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.

2018 Course Details

Facilitator: Rev Dr Christopher Page

  • 5 days: Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 2018, 9am to 5pm at WellSpring AND
  • Offsite Retreat: Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August 2018 (cost TBC)

2018 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 (15 point 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.


Non-academic credit:

There is also the option of enrolling in this unit for non-academic credit, at a reduced cost.

Non-academic credit fees are $660 including GST (payable to WellSpring Centre).

An invoice for the fees for enrolment with non-academic credit will be sent to you for payment prior to the beginning of the course.

Students who enrol in the course for non-academic credit are still encouraged to complete the written tasks to gain full benefit of the course.

Monique Lisbon
to enrol for non-academic credit


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