703 E. Main Street, DeWitt, Michigan 48820 (866) 669-8321


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    Boundary Tending and Border Crossing

    Designed for pastors, lay staff and volunteer leaders, this one-day workshop reviews essential information and strategies for creating and maintaining a safe environment for vital ministry in today’s changing world.    Click on the event date for online registration.

    September 10, 2015 at St. Francis Retreat Center

    Cost: $75 (includes materials and lunch)

    Click here for brochure with registration form.




    Jesus and the Cornerstone Concept: Differentiation of Self

    with Robert Creech

    September 24, 2015

    9:30am to 3:30pm

    Lunch included

    $85 with lunch if you register by August 15, 2015

    $100 if you register after August 15, 2015

    Registration deadline is September 15, 2015


    Dr. Murray Bowen labeled the concept of “differentiation of self” as the cornerstone concept of his theory of human behavior.  In his theoretical scale of differentiation, Bowen said that 100 on the scale was reserved for “that perfect human being,” whose ability to manage emotional reactivity was complete.

    Given Christian theology’s emphasis on Jesus as the “fully human:” one, the Second Adam, what might we learn from his life about the nature of differentiation?  How might his shape our understanding of spiritual formation?  The primary focus of the day will be exploring the meaning of differentiation and the evidence of its presence in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and teaching.

    Dr. Creech is Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Christian Ministry at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, Waco Texas.  He has co-authored The Leader’s Journey.  He also trains clergy in the Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family “Defining Leaders.” A three-year program of coaching and teaching.


    Click here to register online.

    Click here for brochure with registration form.




    Prayer Series

    Lectio Divina and Praying with Icons

    Join us as we explore several forms of prayer.

    Each workshop will include two forms of prayer that will be taught, reflected upon and practiced.

    October 22, 2015

    9am to 4pm

    Session 1:

    Lectio Divina

    Facilitator: Mary Sue Kennedy

    Session 2:

    Praying with Icons

    Facilitator: Linda MacDonald

    Lunch included


    Cost: $50 if you register by September 10

             $60 if you register after September 10

    Registration deadline is October 15

    (Full payment must accompany registration)


    Click here to register online.

    Click here for brochure


    Mary Sue Kennedy, OP, an Adrian Dominican Sister has served as Executive Director of the Dominican Sisters Conference, in leadership for the Adrian Dominicans and as Vicar for Religious for the Diocese of Toledo. She is currently a Spiritual Director, facilitator and a presenter of workshops and retreats.


    There are many different prayer forms of which Lectio Divina is one.  It is intended to promote deeper union with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word.  It treats Scripture as the Living Word.  This session will explore the background and history of Lectio Divina as well as allow participants to experience prayer with Lectio Divina.


    The Venerable Linda MacDonald,

    Archdeacon, Emerita the Episcopal Diocese of MI.

    Deacon for 21 years, served as an occupational therapist for 29 years.

    Ministries included working with prisoners, the sick and the needy.  Began icon writing in 2007 and has used icons as part of her daily prayer since then.  Discussion will include history of icons, canons, and how to interpret and pray with them.






    If you would like to start a group please contact Patti Kenney, Program Coordinator. She will consult with you about initiating a group and training a facilitator.


    Peer groups of pastoral leaders covenant to meet regularly to support one another in the practice of ministry. These groups meet at St. Francis Retreat Center and focus on a specific topic, theme, or practice that supports them in sustaining excellence in ministry; and offer feedback on their learning to the program through evaluations and focus groups. Groups may be ecumenical or from a common faith tradition or ministry setting. They may already be formed, or just forming.


    Each group is encouraged to seek denominational and other support to ease the strain on their own resources.


    Sabbath Time Retreats welcome all those in Christian ministry (lay, ordained, non-affiliated) to gather as colleagues, finding common ground in the call to Christian ministry and its challenges.

    We encourage those in ministry to take time away from the workplace to renew, refresh and reconnect on the beautiful grounds of St. Francis Retreat Center.    We offer three types of retreats - one of which will fit your busy schedule.

    Click here for flyer and mail-in registration form.




    Our Traditional Sabbath Time Retreat includes 2 nights’ lodging and 4 meals.  You will arrive the first evening at 7 pm and leave on the third day at 11 am.  Your stay will include Morning and Evening Prayer, time for personal prayer/reflection and optional collegial sharing.  There will be an opportunity to see a Spiritual Director if you wish.  See the flyer for more details.  This retreat is facilitated by one of our trained facilitators.



    The Mini Retreat includes 1 night’s lodging and 2 meals.  You will arrive at 7pm on the first evening and depart the next afternoon at 4 pm.  Your stay will include Morning and Evening Prayer and time for personal prayer/reflections.  There will be an opportunity to see a Spiritual Director if you wish.  See the flyer for more details.  This retreat is facilitated by one of our trained facilitators.



    The Individual Sabbath Time Retreat is on your timeframe.  The cost will vary with your choice of meals and lodging.  See brochure for more details.  This retreat is not facilitated.  You will be given a binder which includes our Sabbath Time Retreat materials.  You must make an appointment if you would like to see a Spiritual Director.  Call the Retreat Center at 866 669-8321 x 22 for availability.



    St. Francis Retreat Center in partnership with the Dominican Center for Religious Development is offering a two-year internship in Spiritual Direction beginning in September, 2012. The program is open to interested women and men, clergy, deacons, religious and laity who have some theological background and some ministerial experience. Individuals with full time commitments may participate. For further information contact Joanne Podlucky, OP at info@dominicancenter.org. Your participation or personal encouragement of another will be appreciated.


    * This is a part-time, non-resident program

  • ART



    Our 4th Annual Art Exhibit

    Important Dates:

     April 23 – June 11, 2015 - Exhibit dates


     June 11 & 12, 2015 – Artwork retrieval







    Woong-Sik (Timothy) Chon is the Senior Pastor of North Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lansing Michigan. Rev. Chon is a PC (USA) ordained minister of word and sacrament, and holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He also serves as a Liturgical Art Consultant for various Christian organizations. He is the current Director of the Ecumenical Center for Arts and Spirituality.

    Rev. Timothy Chon will be producing a tryptic oil painting on canvas (three panels of 4' x 5' each) on the theme of "Crossing Over" during his Artist-In-Residence in the Art Studio as a part of his Sabbatical Year.

    Timothy will be in the St. Francis Studio November through January and April through May 2013.

    What Timothy is working on:








    Please visit Timothy’s website    http://woongsikchon.wix.com/visual-liturgy



    Congratulations to Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Christine V. Hampton whose art work has been accepted into ArtPrize 2013, the Grand Rapids Art Exhibition and Competition. Christine, who, along with being one of our first artists-in-residence, is also a member of our SPE Creative Expression Task Force. She has exhibited her work a number of times here at St. Francis Retreat Center and her latest abstract photography is presently on display in our SPE Group Art Exhibit, through September. Dr. Hampton has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Michigan State University. She began her art studies in Studio-art at King’s College, a Catholic College in North East Pennsylvania and has continued her education in art throughout her career by attending workshops and classes in a myriad of media, most recently, portrait sculpture.


    Christine has been working in the St. Francis Studio Spring through early Fall 2013.


     Cindy Evans is an artist from Williamston, Michigan who specializes in watercolor and mixed media paintings. Her work is exhibited in many local and regional galleries and shows and can be found in private and public collections. “My motivation to paint is that love of how water and color moves on the paper, the challenge to bring what happens to a successful conclusion, and to bring attention to the beauty in nature, scripture and the art of storytelling.”  Painting is a way to meditate and pray, message thoughts, reach out to others, and Glorify God.  I will be using my tea dye technique to begin the process and hope that my stay at the retreat center will inspire several new pieces.

    Cindy will be working in the St. Francis Studio through October 4, 2013

    Please visit Karen’s website  www.kwbellart.com

    Some of Cindy’s work is shone above.


    K.W. Bell lives in Haslett, Michigan. She has a degree in Commercial Art and Layout and has studied watercolor in various workshops. Her artwork is found in many private collections, offices of businesses, and galleries. Her art varies from formal to experimental and from serious to rather humorous. She is always pushing boundaries. Speaking art in a language of her own, while respecting proper technique, K.W. Bell endeavors to be true to an inner vision. Painting people and telling their story has become a new and exciting challenge. In her paintings she incorporates stories, conflict, personal convictions and emotion. “Truth, ideas, and passion will be the driving force behind my growth as an artist and a person. Through art, I desire to move people or cause them to pause and perhaps alter a view, including myself.”

    Please visit Karen’s website  www.kwbellart.com

    Samples of Karen’s work:


    Barbara White

    In painting nature and the landscape as representational images, I rely on inspiration combined with my imagination to create imagery.  In my compositions, I use only the basic elements of lines, shapes and textures with strong emphasis on intense color, design and drawing with a brush.

    In over 30 years experience as an artist, I have worked in oils, acrylics, watercolors and mixed media.  In acrylics, through an experimental process, I have developed a way of using acrylics and mediums as a thin stain and an opaque mass to define areas of the composition and create texture.  Also, pouring acrylic paint spontaneously, creating weather conditions, reflections, perspectives, directional light, and shadows are special challenges to me as a landscape artist.

    My ultimate goal as a painter is to create an emotional response for the viewer by capturing the soul of the scenery and convey a painterly message in an expressionistic, semi-abstract, yet representational style.


    Patricia Anne (Patti) Kenney is the Pastor and Teacher of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline Michigan and program developer for Sustaining Pastoral Excellence/Ecumenical Center for Pastoral Leadership.  Patti has published many articles, devotionals, and curricula, and is interested in developing her work in art and spirituality.  She has created three mandalas—symbolic representations of:  her life and call to ministry, her growing understanding of her call to local church ministry: “Broken Vessels Carry Living Water,” and “In the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul,” a mandala of her Sabbatical journey in 2013.  During the month of June, 2015, Patti will be in the studio working on a fourth mandala, as well as a number of poems, as a form of prayer and reflection.

    Click here for a sample of Patti's work.


    Artwork Exhibit Agreement

    click here for form


    Artist in Residence Application

    click here for form




In times of great economic and social stress on individuals, we know that people most often turn to their pastors and spiritual leaders for strength and guidance.  And, this is as it should be. The answer to our needs is found in the hope that lives through our spiritual relationship with God. However, in these times of great stress, as our needs grow and we turn to our spiritual leaders, who “ministers to the minister”?   Who helps our spiritual leaders continue their education and spiritual development?  Who provides them a place to turn?


Read more ...



You can sign up to use our Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Resource Center.  With more than 6,000 items in our library and access to a number of professional on-line services for pastors.  Resource center patrons can access and check out items on the internet from the comfort of your home or office.  The items will be mailed directly to you, so even distance is not a factor.



I invite you to explore our web site.  You will discover that we offer “Sabbath Retreats” for pastors and spiritual leaders, both ordained and lay from all denominations.   We also have a number of peer leadership groups that meet monthly.  You will also find a listing of upcoming educational speakers, workshops and seminars that we sponsor here at the St. Francis Retreat Center.  Our Creative Expression Target Group welcomes you to visit the center to view the current art exhibition or join us for an opening art reception.

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence at St. Francis Retreat Center is self-supporting and depends heavily on the private support provided by individual donors, churches, our denominational partners and foundations.


We know that you value the programs and services offered by SPE at St. Francis Retreat Center and invite you to make your tax deductible gift, either on line or, if you would rather, mail your check made payable to Sustaining Pastoral Excellence to St. Francis Retreat Center, 703 E. Main, DeWitt, MI, 48820. If you have questions about making a gift or would like to discuss your gift with our staff contact Terry at 866 669-8321 x 22 or click below:







We also accept gifts-in-kind of books, magazines and videos for our Resource Center.  Please contact Terry Feuka at tfeuka@stfrancis.ws to arrange to drop off such gifts-in-kind.  Thank you.






You can sign up to use our Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Resource Center.  With more than 6,000 items in our library and access to a number of professional on-line services for pastors.  Resource center patrons can access and check out items on the internet from the comfort of your home or office.  The items will be mailed directly to you, so even distance is not a factor.

Click the button to sign up as a Patron of the Resource Center.

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence at St. Francis Retreat Center


Terry Feuka

SPE Program Director/Media Specialist

517-669-8321 Ext. 22



Rev. Dr. Patti Kenney

Program Director Coordinator

734-730-9808 (cell)



Call us toll-free 866-669-8321 x22    fax 517-669-2708

or e-mail us with the form below


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