Ecumenical Center
for Clergy Spiritual Renewal

Renewal for mid and early-career pastors through the gifts of Benedictine monastic community and spirituality.

What is the ECCSR?

The Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal (ECCSR) offers spiritual renewal to Christian pastors through immersion experiences into the life of Holy Wisdom Monastery, and an ongoing community of monastic resources and support that extends beyond the walls of Holy Wisdom. The program offers early and mid-career clergy the opportunity to nourish their spiritual center by developing life-long, covenantal relationships between clergy peers.

These deep connections will create spiritual companioning, renewal of calling, and revitalization within the congregations they serve. Participating clergy cohorts will be diverse in many ways including but not limited to age, gender identity, ethnicity, theological training, denominational affiliation, years in ministry, and spiritual practice.

Is this program right for me?

The ECCSR welcomes people from all Christian faith backgrounds into sacred space to pray, study and nourish one another through three experiences:

  • Three onsite immersions into Holy Wisdom Monastery’s Christian contemplative spiritual practices.
  • Ongoing connections to the monastery, the cohort of pastors and the director of the ECCSR.
  • The Contemplative Renewal Online website that hosts contemplative resources and opportunities to remain connected to a network of pastors on the contemplative path.

Our goals are four-fold:

  • Support contemplative clergy renewal through spiritual practices and deepening their sense of call to ministry.
  • Form a supportive community of pastors who seek to offer contemplative leadership to congregations.
  • Offer online resources that will strengthen relationships among participants and sustain their spiritual practices and vitality.
  • Cultivate spiritual depth and vitality within the congregations participants serve.

Program description

Starting in July of 2023, the ECCSR will welcome its fourth ecumenical cohort of 18 pastors to Holy Wisdom Monastery.

Participation in the cohort involves:

  • A one-year commitment to the Contemplative Renewal experience.

  • Serving a congregation located up to an 8-hour drive of the monastery.

  • Attendance at three residential retreats at Holy Wisdom monastery near Madison, WI.

    • Summer 2023 Opening Retreat July 10 – July 17, 2023

    • Winter 2024 January 18 – 24, 2024

    • Summer 2024 closing Retreat June 17, 2024 – June 20, 2024

  • Attending additional offerings of day-long in-person and online gatherings and ongoing Lectio Divina groups and Centering Prayer.

Additional program requirements:

Participants will be invited through an application process. This is open to those who:

  • Currently serve as an ordained pastor of a Christian congregation.
  • Hold a Masters of Divinity or equivalent graduate degree from an accredited Seminary or Pastoral Ministry Program.
  • Have approximately 3-15 years of experience in ministry since graduation and ordination.
  • Are able to participate in the full scope of the year-long program—both the onsite and ongoing community.
  • Participants will be asked to assess their experience of spiritual renewal over the course of the year.

Applications will be received from October 15, 2022 – January 31, 2023.

History and context

In October 2018 the Benedictine Women of Madison received a $1 million grant from The Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s “Thriving in Ministry” initiative for the purpose of establishing an Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal at Holy Wisdom Monastery. The Benedictine Women of Madison is an ecumenical Christian monastic community of sisters, rooted in Benedictine spirituality, whose home is Holy Wisdom Monastery. Together with the associate communities of the monastery our mission is to weave prayer, hospitality, justice, and care for the earth into a shared way of life.

Since opening the retreat and guest house more than 50 years ago, the Benedictine Women of Madison have been welcoming people from all faith backgrounds to pray, study, and nourish one another. After years of experience with the many pastors, ministers, spiritual leaders, and theological and biblical scholars who have come to Holy Wisdom Monastery for spiritual renewal, they saw that at this point in its history Holy Wisdom Monastery is uniquely experienced and equipped to create and facilitate an Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal (ECCSR).