Meet Our Team
Stephen Blackmer is founding executive director of Kairos Earth and chaplain of Church of the Woods. Steve comes to this with 30 years of conservation experience, having founded and built conservation organizations including the Five Rivers Conservation Trust, Northern Forest Alliance and Northern Forest Center.
A midlife shift led him to Yale Divinity School and ordination as a priest in the Episcopal Church, carrying the question in his heart and mind: “How can being a priest deepen my work to conserve the Earth? What does the Christian tradition have to offer to this work? How can the Christian tradition be re-understood and re-imagined in a time of need? How can the conservation movement recover its understanding of the Earth as holy ground?”
Operations Director & Spiritual Programs Coordinator
From growing up in the forests and fields of Michigan and Ohio to living next to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Jo’s love of the outdoors has only grown with time. As a New Hampshire resident for the past nine years, Jo comes to Kairos Earth after working as the Community Outreach Director and a Head of House for a girls’ dorm at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and as a full-time mom to an energetic and nature-loving son. Jo also spent six years in the Marine Corps as a Logistics Officer – based in Iwakuni, Japan, and Camp Pendleton, California – where she honed her love of detailed planning and spending time outside around the world!
She is a voracious reader, loves to hike, kayak, and take long walks with her husband, son, and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, plus has a yoga and meditation practice that was first established almost 20 years ago.
Communications and Design Coordinator
Originally hailing from the woods and farmlands of northwestern New Jersey, Terésa found her way to Kairos Earth by means of a persistent call to seek out the wisdom of the mystics from both their plant and human forms. This path has entailed undergraduate, graduate, and continuing study of religion and theology, as well as Western Herbalism and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She brings to all aspects of her work a profound love and reverence for nature alongside the recognition of the human body and our healing processes as a microcosm of the Earth. Within this understanding, she believes that any small thing we do to affirm our inherent belonging and interconnection to each other and to the land necessarily heals and transforms the whole of it.
Terésa has found home at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers among the temperate rainforests in the shadow of Mt. Hood. She practices Chinese Medicine and lives with her husband, many houseplants, and a fuzzy brown dog in the city of Portland, Oregon.
Retreats and Programs Coordinator
Liz, a native of Massachusetts formed deeply by the landscapes of northeastern New England, specializes in interweaving creative and contemplative practices to facilitate relational well-being. A graduate of Berklee College of Music (Music Therapy) and Yale Divinity School (Religion & Ecology), Liz draws on a diverse background in performance, clinical work, sacred music, and contemplative ecology to explore healing.
With a focus on reconciliation, Liz’s work aims to help reawaken a more holistic, enlivened sense, not only of human kinship with all life, but of the human capacity to participate in restorative, reciprocal relationality. Through contributing to the design and facilitation of workshops and retreats in contemplative ecology, Liz practices her own commitments to peace and continued learning. In addition to her work with Kairos Earth, Liz sings professionally, teaches private lessons, and works with GoodLands in New Haven, CT.
Sacred Ground Initiative Director
Reverend Victoria Loorz comes to Kairos Earth after ten years as the founder and director of the youth/climate advocacy organization, iMatter/Kids vs Global Warming, plus an additional ten years as a pastor in community churches. Victoria’s environmental work began 23 years ago, creating resources for Evangelical churches to care for creation. She has worked in marketing with the Walt Disney Company, WellPoint Insurance/Four Seasons Wellbeing Institute, and World Vision.
As facilitator for the Wild Church Network and pastor of Ojai Church of the Wild in California, Victoria is most interested on the deeper, inner transformation that is necessary to lead to responsible, loving, sustainable, inter-connected conservation and full human aliveness. However, her favorite work has been raising her now-young adult children, Alec and Olivia, who are busy changing the world to be a better place.
Mark is the product of a suburban Massachusetts childhood, and his love of the woods began as a boy walking in the footsteps of his father, a hunter, through the crispness of fall and the chill of winter. He worked for decades as a newspaper reporter and editor before transitioning to the business side of journalism as a publisher, and then to a Vermont-based startup devoted to meeting local news and information needs online. The lessons of the years and a life-threatening cancer led him to a time of spiritual exploration centered in the sacred nature of the world which holds us. He brings a journalist’s curiosity to the joyful work of helping to tell the stories of Kairos Earth, of spiritual ecology, and of the people who are seeking, as he is, to find common ground in divided times around the essential nature of our relationship to the Earth.
Mark and his wife Brenda are the parents of two grown children and have lived for many years in Canterbury, New Hampshire, not far from the Church of the Woods.
Amanda J. Sisk
Artist in Residence at Church of the Woods
Amanda J. Sisk has worked as an award-winning artist and educator for nearly two decades. She comes to Kairos Earth seeking to align her artistic gifts with a Franciscan calling and hopes to create an enduring, interactive sculpture for Church of the Woods. Her current projects include commissions in New England and creating for organizations that protect our natural resources and acknowledge the Divine gift of beauty found in the land, including the National Park Service. Her work can be viewed at ateliersisk.com.
Board of Directors
Paul L. King is a principal of Bay Resource Corporation, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, based investment and executive services company. Prior to co-founding Bay Resource in 1983, Paul was a principal at The Boston Consulting Group. In his Bay Resource role, Paul has led or sat on boards of a variety of privately held profit-sector companies, in businesses including aluminum manufacturing, medical devices, transportation electronics, telecommunications, and internet software.
In the nonprofit sector over the past 20 years, Paul has had board and other affiliations with the Appalachian Mountain Club, Columbia Land Trust, Columbia River Alliance for Nurturing the Environment, International Crane Foundation, Low-country Open Land Trust, Land Trust Alliance, and the Northern Forest Center; Chamber Music Northwest, Gotham Chamber Opera, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Spoleto Festival U.S.A.; Princeton University Mathematics Department and Boston University Economics Department. Paul holds degrees from M.I.T., Harvard, and Princeton. He lives in Vancouver, WA, and Putnam, CT.
Carla V. Pryne
The Reverend Canon Carla Valentine Pryne, a graduate of Bowdoin college and Yale Divinity School, served in active ministry as an Episcopal priest from 1980-2016. She served seven congregations in the Seattle area, including as Canon Pastor at St. Mark’s Cathedral, and rector of Church of the Holy Spirit on Vashon Island, the position from which she retired in 2016. Certain themes have been at the heart of Carla’s ministry since the beginning: interfaith dialogue; spirituality of the earth; the intersection of the arts and spirituality; and Christian initiation (what does it mean to be a Christian in our day). In the early 1990s, Carla co-founded and became the first Executive Director of Earth Ministry, an organization that has been engaging the faith community in environmental stewardship and advocacy for over 25 years. She served for four years on the national Board of Directors of the Trust for Public Land, in addition to serving on its local board during that time.
Carla loves to grow vegetables for her local food bank, hike and backpack, practice yoga, ride and train horses, and most of all, be with her kids and grandkids. Carla and her husband Eric, a retired journalist, live on a rural island in Puget Sound, accessible only by ferry.
Chelsea was raised in the prairies and plains of Nebraska and Oklahoma, landscapes which began the formation of her connection to the natural world. She worked as the Outreach and Communications Coordinator for Kairos Earth for two and a half years, an experience which opened her mind and her heart to what it means to encounter the sacred in place. In fact, this work so inspired her that she left Kairos Earth to write a book about sacred place — after embarking on a six week bicycle pilgrimage across the country. The book is now almost complete (stay tuned!) and Chelsea could not be happier to continue her role at Kairos Earth as a member of the Board.
Chelsea brings her lifelong love of nature and concern for the environment, a master’s degree in comparative religion from Harvard Divinity School, and her enduring and deepening questions about the sacred to this work. She is the staff writer for Emergence Magazine, a quarterly publication which seeks to illuminate the connections between culture, ecology, and spirituality.
Arvin is Steve’s buddy, conscience, tormentor. Some might say alter-ego – we don’t know. What we do know is that he does his best to make sure Steve doesn’t spend too much time indoors. He is happiest when he is out on adventures, reveling in the glory of the mountains, woods, and rivers – and especially when he is skiing, climbing, canoeing, eating pie, berries, and moosecakes, and drinking “nut brown October ale.”
You can keep up with his adventures on our website, or follow him on Instagram here.