Engaging Groups in Creative Contemplation


Engaging Groups in Creative Contemplation 


Parker J. Palmer, an American Quaker scholar, has developed a model for exploring the inner spiritual life by drawing on the insights of Meister Eckhart, Carl Jung, Thomas Merton and other spiritual writers. This has been helpful in the formation of community; exploring religious and secular vocation; discernment and life decisions and the integration of the self with authentic action.

This unit will critique both the work of Parker J. Palmer and the contemplative group approach to spiritual growth. The focus of the unit will be on the principles and practices that lead to inner spiritual development and authentic action. The student will be introduced to and taught to use, the resources of narrative, poetry, art and personal and group reflection with a goal to spiritual growth and wellbeing. These objectives are achieved through lectures, discussion, contemplative group work and a retreat experience.


Lecturer: Rev Dr Christopher Page


Engaging Groups in Creative Contemplation – 2023 dates

To be advised likely in October Monday  to Friday  10:00am – 3:00pm followed by a 

Retreat: Saturday  starting 9:00am and concluding Sunday  3.00pm


Teaching Method:

Lectures and discussion and a retreat experience

Pre-requisite for course: none



Costs are as per University of Divinity fees schedule for 2023

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.)

There is also the option of auditing this unit, at a reduced cost. These fees are payable in full to Whitley College at the time of registering as an audit participant.

In addition, there is a cost for a two night retreat. This retreat will be organised by the group and provide an opportunity to learn practical skills and about group dynamics in this context.


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

  • Show competency in evaluating their personal inner spiritual landscape through a written journal and a critical essay.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and analysis of the writings of Parker J. Palmer and other spiritual writers both classic and contemporary as to their effectiveness in contemplative group processes.

This will be evaluated through an oral class presentation and a critical essay.

  • Design, execute and evaluate the effectiveness of a contemplative group/circle which is presented to the class in an oral and written form.
  • Critically assess a specific aspect of contemplative group work in a sustained and self-directed manner.

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

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


Process for enrolment for 2023

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

To register as an audit participant:

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


Enrolment for academic credit:

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


Enrolment contact for New Students:
Whitley College
Ph: (03) 9340 8000