Wednesday Workshops (A)

April 21, 2021

11:00 - 13:00 PDT

Registrations are now closed.

Renaissance 2021 Attendees:
If you are trying to access the conference, please check your e-mail for the link and access instructions, or click the "Chat" button in the lower-right corner for assistance.

Begin each morning with uplifting contemplative practices offered from 06:00 – 07:00 PDT.


Spiritual Guidance in a Post-Religious World: Lessons from the Front Lines of Working with the Nones, the Dones, and Those Hurt by Religion

Seventy-five percent of people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine now consider themselves “spiritual but not religious,” representing the fastest-growing religious group in the US and Canada: the “nones.” These young folks express that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules, and more interested in self-preservation than taking a stand for justice. It is for these reasons that many feel that the rise of “spiritual but not religious” is not a sign of spiritual decline or a rejection of God, but rather a new kind of spiritual awakening. Drawing on his experience of working with the Nones, the Dones, and Homeless LGBT youth who are often hurt and traumatized by religion, Adam will share stories from his work as well as his thoughts on the best way to support the new generation in finding authentic spirituality. In doing so, he will introduce experiential contemplative practices, frameworks for spiritual direction, and explore how to utilize the best of our traditions to support the longing to be contemplatives in action, dedicated to building a more just world.

Adam Bucko

Fr. Adam Bucko has been a committed voice in the movement for the renewal of Christian Contemplative Spirituality and the growing New Monastic movement. He has taught engaged contemplative spirituality in Europe and the US and co-authored two books: Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation y The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living. Committed to an integration of contemplation and just practice, he co-founded an award winning non-profit, the Reciprocity Foundation, where he spent 15 years working with homeless youth living on the streets of New York City, providing spiritual care, developing programs to end youth homelessness and articulating a vision for spiritual mentoring in a post-religious world. He currently serves as a director of The Center for Spiritual Imagination at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, NY and is a member of The Community of the Incarnation, a “new monastic” community dedicated to democratizing the gifts of monastic spirituality and teaching contemplative spirituality in the context of hearing and responding to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.


Compassion-Centered Spiritual Direction: Internal Family Systems as a Model for Spiritual Companions

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a contemplative, soulful, and non-pathologizing approach to personal healing and spiritual transformation. A contemporary spiritual path, it deepens our connection to a sacred Source of loving energy; it tends, with care, the cacophony of emotions, impulses, and interior self-chatter that so often swirl within us; and it restores us to our true Self, that reservoir of personal power, expansiveness, and compassion that dwells within every human being. This workshop explores how IFS offers a model and process for compassion-centered spiritual direction that deepens connection with the sacred, with others, and with our own spiritual essence.

Frank Rogers

Frank Rogers is a spiritual director, supervisor, IFS practitioner, retreat leader, writer, and professor of spiritual formation at the ecumenical and inter-faith Claremont School of Theology. He has taught and written in spirituality, contemplative practice, and compassionate social engagement for over 30 years, and is the author of Practicing Compassion and Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus. As the Co-Director for the Center for Engaged Compassion, he offers and teaches compassion-based approaches to spiritual direction and supervision.


Spiritual Companionship in the Islamic Sufi Tradition- Rumi, Hafiz, Rabia and the Qur'an

This workshop will explore the practice of spiritual companionship in the Islamic Sufi tradition through the lens of the acclaimed sages and poets Rumi, Hafiz and Rabia whose insights and inspirations are rooted in the teachings of the Qur’an. Their poetry, filled with longing and nuance, speaks beautifully to the notion of spiritual companionship with God, with each other, and with ourselves.In this experiential workshop, participants will, hopefully, experience something of the ‘fragrance’ of the Divine, as revealed through the works of these great beings.

Jamal Rahman

Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops.


The Unashamed Body: Techniques for Healing

The beliefs we hold about ourselves and our bodies are greatly influenced by destructive cultural messages and religious teaching that, in turn, instill shame and guilt. Our culture instills body shame by creating body hierarchies of value. For example, it is shameful to be poor, a person of color, LGBTQI, or a non-thin, or differently-abled person. In addition, much of religion with a heteronormative bias adds to that shame by promoting sexual guilt. This guilt and shame impact our faith experience impeding our journey toward spiritual wholeness. This “left brain” belief system of judgment becomes embedded in our bodies in ways that restrict and limit our capacities to fully appreciate the body. In summary, shame limits our joy. Yet, the body has a contrary wisdom that not only knows no shame, but remembers the goodness of being alive. When given a supportive environment, theological affirmation, and permission to celebrate itself, our bodies can counter destructive messages and move toward healing. This workshop identifies some of the sexually debilitating lessons and body shaming techniques as well as by offering the “right brain” experiences of various modalities that include movement, affirmation, and guided imagery, specifically, body-positive Christian meditations. A Christian emphasis is in recognition of this religion’s significant role in fostering shame. The underlying assumption of this workshop is that the body is not a hindrance to the spiritual life but rather, the sensual and sexual body has a wisdom that can be employed in the service of healing.

Beverly Dale

Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale is the Chair and Founder of the non-profit, Incarnation Institute for Sex & Faith where she trains professional leadership an inclusive, science-friendly, and sex-positive Christianity. An artist and musician she has written, produced and performed in her one-woman show, An Irreverent Journey From Eggbeaters to Vibrators. She is the co-author of Advancing Sexual Health for The Christian Client recently published in 2019 by Routledge Publications. This unique resource provides tools for theological and sexual health professionals as it combines the insights of science and a sex-positive Christian theology. Her ministry has included ecumenical campus ministry at the University of Pennsylvania for 21 years and as a local pastor. She is currently serving as clergy-in-residence at United Christian Church in Levittown, PA and is a professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania teaching courses on sexuality and religion.


Pilgrimage of Companionship and Celtic Imagination: Walking with the Spiritual but not Religious

I sat at the foot of Michael’s fresh grave, crying, laughing, drinking Irish whiskey and telling stories to the 100 ghosts gathered around. Michael had walked with me for 23 years as my spiritual companion through dark nights, decisions, doubts, fears, celebrations. The Irish priest died in his homeland while I was finishing yet another walking pilgrimage with doubters and skeptical seekers. Michael taught me to see life as a pilgrimage and now I live it as a way of life. The 6,000 years of Celtic Imagination continues to reveal the mysteries of life and death without institutional dryness. This workshop will be a rich visual contemplative dialogue between the ancient and the contemporary responding to the question of how to walk with the spiritual but not religious.

Gil & Cathy Stafford

El recurso Rev. Cn. Gil Stafford, Ph.D., D.Min. is a retired priest from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. He served as the Canon Theologian. Previously, Stafford was the President of Grand Canyon University, as well the university’s baseball coach, winning three national titles. He is a student of Hermeticism and Alchemy. Stafford is the author of Wisdom Walking: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life (Church Publishing, 2017) and When Leadership and Spiritual Direction Meet: Reflections and Stories for Congregational Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). Life is a pilgrimage and Stafford has taken many, including walking Ireland coast-to-coast. He and his wife, Cathy Stafford, Ed.D., are founders of Wisdom’s Way Interfaith School of wisdom and spiritual companionship.

Dr. Cathy Stafford, Ed.D is a seeker of Wisdom and a pilgrim of compassionate presence. Her journey has taken her on the path of serving as an elementary school teacher, college professor, and public school superintendent. Cathy practices holy listening as a way of life and provides professional leadership coaching to those who are looking for support. She has organized and facilitated several pilgrimages in Ireland for other seekers. She is a graduate of Tacheria Interfaith School of Spiritual Direction in Tucson, AZ. In September 2014, Cathy and Gil began an interfaith school for spiritual exploration and spiritual companioning — Wisdom’s Way Interfaith School in Phoenix, AZ, following the practices of The Circle Way and supported by Tacheria Interfaith Spirituality Center.

Registrations are now closed.

Renaissance 2021 Attendees:
If you are trying to access the conference, please check your e-mail for the link and access instructions, or click the "Chat" button in the lower-right corner for assistance.

Wednesday Workshops (B)

April 21, 2021

15:00 - 17:00 PDT


Dreams: A Portal to the Divine

Spiritual Direction is a psycho-spiritual relationship between seeker and companion and between the outer world of ego and the inner world of spirit. In spiritual companionship we often hear questions like “What does God want me to do or be?” “Where is there meaning in this situation?” “How do I know that what I hear is the voice of the Divine?”

What if there is a portal to the answers for these questions that is easily accessible and ever present? There is such a portal and it is dream work – the practice of translating messages from our nightly dreams into waking life understanding. Across time and religious traditions, dreams are known as a profound source of communication with the Divine.

This workshop introduces the practice of projective dream work based on the analytical psychology methods of Carl Jung; offering tools for navigating the path toward spiritual maturity, bypassing ego resistance by using the language of symbol and metaphor, imagery and story. Workshop participants are invited to bring a dream to share, or to participate in a circle to process a dream. The deep listening and shared inner images of the group experience introduce the deep inner work used to address psychological and spiritual issues frustrating our spiritual growth. Dream work enables practitioners to engage in social justice concerns motivated by compassion and reconciliation rather than projection, anger and self-righteousness. The projective method offers a model for both group and individual work and many Spiritual Directors find dream work to be a deepening and enriching modality for accessing divine wisdom in spiritual companionship. A brief lecture, with time for questions follows the facilitated dream group experience to expand on the foundational principles of Jungian psychology as a path to psychological wholeness, spiritual resilience and integrated social engagement.

Allen Proctor

Allen Proctor is the Director of the Haden Institute, a program that trains Spiritual Directors and Dream Workers in the Jungian, Mystical Christian tradition. Allen is a Spiritual Director, Dream Work Facilitator and Presbyterian minister. Throughout his ministry he has worked with others on questions of identity, relationships, vocation and meaning, using dream work, the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, meditation practices and Celtic spirituality.


Making Good Decisions: Practicing with the Ignatian Discernment Framework

Discernment is foundational to the life of every seeker, as we seek guidance of the Divine in all that we do. Whether a pilgrim pondering a transition in vocation, an activist plumbing for the most beneficial methods to challenge the status quo, or an elder desiring to harvest life experiences to pass on wisdom to the emerging generation, we all seek to connect with the collective consciousness of all that has gone before and all that is yet to come. Even more than the decision itself, we are cultivating a deepened relationship with the Divine, using the discernment process as a platform. In fact, life offers a series of discernment opportunities to grow in our relationship with the Divine, others, and ourselves. To be transformed into the very True Self we are invited to become.

In this hands-on workshop format, together we will walk through all eleven steps of the ancient discernment framework from St. Ignatius of Loyola, with a decision that each of us is currently discerning. We will invite questions and share insights throughout the session. We will share personal examples of application of the framework as needed to assist seekers in finding themselves in the process. We will allow ourselves to be led by the Divine into other relevant teachings that appear to have energy for the group, such as the connection of this material to the teachings of other mystics like St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr and the like. We will allow ample silence for seekers to connect with the Divine throughout the session.

Laura Ann Lies

Laura Ann Lies is a native Chicagoan, with a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. She specializes in helping seekers with Discernment and Decision Making, Noticing Presence of the Divine in everyday life, and Navigating major life transitions. Laura holds a Master of Arts in human resources and experience through Alpha as a Marriage & Parenting mentor. Laura is a wife and mother to two amazing young adult daughters. She has roots in Catholic and Protestant faith traditions and as spiritually independent. Laura founded the Streams of Grace Spiritual Direction practice and is also affiliated as a Spiritual Director and companion with St. Mary Immaculate Catholic parish, Wheatland Salem United Methodist Church, and The Perch inter-spiritual retreat center, all in Chicagoland. Laura supports a full-time practice of clients both locally and across the country. In addition, she consults to Spiritual Directors in launching their own private practice. Learn more about Laura at


Ten Zen Ox & Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle: Spiritual Development from a Zen Perspective

A big part of any spiritual companion relationship is assessing where we are in our own unfolding spiritual journey, where we have been and where we may need to deepen or explore. In this workshop we will investigate ancient wisdom about spiritual development derived from both the Zen and Christian perspectives. Specifically we will look at the path of awakening as told by the Ten Zen Ox Herding Pictures and associated verses, mixed with an overlay of stages of spiritual unfolding from the perspective St Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. We will also spend time investigating the difference between the process of spiritual awakening and deep maturity. Can there be awakening without maturity? Yes! Awakening alone is insufficient and only a stepping stone towards maturity. If we aren’t always beginning just where we are, we have been sidetracked into some kind of arrogance, ignorance or spiritual bypassing.

Genjo Marinello Roshi

Genjo Marinello Roshi began his Zen training in 1975. He moved to Seattle in 1976 to serve as a VISTA community organizer in the central district of the city. In 1980 Genjo was ordained as a Zen monk, and in 1981-82 trained in Japan at the Zen temple Ryutaku-Ji. In 1999 Genjo succeeded Genki Takabayashi Roshi as the second abbot of the Seattle Zen temple, Chobo-Ji, and became a Dharma Heir in his lineage of Rinzai Zen in 2008. Genjo has been a member of the University Friends Meeting (Quakers) since 1983. In 1989, Genjo completed a certificate program in Spiritual Direction (The Pacific Jubilee Program). For several years Genjo was the volunteer Buddhist pastor of the Twin Rivers Correction Center in Monroe Washington and has served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle campus of Antioch University.


Spiritually Connected: Taking Tech from 2020 to 2022

Whether young or old, new or established, there are some things every spiritual companion needs to manage: scheduling, meeting, receiving and sending payments, record keeping, marketing, communications, and other forms of content management. The challenge is that the tools to managing these essentials keep evolving, especially with the sea changes of the last year. Unless we ask the right questions now and experiment well in the near future, we’ll miss the opportunity to stay relevant and available to today’s spiritual seekers. Some spiritual companions know these questions and experiments well. In sharing what they’ve learned with the community of SDI, they are equipping other spiritual companions to join them in retooling for listening in 2022.

  1. Bring your list of current tools and questions;
  2. Get a behind-the-curtain view of tools and tips from tech-experienced listeners;
  3. Explore the range of possibilities for the near future;
  4. Define your priorities and next steps

Samuel Rahberg

Samuel Rahberg is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and former Director of the Benedictine Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is author of Ice Break: A Collection of Poems y Enduring Ministry: Toward a Lifetime of Christian Leadership. Sam holds a master’s degree in theology from Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN). In his spare time, you will find Sam tending his family’s small tree farm or fly fishing for trout in Southeast Minnesota.

Christianne Squires

Christianne Squires leads a community for contemplative women called the Light House, where she is on a mission to gather 5,000 contemplative, lightbearing women in a deeply supportive experience of community over the next five years. Formerly, Christianne founded and ran a company called Bookwifery, which merged her vocation as a spiritual director with her twenty years of experience in book publishing and editorial. She served as an SDI New Contemplative in 2013 and holds an MA in spiritual formation and leadership and an MS in entertainment business. As a trained spiritual director and spiritual formation practitioner, one of Christianne’s chief delights is helping people discern their invitations and put that discernment into action. She writes, teaches, and leads at the intersection of naming our light, noticing our invitations, practicing discernment, and living the contemplative way through her work at A Contemplative Light.

Angela Ford Nelson

Rev. Angela Ford Nelson is an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church where she fulfills her call to Word, Sacrament and Oder as the pastor of Good Hope Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Camden, SC. Angela is a graduate of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina where she earned the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a graduate from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia S.C where she received a Master of Divinity and a Certification in Spiritual Direction. For the past 18 years, Angela has served as guest speaker, retreat designer, and retreat leader for ministry events across the United States.  Her Spiritual Direction practice called “The Sanctuary” is an oasis where Directees can lean in to hear the voice of God.  In her role as Spiritual Director, she also serves as a mentor in Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary’s Spiritual Direction Certification Program and Field Education Courses. 


Ancestral Healing, Remembering, and Reverence

This workshop is a deep dive into our shared humanity across past, present, and future generations. There will be dedicated time to contemplate and journey with your ancestors and time to share that experience with one another. If you are curious to connect with your ancestors in ritually safe ways and in ways that can usher forth personal, familial, and cultural healing, then this would be a fruitful container for you and yours. When we come together in intergenerational ways and relate with our wise, beloved ancestors, we can emerge with a deeper understanding of our inherent and organic connectedness. I hope you’ll join us!

Lindsay Sudeikis

Lindsay Sudeikis is an animist, ritualist, and ancestral healing practitioner. Her work is informed by wonder, mystery, and a deep relationship with the Holy and equity. As a former Catholic nun, Linday’s focus on the ancestors and spiritual counseling emerges from classical philosophy inquiry and 20 years of metabolizing Catholic teaching at considerable depth. Since 1999, she’s journeyed with thousands of people on their quest for wholeness and collective liberation through circle discussions, session work, retreats, immersive service experiences, and civic engagement throughout North America and parts of Europe. Her people hail from Lithuanian, Irish, and Slavic lands and she currently resides between Brooklyn, New York, traditional homelands of the Lenape and Cork, Ireland.

Registrations are now closed.

Renaissance 2021 Attendees:
If you are trying to access the conference, please check your e-mail for the link and access instructions, or click the "Chat" button in the lower-right corner for assistance.

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