Art of Contemplative Practice 1 : House of Prayer Townsville

Recipient of Exception Report Commendation from the Vice Chancellor, University of Divinity

This Commendation is for an outstanding result based on student feedback in 2019

Lecturers: Margaret Trevethan + Spiritual Formation Team

View a video trailer about the WellSpring formation units on offer through University of Divinity

Featuring Anne Mallaby (Former Academic Dean of Whitley College) and
Peter Bentley (Senior Lecturer in Formation, WellSpring Centre)

Art of Contemplative Practice 1 (UD code DS9201W) is offered for those seeking to explore contemplation as a basis for living and ministry.

This program has the attraction of the following features:

  • A flexible program allowing participants to adapt it to their own circumstances.
  • Participants may benefit from completing this unit on its own or using it to lead into other formation programs. (NB: Completion of this course is strongly recommended prior to enrolment in the Art of Spiritual Direction or The House of Prayer Tending the Holy Spiritual Direction Formation Program.)
  • There is a good balance between teaching, practicums and peer groups.
  • Both teachers and students come from diverse faith traditions and this adds to the depth and richness of the program.
  • House of Prayer  provides an attractive venue and excellent resources for training.
  • The unit is recognised by the University of Divinity and may earn credit towards the Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction or Spirituality and the Master of Spiritual Direction or Master of Spirituality. FEE-HELP may be available for course fees, for those who enrol through the University of Divinity.


This unit explores the foundational principles of contemplation and their relevance to our life, work and spiritual practice. The formation program will draw on the various contemplative elements of inner silence, solitude, spiritual practices, listening, discernment and the human experience of the Transcendent.

Participants will be invited to reflect on these aspects of contemplation and the impact on their developing awareness of spiritual aspects and practices in participant’s everyday life experience.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an informed and critical appreciation of contemplation
  2. Articulate an understanding of various experiences of contemplation.
  3. Assess models of spiritual practice, listening and action that relate to everyday life experience.
  4. Compare and contrast various approaches to contemplative practices as they relate to vocational engagement and systematically evaluate the traditional approaches to contemplative practice.
  5. Creatively apply the principles of contemplative practice to discernment processes in life decisions.

Course time structure

This unit will be taught over 3 weekends beginning with an orientation evening 

Teaching Methods

Lectures, personal reflection, sharing in triad groups, supervised practice.


Participants will be required to complete two assessment tasks:

  1. Essay (5,000 words)
  2. Book review (3,000 words)

For more information, please Brianne Falconieri at the House of Prayer.

Teaching Team

Course Supervisor: Rev. Dr Peter Bentley

Course Director: Margaret Trevethan

Course Coordinator: Brianne Falconieri 


  • The team is made up of an diverse group of teachers and supervisors who are experienced spiritual directors. Together they bring a creative and balanced approach to this ministry.
  • Numbers are limited to allow maximum participation.

Course Details

NB: Art of Contemplative Practice 1 is strongly recommended before enrolling in either The Art of Spiritual Direction Unit 1 or Tending the Holy Spiritual Direction Formation Program, and can also be taken on its own without progressing on to further Spiritual Direction studies

Academic Credit:

This unit can be taken for academic credit through Whitley College, a college of the University of Divinity.


2023 Dates

The course will be offered in both semester 1 and semester 2 of 2023

This unit will be taught over 3 weekends beginning with an orientation evening.

Semester 1 dates:

┬┐Orientation: Friday, Mar 17 6:00 – 9:00pm

Weekends: March 18 - 19, April 15 – 16, May 20 – 21

Saturdays 10am – 5:00pm; Sundays 10am – 3:00pm


Semester 2 Dates:

┬┐Orientation: Friday, Aug 11 6:00 – 9:00pm

Weekends: August 12 - 13, September 9 – 10, October 14 – 15,

Saturdays 10am – 5:00pm; Sundays 10am – 3:00pm                                                                                                                                                            


Mode of Delivery 

 These  units will be offered in person at the House of Prayer and Spirituality in Townsville.


Process for enrolment for 2023

Numbers are limited so please enrol as soon as possible.

Enrolment and Costs for 2023

Enrolment for academic credit:

This unit may count towards a postgraduate award through Whitley College, a teaching college of the University of Divinity.

Costs are as per University of Divinity fees schedule for 2023 (postgraduate single unit).

Eligible* students enrolling for academic credit may defer the payment of fees through the FEE-HELP loan scheme.

(*Australian citizens and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa.)

If you already a student with the University of Divinity, contact the registrar at your own Home College to arrange enrolment.

Contact for New Students:

Dorothy Morgan
Whitley College
Ph: (03) 9340 8000

There is also the option of auditing this unit, at a reduced cost.

Fees for auditing for 2023  are payable in full to Whitley College at the time of registering as an audit participant.

Participants who audit the unit are encouraged to complete the written tasks to gain full benefit.

NB: If you choose to complete the unit as an audit participant, no academic credit can be claimed for the unit, either at the time of enrolling or retrospectively.

To register as an audit participant:

Please download/complete this form and return it to Dorothy Morgan, Registrar at Whitley College.