• Office Staff
  • Program Directors
  • Adjunct Staff
  • Board

Margaret Benefiel, Executive Director
margaret@shalem.org
MargaretBenefiel
Margaret became Shalem’s executive director in July 2015. Prior to coming to Shalem, she ran her own consulting, speaking, training, and coaching business, Executive Soul, helping leaders and organizations nurture their souls and express their deepest values institutionally. At the same time, she taught as adjunct faculty at Andover Newton Theological School in the area of contemplative leadership. Margaret is a Quaker and holds a B.A. in History from Princeton University, an M.A. in Mathematics from Portland State University, an M.A. in Theology from Earlham School of Religion, and a PhD in Spirituality from Catholic University of America. She has written extensively on various aspects of contemplative leadership and spirituality at work, including The Soul of Higher Education; The Soul of Supervision; The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Fulfillment and Success; and Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations.


Laura Caperton, Outside Accountant

Laura has been with Shalem since 2015. A CPA, she has many years experience helping companies and individuals with tax preparation, tax planning, and accounting bookkeeping.


Susan Dillon, Interim Development Director

Susan Dillon is Interim Development Director. Shalem has been a spiritual home for Susie since 1978 when she first met Tilden Edwards. She served for many years on the Board and various Board committees, and has participated in many Shalem programs and pilgrimages.


Jackson Droney, Director of Operations and Online Learning

Jackson Droney is Shalem’s Director of Operations and Online Learning, overseeing Shalem’s finances, HR, online courses, and all the nuts and bolts that make Shalem hum. He loves discerning with others how organizations can identify and live more deeply into their purpose, and is excited to be part of organization development work at Shalem. Jackson is a graduate of Shalem’s Personal Spiritual Deepening Program, Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative (known now as Crossing the Threshold), and Soul of Leadership program. Prior to working at Shalem, Jackson spent several years working in federal politics, as a staffer on Capitol Hill and as a lobbyist for not-for-profit electric utilities. He holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Georgetown University. At Shalem, Jackson also serves on the faculty of the Crossing the Threshold program and leads Shalem pilgrimages to Spain. He is a student at Luther Seminary and is a candidate for pastoral ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).


Kathryn Gaughan, Program AdministratorKatyG
katy@shalem.org

Katy is a program administrator for Shalem and a drummer and drum circle facilitator, who loves leading groups in prayerful musical experiences. She is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program. Contact Katy for questions about Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, the Gerald May Seminar, online course registration and book orders. Katy is available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.


Michelle Geuder, Registrar
michelle@shalem.org

Michelle is the Registrar for the Assisi Pilgrimage, the Soul of Leadership programs, and YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative. She is an artist and feels most spiritually grounded when immersed in nature. Contact Michelle for questions about the Assisi Pilgrimage and The Soul of Leadership programs. Michelle is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.


Christine Jeffrey, Registrar
chris@shalem.org

Christine is the Registrar for the Crossing the Threshold Program, the Clergy Program and the Walking the Ramparts Pilgrimage. Christine is returning part time to Shalem, and is excited to be back. She has a B.A. in Theology and has worked in parishes in the areas of Liturgy and Adult Faith Formation. She has interest in Celtic Spirituality, loves all things Irish and love spending time with her children and grandchildren. Christine is available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.


Stacy Rancourt, Bookkeeper
stacy@shalem.org

Stacy has been the Bookkeeper for Shalem since April 2019. She has also handled the bookkeeping duties for Executive Soul since 2015. She has a B.S. in Accountancy from Bentley College, she is a self-published author, and she enjoys reading, writing, hiking and family adventures. Contact Stacy for bookkeeping questions (program coordinators and registrars can be contacted for general questions about program due dates and program payment instructions). Stacy is available Monday – Friday from 10am – 2pm.


Kerri Saucier, Director of Development

Kerri Saucier is Shalem’s Director of Development. She has twenty years of fundraising experience in higher education as well as a divinity school education. She was drawn to Shalem because of our commitment to bring contemplative living and leadership skills to those who seek them and because of her desire to work in a contemplatively grounded environment. She brings expertise in fundraising strategy, operations, and technology.


Trish Stefanik, Program Administrator
trish@shalem.org

Trish, a program administrator for Shalem, is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and serves on the leadership team for that program. She is a co-director for the Heart Longings program and also serves as a small group facilitator for Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction program. As an experienced retreat leader, Trish delights in opening a way for creativity and contemplation. She is a resident manager of Overlook Retreat House at Dayspring in Germantown, MD, and has a passion for the natural world, social justice, simplicity, and silence. Trish is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.


Ruth_Taylor_headshotRuth Taylor, Director of Technology

Ruth serves as director of technology and is continually inspired by how technology can allow for the Spirit’s unceasing work in the world. A former teacher, she worked to develop Shalem’s eCourse Program 2011-2020. She holds a BA in Outdoor Education from Earlham College and an MS in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Maryland.

Fay C. Acker

Fay is ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA and serves as a Minister Member at Large, having previously served as a Parish Associate at Northminster Presbyterian Church. A graduate of Hampton University and the Howard University School of Divinity, she also has served as the Associate Dean and as the Director of Spiritual Guidance and Pastoral Care at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Howard University. She is a graduate of Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and is currently part of Shalem’s Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. Fay is the Co-Director of Crossing the Threshold: Supporting Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders.

Margaret Benefiel, PhD

Margaret, Executive Director of Shalem, holds a PhD in Spirituality from Catholic University and an MA. in Theology from Earlham School of Religion. She is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and serves on the staff of that program as well as on the staff of our Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and our YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative. She created and directs the Soul of Leadership Program and is a co-director for the Heart Longings program. She is the author of numerous articles and books on contemplative leadership, including The Soul of a Leader and Soul at Work.

Brenda Bertrand

Brenda is a co-director of the Heart Longings program and serves on the staff of Shalem’s YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative. Brenda served as an intern at Shalem and graduated from Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction and Heart Longings programs. As an ordained minister, spiritual companion, and seminary chaplain, she finds joy in companioning emerging leaders and people of color on their contemplative journeys. Brenda believes pilgrimage is a spiritual practice and has participated in and led sacred travel adventures across the globe since 1997.

Winston B. Charles

Winston, an Episcopal priest, is the Co-Director of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program. He also is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program. Before retiring, he served parishes in New York and North Carolina and continues to offer spiritual direction, teach and lead retreats.

Lorie Conway

Lorie is the incoming Director for the Transforming Community Class of 2023. Lorie has a passion for listening and accompanying others on their spiritual journeys through spiritual direction, contemplative small groups, and spiritual retreats. She is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening and Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats programs, as well as Lancaster Theological Seminary. Lorie considers herself a progressive Christian welcoming and embracing the wisdom of all spiritual traditions.

Ann Dean

ADean_headshotAnn, Director of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program, is also on the staff of our clergy formation program. A nationally-known leader for deepening the life of prayer and for developing new structures committed to Earth care and social justice, she is a minister in the ecumenical Church of the Saviour and part of their Dayspring Retreat Mission Group.

Dawn Peck

Dawn Peck, Co-Director of Shalem’s Crossing the Threshold: Supporting Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders, is a graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program, a retreat leader, spiritual guide, and Developmental Pediatrician. She has served in the past for many years on the Board of Ordained Ministry of the United Methodist Church and is passionate about the intersection of theology and deep spirituality, interfaith dialogue, and helping parents learn to parent from their spiritual heart.

Julie Pennington-Russell

Julie Pennington-Russell, Co-Director of the Program, serves as senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC. She earned her MDiv from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA. She is a graduate of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership and is in the 2021 class of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. Julie served three previous congregations in San Francisco, Waco (TX) and Decatur (GA). One of her greatest joys is planting and nurturing contemplative groups within congregational life. She experiences closeness with the Beloved in the daily rhythms of urban life.

Trish Stefanik

Trish, a program administrator for Shalem, is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and serves on the leadership team for that program. She is a co-director for the Heart Longings program and also serves as a small group facilitator for Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction program. As an experienced retreat leader, Trish delights in opening a way for creativity and contemplation. She is a resident manager of Overlook Retreat House at Dayspring in Germantown, MD, and has a passion for the natural world, social justice, simplicity, and silence.

Phillip Stephens

Phillip, Co-Director of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, is an Episcopal lay-person and graduate of the 2006 Spiritual Guidance Class. In addition to being an associate of the Order of the Holy Cross, he serves as a spiritual guide and retreat facilitator. He is interested in cross-cultural studies and inter-spirituality.

Liz Ward

Liz_Ward_headshotLiz, Co-Director of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, is an Episcopal layperson and herself a graduate of our guidance program. An experienced teacher and retreat leader, she has served as a spiritual guide for Virginia Theological Seminary for many years and is a discernment facilitator for the Diocese of Virginia. She also serves on the staffs of our clergy program and group leadership program.

Fay C. Acker

Fay is ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA and serves as a Minister Member at Large, having previously served as a Parish Associate at Northminster Presbyterian Church. A graduate of Hampton University and the Howard University School of Divinity, she also has served as the Associate Dean and as the Director of Spiritual Guidance and Pastoral Care at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Howard University. She is a graduate of Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and is currently part of Shalem’s Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program.

Margaret Benefiel

Margaret, Executive Director of Shalem, holds a PhD in Spirituality from Catholic University and an MA in Theology from Earlham School of Religion. She is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and serves on the staff of that program as well as on the staff of our Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and our Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative. She created and directs the Soul of Leadership Program and is a co-director for the Heart Longings program. She is the author of numerous articles and books on contemplative leadership, including The Soul of a Leader and Soul at Work.

Brenda Bertrand

Brenda is a co-director of the Heart Longings program and serves on the staff of Shalem’s YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative. Brenda served as an intern at Shalem and graduated from Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction and Heart Longings programs. As an ordained minister, spiritual companion, and seminary chaplain, she finds joy in companioning emerging leaders and people of color on their contemplative journeys. Brenda believes pilgrimage is a spiritual practice and has participated in and led sacred travel adventures across the globe since 1997.

Margie Buchanan-Smith

Margie has played a variety of leadership roles within the humanitarian aid sector. She has conducted and published research into models of excellence in value-driven humanitarian leadership across the globe. She now works as an independent consultant and facilitator and is a professionally qualified coach. She is frequently called upon to lead cross-cultural teams for international projects. Margie is on the staff of our Soul of Leadership program.

David Canada

David, a retired United Methodist pastor and army chaplain, is on the staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. A graduate of the program, he is the co-founder of Kindred Project and Clergy Spirit Care and helps organize and lead centering prayer groups and clergy retreats.

WCharles_headshotWinston B. Charles

Winston, an Episcopal priest, is the Director of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program. He also is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program. Before retiring, he served parishes in New York and North Carolina and continues to offer spiritual direction, teach and lead retreats.

Greg Cochran

Greg serves on the staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and is also a graduate of that program. He is the Associate Pastor for Children and Youth and Spiritual Formation at Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD.

Lerita_Coleman_Brown_headshotLerita Coleman Brown

Lerita, a spiritual director and author, is Professor Emerita of Psychology at Agnes Scott College and past director of the Science Center for Women at Agnes Scott. She is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and speaks and writes about contemplative spirituality in everyday life.

Lorie Conway

Lorie has a passion for listening and accompanying others on their spiritual journeys and is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening. She is also a graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Programs and serves on the staff of that program. She considers herself a progressive Christian welcoming and embracing the wisdom of all spiritual traditions.

Phillip CoverPhillip_Cover_headshot

Phil, a Roman Catholic priest, is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and serves on the staff of that program. A spiritual director and retreat leader, he has also worked with the National Catholic Education Association and the Bon Secours Spiritual Center retreat team and as a pilgrim guide to the Sinai and New Mexico deserts. He is co-author of Journey with Purpose and The Inner Work of Lent.

Joy Celeste Crawford

Joy, a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, is a staff member in that program and has been working with people of all ages as a spiritual director and retreat leader for over 16 years. She is the co-founder of the Kindred Project and Spirit Care for Clergy and holds a master’s degree in Christian Education and Theology.

TPC_CaroleCrumley_bioCarole Crumley

Carole is an Episcopal priest and an experienced pilgrimage guide to sacred and secular sites throughout Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. Formerly Senior Program Director at Shalem, she is on the staff of our Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and leads the e-course, Opening to the Spirit, for our online School of Contemplative Prayer.

Anita Davidson

Anita is a spiritual director, preacher and retreat leader. She previously worked for the Dominican Sisters of Peace as Coordinator of Associates and in various positions with the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Ohio over the past 30+ years. She is a graduate of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and a BA in Parish Ministry, both from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

AnnDeanAnn Dean

Ann, Director of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program, is also on the staff of our clergy formation program. A nationally-known leader for deepening the life of prayer and for developing new structures committed to Earth care and social justice, she is a minister in the ecumenical Church of the Saviour and part of their Dayspring Retreat Mission Group.

Bill_Dietrich_headshotWilliam (Bill) Dietrich

Bill is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, and he serves on the staff for the latter program. He leads retreats, workshops, and spiritual formation groups in addition to providing spiritual direction and pastoral care in his Quaker community and currently devotes most of his time and energies to issues of end-of life care.

Jackson Droney

Jackson Droney is Shalem’s Director of Operations and Online Learning, overseeing Shalem’s finances, HR, online courses, and all the nuts and bolts that make Shalem hum. He loves discerning with others how organizations can identify and live more deeply into their purpose, and is excited to be part of organization development work at Shalem. Jackson is a graduate of Shalem’s Personal Spiritual Deepening Program, Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative (known now as Crossing the Threshold), and Soul of Leadership program. Prior to working at Shalem, Jackson spent several years working in federal politics, as a staffer on Capitol Hill and as a lobbyist for not-for-profit electric utilities. He holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Georgetown University. At Shalem, Jackson also serves on the faculty of the Crossing the Threshold program and leads Shalem pilgrimages to Spain. He is a student at Luther Seminary and is a candidate for pastoral ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Tilden H. Edwards, PhD.

Tilden, Founder and Senior Fellow at Shalem, was our executive director for over 27 years. An Episcopal priest with parish experience, he is a nationally respected speaker, retreat leader and author, most recently of Embracing the Call to Spiritual Depth. He has designed and led contemplative programs since 1979, continues to write and teach about the spiritual life, and serves on the staff of all of our long-term programs.

Sid Fowler

Sid is a United Church of Christ pastor who recently served First UCC in Washington, DC. He also has worked with the national staff of the United Methodist Church and with the UCC in spiritual formation and serves on staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program.

KatyGKathryn Gaughan

Katy is a program administrator for Shalem and a drummer and drum circle facilitator, who loves leading groups in prayerful musical experiences. She is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and serves on the staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program.

Mark Goodwin

Mark is a retired attorney, a graduate of the Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening Program, and a graduate of the Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. He serves as a spiritual director and a group spiritual direction facilitator for Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path Program. Mark and his wife, Brigid, live in Glen Allen, Virginia, and have four children and six grandchildren.

Anne_Grizzle_headshotAnne Grizzle

Anne, a graduate of our Facilitating Group Spiritual Direction Program, is a spiritual director, retreat leader and social worker who offers training and consultation on conflict resolution, communication skills, family spirituality, and contemplative spirituality. Author of three books and contributor to two, she currently co-directs our young adult program and co-leads our offerings in group spiritual direction.

Jim Hall

Jim, a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program, also serves on the staff of that program. For years, he practiced medicine at an inner city health clinic associated with the Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He currently lives on their 200-acre retreat farm and helps preserve and restore the land, tend a permaculture food forest and garden, and lead classes, retreats, outings, and liturgies that link faith and ecology.

J. Marshall Jenkins

J. Marshall Jenkins, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program who provides psychotherapy and spiritual direction in Rome, GA. He serves on the staff of that program and is also an author. His most recent book is Blessed at the Broken Places: Reclaiming Faith and Purpose with the Beatitudes.

Al_Keeney_headshotAl Keeney

Al, an Episcopal priest, is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and our Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program. He is a retreat and pilgrimage leader and has taught workshops in spiritual direction, journaling, contemplative prayer and praying with icons.

Barbara J. Kelly

Barb holds a PsyD in Clinical Psychology and was named professor emeritus of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology after her retirement in 2020, having served in higher education leadership positions for many years. She also had a 30-year clinical practice of psychology in the Chicago area. Barb is a graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and trained in Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. Now living in northern (lower) Michigan, she offers both individual and group spiritual guidance, volunteers at her local library, and mentors middle and high school students.

Keith Kristich

Keith is a graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program. He helps people slow down and reconnect with their true self by way of meditation, contemplative prayer, and the Enneagram, in one-on-one, small group, and retreat settings.

Mollie Lemon

Mollie serves as a small group facilitator for Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path. A federal government employee, she has worked on issues including climate change, renewable energy, and engagement with religious actors in foreign policy. Mollie is a graduate of the Personal Spiritual Deepening Program and holds an MA in Religion and Public Life from Emory University, as well as Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Environmental Science.

Tony Mazurkiewicz

Tony Mazurkiewicz serves as the Georgetown University Chaplain for Athletics and the Senior Advisor of the Georgetown John Main Center for Meditation and Interreligious Dialogue. Prior to his current positions, Tony served as a member of the Carmelite Order as a brother and priest for 15 years, including five years as President of Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, IL. Tony has over 20 years of ministerial and leadership experience in K-12 public and private schools, parishes, retreat centers and prisons. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and received his Masters in Divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union. He is a trained Spiritual Director, Mediator, and Enneagram Facilitator who also holds certificates in Carmelite Studies, the Spiritual Exercises and Non-Profit Management.

Chuck McCorkle

Chuck, part of our pilgrimage leadership team, has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and has long felt a strong spiritual connection with art and contemplative practice. In the mid 1980s, he relinquished his role in the studio to follow a calling to do AIDS work. In retirement, the call to service brought him to Sierra Leone to provide mental health support to an Ebola Response Team. He has volunteered at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Phillips Collection, and the National Gallery of Art.

Diane Thomas Mitchell

Diane is a retired educator from Baltimore City. She held positions as a classroom teacher, Master Teacher, Staff Developer, Consulting Teacher with Towson University Maryland Writing Project, and Assistant Principal. Following retirement, she pursued spiritual studies and art. Diane is a nondenominational New Thought Christian and a Metaphysician. For sixteen years she led The Artist’s Way’s groups in Reno, Nevada, Baltimore City, Adult Lifetime Learners of Chesapeake Bay and Salisbury University in Maryland. Diane is a graduate of Transforming Communities: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program.

Cheryl Notari

Cheryl is a spiritual director and a retreat leader who has worked with church boards, congregations and individuals in discerning Gods call. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, teaches as an adjunct in a counseling program, and serves on the staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program from which she is also a graduate.

Kevin Omi

Kevin is a United Church of Christ pastor and co-chair of a Committee on Ministry in California. He is a graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and serves on the staff of that program. He leads retreats and gatherings using both Christian and Buddhist practices for the Pacific Center for Spiritual Formation.

Diane Paras

Diane, a Lutheran laywoman, is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and is on the staff of that program. A spiritual director for over 15 years, she manages a law firm and is interested in workplace spirituality and contemplative leadership.

Eileen Quinn

Eileen is a Franciscan Sister who is currently the Director of Aisling Retreat House in Manchester, MD, where she offers psychotherapy, spiritual guidance, workshops and retreats. She holds masters degrees in psychology, family therapy, religious studies and a Doctorate of Ministry in Spirituality. She is also a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance and serves on the staff of that program.

Eliza Ramos

Eliza is a leadership and organizational development consultant who specializes in wellness and resilience. As CEO of Circles International, she holds an MPH from Harvard University and an MSW from Columbia University. She is a graduate of both Shalem’s Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative and Soul of Leadership program. She serves on the staff of the Soul of Leadership Program.

Leah_FBLeah Rampy

Leah has a background in corporate management and leadership consulting as well as a deep passion for contemplative living and care of the Earth. She has a PhD in Curriculum from Indiana University and is a graduate of our Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening and our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Programs. She is currently part of our pilgrimage team and a mentor in our young adult program.

Patience Profile PicPatience Robbins

Patience is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and has been a spiritual director for over 25 years. She was the director of our Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening Program from 2003-08 and the director of YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership from 2013-2015. She is the author of Parenting: A Sacred Path and currently serves on the staff of our spiritual guidance program and as a mentor in our young adult program.

Emily Schwenker

Emily is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) to the validated specialized ministry of spiritual direction. She is the Associate for Spiritual Formation and Direction at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE, a member of the adjunct faculty at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA, and part of the staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program from which she is also a graduate.

TrishTrish Stefanik

Trish, a program administrator for Shalem, is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and serves on the leadership team for that program. She is a co-director for the Heart Longings program and also serves as a small group facilitator for Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction program. As an experienced retreat leader, Trish delights in opening a way for creativity and contemplation. She is a resident manager of Overlook Retreat House at Dayspring in Germantown, MD, and has a passion for the natural world, social justice, simplicity, and silence.

Phillip Stephens

Phillip, a voice specialist and parish administrator, is also an associate of the Order of the Holy Cross. A spiritual guide and retreat facilitator, he is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and serves on the staff of that program. He has a special interest in cross-cultural studies and inter-religious dialogue.

Francie Thayer

Francie is the Director of The Retreat House at St. Pauls Hillsboro, a new ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton. She is a graduate of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, serves on the staff for that program, and is also a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary where she offers spiritual direction to several current seminarians.

Andrea “Ani” Vidrine

Andrea is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats and Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Programs. She is an interfaith minister, licensed clinical social worker, spiritual director, CEU provider, yoga instructor, and former massage therapist who has served in multiple clinical settings, most recently with hospice as social worker, chaplain, and volunteer coordinator. She is on the staff of our spiritual guidance program and is currently a Ph.D. student in Integral & Transpersonal Psychology through The California Institute of Integral Studies.

Liz_Ward_headshotLiz Ward

Liz, Director of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, is an Episcopal layperson and herself a graduate of our guidance program. An experienced teacher and retreat leader, she has served as a spiritual guide for Virginia Theological Seminary for many years and is a discernment facilitator for the Diocese of Virginia. She also serves on the staffs of our clergy program and group leadership program.

Nan Weir

Nan is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program and our Facilitating Group Spiritual Direction Program. She is a retreat leader with many years of experience in leading group spiritual direction and co-leads our group spiritual direction offerings.

Matthew Wright

Matthew is an Episcopal priest, writer and retreat leader working to renew the Christian Wisdom tradition within a wider inter-spiritual framework. He is a graduate of our Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program, writes a monthly column for Contemplative Journal, and serves on the staff of our spiritual guidance program.

Fay C. Acker

Minister Member-at-Large, National Capital Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)


Sallie Chatfield

Artist, Friend, Contemplative Group & Retreat Leader, Heart Holder


Kiok Cho

Prayer Group Leader, Korean Americans in Washington Metropolitan Area


Rhett Engelking

Health Care Practitioner


Susan Etherton

Spiritual Director, Elder, Arlington Presbyterian Church, Arlington, VA, PC(USA)


Gene Foehl

Attorney, private practice


Keith Kristich

Grant Street Neighborhood Center Program Manager, PUSH Buffalo, Buffalo, NY


Westina Matthews

Adjunct Professor, The General Theological Seminary/Center for Christian Spirituality, Writer and Spiritual Guide


Dawn Peck

Virginia Conference of UMC and Retreat Leader, Kindred Project of VA


Patience Robbins

Spiritual director, prayer and retreat leader


Scott Rohr

Public Sector Division President, Great American Insurance Group


Lisa Senuta

Rector, St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Northfield, IL


Jessie M. Smith

General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church


Alanna Sullivan

Associate Minister for the Memorial Church of Harvard University


Nan Weir

Architect, facilitator and retreat leader


Sarah Willie-LeBreton

Provost of Swarthmore College


Katie Zimmerman

Consultant-Executive Assistant, Project Manager, Integrator