Shalem Society

Society Gathering 2016 – October 9-13

4 PM Sunday to after lunch Thursday


There are no more spaces at the retreat center for this event. Commuter registration is available for $495, which includes lunch and dinner each day.

  • About Society
  • 2016 Annual Gathering
  • Testimonials

The Shalem Society for Contemplative Leadership is a dedicated community of Shalem long-term program graduates committed to a contemplative orientation and its promise for individuals, groups, religious communities and society. These graduates serve as spiritual leaders, influencing, often profoundly, the climate of spiritual life in those with whom they live and work.

The Shalem Society is open to all who have completed the second residency of a Shalem long-term program and is built around three major intentions:

  • Living from the Spirit in all circumstances and growing by grace in personal communion with God;
  • Sharing the fruits of this communion through outreach to spiritually hungry people and service to God’s shalom in the world;
  • Cultivating contemplative spiritual formation and discernment in all aspects of ministry and daily life, grounded in God’s guiding presence.

To support these intentions, Shalem hosts an annual gathering for Society members, invites commitment to shared practices for deepening contemplative life and leadership, and encourages ongoing sharing of resources and spiritual insights in a variety of ways. Among these resources are the Shalem Circles, formed regionally, which provide support and encourage growth in the membership commitment and practices. For more details on the Circles, see the PDF below.

All Shalem long-term program graduates who feel called to support one another’s spiritual life and leadership and to expand the influence and impact of a contemplative orientation in the world are invited to join the Society at any time during the year. However, the induction ceremony of new members only takes place at the annual gathering.

There is no membership fee to join the Shalem Society. As one of the shared practices, members are asked to make Shalem one of their charitable priorities and to support Shalem financially as they are able.

Through the Shalem Society, we seek to foster a more enduring and evolving contemplative way.

October 9-13, 2016
Bon Secours Spiritual Center

Keeping Radiant Love at the Center

What can our contemplative consciousness contribute to our understanding of leadership and our response to the growing social conflicts of our time? How can we keep divine, creative love at the center? How can that center help us understand the good and evil impulses that shape those conflicts, the underlying fear, and what is ours to do in response?

During the gathering, we will have opportunity to share some of our own concerns and insights related to this theme, including the divisiveness we are seeing locally, nationally and globally. We also will be able to witness to the way we may have tasted the grace of bringing contemplative heart awareness and vision to our understanding and response.

Society Gathering Design

The gathering will again include a day of silence early on, followed by meetings in listening circles and reflection on our theme. We also will spend a day reflecting on the movement of the Spirit since the last Society gathering, discerning the graces and gifts that have been given from the pioneering regional groups (North Carolina, Mid-Atlantic, and Ohio). We will let the wisdom gleaned from these regions inspire our visions for the future as we move into a new year together.


There are no more spaces at the retreat center for this event. Commuter registration is available for $495, which includes lunch and dinner each day.


For more information, you may contact our offices at or (301) 897-7334.

Shalem 2016 Society Gathering Cancellation and/or Transfer Policy:
If you need to cancel your registration for the Shalem 2016 Society Gathering and wish to receive a partial refund, you must contact Shalem at least two weeks before the beginning of the program, in which case Shalem will refund the program tuition less the $75 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit. No tuition refunds can be made for cancellations within two weeks of the program start date. Refunds for room and board costs will be made consistent with the cancellation policy of the residential facility for the event.



As one of the components of the Society for Contemplative Leadership, the Annual Gathering is open to all people who have completed the second residency of one of Shalem’s long-term programs: Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program, Facilitating Group Spiritual Direction Program, Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program, Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening Program, Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, Soul of the Executive Program, and YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative.

Please note: if you are a graduate of one of Shalem’s long-term programs and are considering membership in the Society, you are welcome to come to the Gathering to discern if the Society is right for you at this time.

Why I Attend the Society Gathering

“To feel the Spirit moving, to enter sacred space with companions who listen for that movement, who long to feel that Presence and who delight in the stillness. Being in the Society means that I know a group of people who are standing with me as we try to be faithful to all we are called to be, as we try to move with the grace and compassion the Spirit can generate. I expect to be renewed, surprised and inspired, and my expectations have never been disappointed. Thank you, Shalem, for helping me dip into that deep well the Source of Life keeps bubbling for all of us.”

– Karen Day (Shalem Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership); Director of Plenty!-neighbors growing and sharing food

“I do so in order to refocus my life on being aware of God’s constant presence. In a world where there are so many distractions, I find it helpful to be in a holy community in a sacred place. The gatherings are always held at retreat houses that are infused with the communion of the saints. I do not know how this works, but I do know that it happens. I enjoy being part of a holy not perfect community. As far as I can tell, everyone checks their ego at the door. We are there to gently support one another in our pilgrimage. This time also keeps me in touch with what is going on at Shalem as well as checking in with people I have seen before. I also find the most interesting things: a Celebrating Diversity Multifaith Calendar as well as the outstanding Cheap Therapy Cards. All in all, it is a time that reminds me of what is important in life.”

– Angie Butler (Shalem Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program); Presbyterian clergy

“During these past five years, I missed two Society gatherings in a row, due to vocational responsibilities. These were two long years, during which I realized that the Society gathering is where I come to refresh and renew my spirit, in worship, fellowship and occasions of blessed silence. As part of my spiritual practice, I sometimes journey to a monastery for spiritual retreat and renewal. I like to think of our annual Society gathering as being like an intentional monastic community for our time together, celebrating and sharing the contemplative grounding that is our spiritual home, and deepening our understanding of what it means to live contemplatively in the world. I look forward, each year, to my Shalem Society pilgrimage, where I reconnect with friends I have met at other gatherings and make new friends who are attending their first. My heart eagerly waits to return to that gathering, where I will re-member my commitment to my spiritual journey in the midst of a loving and supportive spiritual community.”

– Al Keeney (Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, Summer 1999; Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life & Leadership, 2004); Episcopal priest

“Shalem always seems to be what I need.”

“I feel grounded again in my contemplative leadership. Thank you for your commitment to this grace-filled ministry!”

(Comments from previous Society Gathering Participants.)