The House of Prayer offers retreats throughout the year, focused on our primary ministry of contemplative prayer and spiritual transformation. We hope you will join us this year for one of our retreats.

morning prayer oratory 11-14

From a program attendee:
The magnificence of God’s spirit continues to humble me. I have been led to a tremendous amount of peace and joy, and all just for the asking. God’s grace is so good and also resides in this holy place.

To register and send a check, please contact us at To register and pay online for any of our programs, click here.
Note: Our secure payment page now allows you to pay by credit card or EFT.

A $100 deposit is required for all registrations. You can charge the deposit during registration or send a check to the Episcopal House of Prayer, PO Box 5888, Collegeville, MN 56321. When mailing a check to register, please send the name of the retreat, your name, mailing address information and e-mail address.


Wednesday Night Contemplative Christian Prayer

All are welcome to join us on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 for contemplative prayer. Free and open to the public, we sit together in the Oratory. The prayer begins with a simple chant, and we observe two 20-minute periods of silent prayer with a contemplative walk in between, concluding with a simple chant. If you are coming for the first time, we recommend you arrive ten minutes early so we can welcome you and introduce you to the practice and space.

For information on contemplative prayer at House of Prayer in the City, click here.


2017 Retreats

NOTE: All programs begin with dinner at 6 p.m. on the first day and end with lunch on the final day, unless otherwise noted. Plan to arrive between 3-6 p.m. and leave after lunch on the final day, which is primarily a travel day. Ask about staying an extra night or more for individual retreat time. More general information about our retreats, including travel information, is available here.

What Retreat is Right for Me?

At the House of Prayer, we try to offer retreats for practitioners of contemplative prayer at any level, as well as opportunities for deep experience of silence and more advanced teaching on transformational Christianity. We know that people respond to different approaches. Some of us are more “head-focused” and engage with content, while others respond to a more “heart-focused” invitation. Creativity can be a strong part of spirituality, as is connection to our bodies and senses. You can ask questions about any of our retreats by contacting Ward Bauman at Here is a guide that might help you choose the right retreat for you:

Entry-level retreats: for those looking for a place to enter the work of the House of Prayer, Seeds of Contemplation and Embodied Spirit will be excellent opportunities to nourish the body, spark creativity, and enter into the practice of silent meditation.

Mid-level retreats: Those who are familiar with the approach of the House of Prayer looking for teaching and practice that will support and deepen their own work might consider our retreats with Martin Laird and the August Wisdom School.

Advanced retreats: Kenosis is an advanced retreat. The Beloved Community is also advanced work and particular to our Membership of the Contemplative Body group.


The Beloved Community

Friday, January 6 – Sunday, January 8


This annual Epiphany retreat is for the Membership of the Contemplative Body. Contact the HOP office for more information on this group or navigate over to here.


Seeds of Contemplation in the Garden of the Subtle Heart

Thursday, February 16 – Sunday, February 19, Led by Matthew Cobb


This retreat is an offering by our new Director, Matthew Cobb, for those who would like to be introduced into his spiritual work and teachings. He says, “I’m thinking of something that lifts up the seeds for an oblation toward the vernal equinox and the first thaw.” Inviting us to see our season as both metaphor and teaching, Matthew will lead us into a deeper connection with the seasons of our lives.


Embodied Spirit

Thursday, April 27 – Sunday, April 30, Led by Gary Barrett and Tom Darnall


By request we are once again offering this retreat, building on the work of last year’s themes, introducing practices designed to sensitize us to the body’s subtle movements and mechanics and to develop in us an awareness of the spiritual energy that is always moving and animating us. Our exploration will include the ancient practice of Chi-Kung (Qi-gong) as well as contemporary mindfulness practices which focus on integrating movement, breath and intention. The kinesthetic freeing of the restrictions and limitations that we all habitually impose on our psyche and our bodies opens us to the presence of the spirit within and without. The retreat is grounded in meditation practices and teachings on the spiritual context in which we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17).


Light Sitting in Light

Friday, May 26 – Monday, May 29, Led by Martin Laird


In one of his most important works, The Little Book of Clarification, the 14th-century Flemish mystic, Jan van Ruusbroec, writes: “Just as air is in the light of the sun, and the light of the sun is in the air, so too is God constantly in the being of the soul.”  Our precious time of sitting together in silence provides us the communal vulnerability to deepen our consent to the process of decluttering the mind, a decluttering that is as radical as it is freeing through the loving embrace of Silence and allows us to deepen our realization of what Ruusbroec realized in his own life.  Conferences will focus on the struggles we face while the grace of silence sets about its creative business of decluttering the mind of clinging to the illusion of separation.

There will be ample times for sitting in silence together, as well as for opportunities to share both in common and privately with Martin. Note: Unlike our other retreats, this retreat runs Friday (6 p.m.) through Monday (1 p.m.).


Kenosis: The Prayer of Self-Emptying

Saturday, June 10 – Sunday, June 18


If you have been practicing Christian contemplative prayer and/or attended our Wisdom Schools in the past, consider joining us this year for Kenosis. This silent meditation intensive is designed for those who feel called to take further steps into the fullness of God through deeper prayer and honest reflection. Kenosis is truly an opportunity for transformation. This work is based on Jesus’ own pattern of life and practical teaching: “If anyone wants to be my disciple, they must first be willing to deny their own selves…” Central and foundational to all other Christian practices are the prayer forms that lead to self-emptying (kenosis). If you have questions, contact the House of Prayer at, or Matthew Cobb at


Wisdom School: The Ongoing Quest – Crossing the Threshold to Being

Monday, August 14 – Saturday, August 19, Led by Bussho Lahn, Diane Millis, and Matthew Cobb


Building upon last year’s Wisdom School, we will continue to develop our inner authority or “sovereignty,” as stated in The Gospel of Thomas. This preeminent spiritual work is at the core of human development. This wisdom school is considered more advanced work, where the student, not the instructor, is the primary focus. Here our instructors will work as guides in order to help each participant work with his or her own inner teacher. Although this retreat expands on ideas from last year’s Wisdom School, it is a stand-alone retreat and is open to all participants.

“When you give birth to that which is within yourself, what you bring forth will save you.” (Thomas #70)  All instructions will be geared to this endeavor, as we seek to discover those practices that can increase our awareness of our inner treasure. Students will leave with a stronger sense of their own inner domain and its resources.


To register and pay online for any of our programs, click here.


Programs for the latter months of 2017 will be published here in late spring or early summer.


About Our Presenters

Gary Barrett has practiced classical chinese T’ai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung for 28 years in central Minnesota. He has taught groups in St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Brainerd, and Alexandria, Minnesota, as well as worked with many private students.  Additionally, he has been a primary presenter and participant at the annual T’ai Chi retreat weekend Way In The Woods at Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center in north-central Minnesota for the past 20 years. He brings a deep commitment to the practice of contemplative mind-body work as a way to personal spiritual transformation. Gary is a member of the Contemplative Body and lives with his wife Brenda in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

Rev. Dr. Matthew Cobb becomes new director of the House of Prayer in February, 2016. He has served since 2008 as rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Wamego, Kansas, and has served in a variety of capacities, from campus ministry to spiritual care and chaplaincy in hospital and long-term care settings. He holds a doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union at University of California, Berkeley; a Master of Divinity Degree in Social Theory from the Seminary of the Southwest; a Master of Arts in Ignatian Spirituality and certification in Spiritual Direction-Directed Retreats from Creighton University. Matt has recently held a post-doctoral fellowship with St. Xavier University in Mumbai, India and he has had a daily meditation practice for 25 years.

Tom Darnall is Professor Emeritus of Theater at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. Teaching the Theater Arts in a Liberal Arts context allowed Tom to emphasize the spiritual roots of theater. He recognized that the extensive mindful somatic training required of the actor is a journey into what it means to become fully human. Throughout his career Tom has studied with master teachers of a wide range of somatic practices, including the work of Alexander, Rolf, Feldenkrais, Linklater and others. The integration of mindful movement, breath and sound establishes the premise that the quality of being determines the quality of any action. Tom has been involved with the House of Prayer since its inception and is a founding member of the Contemplative Body.

Fr. Martin Laird, OSA, has lectured and led retreats throughout the US, UK, and the Republic of Ireland. He is the author of Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation. He is preparing An Ocean of Light: Contemplation and the Ethics of Silence (forthcoming, Oxford University Press). He is professor of Early Christian Studies at Villanova University near Philadelphia.

Rev. Bussho Lahn is a certified spiritual director and an ordained Soto Zen Buddhist priest. He is a teacher at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, Aslan Institute, and the Episcopal House of Prayer. Bussho is grounded in contemplative spirituality, interfaith experience, addiction recovery, and shadow integration. He is experienced in pilgrimage and retreat facilitation, and public speaking on a variety of spiritual subjects. His special interests include Zen ritual and ceremony, poetry, and interfaith dialogue. He also teaches meditation, mindfulness, and the basics of Zen Buddhist practice and philosophy, and is an experienced retreat and pilgrimage leader. He lives in Eden Prairie with his wonderful wife Karen and their cat, Hobbes.

Diane Millis, PhD, is a teacher of Christian spirituality, spiritual director and author of Conversation–the Sacred Art: Practicing Presence in an Age of Distraction and Deepening Engagement: Essential Wisdom for Listening and Leading with Purpose, Meaning and Joy. Diane brings twenty-five years teaching experience in the fields of Christian spirituality, communication studies, family studies and human development. Her deep gladness is witnessing hearts awaken through contemplative practices and group spiritual companioning.  Diane served as the founding director of the Companions on Journey initiative at the College of Saint Benedict and now facilitates retreats on the sacred art of conversation in corporate, health care, philanthropic, educational, and ministry settings throughout the country.