formerly Leading Contemplative Groups

Lecturer: Rev Dr Christopher Page

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.

Watch a short video trailer with lecturer, Chris Page

Learning Outcomes:

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.

Course Details for 2020

UD postgraduate unit code: DS9207W 

  • Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 April, 9.30am to 4.30pm, AND
  • Monday 15 to Tuesday 16 June, 9.30am Monday to 3.30pm Tuesday (residential retreat, off-site), AND
  • Wednesday 17 June, 9.30am to 4.30pm

Location: WellSpring Centre, 10 Y Street Ashburton (except residential retreat – location TBC)


Enrolment and Costs for 2020

Enrolment for academic credit:

This unit may count towards a post-graduate degree in Theology through Whitley College.

Costs are as per University of Divinity schedule for 2020 (post-graduate single unit).

Students who enrol through University of Divinity may be eligible for FEE-Help to cover course fees (NB: cost of residential gathering is not covered by FEE-Help).

The cost of the residential retreat ($290 including GST) is additional, and payable directly to WellSpring. You will be invoiced for this by WellSpring once you have enrolled through University of Divinity.

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:
Anne Mallaby
Coursework Coordinator
Whitley College
Ph: (03) 9340 8000
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 2020 ($500) are payable in full to Whitley College at the time of enrolling as an auditing student.

The cost of the residential retreat ($290 including GST) is additional, and payable directly to WellSpring Centre. You will be invoiced for this by WellSpring once you have enrolled as an auditing student through University of Divinity.

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

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

To enrol as an auditing student:

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


Chris Page can also be emailed for more information about the unit, or call him on 0417 506 338.