Shalem Society Annual Gathering

October 13-17, 2024

4PM ET October 13 – 1PM ET October 17

“The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love . . . is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light.”
― James Baldwin

Activists of Love: The Contemplative Heart Holds a Broken World

We gather three weeks before a divisive US election that will have repercussions around the world. As the twin evils of racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric engender mistrust and violence, in a time of wars on our planet and devastation of our environment, we are painfully aware of what people are doing to one another and to our earth. Spirit implores us to observe deeply what God is doing.

With humility, we seek God’s presence. We ask for eyes to see God and God’s work. We ask for hearts to respond courageously from love and with trust in Spirit. Collectively and individually, we welcome questions we cannot answer as we share a common desire to become more: to participate in a network of communities based on love, peace, and wholeness.

When we gather, our shared practices of stillness and deep listening will increase our capacity for becoming sanctuaries where fears and wounds may be honored and transformed. We aim to nurture the light of God within us and among us, to “mirror and magnify each other’s light,” as James Baldwin encourages. Hope leads us out into our hurting world to be activists of love, to stand against injustice, and to engage as open-hearted communities of renewal.

Society Gathering Design

The gathering will include talks, 40 hours of silent retreat, rich and varied prayer experiences, and immersion in contemplative community. For those who feel led to engage in the business of the Shalem Society, there will be an additional Thursday afternoon session to listen to the Spirit and discern our way forward.


As one of the components of the Society for Contemplative Leadership, the Annual Gathering is open to all people who have completed the final 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 Spiritual Groups & Retreats Program, Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening Program, Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, Soul of the Executive Program, YALLI: Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative, Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders, the Soul of Leadership Program, and Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path.

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.


The Society Gathering will be held at Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center in Marriottsville, MD.

Bon Secours bridge and pond


The Gathering goes from 4 PM Eastern Time on the 13th and ends at 1 PM Eastern Time on the 17th.

For those who would like to stay on to engage in the business of Society, there will be a gathering from 1pm to 4pm on the 17th.


  • Early Early Bird price: (by July 31, 2024): $600
  • Early Bird Price: (by August 31, 2024): $625
  • Regular price: (after August 31, 2024): $650

Some scholarship funds are available. The scholarship deadline is July 31. If you are interested in scholarship support, email Janet Salbert by July 31 at

There are only 45 slots available for registration. Registrations are only to be completed electronically through Eventbrite.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation policy: Cancellation by August 15, refund of all but $75. Cancellation by September 1, refund of all but $150. Cancellation by September 15, refund of all but $300. Cancellation by September 27: refund of all but $500. No refunds after September 27.


Amy Duncan is the registrar for the Society Gathering. You can contact Amy at


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.