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


About SPE

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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?


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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.

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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 4, 2014 at St. Francis Retreat Center - Call the Retreat Center at 866 669-8321 to register.

    November 3, 2014 at the First Congregational Church UCC in Gaylord, MI

    March 12, 2015 at the Church of the Master in Troy, MI

    April 30, 2015 at St. Francis Retreat Center

    September 10, 2015 at St. Francis Retreat Center

    Cost: $75 (includes materials and lunch)

    Click here for brochure with registration form.




    Working with Genograms in Bowen Systems Theory

    4 Session series – Sept. 8; Oct. 13; Nov.10; Dec.8, 2014

    9:30am to 3:30pm

    Cost: $250 (incl. lunch) by August 4; $300 after August 4.

    Registration deadline: August 18, 2014

    Facilitator: The Rev. Jannel Glennie

    Genograms will be used to understand the essential concepts that make up Bowen Systems Theory.  This group is open to those with a little or a lot of Systems experience.  Class format will include: presentation, group case studies, individual work and small group sharing.

    Jannel Glennie has been studying and applying Bowen Family Systems Theory for more than 25 years as a practitioner and as a teacher.

    Call the Retreat Center at 866 669-8321 to register.

    Click here for brochure with registration form.




    The Michigan Institute Leadership presents: A Professional Learning Experience for Pastors

    Fall 2014-Winter 2015

    $450 if you register by August 15, 2014

    $475 if you register after August 15, 2014

    Registration deadline: September 1, 2014

    Participants are expected to attend all five sessions

    Sept. 16, 2014; Oct. 21, 2014; Nov. 18, 2014; Jan. 20, 2015; Feb. 17, 2015

    The purpose of this leadership institute is to strengthen pastors’ knowledge and capacity for skillful leadership, based on research of exemplary leadership practices and the integration of those practices with biblical material and theological reflection.

    Facilitators: Rev. Bill Johnson has served United Methodist churches for 40 years as a pastor and as an active Conference leader.  A devotee of Dr. Kennon Callahan’s 12 Keys to an Effective Church, he has led numerous church strategic planning events using the 12 Keys approach.  He holds a degree in pastoral Counseling from Boston University School of Theology.

    Debbie Johnson McFalone has been a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church.  She holds a doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.  A former principal and assistant superintendent of schools, Debbie now draws on her experience as a leader to empower and equip others.  She is an educational consultant specializing in adult learning, working with school leaders and organizations.

    Click here to register online.

    Click here for brochure with registration form.



    Faithwalking: A Journey into Personal Transformation

    November 5-7, 2014


    Cost: $180 if registered by Sept. 22

    $195 after Sept. 22

    Registration Deadline: October 22.


    Jim Herrington (author, pastor and denomination executive) and Trisha Taylor (author and Fellow with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors) will take you through the Faithwalking journey into personal transformation.


    Faithwalking is a comprehensive ministry that guides pastors and congregational leaders through a personal and congregational transformation journey.  This upcoming retreat offers you the opportunity to experience an introduction to this work.

    Click here for flyer or here to register.



    Peace in the Valley

    November 13, 2014

    9:30am to 12:15pm


    Cost: $45 by October 15

    $50 after October 15

    Registration deadline: November 4

    (registration is limited)


    The aim of this workshop is to give expression in words, images, and rite, to the pastoral experience of accompanying people through suffering, and sometimes death; what we learn from these relationships, and how we grow from them.

     Scripture, exercises and instruments will help assess one’s own personal awareness, memories, anxiety and attitudes about death and grief.

    There will be group discussion of what it means to companion others through loss and grief.

    The morning will conclude with a SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE & THANKSGIVING, in which participants are offered the opportunity, through liturgy and a rite of remembrance, to give thanks for those we have loved and lost, for how they have taught and blessed us, and to release them.


    Click here for flyer or here to register.



    Prayer Series

    Thursday January 15, 2015

    9am to 4pm (lunch included)


    The next session in our prayer series will be Journaling with Fr. Al Wakefield and Contemplation with April Allison.  Each workshop will include learning about the prayer form and how to practice it.

    Cost: $50 if you register by December 4, 2014

    $60 if you register after December 4, 2014

    Registration deadline:  January 8, 2015


    Click here to register online.

    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.




    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.  Click on dates to register.

    June 10-12, 2014

    November 4-6, 2014



    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.

    March 10-11, 2014

    September 16-17, 2014  Cancelled



    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












    The Ecumenical Center for Arts & Spirituality Presents

    An Exhibit featuring paintings by American Artist Chuck Wilkinson

    SPE at St. Francis Retreat Center

    November 5th 2014 – January 1st 2015

    Reception December 7, 2014  4PM-6PM


    Chuck Wilkinson (1932-2010) was an artist from Detroit Michigan who, along with his commercial work, painted a series of “parable paintings” used as spiritual teaching tools.  The folkloric, narrative paintings present his views on Christianity.  You will want to take time to fully explore this thought provoking exhibit!







    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:


    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.



    Artwork Exhibit Agreement

    click here for form


    Artist in Residence Application

    click here for form

    Call for Art

    4th Annual Spring Group Art Exhibition

    A juried Exhibition to be held April 16-June 11, 2015

    We are accepting visual art, poetry and performing art with the theme: “Family of Faith”

    Deadline for entries is Feb. 27, 2015.


    • Send up to 3 entries for consideration

    • Image information (title, media & size)

    • Submission entry fee of $25.00 (Check payable to Sustaining Pastoral Excellence)

    • Brief artist statement regarding your interpretation of the themem (100 words or less)

    • Include jpg images, artist phone number & email address (for communications)

    • Image can be sent via email – ECASSPE@gmail.com or DVD/CD via standard mail to:

    SPE at St. Francis Retreat Center

    703 E. Main St.

    DeWitt, MI  48820


    Image Notes

    • 2 dimensional art – high resolution jpg format, one per entry

    • 3 dimensional art – high resolution jpg format, three different views

    • All accepted artwork ready for presentation (with hangers and wire for wall mounting)

    • Label images with artist name, title for the art and size of the piece

    • Please include name, phone number and email address on your submission


    Important Dates

    Feb. 27, 2015 - Postmark Deadline for entries


    March 16, 2015 – Notifications sent via email


    April 13 & 14 2015 - 9am-2pm -  Artwork delivered to St. Francis Retreat Center


    April 16 – June 11, 2015 - Exhibit dates


    April 26, 2015– Artist reception (artist’s attendance required)


    June 11 & 12, 2015 – Artwork retrieval


    Click here for brochure.




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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