of Santa Cruz
Our Service Team Committee
Our Service Committee members are a dedicated group who meet monthly to schedule and plan book studies, retreats, and the annual New Year’s Eve Interfaith Vigil for Peace.
Leadership team, Outreach, and Program
Jane Dawson is a retired adjunct professor of counseling psychology, University of San Francisco, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.
Jane is an interfaith spiritual seeker whose practices include yoga, contemplative prayer, lectio, meditation and singing.
Leadership Team, Treasurer
Mary Sue Babb
Retired religious education director, teacher, and lay minister
Mary Sue was part of Fr. Cyprian's initial teachings at Holy Cross and was aware of the Sangha.
Because of her work schedule, she was not able to attend on Sunday evenings but did participate in other Sangha activities and some retreats. She joined the Sangha as a member in November of 2019, looking for a community to share the contemplative, interfaith spiritual journey with.
Leadership Team, Community Contact
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman has two published books of poetry, Artist, a yoga teacher, and is co-founder of Tent of Abraham. You can find her work at http://ziggyrendlerbregman.com/
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman is one of the founding members of sangha shantivanam and a member of the leadership team from the beginning. She is an Artist and published poet, active in the interfaith community in Santa Cruz County. She traveled to India with the sangha in 2007 and continues to teach yoga and lead retreats focused on art, meditation and spirituality.
Leadership Team, Program, Website Management
Elbina Rafizadeh is a retired public health nurse with a Ph.D. in nursing science. She is a published poet, writer, researcher, and adjunct faculty at Mission College, Santa Clara.
Elbina joined the sangha after hearing Fr. Cyprian's talks that described the interconnectedness of the main religions and Buddhist philosophy. This aligned with her background as a Catholic and meditation in the Buddhist tradition. She traveled to Sangha Shantivanam in India in 2007 and 2008. She continues her participation with Sangha Shantivanam India by participating in monthly Zoom prayer and meditation with the Oblates of Shantivanam. She also practices Centering prayer and lectio divina, and is an oblate of New Camaldoli Hermitage.
Communications Secretary (Sylvia) Past Treasurer (Jerry)
Jerry and Sylvia Deck, members of Sangha Shantivanam since 2006, have most recently served as Treasurer and Communications Secretary. Both are active in their parish. Jerry, a retired doctor, serves on the Board of Siena House Maternity Home, and Sylvia facilitates the Lector Ministry and Lectio Divina.
Jerry and Sylvia were inspired by Fr. Cyprian’s talks on Fr. Bede Griffiths and the Universal Call to Wisdom to join Sangha and sign up for the 2007 Pilgrimage to Southeast India with him. This life-changing experience, along with retreats and intensive study of other faith traditions, opened
their hearts and minds to the richness and diversity shared with others who seek Truth in the One God. Rooted more firmly than ever in their Catholic faith, they have found and deeply cherish God’s generous gifts to others.
Library management lead
Mary Camille Thomas is a librarian at Foothill College, published poet, and lay minister at Holy Cross Church
Mary uses writing as a tool to navigate our crazy consumer culture and explores possibilities for touching the peace in the cave of our hearts in her blog The Kingdom of Enough. She came to the sangha to deepen her meditation practice in community and cherishes the support of the spiritual friendship she has found here.
Annual Peace Vigil Coordinator
Integral Yoga instructor
Radha joined the sangha at the urging of a Catholic friend. Many times, Radha refused the invitation because, not being Christian, she was not interested in this new group. Her friend insisted, so she finally agreed to come just one time. She has been coming ever since because the sangha studies and honors all the religions of the world, and her Integral Yoga path is just that. She is so grateful to have found this open-minded and open-hearted group of people.
Outreach and Lectio Leader
Steven Hendrickson is an active participant in ministry at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Santa Cruz. Also, a professional gardener for twenty five years, holds a BA in English Literature and taught English in local high schools. Steven practices Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina daily and deeply resonates with the Sangha Mission Statement. He is also an oblate of New Camaldoli Hermitage.
Sangha Room and Liaison with Holy Cross Church
Sr. Barbara Long is a Dominican Sister and Monterey Diocesan Choir Director
Sr. Barbara is also one of the founding members of Sangha Shantivanam. She also teaches music to grade school children at Holy Cross School and directs the Holy Cross Choir. She traveled with the sangha to India in 2007.