Because we know real growth takes place slowly over time with others, this twelve-month formational program is structured as a series of five quarterly 2-day retreats. With each seasonal retreat, our intent is to create an environment of prayer, learning, and formation devoted to intentionally living our faith as a way of life — no matter our setting!

Admissions are now open for Cohort 11 (2020-2021). Please click below to submit your application.



May 4-5, 2020
July 27-28, 2020
October 26-27, 2020
January 25-26, 2021
April 26-27, 2021

2019 Fall Refresher

Alumni Retreat: Oct 7-8, 2019



Over the course of the year, students read books and articles, view life-changing documentaries, engage in and experiment with a variety of spiritual formation activities/practices, develop a spiritual community with a small group of co-learners, and experience 10 days of teaching and formational activities built around time-tested concepts that help us become more open, receptive, and responsive to God’s transforming grace and work in us.

  • SPRING: Longing for More
    A fresh encounter with God through Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading)

  • SUMMER: Leading from Within
    Creating Space for God through Silence, Solitude, Simplicity

  • FALL: Finding Grace at the Center
    Centering Prayer • Welcoming Prayer • Active/Breath Prayer

  • WINTER: Cultivating Discernment
    Ways of Recognizing and Responding to God’s Voice

  • SPRING: Honoring Rhythms of Work and Rest
    Arranging our Lives for What Matters Most

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All retreats follow a similar format as outlined below. In between retreats, monthly practice assignments help you prepare and put into practice what you have learned. To further enhance your inner-transformation, you are highly encouraged to reach out to one or more of your classmates via a monthly accountability relationship or spiritual director to nurture your covenant journey toward God. In large group, small group, and solitary times, this work is about being and becoming. Our aim is to provide a safe space that fosters listening to how God is calling, empowering, and leading you in your journey toward wholeness.


  • 12:45 pm — Arrival, check-in, refreshments / no lunch (Exception: First retreat begins at 10 am, lunch included)

  • 1:00 pm — Welcome, Introductions, SESSION 1

  • 2:00 pm — SESSION 2 (specific formational topic with helpful guidance for experiencing the spiritual practice, both personally and in community, with leadership applications)

  • 2:30 pm — Break

  • 2:45 pm — SESSION 3

  • 3:30 pm — Trust Circles (spiritual direction groups of 4 with experienced facilitator / remains the same)

  • 6:00 pm — Re-gather to celebrate what has been given

  • 6:30 pm — Dinner with guided group reflection

  • 7:40 pm — Night Prayers

  • 8:00 pm — Depart in silence


  • Arrival in Silence by 8:45 am

  • 9:00 am — Centering / Morning Worship

  • 9:45 am — Break

  • 10:00 am — SESSION 4

  • 10:45 am — Reflection assignment to help solidify and integrate your learning

  • 11:45 am — Re-gather to celebrate what has been given

  • 12:00 pm — Lunch

  • 1:00 pm — Trust Circle sharing on practice

  • 2:00 pm — Break

  • 2:15 pm — SESSION 5: Empowering Spiritual Leaders

  • 3:15 pm — Closing Ritual and Departure



The cost is $950 for the twelve-month experience (subsidized at $1,500 per student). Generous financial support from the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church Leadership Development Team makes it possible to offer School of the Spirit at this greatly reduced price.

  • $50 non-refundable deposit is due with your application.

  • $950 is payable upon acceptance - ($79/month - does not include application fee)

* For WNCC United Methodist clergy and lay ministry professions, the cost is only $450 for the twelve-month experience — does not include the $50 non-refundable application fee. Please confirm with Rev. Kim Ingram (kingram@wnccumc.org ) that you are eligible for this significantly reduced tuition fee.

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School of the Spirit is designed for clergy/lay ministry professionals who are profoundly dedicated to Christian spiritual formation, with a desire to know and live the ‘with-God life.’

If you have a quest:

  • to move more deeply and intentionally into your own process of inner-transformation,

  • to be a part of a community of co-learners whose aim is to nurture that process,

  • to engage in quality materials and training intended to be passed on to others,

  • to commit to five quarterly retreats over a one-year time frame,

  • then participation in the School of the Spirit is for you!