Mentoring Program

Applications to the Mentoring Program are considered on a rolling basis.

Those accepted into the Mentoring Program will be placed in Contemplative Retreats as way opens.


  1. Introduction
  2. Mentee Qualifications
  3. Expectations of the Mentee
  4. Our Mentors
  5. Application

To download a pdf of the information below.

To apply online to be a mentee.

If you have questions, please contact us.


Are you called to a ministry of Contemplative Retreats in the manner of Friends? Do you wish to be mentored in this calling?

The School of the Spirit Ministry (SotS) holds a vision of expanding Contemplative Retreat offerings as way opens. Since the late 1980s, SotS has had under its care a program of Silent and Contemplative retreats. In recent years, it has co-sponsored retreats at Powell House twice annually under the leadership of Linda Chidsey and Carolyn Moon. Since 2012 retreats have been held in PA, OH, WI, and NC in addition to NY.

SotS currently seeks Friends who have a call to a Contemplative Retreat ministry. These Friends will be mentored by those who are full retreat leaders. As the gifts of leadership are recognized and exercised, mentees will take on increasing responsibility over several retreats. Friends may be called to serve as ministers and/or elders at these retreats, and we are open to a pair of Friends who have already discovered the complementary gifts of ministering and eldering.

The Contemplative Retreats include the practice of silence as well as opportunities to share in response to devotional reading of scripture and to reflect together in small groups. Through solitary prayer, corporate worship, time outdoors in nature and meals taken together in silence, participants will experience the distinctively Quaker manner of knowing solitude in community. As we settle into and encounter the Living Silence we experience ourselves gathered into the blessed community.

As our brochure reads, "In this retreat, participants will experience the distinctly Quaker manner of knowing solitude in community. Letting ourselves settle into the silence is key; having opportunities to give voice to the words emerging from the silence is a gift. Having the words touch the silence in one another gathers and binds us in the blessed community."

Support and accountability for SotS’s program of Contemplative Retreats is held by a committee designated by the SotS Board.

To apply online to be a mentee.

Mentee Qualifications

• Active call to a contemplative rhythm of life which is grounded in prayer and which values both solitude and community.
• Attentive to the inward work of Christ, the life of the Spirit, in oneself, in others, and in the world.
• Grounded in the Judeo-Christian story while also having the ability to listen and respond to the journeys of others in whatever language is used.
• Experience in being invited to listen to the spiritual journeys of others, both in one-to-one and in small group settings.
• Practiced in the use of scripture and other sacred readings devotionally; familiarity with lectio divina helpful.
• Senses a call to a ministry of contemplative retreats and is free to make the time and space available to give oneself to the ministry.
• Has exercised gifts of leadership, be it the role of minister or elder, among Friends.
• A deep sympathy for the Core Characteristics of the School of the Spirit Ministry, particularly with its Christian grounding (see below). 
• Member of the Religious Society of Friends.

Expectations of the Mentee

Prior to a retreat:
• Joins with the retreat leaders on conference calls at least once monthly during the 2-3 months leading up to a retreat.
• Shares openly of their spiritual journey and sense of call to ministry.
• Participates with the retreat leaders and in the spiritual and practical preparation for the retreat.
• Prepares inwardly through daily spiritual practice to include some form of prayer, devotional reading, and prayerful holding of the retreat.

During a retreat:
• If possible, arrives a day early to worship with the retreat leaders to prepare and ground the space.
• Serves as greeter and registrar (as coordinated with the SotS' Administrator).
• Meets with the retreat leaders to reflect upon the flow of the retreat and the condition of the group of retreatants.
• As gifts are recognized and exercised, facilitates a reflection group, meets one-on-one with retreatants, and leads a plenary session.
• Upholds the group in prayer.

After a retreat:
• Writes a report conveying their observations and reflections on the group’s experience of the retreat as well as their own experience of steeping into the mentoring responsibilities.
• Participates in debriefing as soon as possible following the retreat.
• Consults with retreat leaders regularly as the call to retreat leadership is more fully responded to.
• As gifts are recognized and exercised, and as way opens, is accompanied by the retreat leaders in the mentee’s first retreat offerings.
• If mutually discerned and as appropriate, joins the Retreats Committee on portions of its conference calls .

Our Mentors (as of February 2015)

Linda Chidsey is a recorded minister in New York Yearly Meeting and is a former clerk of the yearly meeting. She served for many years on the SotS board and is a member of Housatonic Monthly Meeting.

Roger Hansen is a member of Milwaukee Monthly Meeting (Northern Yearly Meeting) and completed this ministry's Mentoring Program in 2014 with leadership roles at our retreats in OH, NY, and PA.

Patty Levering is a member of Davidson Monthly Meeting (North Carolina Yearly Meeting Conservative and Piedmont Friends Fellowship). She retired in 2014 as a Core Teacher in the On Being a Spiritual Nurturer program. Previously she served as a chaplain in an oncology practice.

Carolyn Moon is a member of Gwynedd Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and currently serves on the SotS board. Together, Linda and Carolyn have been leading silent and contemplative retreats for several years, often with Linda in the role of minister and Carolyn in the role of elder.


To apply online to be a mentee.

If not applying online, please submit the following by mail or email attachment:

Your Name
Your Contact Information (full address, email, phones)
Your Meeting/Church Affiliation
Name and contact information for one reference

A. Write a summary (1-2 pages) of your call both to a contemplative rhythm of life and also to silent retreat facilitation. In your summary, reflect upon how your callings rise out of your personal faith, faith community, and life experience.

B. Respond succinctly but fully in writing to the following questions. These questions are meant for your own discernment as well as for ours.
1. What is your level of comfort with the Christian grounding of Quakerism and Christ-centered language? Describe your ability to listen and recognize spiritual openings and committed journeys in whatever form they may appear.
2. Describe your experience in leading small groups.
3. What is your experience in being supported on your faith journey by (a) a small group of dedicated listeners (e.g. as a support/care/clearness committee) and (b) by your faith community.
4. Are there any personal needs that demand your attention at this time? How will you make the time available to commit to (a) preparing for the retreat in September, and (b) leading similar retreats in the future?

Please submit your application:

by mail to 360 Blossom Hill Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601

by email to

To apply online to be a mentee.