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Gilead's Balm
Retreats for Soul-care Providers


Details of Gilead’s Balm Retreat

(for one or two retreatants):

  • Stay in the Fern Creek guesthouse, which includes a fully equipped kitchen, tea and coffee, makings for a simple oatmeal breakfast, two spacious bedrooms with an ensuite private bathroom in the main bedroom, spacious living and contemplative spaces, a private courtyard and access to Fern Creek woods, fields, and gardens.

  • Access to and use of the Tree House Prayer Cabin as available (it is also used for spiritual direction).

  • Zoom session prior to your retreat to set intentions and plan and four sessions during your retreat (individual counseling and spiritual direction particulars to be determined with you). More sessions or daily sessions can be arranged as requested or recommended given your intentions and hopes.

  • Recommendations for how you prepare for and engage your retreat.

Mark and I hold tenderness for soul-care and ministry providers—pastors, counselors, spiritual directors, leaders and laborers in full-time, part-time, and volunteer work. Having walked alongside people ministering in these fields, and attending to our own wounds and burdens that come from living ordinary life, we are familiar with the loneliness of being unseen, unheard, misunderstood. We have worked with burned out and burning-out soul-care and ministry providers, and have seen how the expected and unexpected burdens of good work stress personal relationships, one’s sense of self, of vocation, and experience of God.


Come and settle in for three nights or seven or something in between, and let Fern Creek and all that happens here nurture and ground you. Gilead’s Balm Retreat brings together Mark’s gifts as a clinical psychologist, mine as a spiritual director, and the healing balm that Fern Creek naturally offers, where one can inhale and exhale with the quiet comings and goings of life in the woods.


Retreatants (individuals, couples, ministering partners) meet with Mark and me via Zoom prior to the retreat to explore intentions and hopes for their time at Fern Creek. The retreat includes individual sessions with us, the particulars of which are determined in our Zoom call. Flowing from the intentions and hopes we offer guidance for how to engage the spaciousness of the retreat with recommendations for prayer, journaling, reading, recreation, rest and contemplation. We put flesh on the “bones” described here in and after our conversation before the retreat.


Three-night retreat: $1050

$150/night for each additional night

        e.g. four-night stay is $1200

        a seven-night stay is $1650

Additional therapy or spiritual direction sessions available for $100/each.

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