Each first-year student has been prayerfully placed in a small, intentionally diverse spiritual formation group. These groups are led by local pastors, many of whom are Duke Divinity alumni. Each week the groups gather to share concerns, to reflect theologically on the nature of Christian discipleship, and, most importantly, to pray together.
Sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office of Duke Divinity School, attendance at one of these retreats fulfills the M.Div. requirement for spiritual formation.
As part of the spiritual formation experience, students are also be invited to take time apart from their studies to attend two spiritual retreats, one each semester.
A Journey into Prayer and Service
Duke Divinity School’s curriculum seeks to cultivate a life of worship, study, and service. We are committed to the very ancient idea that to be a person of God for others, one must be with others—in prayer, in study, at work, and at play. Central to this commitment is spiritual formation.
Prayer and ministry are inextricably joined. Through intentional spiritual formation we become acclimated to the divine longing of our hearts and begin to sense that our lives are being turned ever God-ward.
As Ellen Davis writes in Getting Involved with God,
“Once we start reading in a spiritually engaged way, it is evident that the Old Testament is urging us toward certain ‘habits of the heart and mind’ …that encourage us to cultivate counter-cultural habits such as seeking solitude, or repenting of our sins, or offering praise to God …. I will not say that these habits make it easier to be involved with God…, but they deepen our involvement and make it more profitable for our souls.”
Each first-year student has been prayerfully placed in a small, intentionally diverse group. These groups are led by local pastors, many of whom are Duke Divinity alumni. Each week the groups gather to share concerns, to reflect theologically on the nature of Christian discipleship, and, most important, to pray together. As part of the spiritual formation experience, students are also be invited to take time apart from their studies to attend two spiritual retreats, one each semester.
Our group leaders represent a wide spectrum of religious traditions, and it is our hope that students will become familiar with Christian practices of prayer and spirituality other than their own—developing a wider, deeper prayer vocabulary. Students will also have the opportunity to build confidence in their abilities as a spiritual leader as they journey into more faithful Christian service. I pray God’s blessing on you as you undertake this most joyous discipline.
Spiritual Formation Retreats
Fall Semester 2014
Sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office of Duke Divinity School
Attendance at one of these retreats fulfills the M.Div. requirement for Spiritual Formation. Students who do not fulfill this requirement will receive a grade of “incomplete” for the semester.
Retreat A: 2014 Ecumenical Women in Ministry Retreat
Retreat Theme: “Women Preaching, Pastoring, and Praising in the 21st Century Church”
Location: Durham Hilton, Durham, NC
Dates: Sept. 19-20 (4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday; 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday)
Women are responding to the call to pastoral ministry in increasing numbers, yet women face the unique challenge of gender discrimination that is as palpable in the church as it is in society. This retreat is especially designed for all women in ministry who are interested in intentional dialogue and focused devotion on women and Christian ministry. In addition to meeting a host of new friends and colleagues in ministry, participants will be led to reflect on the contours of call, the changing face of pastoral leadership, ministering as a 20-something or 30-something, and effective strategies for self-care. Participants will enjoy inspirational worship, group plenary sessions, and small group workshops. Three meals -- dinner Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday -- are included. Registration is limited to women only, and participants are NOT required to stay overnight at the hotel.
The Rev. Joanna Jennings, Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, Dr. Valerie Cooper, Dr. Esther Acolatse, The Rev. Neichelle Guidry-Jones, Min. La Keisha Williams, the Rev. Tameika Moore, the Rev. Meghan Feldmeyer, the Rev. Carmen Gonsalez-McKernie, the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Leath.
Retreats B-E: Aqueduct Center Retreats
Location: Aqueduct Conference Center, Chapel Hill
B: Sept. 26-27, 2014
C: Oct. 24-25, 2014
D: Nov. 7-8, 2014
E. Nov. 14-15, 2014
Retreats B–E are structured similarly to include worship and music, brief times of instruction/leading, extended periods of silence and personal prayer, and opportunities for individual spiritual direction. Three delicious home cooked meals are included. Drive to Aqueduct on your own, arriving at the retreat center by 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Departure will be at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Participants are encouraged to carpool. Learn more about the Aqueduct Center.
In addition to Chaplain Bates, spiritual formation group leaders will serve as spiritual directors for the retreats. These leaders include Gloria Aghogah, Tracy Clayton, Evelyn Craig, Keith Daniel, Kate Davelaar, Liz Dowling-Sendor, Sally French, Rich Greenway, Cherie Henry, Grace Hackney, Steve Hinkle, George Linney, Lori Pistor, Edward Rommen, Molly Shivers, and Robert Simpson.
Registration begins on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.
Priority will be given to early registrations. To register, please drop off the form below at the chaplain’s office at 101 Westbrook.
Retreat Registration (pdf)
Attendance at one fall retreat is part of the requirement for every student enrolled in Spiritual Formation.
The cost of each retreat is largely funded by the Divinity School. Students who do not show up, or who cancel confirmed registrations less than five days prior to their retreat date, are subject to a $125 charge to cover the cost of the cancellation.
Rescheduling a retreat date may be discussed with the chaplain, provided space is available.
See Sonja Tilley in the chaplain’s office, 101 Westbrook if you have additional questions.
2014-15 Retreat Leaders
Our group leaders represent a wide spectrum of religious traditions, and it is our hope that students will become familiar with Christian practices of prayer and spirituality other than their own — developing a wider, deeper prayer vocabulary. Students will also have the opportunity to build confidence in their abilities as a spiritual leader as they journey into more faithful Christian service. I pray God’s blessing on you as you undertake this most joyous discipline.
(B.A. North Carolina Central University; M.Div. Duke Divinity School, D.Min. Samuel Dewitte School of Theology), is ordained in the United Holy Church, and she has extensive experience as a hospital and prison chaplain. She is currently serving as a Clinical Chaplain at United Hospice in Rocky Mount.
My greatest challenge is the continuing struggle in the 21st century of being a prophetic voice in an androcentric context.
Sally G. Bates
(B.A., University of Mary Washington; M.A., UNC-Chapel Hill; M.Div., Duke Divinity School) joined the Divinity School as chaplain in 2002 and she is ordained in the United Methodist Church. She has particular interest in the intersection of faith and the arts, and Haitian missions.
Each day, my work challenges me to find different ways to create spaces of hospitality and openness where persons can encounter the Holy.
Rev. Tracy Clayton
(B.S. Public Health and MHA, UNC-Chapel Hill; M.Div., Duke Divinity School) is an ordained elder in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. Currently, she is on study leave and pursuing both a D.Min. in Spiritual Direction (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) and a second unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. Additionally, she will serve as a preceptor in the area of worship at Duke Divinity School in the fall of 2013.
My most formative scriptures are in the Sermon on the Mount, particularly Matthew 6. This text offers practical instructions on such things as anonymous giving, praying, fasting, true treasure, and freedom from idols and worry. I hold that teaching in tension with Galatians 3:11-12 (The Message): "The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you."
Sr. Evelyn Craig is an Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister based in Monroe, Mich., where she served in formation and vocation discernment. Recognized as a mentor of a healthy spiritual life and effective campus minister, she presently is a spiritual director for clergy and members of all denominations. As a practioneer of tai chi, she offers a balanced, wholistic approach to spirituality.
My greatest spiritual question is, "How much is enough?" Enough effort on my part, then letting God be God, enough time spent, then resting, enough resources in this country so other countries have what they need. All of which requires attention to balance, discernment, and a lighthearted sense of humor and honesty with myself.
(A.B. Duke; M.Ed. NC State University; M.Div. Duke Divinity School) has worked at Duke University for 23 years, most recently as the Director of the Duke Chapel PathWays program. He is ordained in the American Baptist Church and is enrolled in the Divinity School's D.Min. program.
The Old Testament story of Eli and Samuel (1 Samuel 3) is especially meaningful to me, where Samuel hears his name called repeatedly by God and learns to say, “Speak, Lord, your servant hears.” This is how I enjoy living out my faith, with a heart for listening to God speak, and being a witness to the faithful replies of others.
(B.A. Hope College; M.Div. Western Theological Seminary; D.Min. Duke Divinity School) is ordained in the Reformed Church in America and currently works as the international programs coordinator at the Divinity School's Center for Reconciliation.
The challenge in ministry I continually face is learning when to say “enough is enough.” There are always more people to meet with, more preparation that could go into a sermon, more prayers to be prayed. Being in ministry is a calls us to remember that God is God, we are not, and what we do is often more than enough.
(A.B. Harvard University; M.Div., Duke Divinity School) is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, N.C. Diocese. She is a retreat leader and certified spiritual director, and has special interests in writing and the spiritual life.
Providing leadership during times of theological disagreement in the parish; balancing prayer time, family time and parish ministry time; and discerning ways in which God is calling me into deeper relationship and new ministries are significant challenges.
Rev. Sally French
(B.A. Trinity College, University of Toronto; M.Div., Toronto School of Theology; DMin, Virginia Theological Seminary) is an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. She has special interest in Christian pilgrimage and education, and serves at times on the faculty of St. George’s College, Jerusalem.
Finding balance while juggling parish ministry, family, and a commitment to learning and education is one of the ongoing challenges of my ministry.
Rev. Richard Greenway
(B.S., Newman University; M.Div., Duke Divinity School) is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, serving as pastor of Union Grove UMC in Hillsborough, N.C.
Isaiah 58:6-9 reminds me that it is in reaching out to others and sharing God’s love that the world begins to take shape and make sense. Indeed, it is by living in this holy rhythm of time with God and others that our lights begin to shine and we more and more become the people God created us to be.
(B.A. Berea College, KY.; M.A. Kent State University, Ohio; M.Div. Duke Divinity School) is an elder in the North Carolina Conference of the UMC, having served churches for the past 11 years in Cedar Grove and Bahama, N.C. She is the co-founder of Anathoth Community Garden, and is currently appointed to develop a new ministry, "Life Around the Table."
To call the church to a deeper spiritual life in the midst of decline is both the challenge and the opportunity that guides my call to serve.
Cheryl Barton Henry
(B.A. Rhodes College; M.Div. McCormick Theological Seminary) is an ordained Presbyterian (USA) minister since 1987. She currently serves as the Pastor at Efland Presbyterian Church. Previous to that call she served in campus ministry at Duke University and in rural and small town churches as a co-pastor, associate minister, and interim minister.
The challenge I have in ministry is helping a crazy busy world so desperately in need of Christ’s community called the Church -- the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ it proclaims and attempts to embody, its ancient practices, its hope, its vision of justice and the friendship it offers all -- to spend enough time being church to know why this is so!
Steven R. Hinkle
(B.S., N.C. State University; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is a member of the religious life staff for Duke University InterVarsity for graduate and faculty ministry.
It is a challenge to find effective and culturally appropriate ways to engage graduate students and faculty with the gospel.
Rev. George Linney
(B.A., Furman University; M. Div., Duke Divinity School) serves as pastor of the Tobacco Trail Community, an outdoor church that migrates for its weekly worship on and near the American Tobacco Trail in South Durham, N.C. Many of the parishioners walk or run on the trail before or after worship, reflecting on what God is doing through such activity. He is author of Border Ways, a book of poetry.
The challenge of my ministry is to have the same people participate regularly enough to form a community that is healing and renewing, serves the neighborhood, and ministers to those we encounter on the trail.
(B.A. Trinity University; M.Ed., University of North Texas; M.Div., Columbia Theological Seminary) is an ordained PCUSA pastor who has served interim parish appointments in Dallas, Durham, and Manteo. She is a frequent workshop facilitator at the Avila Retreat Center in Durham. Lori is currently serving as the interim senior minister at West Raleigh Presbyterian Church.
“What does the Lord require?” is a constant negotiation between solitude and community, listening deeply and singing out loud, and living into the sacrament of baptism … living into both God’s claim on us and our promise to serve.
Fr. Edward Rommen
(B.A., Nyack College; M.Div., D. Missiology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is an Orthodox priest serving Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Raleigh. Fr. Rommen is also an adjunct faculty member at Duke Divinity School teaching in the areas of Christian spirituality and Orthodox theology.
Overcoming the effects of modern secular society on the spiritual life of the church is one of the most significant challenges of my ministry.
Rev. Molly Shivers
(M.A. History of Art UNC-Chapel Hill; M.Div., Duke Divinity School) is an Elder in Full Connection in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Prior to entering professional ministry, she worked in the museum world. She has served congregations ranging from 80 to 800 and has most recently been engaged in a district-level ministry focused around conflict transformation in local churches. Her favorite book is any book the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.
Robert Wesley Simpson
(B.A., University of Baltimore; M.Div., Duke Divinity School; D.Min., The University of the South, Sewanee) is the pastor at Mt. Bethel UMC in Bahama, N.C., and admits to reading constantly to keep himself grounded and growing.
Knowing when to step in, and when to let things emerge as the spirit leads is an on-going challenge in my ministry.