News About Our Interspiritual Counseling Leadership Transition

Dear Members of the One Spirit Community:

Three years ago we formed a Succession Committee to respond to the request from the Founder and Spiritual Director of One Spirit, Rev. Diane Berke to transitioning from her role as Spiritual Director and Director of Seminary. We went through a very healthy process that led to the decision to train Rev. DeShannon Barnes-Bowens and Rev. Eileen Fisher to take on the leadership of the seminary program. This has been a very successful transition, and next fall they will assume full direction of the Seminary.

Recently, Therese Bimka and Sally Schwager let us know that they will be departing as the Directors of the Interspiritual Counseling (ISC) Program in the summer of 2021. The Committee has begun meeting to plan out this transition as well.

Therese and Sally have masterfully led and grown the ISC program since 2012. Due to their stellar leadership and commitment to excellence, Therese and Sally have consistently ensured the ISC program reflected the latest trends in the field of spiritual counseling and companionship. It is, therefore, no surprise that the ISC curriculum stands as an innovative, rigorous, heart-centered training, offering students solid professional skills they are able to integrate into the real world. Therese and Sally will be missed, but leave us with a legacy deeply infused with what makes all One Spirit programs unique.

At One Spirit, we are pioneering new ways to navigate changes in the crucible of community. Our teaching, our message, our values of collaboration, learning, and spirit-led organization inform the very methods we use to run the business of One Spirit. This was exemplified in the succession plan that Diane requested for her transition. Now, we have an opportunity to build on that success. Part of this will require input from the community as we research what the world needs now and how we can best meet those needs. Please be on the lookout for an invitation to participate in research starting in January. We will, of course, update you as we have news to share during the process.

We also know that many students may want to join the ISC program in the fall to have an opportunity to study with Therese and Sally before they depart the program. We will be having our first information Session on February 3rd.

If you have questions or comments, please send them to

Again, thank you to Therese and Sally for giving us the necessary time to make a healthy and well-considered transition.

The Succession Committee-ISC Sub-committee
Ilene Sameth, CEO
Gabriele Ganswindt
Brad Learmonth
Gordon Brode
Ava Schlesinger