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The River is a Magic Thing
Celebrating the art, history, ecology, spirituality, and future health of the Hudson River and its communities

Program Participants:

J. Taylor Basker,  holds a degree in Art History and Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation at Kellogg College, Oxford University. She resides at Westbeth Artists Housing in Greenwich Village and teaches at the School of Visual Arts.  Her dissertation on the cloud as a symbol in Early Christian Art led her to research ancient symbolic systems of clouds, water and rivers.  Living in desert areas in South America, Africa (Peace Corps) and the US gave her personal experience of the profound importance of water and rivers.

Patricia Ackerman is an Episcopal Priest and psychotherapist.  She is a project director at the Garrison Institute where she had been moderating its Hudson River Project. Rev. Ackerman has been doing faith based social transformation work in hospitals, parishes, and inner city neighborhoods for the past 15 years. Her multifaith ministry focuses on conflict prevention, dialogue and public conversation. She is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary. 

Dr. Mike Magee is host of the weekly web cast, Health Politics and director of the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative. He has served as Senior Fellow to the World Medical Association on environmental health issues, and assisted in the launch of the UN Water for Decade in 2005. Dr. Magee is the author of numerous books, most recently, Health Politics: Power, Populism and Health and Healthy Waters.

Ena Heller is Executive Director, Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), New York City. Dr. Heller has a Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, with a specialty in medieval art and architecture. Prior to becoming the first director of MOBIA, she taught art history at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY). Dr. Heller is contributing editor of the volume Reluctant Partners: Art and Religion in Dialogue (2004).

Fran Dunwell is Hudson River Estuary Coordinator at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. She oversees the implementation of the $368.3 million Estuary Action Agenda  adopted by Governor Pataki in 1996. Dunwell is author of  the  award-winning book, The Hudson River Highlands. She has a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Management and a BA from Hamilton College. She lives in the Hudson Valley on a farm in New Paltz, New York.

Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church  and the author of 28 books, most recently Holy Vulnerability: Spiritual Resources For People with Cancer.  She is a graduate of Gettysburgh College and holds Master’s degrees from Lutheran Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Divinity School. She has a thirteen year old cat named Hudson and was born in Kingston, New York and was formed by life looking at and swimming in the river.

Charles P. Henderson is Executive Director of the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life which publishes CrossCurrents. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary. Henderson is the author of several books including God and Science (John Knox / Westminster).

The program will also include presentations artists who are recipients of the Hudson River Arts Award and whose work reflects our theme.

Program Schedule:

9:30 am Rolls and Coffee

10:00 am  Charles Henderson: Welcome and Introduction of the Program

Interlude: The Hudson: Sound and Light

10:30 am  J. Taylor Basker:  The River as a Source of Spirit

11:00 Patti Ackerman: Garrison Institute’s Hudson River Project

11:30 Dr. Mike Magee:  Healthy Waters

Respondents and Discussion
Interlude: Hudson River Arts Award

12:30  Lunch

1:15    Interlude:   A Tour of the MOBIA Gallery and its current exhibition: This Anguished World of Shadows: Georges Rouault's Miserere et Guerre  Ena Heller

2:00   Fran Dunwell:  A Vision For the Future
Respondents and Discussion
Interlude:  Hudson River Arts Award

3:00   Donna Schaper:  Enchantment as Environmental Strategy
Interlude: Hudson River Sound and Light
Respondents and Discussion

4:00   Wine and Cheese Reception with program participants and artists

The program will also include presentations by artists who are recipients of the Hudson River Arts Award and whose work reflects our theme.

May 6, 2006

MOBIA (The Museum of Biblical Art)
1865 Broadway at 61st Street
New York, NY

For more information about program participants.

To use our secure website for conference registration.

For further conference information, please contact: 

Charles Henderson
475 Riverside Drive  Suite 1945
New York,  NY   10115
[email protected]

Charles Henderson

Please take a moment to let us know you were here!  
Just send us an email to

If you want to talk with someone in person,  please feel free to call 917-439-2305

The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2015).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2017).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.
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