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 authored or co-edited 7 books, including Soul Food, Crisis Leadership, The Soul of Higher Education, The Soul of Supervision, The Soul of a Leader, Soul at Work, and Hidden in Plain Sight, and has published over 50 articles and book chapters.

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 and the registrar for Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders. 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, Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path, the Camino Pilgrimage, and the Iona Pilgrimage. She will also be a Pilgrimage Co-Leader for the 2024 Camino Pilgrimage having co-led it in 2023. 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 Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons.

Charlie Parker

Director of Development and Communications
charlie@shalem.org

Charlie Parker has spent a lifetime working at the intersection of spirituality and social justice, both as the Executive Director of several non-profit organizations, as well as a United Methodist pastor. Although his doctoral work is in early Anglican spirituality, much of his writing and teaching has been in the area of stewardship and fundraising. He has also spent many years exploring the commonalities between Christian and Buddhist contemplative traditions. For over 25 years, Charlie has studied the Japanese flute — the shakuhachi — and the Japanese martial art of Aikido, which are both parts of his eclectic spiritual practice. A third-generation Washingtonian, he lives with his two amazing and creative children, and two rescued pets (a grumpy old dog and a neurotic cat). His debut historical novel – The Song of the Samurai – will be published in 2024.

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.

Tom Sasinowski

Communication Coordinator

Tom has a Bachelor’s in Communication and Media Studies from Bridgewater College. While born and raised in Northern Virginia, he began his professional career in Los Angeles working for Cheyenne Enterprises, a film production company founded by actor Bruce Willis. While working in the film industry, Tom received a certificate in film editing from UCLA. After relocating back to the Washington DC area, Tom continued working in the DC film world while also spending the last 8 years working for Apple. Tom married his wife, Ally, in 2021 and they welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Quinn, in January 2023. Tom has a passion for meditation and contemplation so he is excited to merge his worlds of spirituality and creativity at the Shalem Institute.

Karin Selland

Office Coordinator

Karin serves as an Office Coordinator at the Shalem Institute. After graduating from Concordia College with a BA in International Affairs, Karin completed a year of service with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Washington, DC. Her service placement at Luther Place Memorial Church connected her to the Shalem Institute and she feels a deep sense of gratitude for the welcome she has already experienced into this community of people. Karin is available Tuesday-Friday in the afternoon.

Back to top

Program Directors

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 has authored or co-edited 7 books, including Soul Food, Crisis Leadership, The Soul of Higher Education, The Soul of Supervision, The Soul of a Leader, Soul at Work, and Hidden in Plain Sight, and has published over 50 articles and book chapters.

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.

Lorie Conway

Lorie Conway is the program director for the Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Spiritual Groups and Retreats Class of 2025. Lorie has a passion for deep listening and accompanying others on their spiritual journeys through spiritual companionship, contemplative small groups, and spiritual retreats. Lorie is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God and Transforming Community programs and received her certificate in spiritual direction from the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation. She also holds a M.A. in Religion from Lancaster Theological Seminary and a M.A.S. in Behavioral Management & Human Resources from Johns Hopkins University. Lorie’s spirituality is rooted in the Christ tradition and welcoming of the many paths and unique journeys enfolded within Divine Mystery.

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.

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.

Kathie Nycklemoe

Kathie, Co-Director with husband Peter of the Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership program, is a 2002 graduate of Shalem’s Group Leaders Program, ordained pastor for 27 years, and spiritual director for 17 years and clergy coach for 7. Kathie currently serves as one of the pastors of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Bloomington, MN. Kathie and Peter have 3 adult children, and a soon to be daughter-in-law.

Peter Nycklemoe

Peter is a co-director of the Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership program with his wife, Kathie. Peter has served as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for over 33 years. He currently serves as Senior Pastor for Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a graduate of the Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership program. He is grateful for a contemplative life and fly fishing. Peter and his wife, Kathie, have three adult children and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law. They make their home in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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 is co-director of Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path. A graduate of Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Spiritual Groups and Retreats, she also is a part of that program’s leadership team. In addition, she facilitates small groups as part of Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction program. Trish delights in opening a way for creativity and contemplation. She is resident manager of Overlook Retreat House at Dayspring Retreat Farm in Germantown, MD, and has a passion for the natural world, social justice, simplicity, and silence.

Phillip Stephens

Phillip, program 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. His special areas of interest are cross-cultural studies and interspirituality.

Back to top

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.

Sarah Anders

Sarah 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. Sarah is on staff for Transforming Community.

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 has authored or co-edited 7 books, including Soul Food, Crisis Leadership, The Soul of Higher Education, The Soul of Supervision, The Soul of a Leader, Soul at Work, and Hidden in Plain Sight, and has published over 50 articles and book chapters.

Bryan Berghoef

Bryan Berghoef is the pastor at Holland UCC in Holland, Michigan, where he lives with his wife Christy and their four children. He is a graduate of Shalem’s Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program and previously co-led a Shalem pilgrimage to Iona. Bryan is also the author of Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation and God. He is a co-leader of Walking the Ramparts: A Pilgrimage with Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.

Brenda Bertrand

Brenda serves on the staff of Shalem’s Group Spiritual Direction 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.

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.

DeBorah Cannady

DeBorah lived and served as a healing prayer minister, spiritual director and a coordinator of individual ministries in the Richmond Hill Spiritual Retreat Center during her 11 year stay there. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Theology and Christian Education at the STVU School of Theology and is an ordained minister in the Baptist church. DeBorah is a graduate of the Heart Longings Program and a Small Group Facilitator. She is also a student in Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats. She is a forever learner as she continues to grow into who God created her to be.

Winston Charles

Winston, an Episcopal priest, is a graduate of Shalem’s Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups & Retreats Program. He teaches in the Going Deeper: Clergy Leadership 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 Cochran is Executive Director at a spiritual wellness non-profit, Well for the Journey, in Lutherville, Maryland. He also is a program/retreat facilitator and a spiritual companion. Greg was Associate Pastor at Woodbrook Baptist Church serving from 1988-2022. He completed the Shalem Institute’s Spiritual Guidance Program (SGP) in 2009 and is currently a SGP and Transforming Community (TCP) staff member. He is also a mentor for The Stewards of Mystery Spiritual Guidance Program Cottonwood, Idaho. Greg is a graduate of Clemson University and Southern Seminary. Greg and his wife, Carole, live in Baltimore. They have two children (26 and 24). Greg is a hiker, photographer, woodworker, and loves being with family – and is always desiring to be open and listening for the invitation of the Spirit.

Lerita Coleman Brown

Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD, is a spiritual director/companion, author, Distinguished Professor of Psychology Emerita and past director of the Science Center for Women at Agnes Scott College. She also is a graduate of Shalem’s 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, was recently released by Broadleaf Press. This book is an excellent companion to Shalem’s Howard Thurman online retreat days that Lerita leads.

Lorie Conway

Lorie Conway is the program director for the Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Spiritual Groups and Retreats Class of 2025. Lorie has a passion for deep listening and accompanying others on their spiritual journeys through spiritual companionship, contemplative small groups, and spiritual retreats. Lorie is a graduate of Shalem’s Living in God and Transforming Community programs and received her certificate in spiritual direction from the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation. She also holds a M.A. in Religion from Lancaster Theological Seminary and a M.A.S. in Behavioral Management & Human Resources from Johns Hopkins University. Lorie’s spirituality is rooted in the Christ tradition and welcoming of the many paths and unique journeys enfolded within Divine Mystery.

Gordon Creamer

Gordon Creamer, creator of the Mission Bridge, currently serves as Program Director at Well For The Journey, a spiritual wellness center in Lutherville, MD. Gordon has held leadership roles in healthcare programming and operations since 2001 at various Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Hospice communities. He earned an MA in Spiritual & Pastoral Care from Loyola University and an MA in Theology from the Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary & University. Currently, he is a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Ecumenical Institute. Gordon has facilitated numerous retreats, workshops, and small groups that focus on creating opportunities for participants to explore and enhance their spirituality and well-being through various media, and to deepen their contemplative walk in the world. Uplifting the journey of adults, individuals with memory impairment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community is a passion for him, and in the last several years, he has fostered support groups and programs for caregivers and those who are grieving losses. Trained as a spiritual director/companion, end-of-life doula, and Reiki practitioner, Gordon welcomes all in discovering the spiritual life as a means of healing, expanding, and flourishing.

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 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.

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 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.

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 Life Woven in Sacred Time. 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.

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.

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. He was formerly a faculty member and program director at the Kairos School of Spiritual Formation. He currently meets with individuals and groups from his church in PA and over Zoom.

Jan Gregory-Charpentier

Jan Gregory-Charpentier has been an ordained UCC pastor for over 30 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 is currently a Core Leader of group spiritual direction.

Jim Hall

Jim Hall shares his passion for the earth and contemplative earth awareness on the staff of the Transforming Community program. For years, Jim 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.

Debora Jackson

The Reverend Dr. Debora Jackson is the Stoddard Endowed Professor of Management and Dean of The Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she leads the school in its mission to develop adaptive leaders who create sustainable solutions, deliver globally responsible impact, and conduct transformative research at the intersection of business, technology, and people. Dr. Jackson is a recognized non- and for-profit leader whose work experiences include Yale Divinity School and the Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches, USA. An ordained pastor, Dr. Jackson was formerly the CIO/COO of an e-commerce energy services company. Dr. Jackson holds a DMin and MDiv from Andover Newton Theological School. She holds a ME in Manufacturing Engineering and a MS in Management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She holds a BS in Business from Indiana University. Dr. Jackson has written numerous articles, book chapters, and two books, Meant for Good: Fundamentals in Womanist Leadership (Judson Press, 2019) and the award winning Spiritual Practices for Effective Leadership: 7 R’s of Sanctuary for Pastors (Judson Press, 2015).

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, holds a BFA in Fine Arts and an MSW in clinical social work. He is currently a docent at the National Gallery of Art where he leads tours and facilitates virtual programs. He has long felt a strong spiritual connection with art and contemplative practice. Visio Divina, a practice he loves to share, employs art to help us connect to the conversations we already hold in our hearts. In the mid 1980’s, he relinquished his role as a practicing artist to follow a calling to do AIDS work. During those years there were moments when, completely depleted, he was filled with an ineffable love. The writing of Angela of Foligno helped him put those experiences into a larger context. Walking in the footsteps of Francis and Clare these many years continues to offer him lessons in simplicity, faithfulness, and prayer.

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.

Laura Neal

Laura is a graduate of Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program and Soul of Leadership. She is an artist, inter-spiritual companion, retreat leader and credentialed executive coach with the mission to normalize Spirit in the workplace. She serves Shalem as a small group leader for the Heart Longings Program and sits on the Board of Directors.

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 Omi is a spiritual director and leader of contemplative practices at the rich and evocative intersection of Christian and Buddhist practices. Kevin received a diploma in the art of spiritual direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of the Transforming Community program and serves on the staff of that program.

Diane Paras

Diane, an Episcopal 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 20 years, she also leads contemplative prayer groups and programs. She is active in her church and community in various companioning ministries.

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. She is also on the staff of Transforming Community.

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 the pastor of The Gathering at Washington Street, United Methodist Church, a mission congregation in Petersburg, Virginia. This mission developed from her role as Director of the Petersburg Project where she promoted dialogue between organizations, residents and interfaith partners to build a resilient Petersburg. She was a co-founder of Chesterfield Innovative Academy for Girls (The Garden Schoolhouse) and executive director of the nonprofit school for six years. Audrey taught the beauty and power of music as a choral director for 15 years in Chesterfield County Public Schools until her retirement in 2014. She is a graduate of the Soul of Leadership program with Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation where she serves as a group spiritual director and program staff member of Heart Longings. Audrey is co-author of a race relations video and curriculum series ,Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship sponsored by the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She is a graduate of Virginia State University, Bachelor of Music Education, and University of Phoenix, Masters in Educational Leadership. She will attend Union Presbyterian Seminary in Fall 2023 for the Masters of Public Theology degree program.

Trish Stefanik

Trish, 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.

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 program director of that program. His special areas of interest are cross-cultural studies and interspirituality.

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.

Ostein Truitt

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, leads Contemplative Spiritual Groups & Retreats and is dedicated to living the contemplative path.

Elizabeth Tuckermanty

Liz Tuckermanty has been connected to Shalem since the 1990s. After 20 years of meditating in isolation, she found her contemplative community in the Shalem Institute. She is a graduate of the Personal Spiritual Deepening Program and the Transforming Community Program. She is on the Mid-Atlantic Contemplative Leadership Team and the Regional Convenors group. She now enjoys teaching, small group leadership and being a spiritual guide in the Heart Longings Program. She sees her spiritual journey as an adventure of discovery in relationship with community. Away from Shalem Liz is working through the Mount Hope Commission to promote equity within her community.

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.

Judy Walsh-Mellett

Judy 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.

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 an architect and small group / retreat leader who is dedicated to creating sacred space and deepening spiritual community. She is a graduate of our Transforming Community Program, Facilitating Group Spiritual Direction, and Soul of Leadership long-term programs. Nan has been practicing and teaching Group Spiritual Direction (GSD) for more than twenty years and leads Shalem’s GSD program.

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.

Back to top

Board of Directors

Fay C. Acker

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

Laura Brokaw

HR Manager – Leadership and Organizational Development, Group Facilitator

Alfonso “Trey” Campbell III

Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adults at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD

Natalie Cone Ddamulira

Community Engagement Specialist, Workshop Facilitator, and Project Manager

Rhett Engelking

Health Care Practitioner

Laura Lee Ernst

Public Health Research Analyst, Farm Caretaker

Susan Etherton

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

Gene Foehl

Attorney, private practice

Laura Neal

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

Karah Palmer

Kathleen Richard

Transformation Leader, Healthcare Executive, Leadership Development

Patience Robbins

Spiritual Director, Prayer and Retreat Leader

Audrey Cox Smith

Pastor of The Gathering at Washington Street, United Methodist Church

Morgan Stafford

Fetzer Institute

Back to top

Mission

Our mission is to nurture contemplative living and leadership.

Vision

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.

Cancel