Discover Emery House

Greetings from Emery House, the rural retreat center of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.

As you may be aware, we Brothers have begun the process of making this sacred place available to guests once again after several years of closure. Br. David Vryhof, Br. Jack Crowley, and myself are living in the farmhouse, observing a daily rhythm of prayer and worship in our chapel, making preparations for our spring garden, and cultivating relationships with our human and more-than-human neighbors. We are deeply committed to inhabiting this place and are working hard to realize SSJE’s new and expansive vision of ministry on this land, which you can read about in our updated Emery House vision statement.

Your presence here as a friend and supporter of the community would be a valuable gift to us during this transition time. We currently have availability to receive retreatants between late April and mid-August. We hope to announce further availability, as well as our schedule of Fall retreat programming, by St. John’s Day, May 6. If you are available and you’d benefit from some time of retreat, silence, fellowship at our table, and communion with God’s creation, I warmly welcome you to request a reservation at the link below.

We ask also that you review the following updated information about making retreat here before you register, since a few things have changed since Emery House was last open.

Our guest receptionist, Lucas Boomsma, will take care of the booking once you submit the form. I’m happy to hear from you as well, if you have any questions, prayer requests, or would simply like to be in touch.

Thank you, from my heart, for your continued support of our ministry. I pray that this Lenten season waters your heart with the Spirit’s spring rain, preparing all things for the green shoots of Resurrection.

Faithfully yours,

Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE

Praying as Preachers: retreat for Seminarians and recently Ordained

July 6-9: Praying as Preachers: retreat for Seminarians and recently Ordained

Thursday evening through Sunday midday meal

Cost: $465

Led by Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE and Br. Lucas Hall, SSJE


As preachers, we are tasked to witness to the good news of life in union with God. If we are to carry out this ministry effectively, we must take care to cultivate our own life of prayer, how we relate to God, the Church, and Scripture. Participants in this program will have the opportunity to hear and discuss practical advice for preaching, as well as learning and trying different approaches to prayer as they prepare to engage in this ministry.

Registration will begin on January 03

Praying as Preachers: retreat for Seminarians and recently Ordained: July 06-09, 2023

Space is limited on this program retreat, we invite you to request a place by completing the form below. We will respond to your request quickly and let you know the next steps. Please do not make travel plans until we have confirmed your place.
Note: All contact details are required to request a place.
Please use your current email

Praying with Neurodiversity

May 19-21: Praying with Neurodiversity

Friday Evening through Sunday midday meal

Cost: $310

Led by Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE


Christian Contemplative prayer is the practice of letting go of thoughts and distractions and simply resting in the presence of God. This can be challenging for all of us living in the digital age, where we are bombarded with stimuli vying for our attention. For those of us who are neurodivergent, the difficulty of contemplative prayer can be heightened. In this retreat, Br. Jim Woodrum (ADHD Inattentive-type) explores creative ways to pray contemplatively, including using the latest developments in neuroscience. If you have been diagnosed as neurodivergent and struggle to find an entry point into contemplation, we welcome you to join us in this retreat as a way to use the complexities of your mind as a doorway into intimacy with Jesus.

Registration will begin on January 03

Praying with Neurodiversity: May 19-21

Space is limited on this program retreat, we invite you to request a place by completing the form below. We will respond to your request quickly and let you know the next steps. Please do not make travel plans until we have confirmed your place.
Note: All contact details are required to request a place.
Please use your current email

Online Retreat – Resting in Christ: Unitive Awareness

Dates: January 13 (evening) to January 16 (morning)
Facilitator: Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

Read the welcome letter from Br. Nicholas below the form, then register here:


Dear friends,

Our primary intention for this retreat will be to rest deeply into the silence and stillness of God’s presence, abiding in God’s Kingdom within. We will explore what is means to cultivate an awareness of the present reality of God’s Kingdom as a unitive or nondual unknowing. We will encourage a shift in our identity through the process of self-emptying as we discover our True Selves in Christ. To facilitate our journey into this silent land we will commit to not engaging in conversation outside of designated times. This time of silence will start on Thursday evening and end at 11:00am on Sunday morning.

Aside from when necessary to participate in the retreat, please refrain from using electronic devices (televisions, phones, tablets, laptops, smartwatch, etc.) as these devices make it extremely easy to avoid the solitude of a humble heart where the Holy One dwells, and Christ is born. If you would like an even more thorough experience of silence, you may consider limiting your reading to only what is part of the retreat. Of course, all kinds of writing and expression, like journaling, drawing, etc., are encouraged.

As a service to yourself and the other retreatants please be ready to commit to the entire duration of the retreat so that we may sanctity our time together. Since this is an online retreat, you will need to take full responsibility of your own experience of silence, stillness, and solitude during this time. It may be helpful to take care of things like shopping before the retreat starts and to let your friends and loved ones know that this will be a time of retreat for you. Also, please remember this most important point: this is your retreat, so listen to the wisdom of your body, mind, and spirit as you decide how best to participate.

We will share a practice of silent centering prayer three times on Friday and Saturday, and once on Sunday morning. These will be rich opportunities to share this silent journey together. These sessions will thirty minutes long, however you can practice as long as you’d like. If you need a refresher on centering prayer, there is an instruction and practice video here:

A full schedule will be sent to participants before the retreat starts.

Peace and Be Well,

Br. Nicholas, SSJE

Angels in the Architecture

A multimedia project – Advent 2021

Listen and read along with Br. Jim Woodrum as he follows the angels toward a deeper appreciation of why our church buildings matter and how they can help us to become one with the angels.

As you are inspired, share your Angels at #angelsinthearchitecture

Now Available: Angels in the Architecture

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Sufficient Grace: Praying with the Calling of Illness

Thursdays October 7, 14, 21 from 7:15 pm to 8:15 pm EST via Zoom

Sickness is one of life’s greatest hindrances to our usual notions of human freedom and thriving. Chronic and mental illnesses especially can leave us feeling afflicted, as if punished or abandoned by God; or as though the springs of our prayer have dried up. But perhaps there is more to these times in our experience than meets the eye. What if sickness—particularly chronic or incurable sickness—is not in the end a punishment or affliction? What would it be like to turn over our experiences of sickness to God in loving trust that God’s grace is sufficient at all times? What would it mean to believe that “power is made perfect in weakness?” Join Br. Sean Glenn on Zoom for a three-week offering of reflection and space to hold before God the mystery of human sickness.

On October 7, we begin a three-week series on Sufficient Grace: Praying with the Calling of Illness. This is chance to explore together the sometimes unspoken and searching dimensions of the reality that our walk with God is often marked by illness—sometimes chronically and incurably. We realize that some aspects of this topic may be tender and sensitive. We wish to name the vulnerability such conversations around this topic may bring. This offering is limited to 20 people. If your life is touched by the profundity of illness, and you would welcome some reflection and sharing on journey with Br. Sean Glenn, please register below.

We Brothers are also offering a variety of programs unlimited enrollment. Please see:

Register here:

Thank you for your interest in this program. Unfortunately, this program is full at this time. Please email to request a place on the wait list.

Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit

Audio Series

Listen to ten episodes from Br. Curtis which follows Saint Paul’s names for “the fruit of the Spirit”: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. His hope is that you will find in this series the seeds of encouragement to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit within your soul with practices that will help you thrive in the changing seasons of life.

Optionally, there is an online space to reflect with others listeners on Teachable.

Register below to access the series and more details.

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Experiencing God Directly: Book Discussion


Houston Physicist, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

Wednesday evenings starting October 6

This is a six-week book discussion using the book Experiencing God Directly: The Way of Christian Nonduality by Marshall Davis. Topics will include the practice of God’s Presence, a knowing awareness of oneness with God in each moment, and how such nondual awareness relates to God’s Kingdom within. We will begin each session with twenty minutes of shared silence in a contemplative practice such as centering prayer.



We will meet via Zoom on multiple Wednesdays from 7:15pm to 8:45pm:

  • October 6, 13, 20
  • November 3, 10, 17

To ensure consistent and fruitful participation, please be willing to commit to at least five of those six dates. For our first session, Wednesday, October 6, please have read chapter one of the book.

Register below. Registration is free, but please only sign up if you can participate. Email if you have any questions.

At this time, the program is full. You may wish to check back near the first meeting date in case anyone has cancelled their registration.

Submit any questions to

The Gospel Way to Freedom and Love

Gospel Way to Freedom and Love

Video Series

Sign up below to access the series
Gospel Way to Freedom and Love

Many of us spend time and energy seeking the “glittering” things we think will make us happy, only to find that deep joy and peace and love have eluded us. Br. David Vryhof invites us to discover the “freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21) that comes when we ground our identity in God, rather than in those things that the world counts most valuable.

Br. David Vryhof offered this online workshop on
Saturday, October 2, 9:00am to 12:00pm EDT

Sign up below to receive the link to the video series and materials.

The Art of Discernment in Prayer

“Let me pray about that…”:
The Art of Discernment in Prayer  

A five part video series

Making decisions is a part of life. Join Br. David Vryhof in exploring the role of prayer in making life choices. How do we discern which of the options before us represents “the will of God” for our lives?

Sign up below to access the video series. Available now.