July 25, 2020
10 AM-4 PM EDT, on Zoom


Do you long for a prayerful, safe, open space for conversations about race? Do you desire to address racism and white supremacy from a contemplatively grounded stance? Do you long to speak from the heart and listen from the heart in the journey toward healing and justice?

If so, then join Fay Acker, Shalem board member and adjunct staff, and Margaret Benefiel, Shalem executive director, in a day of sharing our individual stories, listening deeply to one another, and listening for God in our midst. Our intention is to take one small step toward creating the Beloved Community, the kin-dom of God on earth through gathering with a receptive presence to deep reality. With open, willing hearts and confidence that the Holy One holds us and leads us even in the midst of our pain and not-knowing, we will move toward greater self-awareness and self-acceptance in the struggle for racial justice. Knowing that each one has a part to play, we will listen for divine guidance to answer the question, “What is mine to do?”

We will gather on Zoom, create a prayerful space, listen, and have time for silence and words.

Schedule of the day:
Opening prayer and silence
What is a “contemplative conversation on race?” and intention for the day
Create a racial awareness timeline (individually and prayerfully)
Share about timeline in pairs
Share in whole group
Lunch break
Break into two groups (one BIPOC, one white) to focus on what each group needs (some of the time within each group will be spent in individual reflection, some in pairs, some in the group)
Return to whole group to focus on “What is mine to do?”
Closing prayer


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 the author of numerous articles and books on contemplative leadership, including The Soul of a Leader and Soul at Work.

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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.