Bio: The Reverend Doctor Stephanie Rutt serves as the Presiding Minister of the Tree of Life Interfaith Temple, a non-denominational church she founded in 2009. She is the director of the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living and creator of the Tree of Life Interfaith Seminary, a two-year program, focused on the integration of prayer, meditation and spiritual practices from the world's major faith traditions. The twenty-six module core curriculum, The Path of Crow: Journey to Your Inner Treasure, invites seminarians on the ultimate treasure hunt to discover their divine purpose and to offer their unique gifts in service to the greater good. An optional third year offers the Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program which trains seminarians, as well as health care professionals, in cultivating pastoral mentoring skills.
Rev. Dr. Rutt earned the Doctor of Ministry degree in 2017 from Andover Newton Theological School (now a part of Yale Divinity School) where she graduated with honors and was inducted into the Jonathan Edwards Society. Her dissertation, "The Call of the Mourning Dove: How Sacred Sound Awakens Mystical Unity," was awarded the Frederick Buechner Prize for Excellence in Writing. In 2005, she graduated from the New Seminary in New York City and was ordained an interfaith minister. In the 1980s and 90s, Rev. Dr. Rutt worked as a mental health counselor and taught for many years on the college level in the behavioral sciences including eight years with the University of New Hampshire. During that time period, she also earned certifications in various yoga and meditation disciplines and in the late 90s opened the Tree of Life Yoga Studio which later became the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living.
Rev. Dr. Rutt is the author of four books: An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita (Hobblebush Books, 2006); The Interfaith Worship Manual: The Resource for Creating Interfaith Worship Services (Tree of Life Publishing, 2012); The Call of the Mourning Dove: How Sacred Sound Awakens Mystical Unity (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2019) Living the Prayer of Jesus: A Study of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2019); and, Doorway to the Sacred: Transform Your Life with Mantra Prayer (Tree of Life Publishing, 2014). In 2017, her essay, "The Shaykh and the Preacher," was chosen for inclusion in the anthology, Conversations from the Pulpit: Engaging Islam and Countering Anti-Muslim Bias, edited by Celene Ibrahim, Muslim Chaplain at Tufts University and Scholar-in-Residence at Andover Newton Theological School.
In addition to posting on her blog, "Become a Force for Good: Rev. Stephanie's blog," WordPress.com, and publishing Guest Commentaries in local newsprint, she has created numerous sacred studies programs for her community through the Tree of Life School for Sacred Living. Just a sampling of these includes: Rise Up! The Bhagavad Gita: Job Description for a Spiritual Warrior; Living Our Purpose: The Heart of Spiritual Practice; A Study of the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic; A Study of the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew; The Sanskrit Mantra Course; Mantra Prayer: Doorway to the Sacred; The Interior Castle of Saint Teresa; and, the Lovers in the Wilderness series including studies of Walter Russell, the Blessed Mother Mary and Dr. George Washington Carver.
Rev. Dr. Rutt has served her local interfaith council through visioning such programs as the "To Hear How Others Pray" series which invited lay people and faith leaders of different faiths to share personal experiences of prayer as a way of highlighting all peoples' common humanity while respecting religious difference. Today, she is leading interested communities in right action through the "The Interfaith Peace Walk" which offers a visual demonstration of how people from across faith traditions can stand and walk together in unity and solidarity while, simultaneously, forging a common goal for peace.
Rev. Dr. Rutt is a former Board member of World AWAKE and is also a member of the Interfaith Alliance and the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN).