Psychology, Religion, and Group Work
But besides ministry and religion, I have also long been interested in the intersection of spirituality and psychology, and especially group development, group dynamics, and group leadership. While in seminary in the early 1970’s, I took time off to get a Masters in Clinical Social Work and majored in Group Work. Following graduation from seminary and graduate school, I worked for over fifteen years first in a social work agency and then in private practice. There I led educational and therapy groups in both contexts, and I also taught courses in Group Process and Procedures, Group Development, and Group Leadership Skills in several graduate social work and graduate education programs.
In the early 1990’s I took a sharp turn to work in parish ministry. Even though I had been ordained since 1976, I had rather intentionally avoided explicit professional work in parish ministry. But in 1993, I was called to Trinity Church in Fayetteville, NY, and served this one parish for nearly twenty years. During this time, however, I continued my interest in group work and especially its confluence with ministry in general and eventually with Wisdom spirituality in particular. This ongoing interest was nurtured and deepened in the late 1990’s by my completion of the Shalem Institute’s 18-month training program in “Transforming Community: Leading Wisdom Prayer Groups & Retreats.” By that time, as I have already mentioned, I had already been introduced to Centering Prayer by Cynthia Bourgeault and had traveled to Snowmass in the early 1990’s to take Thomas Keating’s ten-day intensive Centering Prayer retreat.
Having retired from the parish in 2013 to do full-time Wisdom work, I now lead Wisdom Schools and retreats in New York and New England and other parts of the country. I am also intimately connected to the Nine Gates Mystery School in California as a staff member and spiritual teacher. Additionally, I consult with individuals and groups in a process I call Wisdom Mentoring.