TRANSFORMING COMMUNITY: LEADING CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUAL GROUPS & RETREATS STAFF

Lorie Conway is the program director for the Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Spiritual Groups and Retreats Class of 2024. Lorie has a passion for listening and accompanying others on their spiritual journeys through spiritual direction, contemplative small groups, and spiritual retreats. Lorie received her training in spiritual direction from the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation. She is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God and Transforming Community programs and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Lorie considers herself a progressive Christian welcoming and embracing the wisdom of all spiritual traditions.

Sarah Anders is Leader of the Wild Earth Spiritual Community (formerly Church of the Wild DC) in metro DC. Ordained as a UCC minister, she has left the institutional church to be part of a movement in re-wilding spirituality. After she received an MTS from Wesley Theological Seminary, she took Shalem’s Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats in 2006-2007. It was there that she found the readings and contemplation that she didn’t receive but yearned for in seminary. Shalem was a formative experience that led her to return to Wesley for an MDiv and ordination. After serving in two progressive and wonderful churches in the area, she “left the building” and has been outdoors ever since. Embodiment is central as she continues working with Cynthia Bourgeault’s Wisdom Way of Knowing, Gurdjieff, and the Wild Church Network.

Greg Cochran is part of a four-person leadership team as the Executive Director at Well for the Journey, an ecumenical spiritual wellness center. Greg is also part-time Associate Pastor at Woodbrook Baptist Church. He holds a Masters degree in Divinity in Christian Education, a B.S. in Administrative Management, and is a graduate of the Shalem’s Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. He is on the staff of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Spiritual Groups and Retreats.

Ann Dean is on the staff of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Spiritual Groups and Retreats and on the staff of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership. 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 Savior and part of their Dayspring Retreat Mission Group.

Jim Hall, a graduate of our Transforming Community 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.

Kevin Omi is a United Church of Christ pastor and co-chair of a Committee on Ministry in California. He is a graduate of Transforming Community 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.

Leah Rampy 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. She is also on the staff of Transforming Community.

Trish Stefanik, a program administrator for Shalem, is a graduate of our Transforming Community 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.

Ostein Truitt recently retired after 20 amazing years serving as the assistant pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, MD. Prior to her tenure in church ministry, she taught nursing and other healthcare students as a professor of Clinical Microbiology. She earned a Master of Divinity from Howard University School of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. Her past experience with Shalem includes graduating from its Spiritual Guidance Program and the Transforming Community Program, and she is a former board member. She currently offers individual and group Spiritual Direction and is dedicated to living the contemplative path. She is on the staff of the Transforming Community Program.

Judy Walsh-Mellett completed Shalem’s Transforming Community Program in 2015 and now serves on the staff of this program. She has a long association with Dayspring Silent Retreat Center assisting and leading retreats and serving on the Ember Day team. She hosts Still Place: An Urban Retreat in her Mt. Rainier, Maryland home and garden. She also accompanies individuals in spiritual guidance and is a graduate of the RUAH School of Spiritual Guidance at Richmond Hill.

Mission

Our mission is to nurture contemplative living and leadership.

Vision

Grounded in our understanding of God’s desire for peace, wholeness and well-being, we envision a world transformed by contemplative living and leadership in which all people honor one another and creation, recognize their unity and interconnectedness, and courageously seek to live out of this reality.

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