Mercy Seminar 2022

A seminar led by Fr. David Peck and
Prof. Randall Zachman

Why is this relevant in our world today?

In the past two years, the Mercy Seminar has explored themes that have arisen from the Abrahamic faiths regarding Christian anti-Judaism, as well as repentance and forgiveness in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions.

But what is the meaning of mercy in traditions that do not appeal to the mercy of God, and which do not place God at the center of religious life? Join a small group exploration of these questions through Buddhism, to see if our own understanding of mercy, compassion, and loving-kindness can be informed and expanded by our encounter with religious traditions which do not focus on faith in God.

In each of the six evening sessions of this new term of The Mercy Seminar (available live on Zoom or recorded), we’ll study short texts from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and we’ll also have periods of reflection and discussion to help us discern insights and gain understanding.

Term 3

In term 3 (October 6 – November 10) we will look at the ways contemporary Buddhists come to an understanding of Christian scriptures, and the way Christian theologians come to an understanding of Buddhist scriptures.

In particular, we will read the comments made by the Dalai Lama on passages from the Gospels when he participated in the John Main Institute of the World Community for Christian Meditation in 1994, to see how this distinguished Tibetan Buddhist teacher would understand them.

We will then look at the way the Christian theologian Mark Heim comes to an understanding of the Bodhisattva ideal in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in light of the revelation of God in Christ.

Both the Dalai Lama and Mark Heim are aware of the need to keep the distinctiveness of each tradition in mind, even as they seek to learn from the wisdom contained in a religious tradition that is not their own. Please join us as we undertake our own contemplative journey into the dialogue between contemporary Buddhists and Christians, so that we might profit from the wisdom contained in both traditions.

Brief meditation begins and a prayer ends each session which runs for 6 Thursday evenings from 7 – 8:30 PM EDT in Zoom format only.

For questions about this event, please email Nancy LeVasseur.

Each session will be recorded in Zoom and available for viewing for those who have completed their registration.

Cost: $75/term

Click here to register for Term 3.

Ticket Discounts

Bundle your ticket purchase when you purchase more than one activity. Save 10% on any two events or save 20% on all three. (Discounts apply to Walters Museum trip, Grace Song retreat and six-week Mercy Seminar only)

Have questions? Email Nancy LeVasseur for more information.

Click here to register

You might also like…

Bus Trip
to the Walters Art Museum

Wednesday, September 28;
9 AM – 5 PM
Click here for more information.

A Retreat with Grace Song: Experience What Buddhism Teaches Christians About Wisdom and Compassion

Saturday, October 1; 10 AM – 3 PM
Click here for more information.


Term 2 Readings

Opening Comments
Session 1: Opening Comments II.1
Session 2: Opening Comments II.2 
Session 3: Opening Comments II.3 
Session 4: Opening Comments II.4 
Session 5: Opening Comments II.5
Session 6: Opening Comments II.6

Course Readings
Session 1: Reading II.1
Session 2: Reading II.2
Session 3: Reading II.3
Session 4: Reading II.4
Session 5: Reading II.5
Session 6: Reading II.6


Term 1 Readings

Opening Comments
Session 2: Opening Comments I.2
Session 3: Opening Comments I.3
Session 4: Opening Comments I.4
Session 5: Opening Comments I.5
Session 6: Opening Comments I.6

Course Readings
Session 1: Reading I.1
Session 2: Reading I.2
Session 3: Reading I.3
Session 4: Reading I.4
Session 5: Reading I.5
Session 6: Reading I.6

Term 3 Readings

October 6 – November 10

Opening Comments
Session 1: Opening Comments III.I
Session 2: Opening Comments III.2
Session 3: Opening Comments III.3
Session 4: Opening Comments III.4
Session 5: Opening Comments III.5
Session 6: Opening Comments III.6


Course Readings
Session 1: Reading III.1
Session 2: Reading III.2
Session 3: Reading III.3
Session 4: Reading III.4
Session 5: Reading III.5
Session 6: Reading III.6

Father David Peck
The Rev. David W. Peck is the twenty-third rector of Saint James. Prior to his arrival in 2008 from the United Kingdom, he served the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at Lambeth Palace as his Secretary for International Development. In this role he focused on building partnerships with church leaders, UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations in order to provide food and education in post-conflict zones in sub-Saharan Africa.

Born in Indiana, David was educated in the United States and England, earning his Theology and Ministry degrees from Cambridge University and Westcott House.

David’s prior peace building and reconciliation work led him to study in Jerusalem in 2013. There he began a new focus on how the rich theology of mercy could help Jews, Christians and Muslims explore their own and each other’s texts and traditions more deeply.

His work in Africa and the Middle East and his completion of a 30-day Ignatian silent retreat at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA drew him more deeply into the practice of contemplative prayer. Since then he has taught meditation in school, hospital, hospice and prison settings. He lives with his wife Dr. Cordelia Moyse, a church historian, and their daughter.

Prof. Randall Zachman
Randall Zachman is Professor Emeritus of Reformation Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in theology for twenty-six years, and is currently an adjunct instructor in theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is a lifelong Episcopalian. Randall received his undergraduate degree in religion at Colgate University, his Master of Divinity at Yale Divinity School, and his PhD at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

He is the author and editor of several books on Martin Luther and John Calvin, and has also published articles and chapters on the theology of Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth. He has spent his career teaching the history of Christian theology, including seminars on the Old and New Testaments.

For the past fifteen years, he has been a member of the International Theology Conference at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem in which Jewish, Muslim and Christian scholars study and dialogue together. He lives in Lancaster with his wife, The Rev. Dr. Carrie Call, who is the Transitional Conference Minister of the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ. Their son Johnny lives in Austin, Texas.

The Urban Well is a registered trademark of Saint James Episcopal Church.

Term 3 Readings

September 23 – October 28, 2021

Opening Comments
Session 1: Opening Comments III.I
Session 2: Opening Comments III.2
Session 3: Opening Comments III.3
Session 4: Opening Comments III.4
Session 5: Opening Comments III.5
Session 6: Opening Comments III.6

Course Readings
Session 1: Reading III.1
Session 2: Reading III.2
Session 3: Reading III.3
Session 4: Reading III.4
Session 5: Reading III.5
Session 6: Reading III.6, Reading III.6a


Term 2 Readings

Opening Comments
Session 1: Opening Comments 2.1
Session 2: Opening Comments 2.2 
Session 3: Opening Comments 2.3 
Session 4: Opening Comments 2.4 
Session 5: Opening Comments 2.5
Session 6: Opening Comments 2.6

Course Readings
Session 1: Reading II.1
Session 2: Reading II.2
Session 3: Reading II.3
Session 4: Reading II.4
Session 5: Reading II.5
Session 6: Reading II.6


Term 1 Readings

Opening Comments
Session 1: Opening Comments I.1
Session 2: Opening Comments I.2
Session 3: Opening Comments I.3
Session 4: Opening Comments I.4
Session 5: Opening Comments I.5
Session 6: Opening Comments I.6

Course Readings
Session 1: Reading I.1
Session 2: Reading I.2
Session 3: Reading I.3
Session 4: Reading I.4, Reading I.4a
Session 5: Reading I.5, Reading I.5a
Session 6: Reading I.6, Reading I.6a, Reading I.6b

Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem

Pricing available later in 2021
Dates to be determined
The Mercy Seminar concludes with an optional week-long trip to the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. Situated at a beautiful location on a hill in Jerusalem, it serves as a welcoming place in the Holy Land for visitors who come from all over the world to stay at this oasis of learning, community and hospitality.