Classics In Religion At the Kingston  Library

Diverse sources are used for the weekly Classics in Religion Reading Group in the Community Room of the Kingston Library every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.     For one hour each week, a local religious leader has made selections for reading aloud and discussion.   The public is invited to any of these sessions and the Library is totally accessible at 55 Franklin St., corner of Prospect in mid-town Kingston.     The reading group began in the spring of 2003 and is currently lead by David Rolfe

Send Dave an email

If you are interested in leading a month's reading, please contact David Rolfe at Or call him at 845-443-1662.

The Schedule So Far

 September 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2018


Using his book, Higher Self Healing Meditation (2010), Cary Bayer, who taught Transcendental Meditation from 1973 until he founded Higher Self Healing Meditation in 2010, will present a description of the seven states of consciousness available to every human being, states experienced and lived in by many of the great saints, seers, and mystics from spiritual traditions the world over. Using concentration and control of the mind to experience a fourth state of consciousness encounters more resistance than an effortless approach that allows the Spirit of the Universe to do the work for the meditator who allows this inner process to unfold naturally. The author of Literary Yoga: Writers & Higher Consciousness, Cary will also present descriptions of higher consciousness from a variety of poets and sages.

Cary Bayer is a former teacher of Transcendental Meditation (TM), a trainer of TM teachers, and a former Teaching Assistant at Maharishi International University, where he received his M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. Cary studied with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Deepak Chopra, and Ram Dass, and taught meditation to hundreds of people from California and the Caribbean to Western Europe and Australia.
October 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2018 


Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Marcel, et. al.
What does Existentialism offer in our world of fake news and alternative facts? What are the values of authenticity and intellectual integrity to the Existentialist and how might these inform our understanding of our contemporary social and political milieu, where solidarity with others in the human condition has been replaced by many with ideologies driven by self interest and hate?

The Leader for this series is Robert Helfman, a resident of Hurley New York who has a background in Christian contemplation from a liberal Catholic perspective. A graduate of UCCC and SUNY New Paltz he has experience in the fields of health care and human services..

November 2018
C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis was a former atheist and a scholar with a common touch. His work Mere Christianity was based on a broadcast to encourage morale during the despair of WWII.  It is a simple statement of deeply complex theological and philosophical concepts. He gave a balanced statement reflecting all branches of  British Christianity.

Reverend Paul Marshall has lived in the Kingston Community for 15 years, serving as the pastor of Kingston Alliance Church.  A Canadian farm boy, he moved to the United States to obtain his Ph.d. in Historical Theology.  He is an avid reader and frequently visits the library.  He often has a stack of books “on hold”.  Paul has been married to his wife, Edwina for 36 years.  He enjoys gardening, board games, working out at the YMCA, and playing with his two grandchildren.

December 2018

Some Transcendental Poetry by David Rolfe

We will meet on December 5 and 12  10:3-11:30 at the Kingston Library.

Transcendentalism and some poetry by David Rolfe will be read and discussed.  These poems were written long ago for readings at the Tinker St Cafe in Woodstock NY. A number of them were set to music at the local Unitarian Church. As will be seen, many of these poems have a transcendental  vision informing them.

David Rolfe is the current coordinator of the Classics in Religion discussion group. He is a retired IBM engineer  who has a life long interest in philosophy and mathematics. He has lead the the classics group many times and taught several courses at the life long learning institutte at Bard College. He served on the board of trustees of the Kingston Library for many years.

January 2019

Johnathon  Edwards and Free Will

We Will met on January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Tim Chiarot is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.  He has pastored several churches and is currently providing supply for various churches as well as serving on the Shepherding Committee for the New York State Presbytery.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Religion from Liberty University, a Master’s of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary, and a Master’s of Theology from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.  In addition, Tim also completed five units of Clinical Pastoral Education, working as a hospital chaplain at Westchester Medical Center. Tim and his wife Julie have been married for thirteen years and have two children.

Summary of Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a Christian preacher and theologian. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals. Edwards's theological work is broad in scope, but he is often associated with Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage.   

Summary of Book

Edwards’s “The Freedom of the Will” is a treatise written in 1754 in which Edwards argues the the will does not either exist of operate as an independent faculty, rather it is integrally related to all aspects of our soul, in particular, our intellect and our affections (emotions). As such, the notion of the will maintaining a status of utter freedom must be rejected.