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Spiritual Practices for Leaders in a World of Change

Invitation to a Spiritual Formation Journey
March 1 through May 23, 2024

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.
As the scripture has said,
‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"

                 John 7:38b-39

Like early followers of Jesus…

we live in a world that is moving through unprecedented change.
we’ve been immersed in the chaos and clutter of the Church in transition and the everyday realities of loss and grief. A global pandemic, economic, cultural and natural disasters of unimaginable magnitude and impact are reported daily.
we’ve experienced the Spirit’s transformative
, life-giving work, as well as deep trauma and pain in ministry.
we begin to understand the imperative nature of waiting with one another in prayer, in the presence of God, for Spirit power to comfort, heal, help us and empower us anew.

Together we grow--inwardly, outwardly and as community--as we listen for the Spirit, receive healing grace for our wounds, remain open to the power of the Spirit—flowing in us, among us, and through us for the Life of the world. We keep growing forward in this time, our time, to make visible the WORD being made flesh and blood and moving into the neighborhood.


Neighborhood Seminary invites you to join us for SoulTending: Spiritual Practices for Leaders in a World of Change. The purposes of this spiritual formation program are three-fold:

  • Personal renewal, healing and refreshment as we reflect upon the River of Life flowing within and among us;

  • Cultivation of communities for spiritual formation;

  • Experience models of spiritual practices as viewed through the lens of the great traditions of the Christian faith.  In turn, these practices can be implemented as a source of spiritual healing and community building in the communities, neighborhoods, and contexts where participants live and serve.


This invitation is extended only to persons appointed, assigned, serving or retired members of the WNC Conference of UMC as Elders, Deacons, Licensed Pastors, Certified Lay Ministers, persons serving as Lay Pastor, Lay Pulpit Supply, or Extension Ministers.


  • The journey begins with an in-person retreat led by Rev. Guy Brewer, Ph.D. and Ivy Parker, Certified Spiritual Director. Guy and Ivy were leaders in the Sabbath Living component of the Clergy Health Initiative, supported through Duke Endowment, offered in WNCCUMC and NCCUMC.


  • The retreat will be held on Friday, March 1, 2024, 10 am to 3 pm, at St. Luke's UMC, 52 16th Avenue NW, Hickory, NC.

  • Following the retreat, participants meet virtually in small groups with trained spiritual directors for 7 sessions of 90-minutes group spiritual direction March 4 - May 23. Meeting time of small group is mutually determined by group participants and spiritual director.  Participants can expect their souls tended, nourished and nurtured as they engage core spiritual practices in the company of others, who also seek to know and experience God's Spirit in the midst of a world of change. Spiritual directors are Guy Brewer, Ivy Parker, Kim Barker-Brugman, and Jim Melson.

  • Small groups will utilize John Ortberg's book, The Life You've Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People. Participants will secure their own copy of Ortberg's book prior to the opening retreat on March 1.​ An optional second book is recommended, but not required, Henri Nouwen's book Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World.

  • The experience concludes with a virtual celebration in May.


Participant cost is $150.  | 1.5 CEUs: $10 paid at registration


WNCCUMC Board of Ordained Ministry is resourcing this opportunity for spiritual formation.

For additional  WNCC support for participants' registration costs, please contact Kim Ingram at


30 spaces available | Minimum 20 participants

Registration closes February 15, 2024, at 5 pm.

Cancellations must be made by February 15, 2024, at 5 pm. 
Refund will be 50% of paid registration fee.


* Questions? Contact Pansy Crumpler,

Meet the Retreat Leaders and Small Group Facilitators

Rev. Dr. Guy Brewer

Retreat Co-Leader and Small Group Facilitator


Guy is a disciple of Jesus Christ who has served in United Methodist ministry for forty years. His ministry includes a range of congregational leadership experiences, including as a church planter. An innovator by nature, Guy founded several fresh expressions of outreach ministry including a coffee house at the University of Miami and CrossTalk, a weekly gathering for non-religious people seeking community.


In his academic ministry, Guy has been a Wesley Foundation director, college chaplain, and seminary professor. As Professor of Pastoral Ministry, Anderson University School of Theology, his research interests focused on spiritual formation, preaching as soul care, and strength-based pastoral care.


Guy is an oblate of Spring Forest, a new monastic community in Hillsborough, North Carolina where he and his wife, Rena, live.

Ivy Parker

Retreat Co-Leader and Small Group Facilitator

Ivy is a spiritual director and has provided leadership in Christian ministry for over 25 years. She embraces a call to journey alongside others into the heart of God, where healing and wholeness can be received and one's life purpose can be found. Ivy joined The Well Mental and Spiritual Care practice that recently launched through Edenton Street UMC in Raleigh, NC, whose mission is to create pathways toward healing and wholeness in the community by offering accessible and affordable mental and spiritual care. Ivy is enjoys facilitating small groups and leading retreats, and is passionate about creating spaces where the Spirit of God can be more fully embraced.

Ivy holds a BS in Computer Science from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts in Christian Practice from Duke Divinity School. She received her certification in spiritual direction through the NC Institute of Spiritual Direction and Formation where she serves on the spiritual formation leadership team. Ivy is also a member of the spiritual formation team for Spring Forest in Hillsborough, NC, a United Methodist new monastic, missional faith community. Ivy and her husband Kenneth live in Cary, NC, and are active members of Genesis UMC. They have 2 married children and one grandchild, Ruthie. Ivy enjoys cooking, time outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

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Rev. Kimberly (Kim) Barker-Brugman

Small Group Facilitator

Kim is the pastor of Lawrenceville UMC in Lawrenceville, VA and  is the founder/owner of Soul Story Ministries, LLC-- a ministry offering spiritual direction, supervision, and retreats.  Ordained Elder in the Virginia Annual Conference, Pastor Kim is a graduate of Methodist Theological School in Ohio, completing two degrees:  Master of Divinity and Master in Christian Education.  Kimberly holds certificates in spiritual direction from the Richmond Hill Retreat Center’s Ruah Program in spiritual guidance, training as a spiritual director supervisor, and training with Veriditas as a Labyrinth Facilitator.

Kim has served rural and suburban churches in upstate New York and the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Kim’s leadership and experience in ministry spans all ages and stages from retreat settings to Sunday School classes, from pulpit to pastoral care provider.  She enjoys spiritual direction, labyrinth walks, leading retreats and workshops on spirituality, prayer and Christian clowning, Bible studies and spiritual formation groups (i.e. Companions in Christ). She is active in both Kindred Project, a contemplative prayer group of lay and clergy in VA UMC, and a Spiritual Directors International group in Northern Virginia. She serves on the Virginia Conference’s Five-Day Spiritual Academy’s leadership team.  She and her husband, Kevin Brugman, have been married 27 years, have two grown sons, and a beloved black lab named Kaliyah. Kim loves to knit, to read, crochet, scrapbook, dabble in essential oils, and play with plants.

Rev. Dr. James (Jim) Melson

Small Group Facilitator


Jim is the Executive Director of the Cornelius Corps, a ministry based in Richmond, VA, which focuses on spiritual formation and racial justice and reconciliation. He is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and served for 19 years as the pastor of local churches in the Virginia Annual Conference before founding the Cornelius Corps in 2001.


Jim graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, in 1978 with a BA in Greek and Religion and was a Phi Beta Kappa inductee. He attended Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, and received his D.Min. in 1982.

Jim and Vickie married in 1977.  They have two grown daughters, Katie Leslie of Pittsburgh, PA., and Kristie Melson of Richmond, VA. They have four grandchildren: Campbell and Sophie Leslie of Pittsburgh, PA., and Asher and Quinn Wells of Richmond, VA.


For more information about Cornelius Corps go to

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