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Cherry Hill Seminary Awards First-Ever Pagan Master of Divinity Degree

For Immediate Release, August 16, 2012

Contact: Holli Emore, 888.503.4131, CHS@cherryhillseminary.org

COLUMBIA, SC — Cherry Hill Seminary today announced the graduation of Sandra Lee Harris, awarding her the Master of Divinity in Pagan Pastoral Counseling. Harris is the first student to complete her master’s degree since Cherry Hill Seminary first opened its graduate program in 2009.

Sandra L. Harris, M.Div., Pagan Pastoral Counseling

“When I started in 2002, Cherry Hill Seminary was the first and best opportunity I found for inexpensive and trustworthy Pagan education beyond the training I received in the Fellowship of the Sacred Grove,” said Harris in an interview. “By the time the masters program was introduced in 2009, I had committed myself to becoming a board-certified chaplain. I embraced the Cherry Hill Seminary program as a way to add the necessary qualification of an M.Div. or equivalent.”

Harris served her internship at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., and prior to that was for several years a volunteer pastoral caregiver and on-call interfaith chaplain at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. She has been accepted into the Fairfax County Community Chaplain Corps, beginning service following November Corps training.

Executive Director Holli Emore notes that the needs of students like Harris have helped shape the seminary program, and the needs of local and regional communities have shaped the educational choices of Cherry Hill Seminary students. Academic Dean, Wendy Griffin, Ph.D., comments on the unique assets of Cherry Hill Seminary: “Our Masters classes are multi-disciplinary and taught by leading scholars in their fields. A major advantage of an online seminary is that our instructors come from all over the United States, as well as Canada, Britain, France and Australia, and are scholars with whom students would never come into contact except through their writings. Ms. Harris has taken full advantage of the opportunities that Cherry Hill Seminary can offer and we know she will make us proud as she takes up her calling.”

Harris’ department chair and advisor has been Dr. David Oringderff, also founder of Sacred Well Congregation. Oringderff says, “On behalf of the Pagan Pastoral Counseling Department, I would like to extend our congratulations to Sandra L. Harris, M.Div., for an outstanding job well done. Having worked with Sandra as a professor and academic advisor for much of her academic career, I can attest to her diligence, dedication and academic excellence. I am both proud and gratified that she wishes, as an alumnus, to continue her close association with and contributions to Cherry Hill Seminary. Conferral of the Master of Divinity, Pagan Pastoral Counseling, was both a personal milestone for Sandra, and an institutional milestone for the Seminary. As our first Master of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling, she helped set the high standards of excellence for all of our students who follow. We wish her all the best, and pledge our continued support in her endeavors to become a Board-Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.”

Cherry Hill Seminary is the leader in providing education and practical training for Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities, leadership, ministry, and personal growth.. Incorporated in the state of South Carolina, all studies are through online distance education, with occasional retreats and conferences. For more information, visit www.cherryhillseminary.org or write CHS@cherryhillseminary.org.

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