The Back Story: (Me, through the eyes of a mentor — Lilli wrote this as an intimate introduction to contrast to my more formal résumé. She thought you should know who you get to hang out with!)
Ann’s life has been a series of opposites. She has lived in small towns and large cities, on the East Coast and the West. She lived in the U.S. and in Europe; in cultures where she knew the rules and language and in cultures where she had to find her way.“She left the safety of her family and small hometown, Bloomsburg, PA, and took off to Sweden to live with people she had never met, at the height of Sweden’s leftist activism during the Viet Nam War. From there, she moved to the quiet seclusion of Wilson College for Women and then on to the edgy, fast-paced life of a professional single woman in the investment business in mid-town Manhattan and in Paris. Next stop was the academic cloisters of Union Theological Seminary in Harlem. She left Union, New York and the mainstream church to create an entrepreneurial ecumenical ministry on the West Coast. “Ann has lived in republican states, socialist countries and democratic cities. She studied in a mainstream Christian Seminary, read with a friend as she prepared for her bat mitzvah, explored emerging spiritualities and sat with indigenous elders. She has lived alone and in community.“Ann insists on the value of intimate conversation and thrives in cyberspace. She has balanced her life by taking long sabbaticals and then working endlessly pursuing her dreams. Through it all, she has successfully woven an integrated life. Sometimes she moves quietly and carefully between these disparate worlds. Other times she invites everyone to a party or a ritual in whatever small home she’s living, knowing everyone will have a good time!

“These days you’ll find Ann living quietly in a rural Pennsylvania farming community or dashing around the metropolitan Bay Area. Profoundly extroverted and wildly reflective. Deeply reverent and laughingly iconoclastic?

It’s all Ann. Simply Inspirational!

I work as a theologian and spiritual circuit rider for today’s ecumenical world. I’m lucky enough to be invited into communities and to create ritual for people exactly where they live — across this wide country and deep in their souls.

I use a variety of methods in my work: poetry, prayer, public celebrations to provide a bridge connecting people to the things that matter most in life. The bridge spans creed and culture and class, uniting the sacred and the secular, men and women, grownups and children, faith and its application. My website used to focus on weddings, but now is growing to offer an overview of all of my work. (Keep coming back!)

I created my first website, A Rite to Remember, in 1992 to explain the work I had been immersed in for more than five years already: creating and performing personalized rituals that celebrate rites of passage, such as weddings, baby blessings, memorials, and house blessings.

Finding the symbols and expressions to accurately reflect people’s lives is easier said than done. My job is putting sense and the sacred back into the passages of life. I love my job and I love being good at it! Right now, the focus is on weddings but will soon branch out to offer an overview of all of my work. (Keep coming back! There’s a lot of life to observe and celebrate.)

I am the author of the successful, highly praised and recommended, Promises to Keep: Crafting your Wedding Ceremony. This book encourages the couple to stand before its community “hand in hand with your beloved, talking about how this love has transformed you.” It includes traditional and nontraditional ceremony elements for people who want their weddings to reflect their lives, rituals for second marriages, ideas for including your children in your wedding and renewals of vows. Promises To Keep has been featured in national magazine articles, books and internet sites.

Remembering a Life: On the Death of your Beloved is a manual for constructing meaningful memorial services for those who have died. It also offers helpful information for dealing with the details of death and the aftermath of grief. It was so exciting to me that Rachel Remen of Kitchen Table Wisdom says: “Buy this book now, someday you will need it.”

I’m a published poet and songwriter (Songs for Earthlings: Emerald Earth Publishers). I’m a lively lecturer with a warm and witty sense of humor and an intimate presence. I preach and pray and lead worship across a wide spectrum of faiths and traditions. I’m a skilled leader for conferences and seminars on women’s, children’s and family issues. Together with my partner, Master Drummer Steve Mitchell, I am starting a foundation entitled Peaceful Measures, which will use both words and rhythms to start peacemaking in communities. Listen, if you need an opinion on things spiritual or ethical, it’s likely I can help you!