“I have sometimes thought that, in order to be a good minister, it was necessary to leave the ministry.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, June 2, 1832
Author of nearly twenty 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 a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Seattle Pacific University and an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Chris holds a Community College Teaching Credential from the State of California.
In the winter of 2008-2009 and again in 2009-2010 he was the director of the County Emergency Shelter in Marin County, California. For six years he was the manager of a senior independent living cooperative in Marin.
Chris taught Community Living Skills and served as an ad hoc chaplain in a private school for adults with disabilities for six years. 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 (UNCA) in Asheville and Blue Ridge Community College.
As a longtime writer, Chris pens a weekly “Highland Views” column for the Citizen-Times, a USA Today affiliate (collected in the books: Friendly Freethinker, Broken Bridges, A Freethinker’s Gospel and other books). His essays have been published in The Freethought Society e-zine, Patheos, The Humanist, The Interfaith Observer, North American Review, State of Formation, Ex-Christian and regularly published on this site. Most recent essays are collected in Simply Secular, Nature is Enough, Birds, Beetles, Bears and Beliefs, Was Jesus a Humanist?, A Secular Gospel and Once Upon a Faith.
Chris is married to The Rev. Carol Hovis, a Presbyterian Minister, Spiritual Director and Enneagram Teacher who served as Executive Director of the Marin Interfaith Council for 12 years. His daughter and son-in-law live in Oregon.
He has served on the Communications Committee of The Clergy Project and the Religion and Philosophy Curriculum Committee for the OLLI program at the UNCA Reuter Center.
A skilled presenter, 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, pagan, unitarian, secular and other settings. His educational style is engaging and inspiring, drawing students or audience into an active participation in the subject.
Chris has given presentations at these selected locations:
Rationalists of East Tennessee, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church (Asheville), the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Asheville, the UNCA Reuter Center, Malaprop’s Bookshop, Grateful Steps Foundation, Blue Ridge Community College, Jubilee! Asheville, Grandfather Mountain, Highland Books in Brevard, the Deerfield community, Givens Estates, the Ethical Humanist 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, John Muir Conference (Feather River), John Muir Mountain Days and John Muir Home (Martinez), San Francisco Theological Seminary, Cabrillo College near Santa Cruz, UC Davis, The Redwoods in Mill Valley, The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Muir Woods National Monument, Yosemite National Park, an Interfaith Contemplative service at the Church of Christ Scientist, Green Gulch Zen Center and Ross Valley Rotary.
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.
CONTACT CHRIS: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Member or Supporter:
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State
American Humanist Association
The Clergy Project (member since 2012)
Religious Naturalist Association
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Secular Students Speakers Bureau