School of Contemplative Life



We note two important points here. First, the School of Contemplative Life (SCL) is a communal journey, not a solo trek. Over the course of this formative period in your life, you’ll travel with a cohort. That cohort will be instrumental in the change you experience, which is only natural. After all, we’re not islands; our lives are entangled for better or worse — and in this case better. In short, we provide you with an important band of sisters and brothers.

Second, although the quarterly retreats are valuable, they’re not the epicenter of this formative experience. They launch you into a practice that gets deepened in the interval between the retreats. The guided retreats provide a framework for understanding both conceptually and experientially exactly what you’re getting into for the next 3 months and why it’s so important for your own spiritual formation.

SCL is set up as a two-year experience, but you can commit to Year 1 and Year 2 separately. In committing to either year, you’re saying yes to all four retreats for that year, not just the ones that may interest you more. Each retreat builds slowly upon the other and on the spiritual practices you engage in between retreats. The first four focus heavily on one’s inner work. The last four help one become aware of how the inner work touches the outer world, culminating in a Rule of Life and a stronger sense of mission. All retreats have a consistent rhythm of communal, experiential learning followed by individual communion with God and time to process afterward. We recommend that married couples book separate rooms.

The 8 Modules

Module 1 Soul Rest
Focus: Retreat / Discovery
Key Practice: Sabbath

Module 2 Soul Space
Focus: Silence & Solitude
Key Practice: Silent reflection & prayer / Periods of Solitude

Module 3 Soul Feeding
Focus: Nourishment via Scripture
Key Practice: Lectio Divina & Imaginative Prayer

Module 4 Soul Connecting
Focus: Body
Key Practice: Centering Prayer, Breath Prayer, Prayer Walking

Module 5 Soul Awareness
Focus: Self-Awareness
Key Practice: Self-examination via the Enneagram

Module 6 Soul Healing
Focus: Inner Healing
Key Practice: Attachment Inventory / Healing Steps

Module 7 Soul Knowing
Focus: Discernment
Key Practice: Clearness Committee / Group Spiritual Direction

Module 8 Soul Making
Focus: Contemplative Activism
Key Practice: Developing a Rule of Life

Current Online Locations

Taste of SCL
Interested, but not sure if this is for you? We’d like to offer you a Taste of SCL, at no cost! In this four week online, group experience you will be introduced to 2 core practices, have time to integrate them each week into the regular rhythm of daily life, and if you want to reflect on it with a spiritual director, we encourage that as well during this taste of SCL. Our hope is that during these four weeks of exploring the contemplative life, you will be able to discern if God is inviting you to go deeper with Him into all things contemplative through the School of Contemplative Life.

For more information, contact Grace Cooper at
Dates: Sundays, May 2, 9, 16 and 23, Times: 4:00-5:00 PM (PST)

Online Cohort – Bauer
Registration in progress – Fri-Sat Retreats – led by Michelle Bauer
Year 1 dates: Mar 5-6 2021, May 7-6 2021, Jul 9-10 2021, Sep 10-11 2021
Year 2 dates: Sep 10-11 2021, Nov 5-6 2021, Jan 7-8 2022, Mar 4-5 2022
Michelle Bauer serves as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation and resident Spiritual Director at the Vineyard Church of Augusta (Augusta, GA). She holds a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University and received her training in spiritual direction from Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction. She does life with her husband, Chris and three sons August, Luke and Sam. For more information please download a course overview. Then, call or email to have a question answered. | 706.631.9705

Online Cohort – Hill
Registration in progress – Fri-Sat Retreats – led by Rick & Luanne Hill
Year 1 dates: Apr 30-May 1, 2021, Aug 27-28, 2021, Nov 5-6, 2021, Feb 4-5, 2022
Times will be CST.
You can contact Rick & Luanne Hill at

Online Cohort – Longville
Registration in progress – Fri-Sat Retreats – led by Laura Longville
Year 1 dates: Jun 4-5 2021, Oct 1-2 2021, Jan 7-8 2022, Apr 1-2 2022
You can contact Laura Longville at: 605.381.9435,, 

Online Cohort – MacQueen
Registration in progress – begins Jan 2021 – led by Wayne & Sabrina MacQueen
Year 1 dates: Jan 29-30 2021, Apr 16-17 2021, Aug 27-28 2021, Nov 26-27 2021
Year 2 dates: TBD
Venue: TBD

Current In-Person Locations

Cambria, CA
Registration closed – led by Denise Brill
Year 2 dates: started Sept 18-19, 2020 and will go through mid May

Cincinnati, OH
Registration in progress – begins Jan 2021 – led by Leanne O’Donnell
Year 1 dates: Apr 9-10 2021, Jul 9-10 2021, Oct 8-9 2021, and Jan 14-15, 2022
Year 2 dates: Sep 10-11, 2021, Nov 5-6, 2021, Jan 7-8, 2022, Mar 4-5, 2022
Venue: The Convent

Colorado Springs, CO
Registration closed – Sun-Mon Retreats, 4pm-4pm – led by Dan Kane & Vicki Wehmeyer
Year 1 dates: May 17-18 2020, Aug 16-17 2020, Oct 25-26 2020, 4th Module TBD
Year 2 dates: TBD
Venue: TBD

Columbus, OH
Registration in process, deadline by March 31
Fri-Sat Retreats – 
led by Susan & Stephen Van Dop
Year 1 dates: 
May 14-15 2021, Aug 13-14 2021, Oct 22-23 2021, Feb 4-5 2022,
Year 2 dates: May 13-14 2022, Aug 12-13 2022, Oct 21-22 2022, Feb 3-4 2023 

Phoenix, AZ
Registration closed – began Feb 2020 – led by Ronda Lewis
Year 1 dates: Feb 24-25 2020, Apr 24-25 2020, July 24-25 2020, Oct 23-24 2020
Year 2 dates: TBD, Feb 2021, Apr 2021, Jul 2021, Oct 2021
Venue: Arizona Christian University, 5815 West Greenway Rd, Glendale AZ 85306

Rapid City, SD
Registration closed – began Feb 2020 – led by Laura Longville
Year 1 dates: Sept 25-26, 2020 and will go through July 23-24, 2021
Year 2 dates: TBD

Springfield, IL
Registration in progress – Fri-Sat Retreats, 4pm-4pm – begins 29 Feb 2021 – led by Tim Reist
Year 1 dates: Feb 29-Mar 1 2020, May 30-31 2020, Aug 22-23 2020, Oct 31 – Nov 1 2020
Year 2 dates: Feb 27-28 2021, May 15-16 2021, Aug 21-22 2021, Oct 30-31 2021
Venue: Chiara Center, 4875 LaVerna Rd, Springfield IL 62707

Participant Agreements

  • Commit to the entire year (4 guided retreats)

  • Practice the practice – not only at the retreat but more importantly during the interval between retreats

  • Read the books – a leisurely pace of approximately 1 book every 2 months

  • Write a 1-page reflection prior to each retreat

  • Meet with a spiritual director or companion monthly (not required but highly recommended)


  • The reduced cost for this pilot year (Year 1) is $850. Books, transportation and the quarterly overnights at a retreat center are additional costs.

Registration Process

  1. Fill out a brief application.

  2. Have a phone conversation with the cohort leader in your desired location, confirming your desire to participate.

  3. Submit a deposit to secure your spot. (Deposits are refundable up until 1 month prior to the start.)

  4. If social distancing is still required when Fall 2020 cohorts begin, the first module will be held online.

Please REGISTER with the green button to the right.