Guest Presenters

Contemplative Practice

Spring 2021

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Orland Bishop

Orland Bishop has dedicated his life to attending to the Ancestral Shrines - the co-creative imaginative influences on how he sees the world. The primary emphasis of Bishop's work is to support the recovery of the individual's capacity to stand in openness for the higher purpose of one's life. He works in service to the creative freedom of others. Orland Bishop is the founder and director of Shade-Tree Multicultural Foundation in Los Angeles, where he has pioneered new approaches to creating urban truces and youth mentorship.

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Eileen Bristol

Eileen Bristol is a doer. She is the founder of a correspondence program providing meditation and self-development coaching for people in prison across the country. Known as the "Anthroposophical Prison Outreach," the APO provides library books, study material, newsletters, a correspondence course and mentors for people who are incarcerated in prison here in the United States. Ms. Bristol grew up working in her family’s motorcycle shop in Houston. Quite literally--she started pulling down a paycheck at age 9. 

She went on to become the founder of the Austin Waldorf school, worked in a bio-dynamic vegetable farm, ran a massage therapy business and in 2011, opened the Sahara Lounge, a music venue in Austin, TX.

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Brian Gray

Brian Gray is a Chicago native who discovered Rudolf Steiner in 1977, when he was in the midst of a 14-year career as an architect, landscape architect and environmental planner. He attended the Foundation Year and Teacher Education Program with Rene Querido at Rudolf Steiner College from 1979-1981, and went on to become a faculty member at RSC from 1981-2017. At RSC, Gray taught the life and work of Rudolf Steiner, four basic books, and directed the Foundation Year program for 18 years. A leading researcher and teacher of anthroposophically based work with the stars, Gray works intensively with colleagues Robert Schiappacasse, David Tresemer and Robert Powell and is a featured speaker on Wise Cosmos, a website that offer lectures and presentations on anthroposophical topics.

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Faiza Hashim

Faiza Hashim is an educator. Trained as a physician, she has devoted her life to homeschooling her children in the Waldorf tradition. She has obtained traditional religious training with leading Islamic scholars like Sheikh Nuh Keller, Muhammad Yaqoubi and Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. She also studied under Sheikh Hamza Yusuf at Zaytuna College, the first Muslim Liberal Arts College in North America and served as a TA with Qibla for Islamic sciences. Faiza is an active member of Ma'ruf, a non profit organization where she built a community garden that mobilized youth from various ethnic communities. Prior to moving to Wisconsin, she was part of Islamic Resource Group in Minnesota, an interfaith and bridge building organization for 10 years where she gave presentations on Islam and was active in interfaith groups. 

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Joan Penzenstadler, PhD

S. Joan Penzenstadler is a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and is currently Vice President for Mission and Identity at Mount Mary University.  In that role she calls the community to anchor themselves in the values that bring us together for the purpose of transformative education.  She began at Mount Mary in 1981 as a faculty member in the theology department before she was asked to study for her Ph.D. in theology and education at Boston College. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Contemplation as Loving Attentiveness and Receptivity to Mystery and Its Implications for Education.”   It was during her time of study (1984-88) when she began to practice Centering Prayer. 

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Melanie Reiser, PhD

Melanie Reiser is the Executive Director, Membership for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).  In this role she oversees membership processes for schools and institutes with special attention to ensuring that the foundational philosophy of Waldorf Education, anthroposophy, informs each institution’s whole environment.  Melanie received a B.A. from the University of Virginia, an M.Ed. in Waldorf Education from Antioch New England Graduate School, an M.Ed. in Value Creating Education for Global Citizenship, and a Ph.D. from the University of Denver in Curriculum and Instruction.