Vocalist, writer and sacred community curator Chanda Rule brings the energy and discipline of a performer to the leading of music and story in ways that encourage all people to use their voices powerfully, peacefully and bathed in Spirit. An interfaith minister and graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Chanda has shared music, story and community song with groups, audiences and communities around the world. Her integration of music with sacred text, liturgy, and story-telling opens up new vistas for congregations and communities.
Vennly: For those that aren’t familiar with the term, how is an “interfaith minister” different from a denominational minister?
Chanda: Interfaith ministry respects and honors all religious and spiritual paths, from traditional to non-traditional practices. Denominational ministers typically minister to folks within specific religious traditions — although these lines are blurry these days with many religious communities including more and more practices that are not specific to their own religious heritage into their liturgies as teaching tools and to extend welcome and hospitality.
Vennly: What role has music played in your life and do you see any overlap between music and faith/spirituality?
Chanda: Music has always been a holy language for me. It’s how I pray, how I have solved conflict, how I’ve made friends, and is the foundation for many of my closest relationships. The most sacred thing about music to me is that it’s an expression that goes beyond language or culture or background or affiliation. It’s something that brings people together, makes us feel, and also allows us to heal.
Vennly: You’ve created a series for Vennly called, “In Search of Tiny Miracles.” Why are tiny miracles important?
Chanda: I am often searching for that big…Thing. That special moment that will perfect my life…or that huge awakening that will change the world. But I was recently encouraged to pay attention to the small steps that lead to these changes; and I began to notice that there were so many little blessings around me that I regularly overlooked, that were downright miraculous and brought simple and life-changing joy.
Vennly: You grew in the US but you now live with your husband and son in Vienna, Austria. Has living outside of the US changed your spiritual worldview?
Chanda: Austria is pretty religiously conservative which has given me the opportunity to experience sacred community in a new way. I am finding value in being a part of traditional sacred communities with others who have completely different spiritual values than my own — some which I find soul crushing and not so divine. It is a frustrating, joyful, confusing, and yet love-filled time — a life-test to my interfaith call, and a constant reminder that I can deeply love folks who value that which I oppose. And I wrestle with it continuously. Part of me wants to give it up and the other part feels that it’s a necessary part of living together as an evolving species. If we can’t deal with conflict in our sacred spaces where can we? This is where music sets an example. The beauty comes with the harmony and dissonance, the clashing movement and the serene pause.
Vennly: What excites you about working with Vennly?
Chanda: I’m excited to share stories with Vennly! It’s awesome that Vennly is so committed to inclusiveness and is open to different perspectives and ways of sharing them. How amazing is it to be able to build and curate sacred community online – to get inspired and give inspiration — worldwide! I completely dig the diversity of spiritual leaders – and the mission to meet people where they are in their journey to Love.