James has walked the spiritual path for nearly fifty years. He's danced with Sufis, studied with Gnostics, lived in a Buddhist monastery, preached from high pulpits in old New England churches, and has practiced and now teaches as a Zen priest.
He is ordained as both a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and a Unitarian Universalist minister. James served as a UU parish minister for twenty-five years, and is minister-emeritus of the First Unitarian Church of Providence. He is a co-founder of the Boundless Way Zen network, and was its first school abbot. For him Zen's teachings, particularly as presented by Eihei Dogen and Hakuin Ekaku form the heart of his understanding of the world and our human hearts. Although this understanding is profoundly modified by the currents of rational and liberal religion, particularly as they have manifested within the Unitarian Universalist current.
He is married to Jan Seymour-Ford. Jan is a retired librarian active in various social justice projects, primarily through the UU Church of Long Beach. She is also a senior dharma teacher with Boundless Way Zen. They live with their three-legged cat Cassie in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood of Long Beach, California.
His Academic Preparation
B.A. (Psychology) Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 1987 M.Div. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA 1991 M.A. (Philosophy of Religion) P.S.R., 1992 Clinical Pastoral Education unit, 1990
Ordinations & Authorizations
Shukke Tokudo, Oakland, California, July, 1969, by Houn Jiyu Kennett, Roshi Denkai/Denbo transmission, Mt Shasta, California, 1971, Houn Jiyu Kennett, Roshi Minister, Unitarian Universalist, Mequon, Wisconsin, October, 1991, by the Congregation of the Unitarian Church North Ministerial Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist Association, 1991 Dharma Heritage, 2004, Clatskanie, Oregon, Soto Zen Buddhist Association Inka Shomei, 2005, Worcester, MA, by John Nanryu Ji'un-ken Tarrant, Roshi
James also holds ordinations within the independent sacramental tradition as well as several initiations within Inayat Khan Universalist Sufism.
(If you would like to know more of his path and life, please go here, or here.)