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About Shalem

Our purpose, from our founder:

"...It is for us to provide hospitable and inspiring opportunities for people to listen and respond more boldly to the Spirit at work in them...[and] to encourage people to connect what is happening with them to God’s larger movements in the world..." -Tilden Edwards

Spend a few minutes learning more about us through our short video story.


Click above to view our
Shalem brochure.

The Shalem Institute provides in-depth support for contemplative living and leadership —a way of being in the world that is prayerfully attentive and responsive to God's presence and guidance.

For 40 years, we have offered a wide variety of programs and resources for spiritual directors, clergy, lay leaders and individuals who want to open themselves more fully to God in their daily lives and work.

All of our programs share a common, central grounding in the Christian contemplative tradition that encourages an awareness of God's immediate presence, humility in understanding God's ways, and a radical trust in God at work in our own lives and the lives of others. Throughout our history, our programs also have been enriched by the contemplative wisdom of other faith traditions.

Participants come from many different denominations, faith traditions, and walks of life—all seeking connection, nurture and support. Over the years, thousands of men and women, nationally and internationally, have immersed themselves in our long-term extension programs and been refreshed through our many shorter programs. Often participants, especially from our longer programs, find their lives and ministries renewed or transformed.

Shalem programs are uniquely experiential in approach and are grounded in our understanding of classic contemplative wisdom.  All offer a rich variety of practices, teachings and leadership styles. Program leaders and program design seek to create a sense of sacred space that fosters authentic spiritual community and spiritual growth.

At Shalem, we honor each individual spiritual path and welcome anyone who would seek to learn from the contemplative way.

A detailed and in-depth review of Shalem's early history can be found in Connie Clark's book, Holy Meeting Ground: Twenty Years of Shalem. See our online Store.

Shalem is an associate member of the Washington Theological Consortium (, a community of theological institutions of diverse Christian traditions in the greater Washington, DC region.


Stream of Contemplative History:

An abridged Timeline of Contemplative Spirituality by Gerald May with later additions by Tilden Edwards