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Spirituality: Secular and Religious
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2/11/2019 to 2/12/2019
When: February 11-12, 2019
Monday, 3:30pm - 8:30pm; Tuesday, 8:30am-3:30pm
Where: Pacific Buddhist Academy
1754 Lusitana Street
Honolulu, Hawaii  96813
United States

Online registration is closed.
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Member Schools:
First registrant: $250    Additional registrants from same school: $225

First registrant: $425    Additional registrants from same school: $400


Target Audience

This event is for educators from any grade level, K-12.




This event will take a look at the universal nature of spirituality. Spirituality is commonly understood as interlocked with religion; while certainly found, it is not limited to a religious context. At this event, spirituality will be explored as something that is a part of being human and can be either religious or secular. One speaker will explore Hawaiian spirituality as an example of spirituality. Speakers will also address how to bring spirituality into a school community and how to use it to go beyond the school walls.

Rough Schedule (order of speakers subject to change)

Monday, Feb 11

3:30     Registration

4:00     Welcome and discussion

5:00     What is spirituality, Bob Mattingly

6:00     Dinner

6:45     Hawaiian Spirituality, Ke'alohi Reppun - Punahou

8:00     Adjourn for day

Tuesday, Feb 12

8:30     Light breakfast

9:00     The Psychology of Spirituality  -  Steven James, PhD, Pacific Buddhist Academy

10:15     Integration: Bringing spirituality in school community  -  Justin Maaia, National Cathedral School

11:30     Lunch

12:30     Activism: spirituality going beyond the school community -

                 · Christy MacPherson Executive Director of Faith Action for Community Equity
                 · Josh Hernandez-Morse, Head of Pacific Buddhist Academy, “Peace Bridge”

2:00     Group discussion, “How to take this home”

3:00     Wrap-up activity (bob)


About the Presentations and Presenters


He Aliʻi Ka ʻĀina - The Land is Chief
and other lessons of spirituality grounded in ancestral knowledge from Hawaiʻi


Dr. Keʻalohi Reppun is a kupa of Windward Oʻahu, born and raised on a taro farm in the back of Waiāhole Valley, she is a graduate of Punahou School, UH Hiloʻs Hawaiian Language College-Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani, and UH Mānoaʻs College of Education. Dr. Reppun is currently one of two Co-Directorʻs of Kuaihelani Learning Center for Hawaiian Studies at Punahou School.



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The Psychology of Spirituality: Educating for Self-Transcendence

Originally from Pennsylvania, Steven James attended the University of Pittsburgh where he pursued a degree in astrophysics and was a member of the Air Force ROTC. Immediately after graduating he received an officer's commission and spent seven years in the service as an astrophysicist. During this time he also attained an M.S. in eletro-optical engineering, and put it to use conducting research with the telescope facilities atop Haleakala, Maui. After the tragic loss of his niece, best friend, and brother, Steven's professional interests shifted away from exploring the external universe and toward internal ones. As such, he left the Air Force and returned to school to study educational psychology, with a focus on holistic education of pro-social traits such as transcendence, empathy, compassion, humility, and altruism. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii in 2017. While still conducting his Ph.D. research, Steven serendipitously began working at Pacific Buddhist Academy, whose philosophy, mission, and goals matched perfectly with his expertise in holistic education toward transcendence.

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From Spirituality to Action

Deepening relationships, strengthening communities and mobilizing them to collectively address the issues that matter.

Christy K. MacPherson is a graduate of McKinley High School and Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Her first experience with Faith Action for Community Equity was as a leader, serving as the co-chair of the Public Education Committee in 1996. Her passion for Faith Action led her to try her hand at community organizing and she became a staff organizer. Christy also spent 10 years as the Program Manager for Family Promise of Hawai`i, which serves families with children experiencing homelessness. She also taught several courses on community organizing at the University of Hawai`i Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. Her other social service experiences were in the areas of substance abuse and mental health. In her spare time, Christy enjoys spending time with her friends and family, traveling, and playing soccer with her team, Orange Krush. 



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Person to Person: Contemplative, Reflective, and Relational Practices for Fostering Spiritual Development, Both Secular and Religious
This session introduces a sampling of contemplative, reflective, relational teaching practices that have been successful for fostering spiritual development in both secular and religious students. These practices have worked well in both curricular and co-curricular settings. A recent multi-school ethnographic doctoral research project found these practices—and the self-reflection and trusting relationships that ensued—to be indispensable conditions for spiritual development. We will engage in a few of these practices together, introduce some others, and discuss some of the research findings and best practices for implementation. There will also be an invitation to share any similar practices that participants may already be using.


Justin C. Maaia is the upper school religious studies teacher at the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. Through the nontraditional methods of some of his early teachers, he was encouraged in his pursuit of experiential approaches to the study of religion. During fifteen years of teaching, he has found that cultivating space for students to personally appropriate religious studies content not only leads to mastery of that content, but also to spiritual development and worldview formation. He is currently writing a version of this curriculum for use by teachers and by anyone else seeking to learn more about world religions and/or to explore their own spiritual lives. Additionally, he is finishing a paper that builds on his Master’s research at Boston University, in which he shows the “perlocutionary function” of many religious texts, the idea that these texts use techniques such as rhythm, repetition, and the breaking of linguistic and logical rules not in order to make assertions about reality, but rather to produce a mystical experience in the reader. This May, Williams College bestowed on Justin the Olmsted Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, for which he was nominated by a former student. 

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Poiesis: On Finding Artistic Purpose in the Building of a Sangha


Raised in southern Oregon, Josh Hernandez Morse studied anthropology and creative writing under the mentorship of linguist Colette Grinevald and poet Garrett Hongo. Hongo introduced Hernandez Morse to Pacific Buddhist Academy's founding head of school Pieper Toyama, who recruited him to help launch the new independent school in 2003. Hernandez Morse has worked at PBA since that time, and became head of school in 2014.






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