Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt is the Founding 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. In addition, she created an optional third year, the Spiritual Mentoring Certificate Program, which trained seminarians, as well as health care professionals, in cultivating pastoral mentoring skills.
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. It was later accepted for publication in book form by Wipf and Stock Publishers and nationally recognized theologian, Dr. S. Mark Heim, contributed the Forward.
A graduate of the New Seminary for Interfaith Studies in New York City, Dr. Rutt was ordained an interfaith minister 2005. Prior to that time, she 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.
Dr. Rutt is the author of five books:
- Lovers in the Wilderness: Awaken Mystical Unity and Create a Joyful Life with Mantra Prayer, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2021.
- An Ordinary Life Transformed: Lessons for Everyone from the Bhagavad Gita, Second Edition, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2021. (first published by Hobblebush Books, 2006)
- 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. (first published by Tree of Life Publishing, 2012)
- The Interfaith Worship Manual: The Resource for Creating Interfaith Worship Services, Tree of Life Publishing, 2012.
Lastly, in 2017, her essay, “The Shaykh and the Preacher,” was chosen for inclusion in the anthology, One Nation, Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets, edited by Celene Ibrahim.
In 2018, Dr. Rutt appeared on the TEDx stage, chosen to close the day as the ninth speaker, sharing personal stories of how it is possible to reach across political, religious, and socio–economic divides to connect with those we may perceive as very different.
In addition to posting on here on her blog, and publishing Guest Commentaries in local newsprint, she has created numerous sacred studies programs 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. Dr. Rutt has presented versions of select programs to such organization as World AWAKE, (formally the World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy), the Haden Institute in North Carolina, Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in Massachusetts, and the House of Prayer, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, Retreat Center in New Ipswich, New Hampshire.
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. In 2016 and 2017, she led local faith communities in right action through the “Under One Sky Interfaith Peace Walk” which offered a visual demonstration of how people from across faith traditions could stand and walk together in unity and solidarity while, simultaneously, forging a common goal for peace.
Rev. Dr. Rutt is a member of the World AWAKE where she has served as a member of the Board of Directors and presented at their 2016 and 2017 national conferences. She is also a member of Spiritual Directors International, the Interfaith Alliance, the Sacred Dance Guild, and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies.