SDI Learns from... Sean Murphy and Rev. Jane Vennard, MDiv View larger

SDI Learns from ... Sean Murphy and Rev. Jane Vennard, MDiv

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Participation in silent retreats.

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Sean Murphy and Rev. Jane Vennard, MDiv, discuss participation in silent retreats.

  1. How can silence be a path to stillness?
  2. In what ways can community grow during and after a silent retreat?
  3. What are the shadow sides of silence? What can we learn from that?

Sean Murphy has had nearly three decades of formal Zen meditation training, including extended periods of monastic retreat. He’s the author of the American Zen chronicle One Bird, One Stone, which won a 2014 International Book Award, and three award-winning works of fiction, including The Hope Valley Hubcap King, which won the Hemingway Award for a First Novel, and The Time of New Weather. He serves as adjunct professor for University of New Mexico-Taos and is founder of the Sage Institute Meditation Leader Training Program in Taos, New Mexico, USA. He presents widely on matters of meditation, mindfulness, and creativity.

 Rev. Jane Vennard, MDiv, is senior adjunct faculty in prayer and spirituality at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, USA, where she lives. Vennard earned her bachelors degree from Wellesley College, a masters from Stanford University, and her masters of divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She was called to a special ministry of teaching and spiritual direction and ordained in the United Church of Christ. Vennard is a spiritual director and a long-time member of SDI. In addition to Iliff, she has taught at the Pacific School of Religion, Vancouver School of Theology, Columbia Seminary, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Vennard is a regular faculty presenter with The Upper Room Academy for Spiritual Formation and teaches classes in a variety of ecumenical settings, leads retreats internationally, and is the author of numerous articles and seven books, the most recent of which is Fully Awake and Truly Alive: Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul.


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