Bentley Stewart is the Interim Director of Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy and the Director of Student Life for Disciples Seminary Foundation in Northern California, as well as the founding pastor of gathering-desire, a Disciples of Christ community in San Anselmo. Bentley is an ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has standing in the Northern California/Nevada Region, for whom they serve as one of the anti-racism trainers. They are endorsed as a chaplain by Disciples Home Mission. In their decade of hospital ministry, they specialized in pediatrics, palliative care, clinical ethics, interprofessional communication, and cultural bridging. They hold degrees from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL, and San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Connection is an important element of Bentley’s journey to MISC. An Orlando, FL native, Bentley arrived to Marin in 2002 to begin their Masters of Divinity program at San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS). News of welcoming the family’s second child temporarily changed schooling plans and the Stewarts relocated back to Orlando from 2003-2012.
After serving as a Pediatric Chaplain and Spiritual Care Liaison in various facets in Florida, Bentley and family moved back to Marin and reconnected with SFTS to complete their M.Div. program.
During their Master’s program, Bentley connected with Rev. Paul Gaffney. Additionally while serving as a Chaplain for the UCSF Medical Center, Bentley would attend MISC events and get to know the MISC community very well. While deepening connection with Paul and MISC, Bentley transitioned into a Patient Relations position with UCSF Health.
In December of 2016, a trip to Standing Rock would revive and reconnect Bentley with Chaplaincy in a new way. With the call for Veterans to go support at Standing Rock, also came the call for trauma chaplains to serve in the midst of the resistance. After Standing Rock, Bentley became re-energized about serving as a Chaplain outside of the hospital.
As Interim Chaplain, Bentley sees themself as a spiritual caretaker for those experiencing the daily trauma of oppressive systems. Bentley is excited to work with faith communities and help them be transformed spiritually by their work.
“How are we serving as spiritual caretakers in people’s lives? How can we serve social justice?” asks Bentley. “People may not be connected to a spiritual community, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t spiritual. They are still people that need love and support just like those connected to a spiritual community.”
Outside of MISC, Bentley has two kids and a beloved lap dog named Norman. Bentley has also earned the nickname Hagrid of Marin for their look-alike similarities to the well known Harry Potter character.
Rev. Paul Gaffney, Chaplain emeritus
Rev. Paul Gaffney was born and raised in western PA, the son of a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Paul received his BA from Hiram College, where he majored in Sociology, minored in Music, and met his wife, Annie. After their wedding in August of 1998, Paul and Annie spent two years in Cleveland, OH before moving to San Anselmo, CA where Paul attended San Francisco Theological Seminary. During his third year at SFTS, Paul began working with the Marin Interfaith Homeless Chaplaincy (now the Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy). In 2004, he graduated from SFTS with a Master of Divinity degree, and in 2005, Paul became the sole chaplain of the Street Chaplaincy, providing emotional and spiritual support to people in transition. Paul was ordained into Christian Ministry by the Northern California/Nevada Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Lafayette Christian Church on June 4, 2006. Rev. Gaffney also is a lay-ordained student of Taigen Leighton in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. Paul and Annie both live and work in San Rafael.
Bob King , Chaplain Assistant
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