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.

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.

2019 Course Details

Facilitator: Rev Dr Christopher Page

  • Wednesday 12, Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Wednesday 19 June 2019, 9.30am to 4.30pm (at WellSpring, Ashburton) AND
  • Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 June 2019 (off-site retreat)

Class size (minimum and maximum number of students) is designed to facilitate optimal participation.

2019 Enrolment and Costs

Academic Credit:

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




UD code: DS9207W

Costs: Per University of Divinity schedule (single post-graduate unit). If students enrol through University of Divinity, FEE-Help may be available to cover tuition fees.

NB: The cost of the offsite retreat is additional to your academic fees and is not covered by FEE-Help. This is payable directly to WellSpring.

Contact Dorothy Morgan at Whitley College for more information.



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

Non-academic credit fees are $1,347.50 including GST (payable to WellSpring Centre). The cost of the offsite is additional to this (cost TBC).

An invoice for auditing fees will be sent to you for payment prior to the beginning of the course.

Students who audit the course are still encouraged to complete the written tasks to gain full benefit of the course.

Monique Lisbon
to enrol as an auditing student


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