Office Staff

Margaret Benefiel

Executive Director
margaret@shalem.org

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 Crisis Leadership; 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.

Jackson Droney

Director of Operations and Online Learning
jackson@shalem.org

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, 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 Administrator
katy@shalem.org

Katy is a program administrator for Shalem and a drummer and drum circle facilitator who provides drumming for wellness programs for all populations. She is a graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program. Contact Katy for questions about Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. Katy is available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Michelle Geuder

Registrar
michelle@shalem.org

Michelle is the Registrar for the Assisi Pilgrimage and the Soul of Leadership program. 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 program. Michelle is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

ArDonna Hamilton

Office and Development Coordinator
ArDonna@shalem.org

ArDonna Hamilton is Shalem’s Office and Development Coordinator. She has five years of fundraising experience and is passionate about womxn’s health, spirituality, and social justice. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, she seeks to bring an ever-expanding inclusive lens and heart for the “unseen” to spaces she inhabits. She is deeply committed to living faith through action, invoking wisdom from many religious traditions, and was drawn to Shalem because of our mutual commitment.

Christine Jeffrey

Registrar
chris@shalem.org

Christine is the Registrar for Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats, Going Deeper: Clergy Life and Leadership, Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders, and the Camino and Walking the Ramparts Pilgrimages. 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@shalem.org

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 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: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path 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

Director of Technology
ruth@shalem.org

Ruth has worked with Shalem since 2011. She 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. She holds a BA in Outdoor Education from Earlham College and an MS in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Maryland.

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Program Directors

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 Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. Fay is the co-director of Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders.

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 Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and serves on the staff of that program as well as on the staff of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders. She created and directs the Soul of Leadership Program and is a co-director for the Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path program. She is the author of numerous articles and books on contemplative leadership, including Crisis Leadership; 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.

Brenda Bertrand

Brenda is a co-director of the Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path program, co-director for the Camino Pilgrimage and serves on the staff of Shalem’s Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders Program. 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.

Anita-Yvonne (AY) Bryant

AY holds a doctorate in Clinical/Community psychology from the University of Maryland and has served over thirty years as a psychologist, administrator and equity advocate in higher education. As a psychologist, she works with the emerging adult student population. Her interests lie at the intersection of student mental health and well-being, spiritual formation, cultural identity development, and addressing structural barriers that impede access to mental health services. AY completed the Group Spiritual Direction Workshop and is a graduate of the Soul of Leadership (SOL) program. She is a spiritual discernment small group facilitator for SOL and serves as a co-director of the Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path program.

Winston Charles

Winston, an Episcopal priest, is the co-director of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program. He also is a graduate of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and 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: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats 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.

Aryn K. Davis

Aryn is the co-director of Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders. She is an educator and mental health professional in DC schools. Her passion is bringing others to a place of deeper awareness and full presence in heart, body, and mind, to ultimately experience freedom. Aryn is a graduate of Shalem’s Young Adult Life and Leadership program, and she is a facilitator in Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction Facilitator Training program. Prior to serving as a Shalem leader, Aryn worked in education as a teacher, a reading specialist, and currently is working as a counselor and the Director of Mental Health in a public charter school. She holds a B.A. from Howard University, a Master’s degree in Education from George Mason University, and a Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development from George Washington University.

Ann 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.

Sarah Forti

Sarah Forti, co-director of Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders, is a graduate of the Young Adult Life and Leadership program, and the Group Spiritual Direction workshop. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, has an MDiv from George Fox Evangelical Seminary, and is working towards an M.A. at Wesley Theological Seminary. She is a Director of Christian Education in the United Methodist Church, and a staff person in Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction workshops.

Emily Johnson Kellar

Emily Johnson Kellar, Co-Director of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership, serves as minister of the Congregational Church of South Dartmouth, UCC in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. She earned her MDiv from Andover Newton Theological School which is now located in New Haven, CT. She is a graduate of Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership program. Emily has taken online courses with Shalem and been on the pilgrimage to Assisi. Emily served a previous UCC congregation south of Boston. She has three grown children, a daughter in law, grandson and a yellow lab named Deacon. Emily is a follower of Jesus the Christ and seeks to walk in the way of Love. Emily has a deep love of interreligious dialogue and believes there are many pathways to the Divine.

Dawn Peck

Dawn Peck, co-director of Shalem’s Crossing the Threshold: 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 is co-director of Shalem’s Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and is completing the Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. An ordained Baptist pastor for more than 35 years, Julie serves as senior minister of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC, where she enjoys nurturing contemplative groups within congregational life. While Julie loves encountering the Divine in the daily rhythms of life in DC, she also has participated in and led contemplative pilgrimages to Assisi, the U.S./Mexico border, and the high desert of New Mexico.

Trish Stefanik

Trish, a program administrator for Shalem, is a graduate of 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: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path 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.

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Program Staff

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

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 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 Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders. She created and directs the Soul of Leadership Program and is a co-director for the Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path program. She is the author of numerous articles and books on contemplative leadership, including Crisis Leadership; 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.

Brenda Bertrand

Brenda is co-director of the Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path program and serves on the staff of Shalem’s Crossing the Threshold Program. 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.

Winston 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.

Greg Cochran

Greg 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.

Lerita 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. Her new book, What Makes You Come Alive: A Spiritual Walk with Howard Thurman, will be released on February 23, 2023 and will be available for preorder in September, 2022. This book is an excellent companion to Shalem’s Howard Thurman online retreat days that Lerita leads.

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.

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.

Carole 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.

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.

Ann 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.

William (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

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.

Margot Eyring

Margot Eyring, PhD, a graduate of Shalem’s Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats, co-led Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening, DC, and is a small group facilitator, spiritual director and retreat leader in Heart Longings: An invitation to the Contemplative Path. She loves to create art, food, space and events. Margot is the Spiritual Direction Coordinator with Coracle and delights in assisting individuals exploring the possibility of spiritual direction, as well as supporting other spiritual directors in their practice. Margot and her husband serve a weekday breakfast in their neighborhood with friends who are experiencing homelessness or are just in need of community.

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.

Kathryn 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.

Marlin Good

Marlin is a spiritual director, retreat leader and a member of Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction staff since 2016.

Jan Gregory-Charpentier

Jan Gregory-Charpentier has been an ordained UCC pastor for over 25 years serving congregations of diverse sizes and settings. She brings a wealth of experience as an organizational leader as well as a workshop and retreat leader. She received her Doctor of Ministry Degree from Drew School of Theology with a concentration in Worship, Spirituality and Preaching. With a keen interest in the intersection in leadership and spirituality, Jan’s doctoral thesis is titled, “Mother May I? Clergywomen’s Experience of Mother and Ministry.” She is a 2014 Soul of Leadership graduate and is honored and excited to share the riches of the program with others.

Anne 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-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.

Kerry Hamilton

Kerry serves on the staff of our Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, and is also a graduate of that program. Kerry is a UCC lay-person, a spiritual director and a leadership coach, serving leaders in the business world and congregational settings. Of particular interest to Kerry at this moment is the interconnectedness of all beings, experiencing the sacred in work and play, and being present to what is unfolding.

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

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.

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.

Leonard McMahon

Leonard is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, CA, and a graduate of Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction workshop.

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.

Margaret Pfeil

Margaret Pfeil teaches theological ethics at the University of Notre Dame and is also a founding member of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker Community in South Bend, Indiana.

Leah 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 Robbins

Patience Robbins is a graduate of Shalem’s Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and has been a spiritual director for 35 years. She has been on Shalem’s adjunct staff since 1997 and was the Director of Shalem’s Personal Spiritual Deepening Program from 2003-2008 and Director of the Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative from 2013-2015. She is the author of the booklet: Parenting: A Sacred Path. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Shalem.

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.

Audrey Cox Smith

Audrey is a graduate of the Soul of Leadership Program with Shalem and is a small group facilitator for Group Spiritual Direction, Heart Longings, and Soul of Leadership. She promotes dialogue between community members, residents, and interfaith partners to build a resilient Petersburg in her role as Director of the Petersburg Virginia Project, and she is co-author of the curriculum Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship offered through the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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, 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 as co-director of that program. He has a special interest in cross-cultural studies and inter-religious dialogue.

Bill Stone

Bill Stone has been part of Shalem’s pilgrimage teams to Iona, Edinburgh and Paris. A Presbyterian minister, he currently serves a congregation in New Jersey and previously spent seven years serving a congregation in Scotland. His time in Scotland nurtured a deep appreciation for Celtic spirituality and a love of hiking.

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

Liz, who teaches in 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.

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Board of Directors

Fay C. Acker

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

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

Laura Neal

Artist, Spiritual Companion, Silent Retreat Leader, Executive Coach Trainer

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

Audrey Cox Smith

Director of the Petersburg Virginia Project

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

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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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