Retreats & Speaking

...tea and Titus

It is a joy for me to encourage people in prayer and worship. If something in this blog sparks your heart and might be something your church or community would find beneficial as a retreat or workshop, please contact me:


University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

  • God’s Redemptive Mission (MDiv)
  • Christian Formation  (undergraduate Theology major)
  • Disciple Formation (2-year MDiv curriculum; online or residential)
  • Introduction to Spiritual Direction
  • Theology and Practice of Music in Worship
  • Spiritual Disciplines
  • Making Disciples 1 & 2 (MDiv Christian education course)
  • Introduction to Christian Education (Commissioned Ruling Elder course)
  • Theology and Environment
  • Pastoring for Renewal: Liturgy, Catechesis &Discipleship (Doctor of Ministry cohort)
  • Young Adult Formation (MDiv course) – Intergenerational ministry with and for young adults.
  • Young Adult World (MDiv course) – Literature offering insights into the young adult world.

Seattle Pacific University (adjunct 2011-2014)

  • Christian Formation
  • Spiritual Friendship


“The Contemplative Classroom: Prayer, Assiduitas, and the Formation of a Pastor-Scholar,” Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (SSCS) Biennial Conference, Kloster Kappel, Switzerland – June 2017

“(Re)learning to Read in the Internet Age: Some Lessons from Neuroscience and Lectio Divina” – International Academy of Practical Theology, Toronto – April 13, 2013

Retreats, Educational Travel, and Workshops

2019 – Museum Without Walls/Kennedy Catholic High School – Ireland: Religious Reconciliation, June

2018 – “Listening to Your Life: Spiritual Direction and Vocational Discernment” Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Annual Meeting – Fund for Theological Exploration

In the midst of the frenetic pace of life and technological distractions, it can be difficult to cultivate space for deep listening and reflection upon vocational questions. This workshop will introduce participants to a practice of reflection and prayer, both personally and in small groups, that will aid in helping them explore the many layers of conscious and unconscious vocational hopes and dreams, as well as begin to discern the voice of the Spirit. Art, music, journaling, and time for silence will be interwoven with opportunities for gentle discussion.

2017 – Cultivating Holy Habits: This is Your Brain on Grace – Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators

The human brain is an amazing God-given creation, yet our approaches to formation, education, prayer, and liturgical spaces, often seem to work against how the brain learns. Drawing upon the most recent studies in cognitive & expertise sciences, art & music, and the centuries of graced intuition about how to cultivate habits of love and holiness, this workshop will offer ways to reframe spiritual disciplines and educational formation that work with the brains amazing capacities for memory-making and willpower. A fully sensory experience for educators, pray-ers, worship leaders, and anyone longing to taste the “unforced rhythms of grace” which Jesus promises.

2017 – Graced Spaces: Cultivating Formative, Hospitable, and Prayerful Environments

How might we craft our liturgical spaces in ways that are conducive to prayer? What are supportive physical environments for learning and formation? While the content of our teaching and liturgical gatherings are important, the spaces in which we teach and pray offer their own powerful and implicit formation, communicating in subtle (and not so subtle) ways support or opposition to our explicit content. This workshop will explore how to discern a space’s formative influence, consider ways to order the environment to support different uses, and give ideas for cleaning, clearing, and reconfiguring spaces with little to no renovating budget

2017 – “Neuroscience and Spiritual Disciplines: God’s Discipling Grace in Us” and “Worship as Catechesis: Reconnecting Christian Education, Discipleship, and Liturgy” – Church Growth Leadership Summit plenary speaker, Westminster Presbyterian Church & Omaha Presbytery Seminary Foundation, Lincoln, NE.

January 24, 2015 – “Spiritual Disciplines and Neuroscience” – Practical Spiritual Leadership Conference, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rockford, IL

February 19-22, 2015 – Forum for Theological Exploration Discernment Retreat – Spiritual Direction, West Coast

April 16-19, 2015 – Forum for Theological Exploration Discernment Retreat – Spiritual Direction, East Coast

June 13-23, 2015 – Exploring Irish Religious History and Reconciliation – Museum Without Walls/Bethany Presbyterian Church – Dublin, Belfast, Aran Islands, Derry

Past Retreats

  • All Parish Retreat, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Dubuque, June 2019
  • Formation Retreat, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, August 2019
  • Parish Day of Prayer, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Dubuque, March 2019
  • Student Reading Retreats, Sinsinawa Convent, March 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Women’s Retreat, Bethany Presbyterian Church, April 20-21, 2012
  • St Gertrude’s Monastery Retreat, May 17-20, 2012
  • “Cup Overflowing: Joy as a Lenten Practice” – Clergy Retreat (United Church of Christ), Ipswich, MA – February 2011
  • Listening Prayer, Bethany Presbyterian Church, March 2011
  • Student Reading Retreats–An opportunity to study and pray for a day or a weekend.


“The Contemplative Way: Shadow, Light, and Whimsy” – January-February 2012
Photography Show Reception, January 29, 2012, 12:30-2:30pm
The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology

Lenten Artist in Residence 2011
St Paul’s Episcopal Church
Seattle, WA


  • 2017 – “Consuming Stories Not Our Own: On #Showholes and Character in the Age of Binge-Watching,” Character and…Screen Life, Vol. 3, 2017, Wendt Character Initiative, University of Dubuque
  • 2017 – “Experiencing Spacious Time: An Internet and Smartphone-free Home,” Presbyterian Outlook,
  • 2015 – Dissertation, “Prayer in Theological Education for Ministry: Towards a Contemplative Practical Theological Pedagogy,” Boston University, Ph.D. in Theological Studies (Practical Theology and Spirituality)
  • 2012 – Book Review, The Practice of Contemplative Photography, Andy Karr and Michael Wood, Spiritus: Journal for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Fall 2012, Volume 12, Number 2, 301-304.
  • 2008 – Claire Wolfteich and Susan Forshey, “Making Time for Reflection,” Focus, Boston University School of Theology.
  • 2007 – Susan Forshey and Karen Meridith, Study Guide for Claire Wolfteich, Lord, Have Mercy: Praying for Justice with Conviction and Humility, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. On-line at, Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith.
  • 2001 – Young Adult Bible Study Curriculum, Pentecost Offering, PC (USA)
  • 1995-2000 – Advocacy Articles, Real Change Homeless Newspaper, Seattle