Rev. Gwynne Guibord, 75, founded interfaith center at St. John’s

| August 29, 2019 | 1 Comment

THE REVEREND and Windsor Square resident was an envoy to the Vatican to attempt to prevent the second Iraq War.

Interfaith leader and founder of The Guibord Center, Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord, lost a 10-year battle with cancer Aug. 15. She was 75.

A Requiem Eucharist was held Aug. 24 at St. John’s Cathedral, home of the Guibord Center. Episcopal Diocesan Bishop John Harvey Taylor officiated.

Born in Flint, Mich., Guibord earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and had a career as a psychotherapist and educator. Her sister’s death in 1992 took her into the priesthood. Completing a master’s degree in divinity from Claremont School of Theology in 1998, she was ordained in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches that year.

Her leadership in ecumenical and interreligious roles included the World Council of Churches and National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC). The NCCC sent Guibord as part of a special delegation to the Vatican to meet with Pope John Paul II in an attempt to prevent the U.S. from going to war with Iraq for a second time. It was one of several urgent diplomatic missions she was asked to join seeking peace in conflict areas around the world.

In 2005, she was officially ordained in the Episcopal Church and became the Officer of Ecumenical and Interreligious Concerns for Bishop John J. Bruno. She served at times simultaneously as the Interfaith Consultant to the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Guibord’s interfaith involvement also included serving as president of the California Council of Churches, the Interfaith Alliance, the Interreligious Council of Southern California, and Progressive Christians Uniting. She served as co-chair of the National Muslim-Christian Initiative Dialogue on behalf of the NCCC and, most recently, of the NCCC’s Buddhist-Christian Dialogue and Hindu-Christian Dialogue. She also co-founded the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group.

REV. DR. GWYNNE GUIBORD (right) celebrates their 40th anniversary with Lois Sprague in May. Photo by John Welborne

In 2009, Guibord learned she had stage IV breast cancer. “At a time when most people retire, Gwynne decided to take her many friendships forged throughout years of interfaith experience and create a completely new kind of organization where people could come to know and value the Holy in the other,” noted Dr. Lois M. Sprague, who recently succeeded Guibord as The Guibord Center’s president. In 2011, Guibord officially launched that Center.

The Guibord Center fosters relationships among the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities and beyond through events and resources that unite followers of all faith traditions.

“It’s not possible for one to say that they love God, or whatever one calls the Holy, and hate or try to do damage to another human being,” Guibord wrote. “The Guibord Center was established to confront the distortions that we hold about one another and to uphold that which is good.”

Many leaders and organizations throughout Los Angeles have been hosted by Guibord and her partner and wife of 40 years, Dr. Sprague, in their home in Windsor Square.

Housing Works, a leading nonprofit that provides essential services for persons transitioning from chronic homelessness to permanent supportive housing, is only one of those organizations. Guibord chaired its board during its first five years.

Guibord is survived by Sprague; her mother, Donnis; sister Kathryn; niece Rachel (Shane); grandnephews Andre and Jordan; brother-in-law William; and nephews Eric and Joel.

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  1. Mary Kirchen says:

    Thank you for recognizing Dr. Guibord whose inspirational leadership and unique ability to honor the diversity and at the same time oneness of the people of God changed countless minds and hearts. We are privileged to carry forward her legacy. The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out is an independent nonprofit organization fortunate to hold numerous programs at St John’s Cathedral. Programs are also hosted at houses of worship throughout Los Angeles including The Islamic Center of Southern California, Shi Lai Bhuddist Temple, The Vedanta Society, First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, Wilshire Blvd Temple, Temple Beth Shir Shalom. The Guibord Center’s address is 137 N Larchmont Blvd. #566, Los Angeles, CA 90004

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