For Immediate Release
February 1, 2012
Contact: Holli Emore
Cherry Hill Seminary Names Two New Department Chairs
COLUMBIA, SC — Cherry Hill Seminary is pleased to announce two new academic appointments. Valentine McKay-Riddell, Ph.D., is the new chair of Pagan Community Education, and David Oringderff, Ph.D., is the new chair of the Department of Pagan Pastoral Counseling.
A long-time professor for the department, Oringderff is well known for his role in the founding of Sacred Well Congregation, as well as many years of advocacy on behalf of Pagans in the U.S. Armed Forces. Oringderff is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University, and holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University (Maryland) and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Union Institute School of Professional Psychology in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Professional Counselor. He is currently a consultant and trainer in forensic and organizational psychology, and psycho-diagnostics. A veteran of over twenty-seven years in military and civilian law enforcement and intelligence work, Oringderff is a Subject Matter Expert consultant to the Department of Defense Armed Forces Chaplains Board on Alternative Religions, Sects and Cults. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, NBC Dateline, VRT Television (Belgium), ZDF Television (Germany), and in national and international printed media, including Time Magazine, Texas Monthly and US News and World Report. Oringderff holds a Texas Peace Officer license with Master Certification, a Police Instructor license, a Forensic and Investigative Hypnotist license and serves as a Deputy Sheriff (Reserve) in Comal County.
“We are fortunate to be able to welcome Dr. Oringderff to this new role,” said Wendy Griffin, Ph.D., Academic Dean for Cherry Hill Seminary. “His combination of broad life experience and professional background are what our students need as they prepare to serve in the real world. As more and more individuals serving in the military turn to Cherry Hill Seminary for training for ministry, Dr. Oringderff’s extensive network will be a tremendous asset.” The outgoing chair, Valerie Cole, Ph.D., also expressed confidence in Oringderff’s abilities to lead the department. “David and I have worked closely together now for a number of years as faculty; I’m pleased to be able to pass the baton on to such a capable colleague. Cole ably stepped into the position when Judy Harrow, Chair Emeritus, found it necessary to resign for health reasons. During her time as chair, Cole has been responsible for important developments in the department, where she will remain as a professor.
The second new appointment is that of Valentine McKay-Riddell, Ph.D., as Chair of Pagan Community Education (PCE). McKay-Riddell is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and a member of the adjunct faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, where she earned a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology. She has a private practice in shamanic healing and wellness counseling in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A cancer survivor, McKay-Riddell developed a combination of shamanism and art making as part of her healing journey, and later founded a nonprofit organization, Orenda Healing International (OIH), devoted to promoting individual and community health and wellbeing. Current projects through OHI include the influence of the Goddess in Navajo spirituality; filmmaking as a catalyst for intergenerational healing among Native American youth and elders; the possibility of genetic inheritance as the inspiration for shamanic practice; and shamanism as a root philosophy for many of our modern professions, including medicine, religion, and art. McKay-Riddell has taught art to young people and adults, including HIV-AIDS and cancer patients, as well as challenged youth, developmentally-disabled adults, and women in transition for over twenty years. She is a certified Usui Reiki Master.
“We look to Dr. McKay-Riddell to bring fresh inspiration to this important department,” said Wendy Griffin, Ph.D., Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary. “Broadening the scope and student base of Pagan Community Education is a particular strategic objective to which we know she will bring her unique talents. Meanwhile, we also express our gratitude to Jennifer Bennett for her leadership in this area for nearly three years.”
Cherry Hill Seminary supports individuals in Pagan and other Earth-based spiritualities and their communities by providing an extensive education in diverse aspects of Pagan philosophy, practice, and skilled ministry, Supplementing existing ritual and magical skills with training for professional ministry and counseling, serving as an ongoing resource for individual continuing education, and providing a forum for scholarship and community.
All Cherry Hill Seminary courses are offered online, with periodic conferences in various locations around the United States. For more information, visit www.cherryhillseminary.org, or contact us at CHS@cherryhillseminary.org.