Essence 2023 New Contemplatives

2023 New Contemplatives

The New Contemplatives Initiative seeks to encourage, understand and engage with spiritual directors and companions in the first half of their lives (aged 40-ish or under) by offering a container for vocational support and development.

Selected applicants create their own cohort, with opportunities for community in the months leading up to the Conference. New Contemplatives are invited to attend the 2023 Essence Conference and are offered a keynote panel.  Selected applicants receive complimentary access to the Conference, along with a travel and lodging stipend. 

Please Help Support Our New Contemplatives Initiative

Generous donors make the New Contemplatives program possible.

More donors are needed to grow the program. Please donate in the secure SDI Store to keep this initiative thriving. Thank you for anything you can do to help support the next generation of spiritual directors and companions.

Felicia Black


Rev. Dr. Felicia Black is an ordained Interfaith/Interspiritual minister and professor of education. Her work focuses on the identity development of women from BIPOC communities.

Gabriela De Golia

Gabriela De Golia works at the intersection of spirituality and collective liberation, supporting people in honoring the divinity within and beyond to help usher a new world into being.

Allyssa Jomei

Allyssa Jomei is an Inter-Faith Spiritual Director, Reiki Master Teacher, lay ordained Zen Buddhist, Empathic reader, and contemplative psychology student. She feels the different forms of spiritual practice she engages in help her connect to the Divine in a multifaceted ways.

Chris Rothbauer

Rev. Chris Rothbauer is a minister, spiritual companion, and dream worker. A Unitarian Universalist Druid, Chris lives in Auburn, Alabama with their partner and rescue animals.

Laurie Wevers

Laurie Wevers is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and spiritual director living outside Washington, DC and works with clients at the intersection of religion and trauma.

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