Sustainable Faith School of Contemplative Life


Are you desiring to go deeper in your relationship with Jesus?

Are you feeling that there must be more to your Christian faith?

Are you thinking that you’re the only one who hungers for more “life” in your busy life?

Sustainable Faith School of Contemplative Life

Eight quarterly one-day retreats – two-year period – one beautiful retreat location!

Two “pilot” retreats coming this fall/winter 2019/2020 to the Heartland!

As we see it, the spiritual practice of retreat has largely been lost in our culture. Of course, people still get away, but usually those away times are full of nonstop activity, closely tethered to media and tech devices, and, if listening to someone, the content is usually information-driven, focusing more on ‘doing’ versus ‘being.’ Here is your invitation to a truer retreat; an opportunity “to come apart before you come apart.”


In keeping with its name, Sustainable Faith School of Contemplative Life (SCL) introduces you to a stream of the Christian faith that values and cultivates contemplative practices as a way of growing in awareness of God, self, and mission. In addition to helping you grasp the perspectives of the contemplative tradition, SCL grounds you in the practices and habits that support it. Because each module is a communal, experiential gathering, rich in content and slower-paced, learning goes deep, leaving you impacted spiritually in profound, and often, life-altering ways.

I must listen to my life and soul and try to understand what it is truly about – quite apart from what I would like it to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions. Parker Palmer

Our SCL Locations & Dates: Two “pilot” locations with two different starting dates:


Kansas City: Savior Pastoral Center Retreat & Conference Center (only 30 minutes from the MCI airport!)

  • Sat-Sun, November 16-17, 2019
  • Sat-Sun, February 15-16, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, May 16-17, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, August 15-16, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, November 14-15, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, February 13-14, 2021
  • Sat-Sun, May 15-16, 2021
  • Sat-Sun, August 14-15, 2021


Minneapolis: Mt. Olivet Conference & Retreat Center (only 30 minutes from the MSP airport!)

  • Sat-Sun, January 18-19, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, April 4-5, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, July 18-19, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, October 17-18, 2020
  • Sat-Sun, January 23-24, 2021
  • Sat-Sun, April 24-25, 2021
  • Sat-Sun, July 24-25, 2021
  • Sat-Sun, October 23-24, 2021


Our SCL Schedule:

SCL is composed of eight overnight retreats held quarterly over a two-year period, with each retreat building slowly upon the other. The first four sessions focus heavily on your inner self. The last four help you become aware of how your inner work touches your outer world, culminating in a Rule of Life, and a stronger sense of mission. Each module is offered as an overnight retreat, going from late afternoon on Saturday, ending around 4 pm on Sunday, and have a consistent rhythm of communal, experiential learning followed by individual communion with God and time to process afterward.


  • 4 pm – Arrive & Settle In
  • 6 pm – Dinner
  • 7 pm – Session I
  • 8:30 pm – Night Prayer
  • 8:45 pm Silence with God


  • 8 am – Morning Prayer/Break Silence
  • 8:15 am – Breakfast
  • 9 am – Session II
  • 10:30 am – Time with God
  • Noon – Lunch
  • 1 pm – Session III
  • 2:30 pm – Time with God
  • 3:30 pm Reflection & Closing Prayer
  • 4 pm – Dismiss


Our SCL Module Overview:

Required Reading prior to Weekend #1: The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self Discovery by David G. Benner. Suggested Reading prior to Weekend #1: Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God by Ruth Haley Barton.

Weekend #1:  SOUL REST: getting in touch with our desires through Jesus’ invitation to rest. Focus: Retreat/Discovery of Desire. Key Practice: Sabbath

We begin our retreats by examining desire. What does it look like to get in touch with our deepest desires? Making headway on this front requires, first, that we recognize the crazy pace at which we live and the damage it has done to our souls. So, in this module, we make a case for retreats and lay a foundation for their importance, for pulling back regularly to rest and reflect. We also explain what we mean by spiritual formation and how retreats aid the work of formation.

Weekend #2: SOUL ROOM: creating space for God to change you from the inside out. Focus: Silence and Solitude. Key Practices: Silent Reflection & Prayer, Periods of Solitude

This module provides ample space for silence and solitude. We build a conversation about cultural distractions (e.g., media) and our own fears about being alone with ourselves and in the presence of God. We notice what holds us back from being with ourselves and God as openly and as honestly as possible, which provides a superb entry point for unpacking the concepts of desolation/consolation and true self/false self.

Weekend #3: SOUL AWARENESS: knowing yourself better helps you know God better. Focus: Self-Awareness. Key Practice: Self-Examination via Enneagram

We agree with John Calvin when he said, “There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God.” The goal of gaining greater self-awareness is the driver for this Module 3. In using the Enneagram as a spiritual tool, participants discover their inner wiring and drives, their habits, fixations and motivations, their best selves and the selves propped up by ego.

Weekend #4: SOUL FEEDING: learning to engage the scriptures for transformation. Focus: Being Nourished through Scripture. Key Practice: Lectio Divina w/ various accents

In this retreat we learn a new way of engaging God through scripture, making a case for the power of imagination and the power of slowing down. We steer people away from being masters and commanders of the text to being humble and compliant recipients of the love and life God wants to deposit in us through scripture. As Mulholland put it, we open up people to the idea of scripture being more an avenue for transformation than a text for information. We learn to free ourselves from keeping up with our reading plans and realize that God can speak through very little when we frame our time correctly and provide space and opportunity for God to speak.

Weekend #5: SOUL CONNECT: connecting to God through your body and prayer. Focus: The Body. Key Practices: Centering Prayer/Prayer Walking

Psalm 19 says, “Day after day the heavens continue to speak; night after night they make [God] known.” And so, it is with our bodies. Day and night our bodies speak to us, providing us with valuable information about ourselves and God. But it’s a language we’ve not learned well because of our inattention. The shift from I have a body to I am a body is subtle but huge. In this retreat, we delve into bodywork/body attention, giving participants time and ways to connect. We move toward prayer as an embodied experience. We also use art, icons, the Eucharist and other physical objects as avenues for conversing with God.

Weekend #6: SOUL HEALING: allowing God to touch you and heal you. Focus: Inner Healing. Key Practices: Attachment Inventory/Steps Toward Healing

We all are in need of healing, especially when it comes to our own image of God. It’s almost inevitable that through the Enneagram and other work done over previous retreats, students have uncovered unattended and suppressed wounds, some that they’ve tried to push down, like a ball in water. Here we begin to see the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit, who surfaces implicit memories that drive our reactions to life. As we open ourselves up to the Spirit’s work, we realize that dealing openly and honestly with our pain is the only option to find new levels of freedom with God and others.

Weekend #7: SOUL DISCERNMENT: making decisions in community. Focus: Discernment. Key Practices: Clearness Committee/Group Spiritual Direction

Part of what we discover through this journey is how rarely we have called upon real discernment when making major decisions in our life. Sadly without being aware of false self-patterns and being able to quiet our souls, we make decisions quickly, yet we discern infrequently. This module will introduce you to ancient tools of wise discernment, practical skills we can all use more of in these very confusing times in which we live.

Weekend #8: SOUL MAKING: rearranging your life for transformation, mission, and community. Focus: Contemplative Activism. Key Practice: Developing a Rule of Life

How might I become a Christ-centered contemplative activist? How do I rearrange my life for transformation and Kingdom building? How do I build a rule of life? In this final module, we look a bit closer on how Jesus of Nazareth spent His time, energy, and resources, becoming One who lived fully for the glory of God. Our goal is to send you home with a clearer picture of who you are in Christ, and a specific rule of life that will aid you in your on-going journey with the Master.

Here’s some quotes from those who attended recent retreats…

“I have learned more about God and myself in the past two years than in my first 65 years combined and I have been in the church all my life!”

“The day was very enlightening and refreshing.  Through light direction, we were able to come to a place where the Spirit could bring truth about our current condition and the direction that the Lord is leading.  It was encouraging on many levels and I would highly recommend it for people at any stage of their walk.  There is no doubt that Jesus was the leader of the day and was present and active in a very real way.”

“We got a taste of Jesus.  When we get quiet it opens up space for Him to speak to us.”

“Very helpful and revealing at the same time. (God) revealed to me some of my strengths and I was encouraged to use (those strengths) even more. I was blessed through this day.”


Who Should Attend SCL?

SCL is for you if you’re new to contemplative practices and want to:

  • Deepen your experience of God’s love
  • Discover new ways of praying
  • Explore enlivening ways of reading Scripture
  • Grow in your appreciation for silence and solitude
  • Understand yourself better; know what makes you tick
  • Establish better rhythms of rest, recreation and Sabbath
  • Find healing in areas that have long felt broken
  • Examine desire and longings you’ve held
  • Learn how to make better life choices
  • Acquire a sense of mission and purpose



Your SCL Price Options:

These Sustainable Faith SCL Retreats are “pilot” cohorts. Registration is very limited. Your $300 deposit holds your registration. Don’t delay, registration is limited to 18-24 registrants.

Option 1: $275 per module when you make a payment* of $1900 (due by Weekend One). Including your $300 non-refundable deposit, your total cost for the two-year retreat (8 modules): $2200.

Option 2: $300 per module when you make two annual payments* of $1050 (due by Weekend One, and Weekend Five). Including your $300 non-refundable deposit, your total cost for the two-year retreat (8 modules): $2400.

Option 3: $325 per module when you make four semi-annual payments* of $575 (due by Weekend One, Weekend Three, Weekend Five, and Weekend Seven). Including your $300 non-refundable deposit, your total cost for the two-year retreat (8 modules): $2600.

Option 4: $350 per module when you make eight quarterly payments* of $312.50 (due prior to each Weekend). Including your $300 non-refundable deposit, your total cost for the two-year retreat (8 modules): $2800.

* Payments made to Sustainable Faith via credit/debit card, PayPal or Apple Pay will be subject to an additional one-time cc fee of $100 (not included in prices above). Electronic checks/ACH payments are fee-less, however.

Your SCL Payment Includes:

  • 8 quarterly 24-hour retreats with a private room and bath**
  • 3 meals (Fri dinner, Sat breakfast, Sat lunch, and refreshments)
  • Cohort materials (excluding your quarterly book assignments)
  • A healthy balance of interactive teaching and guided times with God
  • A new rhythm of life
  • A mid-quarter experience (in-person or via on-line communication) with a cadre of people to share the learnings from the quarter

**Due to the specific nature of our cohort, which focuses on your own relationship with God, we suggest that each person have their own private sleeping room. In limited situations, we will attempt to accommodate married couples who would prefer to share a double room. Please contact us for full details.


CLICK HERE to read more details about SCL: Our Guiding Principles, Our Guiding Values, Our History, and Our Course Expectations.


Bollersandymartypic1b Come make room for your soul with Marty & Sandy Boller, long-time pastors & spiritual directors through a series of eight 24-hour getaways placed quarterly over a two-year period, designed to explore and embrace the relationship that God desires to have with you.  Questions? Contact Marty & Sandy Boller.

Here are other upcoming training opportunities you may want to take advantage of:

sfes Sustainable Faith Enneagram School

sfsd Sustainable Faith School of Spiritual Direction

Take a look at this amazing story of one man’s story of transformation as he learned to slow down his life, walking at Godspeed rather than his own hurried pace…