‘One Light, Many Candles,’ featuring Betty and Noel Paul Stookey, is 2013 Morrow-McCombs Memorial Lecture


A multi-faith program in word and song, “One Light, Many Candles,” featuring the Rev. Betty Stookey and Noel Paul Stookey, will be presented 4 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at Cal State San Bernardino’s Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Noel Paul and Betty Stookey

Noel Paul Stookey and his wife, the Rev. Betty Stookey

Admission to the event, presented as the 26th annual Morrow-McCombs Memorial Lecture, is free; however, tickets are limited. To reserve up to four free tickets, visit the CSUSB Music Department’s online ticketing website. Parking the day of the event will be free in Lot C.

Betty and Noel Paul Stookey have been married for 48 years and have spent 37 of those years living in Blue Hill, Maine, where they raised their family.

Many may know singer/songwriter Noel Paul Stookey as the “Paul” in the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, who rose to fame in the 1960s with hits such as “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowing in the Wind” and “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Noel Stookey also has a solo career that includes the hits “Wedding Song” and “In These Times.”

Elizabeth Bannard Stookey, known as Betty to friends and family, is an ordained United Church of Christ minister, business woman, teacher, wife and mother. She holds master’s degrees in ESL (Columbia University), French (Universite de Grenoble) and Divinity (Harvard). Since her childhood, Betty Stookey has understood the beauty of diversity, rather than its problems. Hers is a multi-faith vision, one that she believes helps people learn to appreciate, honor and respect the communal truth of the faith traditions of others.

According to the Stookeys’ One Light, Many Candles website, “In her role as chaplain at Northfield Mount Hermon School (1997-2005), Betty became aware of the need for greater spiritual inclusivity among the large and culturally diverse student body. ‘One Light, Many Candles’ had its germination in the interfaith services Betty held monthly, with students of various faiths reading from their holy books accompanied by Noel’s music and music indigenous to other cultures.

“The word interfaith was eventually replaced by the word multifaith since it more accurately describes standing strong in ones own faith, while reaching out a hand of tolerance, understanding and respect to those of other beliefs.

“Recognizing love as the common calling to many different faiths, Betty and Noel’s presentation continues to evolve by referencing expressions of the Divine from a myriad of spiritual leaders and from literature of many cultures. The program shifts dynamically from the spoken word to the sung word and back again, with Betty reading and Noel singing.”

The Morrow-McCombs Memorial Lecture was established 26 years ago with an endowment created at California State University, San Bernardino to advance better relations between Christians and Jews. It grew in scope following the 9-11 terrorist attacks to include Islam. Over the years it has brought nationally and internationally renowned scholars to San Bernardino.

“One Light, Many Candles” is sponsored by the Morrow-McCombs Memorial Lecture Advisory Board, CSUSB Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, CSUSB Muslim Student Association, Latter-Day Saints Student Association, Catholic Newman Club, CSUSB Hillel and the San Bernardino City Human Relations Commission.

For information on the Stookeys’ program, visit the One Light, Many Candles website.

For more information on the March 10 event, call the CSUSB music department box office at (909) 537-7516 or e-mail musicboxoffice@csusb.edu.