Shalem’s 50th Anniversary Closing Celebration!

June 30th, 3-5pm ET on Zoom

You are invited to join us for our closing festivities of our year-long 50-Year Anniversary year celebration! June 30th marks the end of our celebratory year! Join us on Zoom to close out our celebratory year with drumming, song, reflections, prayers and more! Watch for details in future newsletters or on our website.

If you are part of our Shalem community, past, present or future, we want you to Hope with us as we spring into the next 50 Years!


Holy Week Fast for Peace

March 25-29, 2024

In a world of fast food and immediate gratification, the ancient discipline of fasting can seem like a quaint relic of a bygone age. Yet, this neglected spiritual discipline is found in virtually every faith tradition around the globe in one form or another. While in its classical form, fasting involves abstaining from food (but not water!) for a certain period, the variations on fasting are endless. These can include fasting from certain types of food (the oft heard “giving up chocolate for Lent”), abstaining from certain practices or behaviors (e.g. social media), or even avoiding a bad habit (e.g. swearing). In any of these forms, however, fasting is not intended to be a test of will power; rather, it is a reminder of our hunger for the divine.

For Christians, fasting is perhaps the most central discipline of Lent. Fasting during the forty days of Lent echoes Moses’s forty-day fast on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28ff), Elijah’s forty-day fast on Mount Horeb (I Kings 19:8ff), and Jesus’s forty-day fast in the desert (Matt. 4:2ff). In each of these cases, fasting is combined with prayer – clearly a potent combination in the eyes of the Scripture writers!

Please consider closing out your Lent this year by joining members of the Shalem community in a Holy Week fast for peace. This juice fast (abstaining from solid food, but not juices) will begin with a Zoom session on Monday, March 25th from 4:00-6:00 PM ET and will end with a closing Zoom session on Good Friday (March 29th) from 4:00-6:00 PM ET. Both sessions will be led by Rev. Roy Oswald and Rev. Dr. Margaret Benefiel who will give some general background and instructions on fasting and answer participants’ questions. They will also be available on Wednesday (March 27) at 4:30 PM ET (on Zoom), for anyone who would like guidance or support in this process. If you do not have much experience with fasting, join us for the initial session to learn more (with no obligation to commit).

Shalem 50th Anniversary Documentary

Watch a celebration and history for the 50th Anniversary of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.

Life Woven in Sacred Time

Sacred Time: Book Launch and 50th Birthday Party
January 14th, 4:00-5:30pm ET On Zoom

Join us for the launch of Shalem Founder, Tilden Edward’s memoir, Life Woven in Sacred Time, followed by a celebration for Shalem’s 50th Birthday!

Soul Food: Nourishing Essays on Contemplative Living and Leadership

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Shalem Institute, this collection of experiential and academic essays offers modern contemplative reflections from new and renowned voices in spiritual leadership.

Co-edited by Shalem graduate and board member Westina Matthews, Shalem’s Executive Director Margaret Benefiel, and Jackson Droney, Shalem’s Director of Operations and Online Learning, Soul Food offers contemporary and inclusive insights to the ageless challenges of contemplative spirituality. This commemorative anthology features 17 essays written from the rich experience of Shalem’s leaders and teachers.

How to Order Soul Food with Discounts:
The book is available via Church Publishing. Go to and enter SOUL20 to get a 20% discount. Ebook links for Soul Food are also available via Church Publishing. 25% discount available on Amazon Kindle and Nook. All royalties will be donated to Shalem to support future Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.

Order book here:

“Exploring numerous rich perspectives on contemporary Christianity—from gender identity and theological languaging to issues of recovery, welcome and inclusion, decolonization, and social action, among others—the authors are unafraid to tackle new perspectives, all while staying firmly rooted in the core of their faith. Anyone interested in immersing themselves in these topics will be well served here.” – Rev. SeiFu Singh-Molares, Executive Director, Spiritual Directors International

“Established by Tilden Edwards those many years ago, the Shalem Institute has continued to offer a safe space for diverse individuals to engage with the sacred and restore the divine image of an abundant, loving God. An illuminating addition to any spiritual library, Soul Food is a testament to the institute’s rich history and commitment to transformative spiritual growth.” – Fr. Richard Rohr, author of Falling Upward and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

“With this book, Shalem sets forth a radical agenda for the next fifty years where we must do all we can to bend the arc of the moral universe toward love, truth, and justice. If you have any affinity for the contemplative life, you’ll find this book a compelling companion as we work and pray for the Beloved Community.” – Parker J. Palmer (author of Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, and On the Brink of Everything)

“An inclusive collection brimming with nourishing essays honestly exploring ways to be a loving human in an inhuman system, Soul Food is a community of contemplative authors also compassionately addressing the ailments of our society. Their work offers us new wineskins of openheartedness, which can help us create a larger table where everyone is invited to sit and have plenty.” – Carmen Acevedo Butcher, Ph.D., poet and translator of Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence (Broadleaf) and The Cloud of Unknowing (Shambhala)

The contributors of Soul Food created a Discussion Guide as a helpful resource for individuals or small groups. You can download the Discussion Guide here.

Fifty Hour Vigil of Prayer

12:00pm ET on Friday, October 6, through 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 8

Shalem’s Fifty Hour Vigil of Prayer celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Shalem. This is a time to gather and give thanks for Shalem’s gift to us and to the world. Each hour will be introduced by a member of the Shalem community who will invite us into Sacred Silence. You are welcome to join us at any time, though we encourage you to join in at the top of the hour.

Come and join in Holy Presence.

The Zoom room for the Vigil will open at 11:30am ET on Friday, October 6.

For security reasons, please do not post this Zoom link on social media.

Contact Winston Charles if you have any questions.


Friday, 10/06/23

12:00 Noon Margaret Benefiel, Washington, DC, USA
1:00 p.m. Ostein B. Truitt, Columbia, MD, USA
2:00 p.m. Phillip Stephens, New Castle, DE, USA
3:00 p.m. Geja Laan, Sneek, The Netherlands
4:00 p.m. Fay Acker, Washington, DC, USA
5:00 p.m. Liz Ward, Alexandria, VA, USA
6:00 p.m. Katie Archibald-Woodward, Ancestral Lands for the Muscogee Creek People, Atlanta, GA
7:00 p.m. Julie Pennington-Russell, Washington, DC, USA
8:00 p.m. Ambrose Hong-il Kim, Republic of Korea
9:00 p.m. AY Bryant, Durham, NC, USA
10:00 p.m. Keith Kristich, Buffalo, NY, USA
11:00 p.m. Dave Killeen, Swarthmore, PA, USA

Saturday, 10/07/23

12:00 Midnight David Andrews, Wilmington, DE, USA
1:00 a.m. Peter Wiltshire, Victoria, Australia
2:00 a.m. Sonya Green, Hartford, CT, USA
3:00 a.m. Dave Robinson, Ocean Park, ME, USA
4:00 a.m. Trish Stefanik, Germantown, MD, USA
5:00 a.m. J. Lee Hill, Richmond, VA, USA
6:00 a.m. Emily Johnson Kellar, South Dartmouth, MA. USA
7:00 a.m. Nancy Corson Carter, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
8:00 a.m. Jackson Droney, Washington, DC, USA
9:00 a.m. Peter Wiltshire, Victoria, Australia
10:00 a.m. Flora Visser, Makkum, The Netherlands
11:00 a.m. Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Northampton, MA, USA
12:00 Noon Althea Anita Banda-Hansmann, Ancestral Lands of the Khoi and San Cape Town, South Africa
1:00 p.m. Scott Rohr, Manakin Sabot, VA, USA
2:00 p.m. Kathie and Peter Nycklemoe, St.Paul, MN, USA
3:00 p.m. Carole Crumley, Washington, DC, USA
4:00 p.m. Kahu Scott Landis, Keawala’i Congregational UCC, Mākena, Maui, HI, USA
5:00 p.m. Oommen Thomas, Olmsted Falls, OH, USA
6:00 p.m. Anita Davidson, Columbus, OH, USA
7:00 p.m. Elmor van Staden, Johannesburg, South Africa
8:00 p.m. Nicole Uzans, Wolfville, NS, Canada
9:00 p.m. Nan Weir, Columbus, OH, USA
10:00 p.m. Lorie Conway, Bel Air, MD, USA
11:00 p.m. Rod Dugliss, San Francisco, CA, USA

Sunday, 10/08/23

12:00 Midnight Robin Seiler, University Park, MD, USA
1:00 a.m. Ambrose Hong-il Kim, Republic of Korea
2:00 a.m. Trey Campbell, Washington, DC, USA
3:00 a.m. Audrey Cox Smith, Chesterfield, VA, USA
4:00 a.m. Gerald Westcott, Cupids, NL, Canada
5:00 a.m. Susan Etherton, McLean, VA, USA
6:00 a.m. Stuart Higginbotham, Gainesville, GA, USA
7:00 a.m. Leah Rampy, Shepherdstown, WV, USA
8:00 a.m. Dawn Peck, Lexington, VA, USA
9:00 p.m. Ann Dean, Potomac, MD, USA
10:00 a.m. Gay Byron, Washington, DC, USA
11:00 a.m. Charlie Parker, Washington, DC, USA
12:00 Noon Katy Gaughan, Washington, DC, USA
1:00 p.m. Margaret Benefiel, Washington, DC, USA
2:00 p.m. Conclusion of 50-Hour Vigil of Prayer


Our mission is to nurture contemplative living and leadership.


In 2025, Shalem will be a dynamic and inclusive community, empowered by the Spirit, where seekers engage in transformation of themselves, their communities, and the world through spiritual growth, deep connection, and courageous action.