A Mighty Kindness is a modern Interspiritual community, conceptualized as a new kind of non-religious meetinghouse. Here, we cast off restrictive and dogmatic structures of traditional religious institutions and explore and deepen our respect and understanding of ancient wisdom traditions and global philosophies to discover the rich, connective, and healing wisdom that underlies each of them. Our goal is to help each of us find more intention, purpose, connection, and meaning in our lives without ignoring the science, psychology, philosophy, and sociology of our modern, evolving world. We believe that our best learning happens in community and so all of our programs are offered in a circle model, designed to put a leader or teacher in every chair.

A Mighty Kindness is truly an interspiritual community—we welcome all seekers, skeptics, and scamps here—without ascribing ourselves to a particular faith, wisdom, or religious tradition as an organization. Among our leaders and members you will find Agnostics, Atheists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Humanists, Sikhs, Hindus, Taoists, Buddhists, Quakers, and quite literally everything in between. We welcome anyone who comes to us with curiosity, authenticity, openness, a commitment to personal and communal growth, and, most importantly, kindness.

We here at A Mighty Kindness believe in and support the sciences—biological and social—and consider the important historical and political context when learning about the origins and roots of all organized religions. We are actively anti-racist and committed to dismantling the systemic and institutionally oppressive systems that have contributed to the marginalization and subjugation of anyone who is considered to be part of the non-dominant culture.

Our Leadership

In Medieval Europe, nunneries or convents were often one of the few places that women could escape the limitations of their role in society. By becoming a nun, they were free to explore their spirituality, could hold positions of authority and influence in their community, and had free access to books in order to read and write, which was uncommon at the time.

To be in a convent or nunnery was to commit oneself to a path of devotion, and the work medieval nuns did was of service to not only their abbey or priory but also to the community-at-large. Convents provided food and healthcare to the poor, education for young women interested in becoming fellow nuns, work for local townspeople, and would often copy or illuminate ancient texts thus preserving them for future generations. Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, and Hildegard of Bingen were all devoted members of medieval nunneries and produced some of the most provocative and inspiring spiritual works not only of their time but of all times.

The term ‘convent’ comes from the Latin word “convenire” meaning “to come together,” which serves as a core inspiration for our organization. At A Mighty Kindness, we have loosely organized our leadership as a nod to the importance of medieval convents in the spiritual lives of not only their members but of those of the community they served. We’ve blended this model with other organizational structures—both ancient and modern—to ensure we are acting in service not only to the spirit of our community but also to each other.

“The real religion of humankind can be said to be spirituality itself, because mystical spirituality is the origin of all the world religions. If this is so, and I believe it is, we might also say that interspirituality — the sharing of ultimate experiences across traditions — is the religion of the third millennium. Interspirituality is the foundation that can prepare the way for a planet-wide enlightened culture, and a continuing community among the religions that is substantial, vital, and creative. Interspirituality is not about eliminating the world’s rich diversity of religious expression. It is not about rejecting these traditions’ individuality for a homogenous superspirituality. It is not an attempt to create a new form of spiritual culture. Rather, it is an attempt to make available to everyone all the forms the spiritual journey assumes. Interspirituality as a world-changing force is made possible by the openness of people who have a viable spiritual life, coupled with their determination, capacity, and commitment to the inner search across traditions.”

—Br. Wayne Teasedale, “The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions

Meet Your Lantern Keepers…


Abbess, A Mighty Kindness | Prioress, House of Belonging | Circle Facilitator | Scamp

The idea for A Mighty Kindness came to Reverend Jessica Steward during her final year at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine—a non-traditional interfaith school located in Portland, Maine. She envisioned a new kind of spiritual community—a new kind of spiritual “meetinghouse,” if you will— to support other non-traditional spiritualists like herself. Her dream is to be in community with others to unlearn, unravel, and release the stringent dogma of old world religious traditions in order to get to the shared philosophies, meaning, and wisdom underneath. This work is done through a lens of modern knowledge and understanding in order to create a kinder, more engaged, and more caring community. The modest goal? To use our collective kindness and understanding to help reshape the future of our planet.

Ordained as an Interfaith Minister in 2016, Rev. Steward considers herself “spiritual but not religious” and a Scamp through and through. Although her family enjoyed traditionally Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter while growing up, it was Jessica’s mother—a covert animist pagan—who first encouraged Jessica’s curiosity when it came to God, spirituality, and religion. At her mother’s urging, Jessica began to study, explore, and understand the world’s religions and ancient wisdom traditions through a socio-political, scientific, and historical lens. Her goal today is to make spirituality accessible, informed, intersectional, and relational. Her hope is that we can transform the way we relate to one another and our planet without losing the feeling of numinous wonder when exploring the Great Mystery alone or with others.

Rev. Steward currently lives in North Andover, Massachusetts in a former parsonage with her husband, Brendan, and their Toy Fox Terriers, Smidgen T. Spryfox, and his (biological) mother, Jumpin’ Jitterbug Jones, on the unceded land that was stewarded by at least four different indigenous nations: Pawtucket, Massa-adchu-es-et (Massachusett), Pennacook, and Wabanaki (Dawnland Confederacy).


Co-founder, A Mighty Kindness | Lantern Keeper | Circle Facilitator | Seeker

Growing up, Jen was an on-again-off-again church goer. From attending Sunday School at Our Saviour’s Lutheran church in Montana every week as a young child to occasionally attending non-denominational churches while living in Washington State, she loved the sense of belonging to a community and was often moved to tears by the praise and worship. However, she did not enjoy the feeling of judgment she got through the scriptures, often experiencing a sense of shame and fear through their translation and the ‘don’t question authority’ message. You would think this would make her a Skeptic—however, in spite of the scriptures, she could still feel the unconditional love of “Jesus loves me, this I know” in her bones.

Jen has since continued to seek out and create community in all its various forms in all aspects of her life. She has enjoyed joining communities around common interests, has created women’s groups and facilitated sacred circles, and most recently facilitated a 6000+ Facebook community for Meditation and Mindfulness Practitioners.

What excites her about A Mighty Kindness is not only to help bring her best friend Jessica’s vision to life, but also to help create and be a part of a community rooted in collective kindness, justice, and growth. Her hope is to contribute more grace, love, and shared understanding to this community and the world-at-large so that we may all learn to hold our humanness as sacred.

Jen currently lives with her husband, Dave, and their two rescue dogs, Maggie & Pooch. They have three adult children and love all that their family continues to become. Their home base is in Bellevue, Washington, the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish past and present. They also spend part of each year in Kihei, Hawaii, the traditional land of Kō Hawaiʻi Paeʻāina (Kingdom of Hawaii).


Lantern Keeper | Circle Facilitator

As a girl, Lisa would stare at the stained glass windows of the church her family attended on Sundays, seeing not the biblical scenes depicted, but rather, what lay on the other side of them. This, as much as anything else, describes her orientation toward “the spiritual” to this day.

In the wake of early mother-loss—by both the separation from her natural mother as an infant relinquished for adoption, then followed by the sudden death of her adoptive mother four years later—she came to equate the traditional “God” of her family and community with an emotionally wounded and withholding father, echoing the reality of her home life. It was not through traditional church, then, but in the immediate sensuality of nature and her own imagination where she found sanctuary spacious enough to hold the wonder and wild curiosity, grief and longing inside her.

Heart-based questions around identity, autonomy, soul and belonging are threaded through Lisa’s life and woven into her writing, work, creative endeavors and studies. A self-described “perpetual seeker,” she’s come to believe that seeking is not so much about “finding the answers” as being “living questions,” a belief she joyfully finds upheld within A Mighty Kindness. It is her hope that through her presence and contributions in the AMK community, fellow Seekers, Skeptics, and Scamps may find even more loving channels for exploring their own becoming and belonging.

Lisa lives with her husband Paul and rescue family Rico the Pekinese and cats Hermione and John Meowkovich, surrounded by lake, woods, and wildlife in northern Minnesota, on the traditional ancestral homeland of the Dakota and Ojibwe.


Lantern Keeper | Circle Facilitator

Born in northern British Columbia, (the land of the Dakeł Keyoh ,Lheidli T’enneh & Dënéndeh peoples) Criss has been blessed with the medicine of lakes and rivers, mountains, snow, pine, black bear, moose, lynx, and much more. Her bones speak to her in Celtic notes. She has a poet’s heart and an animist’s eyes. She grew up without a church but has always been connected to Spirit. She is an Earthling who follows the philosophy of religio — to bind back and reconnect.

Criss has been a marketing director, a life coach, and a thespian. She is now a devotee of lantern-keeping—the Goddess Brigid is the eminent divine spirit with whom she works. She is a skeptical seeker and is grateful to Jessica and Jen for offering her a home at A Mighty Kindness to sit with big questions and learn the alchemizing power of the sacred circle.

Criss now resides on the lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking peoples commonly known as Victoria, Canada. She is a mother to a thirteen-year-old who is infused with the gift of song, family, and tradition and a ten-year-old who is a steward of our animal kin. She loves mornings, popcorn, tarot, yacht rock, words, ideas, and deep conversation. She grapples with the questions of “What wants to be remembered through me? How can I use my gifts to help weave a new tapestry of how to live and love this world?”

Her prayer is for courageous hearts as we walk what her dear mentor, Francis Weller, calls the Long Dark. A Mighty Kindness is healing ground. It is holy ground. Criss believes a core mission of this community is to offer resourcing and encouragement so that we can respond to the call of these times and tend to one another.


Our community is always evolving and changing and so our leadership needs to evolve and change to meet it. If you are interested in joining the leadership of A Mighty Kindness, facilitating a circle, or volunteering to take a more active role in the House of Belonging, please email us at bekind@amightykindness.org with your proposal. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Deepen Into the Mystery

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