“I find one of the most significant invitations to this work is putting contemplation first.  Using the Apostle  Paul’s language, contemplation helps us do the things we want to do and not do the things we don’t want to do.  This contemplative stance is a significant part of the race reconciliation conversations that are happening in our circles right now.  Adopting a loving, caring, compassionate stance for whatever emerges from within during difficult conversations and experiences is hard.  We are finding we are not well equipped to do this.  It is a kind of listening that needs practice, and  Lerita’s gift to us will be to slow down to experience this deep listening called contemplation.” 

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, Perkins Practicum Instructor for the Certificate in Spiritual Direction
Co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center

“Howard Thurman is important to the church and to the wider culture. First, he was the “spiritual backbone” to the Civil Rights movement in that he went to meet Gandhi and he adopted nonviolence as an effective means of protest. In fact, Thurman’s book Jesus and the Disinherited was so influential that Dr. King carried it in his suit pocket. Secondly, Thurman was a contemplative and believed that social justice should be undergirded by spirituality. This belief helped form the civil rights leaders of the 20th century as God’s people doing God’s work.”

Marcia Hotchkiss
Spiritual Director, Retreat Leader, and SMI Board Member

“I was introduced to Howard Thurman’s spirituality at an SDI Conference about 10 years ago.  I am looking forward to
entering more deeply into his spirituality, especially as I discern how to support my brothers and sisters who suffer from institutionalized and systemic racism.”

 Eunice Cheshire, Spiritual Director, and HeartPaths DFW Faculty