Drawing from the Depths of Spirit


Leading Contemplative Gatherings





"Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain."

Is. 35:6-7, The Message

in partnership with Spiritual Directors Colorado SDCO

Participant Retreats:
(As part of the LCG class, each participant is asked to design and lead a retreat or small group. Some of the retreat/groups are shared here, and you are free to register for and participate in by contacting the leader directly.)

The Good Seed: Bearing Fruits of Faith
A one-day retreat for men and women based upon Mark 4.
Led by Ramona Ndlovu (ran56@comcast.net)
March 6, 2010 at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church, Elizabethtown, PA
click here for flyer and registration details (.pdf format)

Opening Space for God
An overnight retreat for time spent in silence, reflection, sharing, movement, and rest
Led by Jane Rohrbach (windowsjmr@aol.com)
March 14-15, 2010 at Mariawald Renewal Center, Reading, PA
click here for flyer and registration details (.pdf format)


About the LCG Program:


Any who desire to integrate contemplative practices in group and retreat leadership and in personal life:

  • lay leaders
  • pastors
  • youth ministers
  • educators
  • students
  • all who are in specialized ministries!

"I appreciated the whole process, from the opening retreat, through the preparation and feedback of the group, to the concluding retreat. I'm glad I took the program. It has given me more tools and confidence that I can do a contemplative retreat of some form. The outcome was worth the labor, and I'm grateful for Kent's wisdom and counsel."

Andy Drance

2008-2009 Participant


How can we create a safe environment for seasoned believers and youthful seekers to recount their sacred stories and find direction? If you feel called to lead spiritual retreats or short-term groups, this experience will provide skills for creating a contemplative ethos in limited time and for mining participant’s gifts. As we model this meditative atmosphere, you will experience ways to build community, balance presentations with silence and conversation, and to incorporate prayer with music, movement, films, and art. Designing an event prepares leader’s own heart and mind; out of this awareness of gifts and vulnerabilities the leader prepares the event. 


Dr. Kent Ira Groff, founding mentor of Oasis Ministries  and a graduate of Shalem Institute, is a retreat leader, spiritual companion, and writer poet in Denver, Colorado. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he has been conducting contemplative retreats and groups at conference centers, seminaries, and campuses in the U.S. and abroad over two decades. Kent’s writings include Active Spirituality, The Soul of Tomorrow’s Church, What Would I Believe If I Didn’t Believe Anything? and Writing Tides. He describes his work as “one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread.” Kent is coordinator for continuing education with Spiritual Direction Colorado.

 Peer group facilitators:
Keith Braucher, D. Min., is a pastoral counselor and spiritual director serving as pastor of Discipleship and Care at Hempfield United Methodist Church, Lancaster, PA and is a graduate of Oasis Ministries.
Linda Frank, a spiritual director and graduate of Shalem Institute, has directed Newcomer and Small Communities programs at St. John Neuman Catholic Church, Lancaster, PA.
Karen Hugo, a former English and writing teacher, is a graduate of Oasis Ministries and helped establish and pastor a micro-church network.
Crystal M. Lyde is a retreat leader and commissioned lay pastor of Port Royal and Mexico Presbyterian Churches in Juniata Co., PA, looking to ordination.
Todd Stavrakos, a Presbyterian pastor who has served churches in Cumnock, Scotland, Williamstown, N.J., and Gladwyne, PA, is a spiritual director with training from Oasis Ministries.

Groff Photo




Opening Retreat

September 18-19, 2009 - 3p.m.-9p.m. Friday (supper); 9a.m.-4p.m. (lunch) Saturday.

Closing Retreat

April 23-24, 2010 - 3p.m.-9p.m. Friday (supper); 9a.m.-4p.m. (lunch) Saturday.


 Design and process: Between an opening retreat in September and a closing retreat in April each participant (or teams of two) will prepare and lead a 1-2 day retreat or a 4-6 week group back home incorporating contemplative prayer practices. The October retreat will form Peer Groups of 4-5 (each with a trained facilitator) who will connect with each other between October and April by e-mail, phone, online or face-to-face to support each other and give feedback in planning and leading each participant’s event.

PROGRAM FEE: $450 (Add $50 after August 31).

Your application fee of $150 ($200 after August 31) must be received by September 15 and cannot be refunded after this date. A second payment of $150 is due October 1; the balance of $150 is due November 1, 2009.

Application: Early application due date is August 31; final due date September 15. Each applicant is asked to write a statement about why this program seems right at this time, and list one person who is supportive of this process of spiritual growth and ask the person to write a “reference” letter. The program is limited to 24 participants. (Limited scholarship assistance.)

Click here for an application (pdf) 



Christ Presbyterian Church, 421 Deerfield Road, Camp Hill, PA.

(The program was offered in Denver in 2008-09.)


Lodging: A local hotel will offer conference rates for those not commuting.


Quality Inn New Cumberland - special rates for the group in September 2009 and April 2010: $65.00 per night per room + 9% tax. (the rate is good for at-least 10 rooms booked, if less than 10 rooms it will be $75.00)
This rate includes Complimentary Continental Breakfast.

To book hotel lodging contact hotel directly at:
Quality Inn
175 Beacon Hill Blvd
New Cumberland, PA 17070

Preparation: Participants are asked to start preparing by August for the opening retreat. 1. Begin readings with a bibliography that will be sent; 2. Have a spiritual director relationship in place; 3. Secure approval of a church or other community in which to offer a retreat or short-term group. You may lead either (or both if desired) in your local setting or at a retreat center or site of your choice.

CLICK HERE for the course BIBLIOGRAPHY (pdf) 

Format: Beginning and ending retreats, Friday through Saturday will create a spiritual laboratory. Built into the program are community-building and connective pieces:

  •  PEER GROUPS. Participants will be in established peer groups at the opening retreat. These will be one of the on-going touchstones between retreats.

  • ON-LINE FILES. Folders will be established at www.box.net for the class so that participant retreat designs and reflections can be uploaded/downloaded and reviewed.

  • CURRICULUM. A bibliography will be given to each participant upon registration. The interpersonal curriculum will include due dates of when participant-led retreat/groups will occur so that participants can hold one another in prayer and offer feedback. Blogs may be used to encourage conversation about various leadership topics through the year.

Features: There will be built-in evaluation. After the opening retreat, each participant will write a design paper (1-3 pages) outlining their goals and plans for leading their group or retreat, and submit it to his/her peer leader and peer group for feedback, then lead the event. Afterward, each participant will write a final integrative paper (3-6 pages) reflecting on their learnings and integrating their leadership experience with the readings.

Outcomes: You will take away methods to facilitate community building; to balance silence and interactive presentations; to foster meaningful sharing in limited time; to harvest learners’ own insights; to incorporate creative use of music, art and movement; to create retreat days in and contemplative practices in the ongoing life of their organization.

For more information, please contact us at:
Phone: 717-737-8222

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Camp Hill, Pennsylvania  · (717) 737-8222