Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

Workshop Presenters

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Dr. Janardhanan (Johnny) Alse is passionate about promoting peace and interfaith work. For more than a decade he has served on the board for the Center for Interfaith Relations that celebrates diversity of faith traditions and through common action addresses pressing social issues.

Th12. Insights from Bhagavad Gita for Contemporary Living and Leadership

Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD, is a professor emerita of psychology and a spiritual director. Brown is a graduate of the Shalem Institute. She lives in Georgia, USA, and writes and promotes contemplative spirituality in everyday life.

Th7. Howard Thurman: Contemplative Spiritual Advisor and Prophet for Civil Rights

Ruth Broyde Sharone, from California, USA, is an interfaith leader, filmmaker, journalist, author, and a thirty-year student of Kabbalah. Internationally recognized for her contributions to cultural education, Sharone travels frequently to college campuses to present interfaith programs and screen her award-winning film, God and Allah Need to Talk.

W13. Ezekiel: The Merkabah and the Role of the Imagination in Spirituality

Kathleen Bryant, RSC, has been involved in networks that support survivors of human trafficking as well as giving workshops and accompanying other abolitionists as they struggle to maintain hope and health. She has presented workshops in Australia, Africa, Ireland, and throughout the USA. Bryant currently lives in California, USA.

Th10. Spirituality of Resilience

Sarah Cledwyn, MA, has been involved in Quaker and Unitarian Universalist communities for twelve years where atheists, agnostics, and seekers of all stripes worship together. She was a 2014 SDI New Contemplative and resides in Minnesota, USA.  Cledwyn recently received a grant to provide group spiritual direction to Lutheran Volunteer Corps intentional communities.

Th3. Embracing the Other: Emerging Language in Spiritual Direction for Atheists, Agnostics, and the Nones

Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She serves as a spiritual director, leads interfaith dialogue programs in Minnesota, USA, and teaches at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and St. Catherine University. Eilberg writes and teaches throughout North America and recently published, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace.

Th1. Can Justice and Peace Kiss? A Contemplative Approach to Peace and Justice Work

Carol A. Fournier MS, MA, LCMHC, NCC, is the director and founder of the Silver Dove Institute in Vermont, USA. Fournier is a retreat director, and she serves as faculty at colleges and spiritual life centers in the Northeast USA. She serves as a reviewer for Presence journal and contributor for Listen and Connections SDI publications.

Thursday Field Trip: Spiritual Freedom and the Wisdom of Merton and the Mystics: Contemplating the Sacred Path of Multi‐faith Spiritual Direction

Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MA, BCC, has pioneered the development of a Jewish spiritual vision for aging, healing, and spiritual care. Her newest book is Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife (Jewish Lights, 2015). Her other books include Jewish Visions for Aging and Jewish Pastoral Care (both Jewish Lights). She offers training, spiritual direction and classes through Growing Older, her Philadelphia-based, national practice.

W12. Growing Deeper as We Grow Older: A Wisdom Circle

Rev. Dr. Bob Gardenhire was formed as a spiritual director at the Shalem Institute. Gardenhire has been leading retreats since the early 1980s. He has been training spiritual directors for over thirty years at the HeartPaths Spirituality Centre. Gardenhire currently lives in Oklahoma, USA.

Th4. Ignatius Meets Teilhard: The Spiritual Exercises Transposed by the Evolutionary Vision of Teilhard de Chardin

Marianne Hieb, RSM, MFA, ATR, DMin, is an artist, art therapist, retreat and spiritual director. She facilitates creative retreats and journeys. She has presented at previous SDI conferences and at International Thomas Merton Society Conferences in the USA and Great Britain. Hieb is the author of Inner Journaling through Art-Journaling, and lives in New Jersey, USA.  

Th14. Thomas Merton and "Grace's House": Seeking Spiritual Direction Wisdom Perspectives through Poem and Image

Dan Horan, OFM, is a theologian, author, and currently serves on the International Thomas Merton Society Board of Directors. He is known for his engaging workshops and lectures about the intersection of the Millennial Generation and spirituality. Horan currently lives in Massachusetts, USA.

W2. Relationship as Prayer: Learning to See the World Anew with Franciscan Spirituality

Rev. Dwight H. Judy, PhD, is professor emeritus of spiritual formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois, USA. Judy sees individuals in spiritual direction and has offered retreats and workshops in North America. His book, Embracing God: Praying with Teresa of Avila, explores the themes of the workshop. He has authored five additional books.

W4. Entering the Silence with Teresa of Avila

Ellen Kogstad, MS, MA, is the director of spiritual formation at New Moms, Inc., a ministry to homeless and at-risk adolescent parents and the staff that serve them in Illinois, USA. Kogstad also serves as the director of the Center for Spiritual Direction at North Park Theological Seminary.

W15. Spiritual Direction with the Poor

Susan Moorefield has been a Presbyterian pastor for over twenty years. Moorefield has also been trained as a professional portrait photographer by some of the best photographers in the world. Both her ministry and her photography are an expression of her “true self,” to use Merton’s language.

Th13.  The Spiritual Wisdom of Thomas Merton’s Photography

Christine Luna Munger resides in Minnesota, USA, where she serves as the coordinator and professor for the graduate Spiritual Direction Certificate at St. Catherine University. Luna Munger completed her Master’s degree in Christian Spirituality and Certificate in Spiritual Direction at Creighton University.

Th2. Tending Sacred Space in Group Spiritual Direction: Facilitating Contemplative and Inclusive Practices

Diane M. Millis, PhD, is an educator, spiritual director, and author of Conversation—The Sacred Art. She currently serves as the founding director of the Journey Conversations Project and producer of Lives Explored for the Collegeville Institute Seminars on Vocation (funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc). She lives in Minnesota, USA.

Th11. Lives Explored: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Jonathan Montaldo is a former director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, and he served as the associate director of the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living. He has edited numerous volumes of Merton’s writing and created the ten-booklet series for small group dialogue Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton. He lives in Kentucky, USA

Th6. Learning Wisdom in the School of Your Own Life: Thomas Merton's Conference to His Novices on Contemplative Prayer

Sean Murphy has had over twenty-five years of Zen meditation training, including extended periods of monastic retreat. He is the author of the American Zen chronicle, One Bird, One Stone, and three award-winning novels. He serves as adjunct professor for University of New Mexico-Taos. Murphy founded the Sage Institute of Taos and lives in New Mexico, USA.

W10. Looking Into the Eye of the Universe: Facing Reality in Contemplative Practice

Lance Ng earned his master of arts in spiritual direction from the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia. He is involved in the ministry of spiritual direction in Australia and Singapore. His passion is bridging the divide between the spiritually poor in the market place and the materially poor through contemplation, reflection, and action. Lance is a SDI New Contemplative from 2014 and lives in Singapore.

W6. Getting Down to Business: A Ceaseless Mind to Ceaseless Mindfulness in the Workplace

Nita Ng is a trained and experienced yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates teacher, meditator, Reiki master, artist, author, and retreat and spiritual director in retreat centers in Canada, England, and Asia.  She has taught in both religious and secular settings to multigenerational and spiritually diverse audiences. She was a 2014 New Contemplative and lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

W7. Emerging East-West Wisdom: Contemplation and Awareness through Body, Art, and Silence

Helen Owens, OSF, RN, DMin, is the founder of Lourdes Wellness Center which creates its unique presence in health care through Owens interest in the interface of wellness and spirituality. She ministers as an integrative nurse coach and wellness educator, and facilitates retreats and pilgrimage events through the lens of Franciscan holistic spirituality.

Th14. Thomas Merton and "Grace's House": Seeking Spiritual Direction Wisdom Perspectives through Poem and Image

Terri Pahucki, MA, lives in New York, USA, where she is a Unitarian Universalist lay community minister and spiritual director. She was a 2013 SDI New Contemplative and the facilitator of the 2014 New Contemplatives cohort. She is the 2015 New Contemplative mentor for this year’s Emerging Wisdom conference. Pahucki holds a certificate in spiritual direction from the Silver Dove Institute.

Th3. Embracing the Other: Emerging Language in Spiritual Direction for Atheists, Agnostics, and the Nones

Dr. Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, BA, MEd, MA, PhD is head of the School of Spirituality of the Jesuit Institute-South Africa where she has trained and supervised spiritual directors ecumenically for fifteen years. She has particular experience and expertise in Ignatian Spirituality and has presented at international Jesuit conferences in Ignatian Spirituality in Rome, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe.

Th8. The Transformative Power of Imaginative Contemplation

Rev. Dr. Barbara Lewis Peacock is the founder of Barbara L. Peacock Ministries which is committed to providing one-on-one spiritual direction and soul care to individuals as well as groups. Dr. Peacock has taught classes, seminars, and workshops in numerous churches and organizations. She and her husband live in North Carolina, USA.

W9. The Resurrection Power of Spiritual Direction and Soul Care from an African American Perspective

Rita Perea is an acclaimed author, speaker, workshop facilitator, and inter-spiritual spiritual director from Iowa, USA. She holds three academic degrees and is a graduate of the Stillpoint Center for Christian Spirituality. She founded the International Contemplative Garden Association.

W5. Emerging Wisdom: The Beauty of Silence in a Contemplative Garden

Soyinka Rahim lives in California, USA, and is the founder of Our Thing Arts Company. Rahim has performed with modern and ethnic dance companies, including Wing It! Performance Ensemble where she and Cynthia Winton-Henry met and began collaborating. As an InterPlay leader, Rahim uses music, storytelling, and dance to raise community spirit, and has taught groups for thirty years.

Th5. The Race Dance: Acts of Imagination for Societal and Spiritual Healing

Susan Rakoczy, IHM, PhD, is a professor, author, and Thomas Merton enthusiast. Rakoczy has led retreats for ecumenical groups in South Africa on Merton’s spirituality, his understanding of discernment, and his ecological vision. She currently lives in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

W1. The Dynamics of Discernment in the Life and Writings of Thomas Merton

Patricia Roberts received her spiritual direction certificate from The Cenacle in Houston, Texas, and her master of religious education from the University of St. Thomas. Roberts also holds a master´s in sociology. She lives in Arequipa, Perú. She teaches Tai Ji, offers spiritual direction, and travels around the world with her seminar, The Dance of Life.

W8. Thomas Merton: Taoist and Poet

Ellen Sims is a craniosacral therapist, massage practitioner, and spiritual guide. She found a home in the Native American culture that bridged the spiritual gaps for her soul. Sims received training in spiritual leadership and mentorship from Sundust Oracle Institute, and currently teaches a wellness program at the University of Washington School of Law. She lives in Washington, USA, where she founded Divine Roots Wellness.

W14 Non-Verbal Spiritual Leadership: How Our Energetics Affect Pathways to the Heart

Richard Sisto was born in Chicago and studied music with Chicago Symphony mallet master, Jose Bethancourt. He attended Quigley Prep Seminary and Northwestern University studying Merton, Eastern Spirituality, hallucinogens as a sacrament and jazz. He began Zen Meditation in 1965 with Soyu Matsuoka Roshi at the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago. He met Merton in 1967 and had face to face meetings and correspondence discussing Christian and Zen Buddhist spirituality and Jazz. Sisto composed and performed the music for the Merton Documentary, Soul Searching, and is an internationally recognized jazz artist.

Wednesday Field Trip: Finding the Holy in the Ordinary: Downtown Pilgrim Walk

Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks, EdD, is an associate minister at Alden Baptist Church in Massachusetts, USA. A spiritual life coach and researcher, Smith-Crooks works with individuals, and leads workshops and retreats with faith-based and other organizations.

Th7. Howard Thurman: Contemplative Spiritual Advisor and Prophet for Civil Rights

Bruce Tallman, DMin, works as a full-time spiritual director and is the author of two books: Archetypes for Spiritual Direction: Discovering the Heroes Within and Finding Seekers: How to Develop a Spiritual Direction Practice from Beginning to Full-Time Employment. He was previously the director of two adult religious education centres for the Catholic Diocese of London. Tallman currently lives in Ontario, Canada.

Th9. Sacred Sexuality for Men

Kaye Twining, BTheol, GradDip, MA, is an accredited spiritual director and in 2008 founded Tree of Life Spiritual Wellbeing. Twining has presented workshops on various themes for the last four years. She lives in Victoria, Australia. 

Th15. Gently Integrating Our Shadow-side Toward Personal Wholeness

Rev. Jane E. Vennard, MDiv, focuses her teaching on prayer, spiritual practice, and spiritual direction. She serves as senior adjunct faculty at the Iliff School of Theology and teaches in other seminaries, spiritual formation programs, and congregations. Vennard lives in Colorado, USA.

W3. Teaching Wisdom: Offering the Wings of Awakening

Melanie Weidner, MDiv, is an artist, spiritual director, and workshop leader shaped by years of Quaker, contemplative, and mindfulness practice. Her work celebrates beauty, presence, self-reflection, compassion, and joy. She offers spiritual direction listening sessions in-person and remotely, and displays her art around North America. Melanie and her partner, Holly, live in New Mexico, USA.

W11. Circle of Imagination: A Community Encounter with Art and Poetry

Cynthia Winton-Henry is the co-founder of InterPlay, an online spiritual director, and is widely loved as a teacher, author, artist, and performer. She has led workshops worldwide and served as an ordained minister for twenty years. Winton-Henry lives in California, USA.

Th5. The Race Dance: Acts of Imagination for Societal and Spiritual Healing

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