts in service to our fellow brothers and sisters.
We believe that we are here to serve those in need with joy and thanksgiving.
Because we strive to see ourselves in all beings and all beings in our self, we naturally feel the suffering of our sisters and brothers as our own regardless of religion, race, creed or nationality. And, we naturally rejoice in the Divinity of others as our own. So, as we serve our neighbor, we serve God.
We believe that the role of suffering in human experience is to awaken our humanity, bring us to a deeper threshold of compassion for our self and others and to bring us closer to our Divine creator.
While we may not always be able to control what happens to us or around us, we do have control over how we respond. In turning away from victimhood, we open to receive the gifts inherent in all experience. We embrace the lotus flower as a universal symbol of spirituality as it teaches us that we grow, as the lotus, out of the muck. We, in fact, blossom, not in spite of, but rather, because of.
Rev. Stephanie Rutt is an interfaith minister ordained in 2005 by the New Seminary for Interfaith Studies in New York City. She is founder of the Tree of Life Interfaith Temple and serves as Presiding Minister. She is also the founder and creator of the Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary and the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living, LLC, formally the Tree of Life Yoga Studio. Rev. Rutt is the creator of numerous year long spiritual study courses including Rise Up! The Bhagavad Gita: Job Description for a Spiritual Warrior, Living Our Purpose: The Heart of Spiritual Practice, The Lord's Prayer and Beatitudes in Aramaic and the Sanskrit Mantra Course. She is the author of An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita, published by Hobblebush Books in 2006 and author of The Path of Crow: Journey to Your Inner Treasure, curriculum for The Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary. In addition, in 2012, Rev. Rutt released The Interfaith Worship Manual and Living the Prayer of Jesus: A Study of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic. Most recently, in 2014, she released Doorway to the Sacred: Transform Your Life with Mantra Prayer. Rev. Rutt is a member of A World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy, the Interfaith Alliance and the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN).
Rev. Rutt holds a Master of Arts in Psychology, Guidance and Counseling and in the early 90s worked as a mental health counselor at Milford Regional Counseling Services and taught for many years in the behavioral science at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. Today, she offers spiritual mentoring, focusing on daily spiritual practice as a means to understand and transform the challenges of human experience. As a way of extending service to the community at large, Rev. Rutt founded the Gifts of Grace Foundation which created quilts for local foster care children from 2005 through 2009 and she served as Convener of the Souhegan Valley Interfaith Council from 2004 through 2006 during which she sponsored the To Hear How Others Pray series. Rev. Rutt is currently working on her doctorate in the Doctorate of Ministry program at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA."
Presiding Minister, Rev. Stephanie Rutt, will officiate on the first Sunday of each month from September 2015 through June of 2016 except where indicated below. Services are held from 11 - 12 noon. We welcome you!
September 20, 2015 - Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Presiding Minister
October 4, 2015 - Rev. Peggy Marcellino, Seminarian Class of 2014
October 18, 2015
October 25, 2015 - Tree of Life Community Retreat Day, 9am-12:30pm, Milford Town Hall. Lunch Included.
(Reverend Stephanie will be leading this Retreat Day instead of offering a regular worship service in October.)
November 1, 2015
November 15, 2015 - Special Thanksgiving Service - Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Presiding Minister
December 6, 2015
December 20, 2015: Special Christmas Service - Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Presiding Minister
January 3, 2016 - Rev. Peggy Marcellino, Seminarian Class of 2014
January 24, 2016 - Tree of Life Community Retreat Day, 1 - 4pm, Milford Town Hall. Refreshments included.
February 7, 2016 - Rev. Jan Grossman (a.k.a. Rev. Ahjan), Seminary Class of 2011, Seminarian Class of 2014
February 21, 2016 - Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Presiding Minister
March 6, 2016 - Rev. Beth Cohen, Seminarian Class of 2013
March 27, 2016: Special Easter Sunday Service - Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Presiding Minister
April 4, 2016 - Rev. Ilona Kwiecien, Seminarian Class of 2013
April 10, 2016 - Tree of Life Community Retreat Day, 9am-12pm, Milford Town Hall. Refreshments included.
April 17, 2016: Rev. Pam Nowell, Seminarian Class of 2011
May 1, 2016: Rev. Peggy Marcellino, Seminarian Class of 2014
May 15, 2016: Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Presiding Minister
June 5, 2016: Rev. Julie Beauchemin, Seminarian Class of 2012
June 12, 2016: Tree of Life Community Retreat Day, 1-4pm, Milford Town Hall. Refreshments included.
June 19, 2016: Rev. Peggy Marcellino, Seminarian Class of 2014
Please check back for additional worship services
Community service is a priority for the Temple. We are establishing 'A Gift from the Light" program to support local areas in need in our community. If you are in need, or would like to offer volunteerism or contributions, please contact Rev. Stephanie Rutt.
The Tree of Life held its 2nd Community Retreat Day on Sun., Jan. 24, 2016 at Milford Town Hall, Milford, NH. Featuring special guest Celene Ibrahim, a Muslim as well as one of Rev. Stephanie Rutt's professors at Andover Newton Theological School.
To see pictures from that event, as well as all other pictures from the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living's history, click here