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Memorial Tribute to Ruth Schweitzer-Mordecai

We pay tribute to Ruth Schweitzer-Mordecai, a longtime board member of Pacific Center for Spiritual Formation (PCSF) who died on June 29, 2022 at the age of 85. Ruth was dedicated in her commitment to discovering, embracing, and sharing transformative psychological and spiritual practices.

She joined PCSF in 1995 and became integral to our mission of providing opportunities for individuals to experience Christian contemplative practices that are ecumenical in scope and welcoming to interfaith spiritual practices. Along with New Testament scholar Marcus Borg, Ruth wrote a chapter for the book, Jesus Reconsidered (2007), and worked collaboratively to create PCSF events featuring Marcus Borg. Most recently, this past year, Ruth helped lead PCSF’s Advent and Lent retreats while also working with other board members to support presenters in offering a sampling of contemplative practices for our Taster Days. In her later years, Ruth was profoundly influenced by the work of Cynthia Bourgeault and shared Cynthia’s teachings on Centering Prayer and the Christian contemplative and wisdom traditions.

Ruth was passionate about healing the effects of unhealthy spirituality. She published Spiritual Freedom: Healing Shame-Based Spirituality (1991, Hazelden) and in subsequent years wrote several articles addressing the issue. She understood the importance of healthy psychological understandings as the underpinning for a healthy spirituality. Her workshops and retreats reflected these understandings.

She obtained her BA in philosophy, psychology, and religion from Bucknell University in 1958; Master’s in clinical psychology from Sonoma State University in 1984; and Master’s of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1994. The same year she was ordained as a United Church of Christ minister. An active member and “wise sage” at Fairfax Community Church for more than 30 years, Ruth also served professionally as a licensed clinician and spiritual director at the Interfaith Counseling Center in Marin.

Her love of poetry included memorizing the poems she loved by heart, including ones such as this, that she wrote:

Discovering God
(Source, The Divine)

There is a God
to be discovered.

The Source
we would know
if we didn’t follow
the rules for finding God.

If we drew the Divine
by coloring
outside the lines.

If we moved past our fear
of the unknown mystery
we box up and tie tightly,
with taped mouth
to silence
that disquieting voice.

To discover this God,
we must come
without words
without dogma

A naked seeker
our longing exposed
our beauty revealed
willing to discover
our true selves.

-Ruth Schweitzer-Mordecai

A memorial service in celebration of Ruth’s life will be held at Fairfax Community Church, 2398 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Fairfax, CA at 2:00 PM on Saturday, July 16th.  Our deepest sympathy extends to her beloved sons, Brian and Darren Mordecai.

Those attending in person are asked to please wear a mask. The service will also be broadcast via zoom.

Click the zoom link here: Ruth Schweitzer-Mordecai Memorial

The meeting code is: 861 7034 6615 and the password Ruth.

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