Gateways to God 2022-2024

Monday, September 19, 2022 12:00 AM

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Gateways Brochure pdf

Gateways to God is a 20-month retreat-format cohort, certificate training program in Missional Spiritual Direction at Rolling Ridge.

At Rolling Ridge...

  •  We define Spiritual Direction as the art and skill of spiritual companionship, paying loving attention to God’s presence and invitations within the everyday events and rhythms of our lives.
  •  We understand missional as living and listening deep into Spirit and wide into our world.

Missional Spiritual Direction training teaches people how to listen deeply to the movements of God within themselves and others, and to discern how God is incarnate, embodied, living in us and in our world.  How God’s love shows up in the flesh – in the hands and feet of our lives, within the many contexts and multicultural settings of our churches, neighborhoods and world – matters to all of us.  And it matters for our world.

Our focus on missional spiritual direction (whether one-on-one or in groups) equips people to listen deeply for the movement of God in their context and so to make a difference in this world.

Rolling Ridge offers the Gateways training as a hybrid program.  We encourage people to meet in person at the Ridge for the training retreats, but we also offer an online option (via Zoom) for those who may not be able to attend in person.  Online attendees will engage fully in all large and small group sessions.  The cost for in person and online engagement is the same.

Contact Program Director Beth Garnaas-Holmes at for more information. 

Read this interesting article on Gateways to God Spiritual Direction training on the New England Conference website.

Course Offerings:
  • Introduction to Spiritual Guidance
  • Journey of the Soul and Listening as an Act of Justice
  • Learning to Listen in Painful and Anxious Places
  • Discernment in the Journey: Joining Contemplation and Action
  • Discernment with Communities: Incarnational Soul Tending
  • Missional Imagination of the Spiritual Director in Context

What to Expect:
  • Taking time for personal reflection, solitude and the experience of Christian spiritual practices
  • Connecting in a learning community of peers, lay and clergy
  • Receiving spiritual direction for yourself throughout the entire course. 
  • Participating in group instruction and small group practice and reflection
  • Engaging in reading and home-based experiential learning in preparation for each retreat
  • Reflecting your learning through writing or other expressive means
  • Receiving guidance in discerning gifts and calling toward a spiritual direction practice
  • Offering supervised spiritual guidance to another during the course.

Course Requirements:
Although there are no specific educational requirements for this training, those who apply should have an active spiritual life, a deep love for all God’s people, strength in purposeful listening, embrace diversity, be in spiritual direction, and have personal time needed for the six retreats and course expectations.  Note:  Rolling Ridge’s “Way Of The Heart” program provides an excellent foundation for “Gateways to God.”

Retreat Schedule:
#1 – September 19-22, 2022
#2 – January 20-23, 2023
#3 – May 15-18, 2023
#4 – September 18-21, 2023
#5 – January 26-29, 2024
#6 -  May 3-6, 2024 

Applications are received until September 1, 2022 (or until class fills).  Apply early as space is limited. Acceptance is on a rolling basis.  You will be notified by the Gateways Director of your acceptance. 

Course Fee = $4,600 includes course tuition, online instruction and accommodations (Note: books, travel, personal spiritual direction fees, and other incidentals are not included.)

Payment plans:  

Payment Plan A (2 payments) 
    • $2300 one month after acceptance into the program
    • $2300 by May 5, 2023  

Payment Plan B (3 payments)  
    • $1570 one month after acceptance into the program  
    • $1570 by May 5, 2023
    • $1570 by January 5, 2024

Due to the nature of this program, there are no refunds after the start of the course.
  •  Limited scholarships are available.  Contact Gateways Director for details.  
  • CEUs available
  • UMC clergy are eligible for MEF grants.   
  • Boston University School of Theology has a process to provide credits from this program toward Certification in Spiritual Formation in the United Methodist Church.
For more information, contact Gateways Director, Beth Garnaas-Holmes at 

Once accepted into the Gateways program, please follow this link for payment.

About the leader(s)

Deadra Ashton

Rev. Deadra Bachorik Ashton, MDiv, BCC, is a chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, spiritual director, and retreat leader. A PC(USA) Minister of Word and Sacrament, she is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.  Deadra served as a parish minister for 20 years, and prior to that as a summer chaplain at a conference center. Her areas of special interest include spiritual formation in the second half of life, the effects of culture and life context on the soul, spiritual support for caregivers, and spiritual care amid loss and grief.

Beth Garnaas-Holmes

Beth Garnaas-Holmes is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.  She has served  congregations in Montana, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, with a focus on deepening people's connection to God, themselves and the world through spiritual practice, small group ministry and outreach into communities.  She has also offered spiritual direction to individuals for 30 years, and was trained through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland.  She has worked in program ministry at Rolling Ridge for 20 years, and is currently the program director and a small group supervisor with the Gateways to God program.  She lives in Wells, Maine with her husband and the many trees and animals that surround their home.  Together they have a wonderful family of sons and daughters by marriage, grandchildren and grand-pets.  

Gayle Kerr

Gayle Kerr has been involved in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Ministry since 1990. She is a graduate of Trenton (NJ) State College and Chestnut Hill College (PA) and holds degrees in education and Holistic Spirituality and Certificates in Spiritual Direction and the Supervision of Spiritual Directors.  She has worked as a teacher, a Director of Christian Education and as a Spiritual Director at theMiddleton Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, PA. From 2000-2007 she worked at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ with a team of Spiritual Directors who were invited to help create a program for Spiritual Formation at the Seminary. Gayle and her husband moved to Cape Cod, MA in 2007 where she continues to provide individual and group Spiritual Direction as well as Retreat Leadership from her home on the Cape. She also serves as a small group supervisor in the Gateways to God Program for training Spiritual Directors at Rolling Ridge.

Heidi Miller

With more than 20 years in academic and non-profit settings, Heidi A Miller, Ph.D. currently serves as Director and Assistant Professor of the Master’s in Practical Theology at Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, NC. Her areas of teaching, research, and writing focus on transformative leadership, spirituality, transition and trauma, justice, and worship. Heidi designs and facilitates curriculum in spiritual direction and soul tending in one-on-one, small group, community, congregational, and organizational contexts.

Ruth Roemer

Ruth Roemer is a spiritual director and life coach; she has a diverse background of corporate experience including serving as a global Human Resource executive and leading projects across a variety of for-profit industry segments, as well as with nonprofit organizations and government agencies.  After leaving the corporate environment, Ruth established a private coaching and spiritual companioning practice.  She’s been blessed to walk alongside individuals who in many cases, have come to work on some professional aspect of their lives and are really longing to know more of God but haven’t as yet become aware of the source of their longing. Ruth works with a variety of corporate clients, pastors and their congregations, lay leaders and individuals. She’s also active in her local church, currently Episcopal and previously Lutheran; having led Bible study, prayer groups and served as part of the church’s leadership group.

Ruth is a graduate of the Oasis Ministries Contemplative Living and Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides programs. She also participated as small group leader and co-led the Contemplative Living program at Oasis.  Ruth studied for certification with Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and is a CTI Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. In addition, the International Coach Federation (ICF) has awarded her the designation of Professional Certified Coach. Ruth holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior from Oakland University and a master’s degree in business policy from Columbia University.