Sun29Mar202010:30 amZoom Link shared via email
Sunday Service: Is Liberal Religion Alive?
"From my perspective, liberal religion is very much alive and as an apologist for liberal religion and process philosophy, I am finding more and more allies in various religions especially in the lives of people who consider themselves "spiritually fluid people.” - John Fahey
Get to know our Presenters:
Our guest speaker is John Fahey. John has been a Unitarian Universalist for the last 28 years and has been a member of various congregations in the Pacific Northwest and is a current member of Monte Vista Congregation in Montclair, California. John hails originally from the traditional Irish-Catholic neighborhoods of Boston where he learned to drink and fight with three older brothers and too many cousins to count. John holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity from The Starr King School for Ministry, a member school of the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union.
John lives in Claremont where he moved in 2019 with his wife Cyndy and their Bernie-Doodle dog “Bernie" to be close to their oldest adult child (and get out of the rain!) John is also a Board Member of The Cobb Institute: A Community for Process and Practice. The Cobb Institute is named in honor of theologian and professor John B. Cobb Jr., an American theologian, philosopher, and environmentalist. John Cobb is regarded as the preeminent scholar in the field of process philosophy and process theology, the school of thought associated with the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. John Cobb has been closely associated with Claremont School of Theology and The Claremont Graduate School since 1957 when he began teaching there.
John Fahey is also an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and enjoys an active membership in that spiritual program. He has a passion for religious education and has served as the Campus Minister at UC Berkeley, a youth advisor in two Unitarian Universalist congregations, and has preached and taught in a number of other U.U. congregations.
Matt Kijak was raised in Unitarian Universalist Congregations in Chicago and Pennsylvania, and recently rejoined the UU church in 2019. Matt cut his teeth learning guitar by sneaking into Chicago’s seedy underground blues bars at age 13. While getting his Bachelor’s in Business Administration at Woodbury University, Matt played in many bands, signed a record contract at 19. He made a living playing shows and festivals in the U.S., and later toured in Australia. Matt continues to pursue music, playing bass in his current project “Inappropriate Things” with fellow church member Nick Mercir.
Inspired by the work of activists in the late 1960’s, Matt made a life change and started fundraising for Greenpeace. Soon, he worked his way up to Campaign Coordinator for all Los Angeles Greenpeace projects. Matt helped ban plastic straws in Los Angeles county, worked with Xavier Becerra to file lawsuits against top oil companies for their part in climate change-related damage to Los Angeles, sailed on Greenpeace ships in the Atlantic and Pacific to fight offshore oil drilling, ran campaigns in Washington state to reduce fracking nears schools, and personally raised over 1 million dollars to fund Greenpeace’s anti-deforestation campaigns in the Borneo Rainforest.
After fighting climate change, plastics pollution, and deforestation with Greenpeace, Matt went back to school to pursue a career in Clinical Social work with a focus on adult mental health and wellness. In 2019 Matt graduated Summa Cum Laude from USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and became a registered Associate Clinical Social Worker in the state of California in 2020. Matt facilitates adult and child therapy groups for families and women exposed to domestic violence, performs Crisis Intervention Therapy on the National Parent Helpline (a free resource for struggling parents similar to the suicide prevention hotline), and recently received a job offer in Pomona providing therapy for re-entry individuals on probation in Los Angeles County.
Matt has also been a part of Alcoholics Anonymous for two and a half years and shares his experience, strength, and hope with his current sponsees.
Nick Mecir, Musician: Nick is from San Jose, CA, and began writing short stories and poetry around the age of 12. After his parents gifted him an electric guitar 2 years later, Nick developed a deep passion for songwriting, and for relaying the human experience via song. He moved to Pomona in 2013 to complete his undergraduate degree at Cal Poly Pomona, where he graduated from in 2016 with a B.A. in Music. Inspired by a wide array of artists, his musical style draws heavily from both the hopeful optimism of 1960’s folk music, as well raw aggressiveness of late 80’s punk rock. He currently plays in local LA based band Inappropriate Things, and generally pretends to be a Jedi whenever in front of an automatic door.
Tatiana Khawaja, Vocalist: Tatiana was raised in Glendora, California by an American mother and a father who immigrated from Beirut, Lebanon. She attended Lycée International de Los Angeles, in order to become fluent in French to communicate with her father’s side of the family (who only speak Arabic and French). She also attended Clairbourn School, St. Lucy’s Priory High School, Pasadena City College where she received her Associate Degree in Social Sciences, and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s in psychology from California State University Los Angeles. She plans on furthering her education at Pepperdine University to receive her master’s degree in clinical psychology, in order to serve individuals with eating disorders and other mental health issues.
While going to school for psychology, Tatiana worked at Clairbourn, a private Preschool through Middle School, as the Communications and Marketing Assistant. In 2019, Tatiana volunteered at Greenpeace Los Angeles and helped to execute a campaign targeted at reducing corporate plastic waste in Los Angeles county. Tatiana is an avid horticulturist, experienced painter, and recently volunteered her time at Villa Esperanza’s Adult Day Program in the Westminster Presbyterian Church.