Author of twelve books, Chris Highland was a Protestant Minister for 14 years and an Interfaith (collaborative, open-minded, inclusive) Chaplain for 25 years. Currently a Humanist Celebrant, he has degrees in Philosophy and Religion from Seattle Pacific University and San Francisco Theological Seminary. Chris holds a Community College Teaching Credential and (until recently) a Substitute Teaching Credential from the State of California. He taught Community Living Skills and served as an ad hoc chaplain in a private school for adults with disabilities for six years. He was a Chaplain with people in jails and on the streets for two decades. He has been an adjunct instructor at Dominican University of California, a field education supervisor through the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and an instructor at Cherry Hill Seminary and the College of Marin. He now teaches courses on the history of Freethought at the Reuter Center (OLLI) in Asheville and writes a weekly column for the Citizen-Times.
In the winter of 2008-2009 and again in 2009-2010 he was the Director of the County Emergency Shelter in Marin. For six years he was the Manager of a senior independent living cooperative in Marin County. He is married to The Rev. Carol Hovis, who served as Executive Director of the Marin Interfaith Council for 12 years. Chris’ daughter Sharel lives with her husband, J.D., in Portland, Oregon.
Chris serves on the Communications Committee of The Clergy Project and the Religion and Philosophy Curriculum Committee for the OLLI program at UNCA Reuter Center.
Chris has given public presentations, taught classes and led retreats for congregations, business groups, high schools, universities, social service workers and youth leaders. He has taught in buddhist, christian, jewish, unitarian, secular and other settings. His educational style is engaging and inspiring, drawing students or audience into an active participation in the subject.
In recent years, Chris has presented at Grandfather Mountain, Highland Books in Brevard, the Ethical Society of Asheville, Piedmont Humanists (Greenville, SC), Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Swannanoa, BDR Sunday Spotlight, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Secular Sanctuary (CA and NC), Sunday Assembly in Berkeley, San Francisco Atheists, First United Lutheran in San Francisco, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, Community Church in Mill Valley, Christ Presbyterian Church in Terra Linda, Marin Interfaith Council, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Tiburon, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere, Lucas Valley Community Church, Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, Zephyr Point Conference Center at Lake Tahoe, Christ Episcopal Church in Sausalito, the Interfaith Community Church in Seattle, San Francisco Theological Seminary, Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz, UC Davis, The Redwoods in Mill Valley, The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, an Interfaith Contemplative service at the Church of Christ Scientist and Ross Valley Rotary. Though he was not able to go, he was invited to be a presenter at the Annual Gathering of the Thoreau Society in Concord, MA. He is the co-founder of Secular Sanctuary, a fledgling non-supernatural “congregation.”
Chris is available to give presentations, teach courses or lead retreats in congregations, schools or other settings. He has long experience creating unique wedding ceremonies as well as memorials and other meaningful moments.
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The Clergy Project (member since 2012)