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.



2016 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, The Silent Desert, Embodied Spirit, Sacred Ecstasy with Yuval Ron, Let us Feast, and The Sacred Art of Storytelling 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 Matthew Wright and the August Wisdom School.

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


Embodied Spirit

Thursday, May 5 – Sunday, May 8
Led by Gary Barrett, Tom Darnall, and Ward Bauman

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). To register online, click here.


Expanseless Expanse

Friday, May 27—Monday, May 30
Led by Martin Laird

THIS RETREAT IS FULL (5/2/16). Please contact Susan at to inquire about the waiting list.

In one of Meister Eckhart’s German sermons he says: “God’s ground is my ground and my ground is God’s ground.” These liberating words indicate the simplest fact of a life lived out of unitive awareness. A self unselfed of self is awareness itself and awake to the fact that God and each of us are one, or better, not even one. This Mystery which clings to no name who yet names us from eternity’s shimmer will serve to frame this contemplative prayer intensive.

Our precious times of sitting together in silence provide us the communal vulnerability to continue opening up to the ongoing decluttering of the mind, a decluttering that is as radical as it is freeing through silence’s loving embrace and leads us to the same realization that Eckhart realized in his own life: “The noblest attainment in this life is to be silent.” Conferences will focus on the struggles we face while the grace and loving dynamic of silence declutters the mind.

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.). To register online, click here.


Kenosis: The Prayer of Self-Emptying

Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, June 19
Led by Ward Bauman

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 Ward Bauman at


crescent Islam daySacred Ecstasy in Sufism and Chasidic Judaism

Thursday, July 28 – Sunday, July 31
Led by Yuval Ron

This retreat will provide an experiential spiritual exploration into the inner workings of devotional ecstatic Chasidic-Hebrew music and dance, and the Sufi practices of moving prayer-mediation ritual. We will explore how one transcends the limits of reality, reaching toward the non-dual state, using music and movement in these mystical practices. This will include the historic foundations as well as the growing body of music and variety of ways in which these two traditions create a devotional trance. Participants will discover how sacred sound facilitates in transcending mind-chatter, tuning into the heart for a deeper experience of Oneness and inner peace. Yuval will bring his gifts of live music to this work. To register online with a $100 deposit, click here.


Wisdom School
The Ongoing Quest Into the Ground of Being

Monday, August 15 — Saturday, August 20
Led by Bussho Lahn, Diane Millis, and Ward Bauman

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 online with a $100 deposit, click here.


IMG_1198Let Us Feast

Thursday, September 15—Sunday, September 18
Led by Ward Bauman and David Harris

Minnesota has all the ingredients to make for healthy and abundant living. Let Us Feast is an opportunity to explore not only the simplicity and goodness of the daily feasts of our lives but also the grand celebrations of the larger events of life. This includes, of course, the feasts of the imagination and the alchemy of living abundantly and joyfully. Our meals have the potential to raise the ordinary and mundane into the extraordinary and blessed. We will explore all aspects of what makes eating good and what makes for good eating: seeing food as nutritious, as abundantly delicious, and as Godly. Food preparation can be fun and need not be intimidating. Join with us as we feast!

This retreat is appropriate for those who feel that they are beginners in food preparation or for those who have been with us before and wish to take deeper steps into the great art of cooking beautiful, delicious, and nutritious meals. NOTE: this may be the last time this retreat is offered. Don’t delay! To register online, click here.


The Heart of Christ and Nondual Awakening

Thursday, October 13 – Sunday, October 16
Led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and Ward Bauman

This retreat will examine a global shift in spiritual understanding that is resetting contemporary religious experience in a “nondual” or unitive framework, and will specifically explore Christianity as a path of contemplative awakening within this context. We will explore the ways Christianity has lost sight of its own unitive ground, and investigate the heart-centered nature of Christian awakening. Particular attention will be given to the work of Teilhard de Chardin and Beatrice Bruteau, and the important 20th century recovery of The Gospel of Thomas for Christian contemplative study and practice. To register online, click here.


The Sacred Art of Storytelling:
Mining the Meaning of our Lives

Friday, December 2 – Sunday, December 4
Led by Diane Millis and Susan Sink

We live in a swirl of narratives, both the stories we have been told and the stories we tell ourselves. Advent offers an apt occasion to reflect upon how God is at work in our story. Rather than receiving and retelling stories that no longer enliven, we will gather together to behold overlooked aspects of God’s activity in our lives and listen for new invitations. Through poetry and writing exercises, sitting meditation, and contemplative conversations, we will tend the richer, thicker, and more meaningful stories waiting to be told. NOTE: This retreat will begin with dinner at 6 p.m. Friday and end at 11 a.m. on Sunday, December 4. To register online, click here.


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


About Our Presenters

Gary Barrett has practiced and taught Chi-Kung (Qi-gong) in central Minnesota for over 26 years. He refers to the ancient art of Chi-kung (Qi-gong) as an incarnational practice that integrates mind, body, and spirit with intention, movement, and breath. He currently teaches at Millstream Wellness Arts in St. Joseph, Minn. Gary is a member of the Contemplative Body.

Rev. Ward Bauman became the director of the House of Prayer in 2002. Prior to this he served as a parish priest in the San Francisco bay area of California. During that time he developed an organization for interfaith dialogue as well as a spiritual life center for prayer and renewal. His history took him to the Middle East where he lived, worked and traveled, living in Iran for four and a half years. Returning to the U.S., he spent seven years in California’s Napa Valley helping to run a retreat center. All of these things have brought him to this present work where he brings together his passion for working with people in pursuit of a more profound spiritual life. He is the author of Sacred Food for Soulful Living, a cookbook of recipes from the House of Prayer kitchen, and translator with Lynn Bauman and Cynthia Bourgeault of The Luminous Gospels.

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.

David Harris is a master teacher. Among many culinary experiences, he was head chef at the New French Cafe in Minneapolis.

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.

Yuval Ron is a world-renowned musician, composer, educator, peace activist and record producer. Among his many honors, he composed the music for the Oscar winning film West Bank Story, was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama, has collaborated with the Sufi leader Pir Zia Inayat Khan, master musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Zen Buddhist priest and visual artist Hirokazu Kosaka, choreographers Daniel Ezralow and Oguri and with neuroscientists Mark Robert Waldman and Andrew Newburg. He was awarded the Los Angeles Treasures Award and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum, California Council for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a noted lecturer and has been invited to speak at numerous schools including: Yale, John Hopkins University, UCLA, MIT, Berklee College of Music, University of Chicago and many others. Yuval has been on the faculty of Esalen Institute, is an affiliated artist with the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, and a “Guiding Voice” for Seven Pillars – House of Wisdom.

Susan Sink is a poet and writer living in Central Minnesota. She is the author of The Way of All the Earth and Habits, a collection of 100-word stories. Her new book of poems and lyric prose, H is for Harry, is forthcoming in 2016. She is also the administrator of the House of Prayer. She blogs on gardening, cooking, and writing at

Rev. Matthew Wright is an Episcopal priest, writer, and retreat leader working to renew the Christian Wisdom tradition within a wider inter-spiritual framework. He serves as priest-in-charge at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, New York. Matthew and his wife, Yanick, live alongside the brothers of Holy Cross Monastery.
To register and pay online for any of our programs, click here.