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


About SPE

SPE Programs


Resource Center

Contact Us/Directions



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.

(click on headers to expand/close them)


    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

    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.




    Fanning the Flames of the Call is a year long process that is intended to build a sense of community among people early in their ministry career.  It is a program designed for people who are questioning their call or who are fully engaged and enjoying their call.

    The experience will be for one year.  There will be an interview prior to admission to the program.  Following admission to the program there will be three phases.

                 Phase one will be a three day introductory workshop.

                 Phase two will be 8 monthly meetings of 3 hours each.

                 Phase three will be a final full day event to bring the time to a close.

    The Initial three day experience is scheduled for September 10-12, 2014 UCC Parish House, 2669 Lake Lansing Rd., E. Lansing, MI.  A monthly three hour meeting will be held on the following Thursday mornings:

    October 23, 2014

    November 20, 2014 (Judson Memorial Baptist Church, 530 Vernon, Lansing, MI)

    December 18, 2014

    February 26, 2015

    March 26, 2015

    April 23, 2015

    May 21, 2015

    June 11, 2015

    Except where noted, all Thursday morning meetings will be held at St. Francis Retreat Center,703 E. Main St., DeWitt, MI.


    Cost: $775.00 for the entire year (when you register by August 15, 2014).

    $850.00 for the year (when you register after  August 15, 2014)


    Early registration is due no later than August 15, 2014.  Late Registration: August 16-31, 2014

    Registration Deadline is September 1, 2014.  If there are not enough participants at that point the program will be canceled.


    Click here for brochure or here to register.




    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.

    Click here to register online.

    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.



    Peter Steinke 

    Adaptive Challenges and Church Systems

    September 25, 2014

    9:30 am – 3:30 pm (with lunch)

    Peter Steinke – author, speaker, pastor

    Peter will present new material from his study of Bowen theory, biblical themes and contemporary challenges for the church.

    The program will be in two parts:

    Part 1 : Ancient Israel as an Emotional System & Societal Emotional Process and the Rise of Christianity

    Part 2: Change, Anxiety and Adaptive Challenges & Adaptive Confidence.

    Peter Steinke is the author of Healthy Congregations; Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times and A Door Set Open.

    Click here for flyer or here to register.




    Labyrinth Walk with Trudy McSorley

    October 2, 2014

    10am to 3pm (lunch included)

    Join us as we spend time learning about the history of the labyrinth and walking this experience.

    Cost: $40 if you register by August 22

    $45 if you register after August 22

    Registration deadline: September 25


    Click here to register online.

    Click here for brochure with registration form.




    Prayer Series

    October 9, 2014

    9am to 4pm (lunch included)

    The first session in our prayer series will be Praying in Nature with Sharon McAuley and Drumming with Diane Christopherson.  Each workshop will include learning about the prayer form and how to practice it.

    Cost: $50 if you register by August 28

    $60 if you register after August 28

    Registration deadline:  October 1


    January 15, 2015

    Journaling with Fr. Al Wakefield

    Contemplation with April Allison


    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.






    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



    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


    “Inner Landscape” - 3rd Annual Spring Group Art Exhibition

    A Juried Exhibition to be held May 2 – June 12, 2014

    Click here for flyer.



    May 4, 2014

    4:00 - 6:00 pm

    Join us as we meet the artists who are involved in the 3rd Annual Spring Group Exhibit “Inner Landscape”. There will be light refreshments and beverages to enjoy.














       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:




    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.

    Her ArtPrize entry is a relief sculpture entitled “The Omega Point”. This relief sculpture is a tribute to the fascinating life of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1881-1955. A French Scholar, Theologian, and Jesuit, he chose to work as a WWI front-line soldier, carrying a stretcher, not a gun. His love of natural history led him to a career in science, first, as a Chemistry and Physics teacher; then with his Ph.D. in Geology from the Sorbonne, as a Paleontologist, hunting for human fossils on three continents. He was part of the discovery team for the Peking Man. His philosophy celebrates the sacred nature of all matter as he strove to develop insights into Darwinian Theory. His theological writings incorporate much respect for women, a concept he refers to as the eternal feminine. Because of this, his work forms a basis for the United Nations' founding doctrines. Rev. Dr. de Chardin reasoned that the universe is evolving toward a level of consciousness and unity he called the Omega Point. He was so ahead of his time that today, he has been called the "Prophet of the Internet.” Christine would like to add that this work is dedicated to Sr. Joseph Marie, her high school Chemistry teacher and mentor who introduced the philosophy of Fr. de Chardin to her Aesthetic Conversation Group.

    ArtPrize is an international, contemporary art exhibition. This year, 1524 entries representing 47 countries and 45 US states plus the District of Columbia will be displayed at 160 venues in downtown Grand Rapids Michigan, September 18 through October 6. Much of the half-million dollar prize money is awarded by public vote. Our congratulations to SPE Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Christine V. Hampton

    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

    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.”


    Samples of Karen’s work:



    Artwork Exhibit Agreement

    click here for form


    Artist in Residence Application

    click here for form


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


Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.