Ring Lake Ranch seminars consist of four evening sessions during the week, usually 90 minutes in length. The style and content of the seminars change with each leader. Seminar leaders are usually happy to talk with guests outside of the seminars, but the topics are presented entirely within the evening sessions, to ensure that all guests have a chance to participate.
Like all activities at Ring Lake Ranch, save cabin cleaning and helping with meal clean-up, the Ranch seminars are optional for guests.
Click here for more information on our weekly schedule.
Every year, the Ranch relies on volunteers, both individuals and groups, to clean, do major repair and upkeep projects, open the kitchen, and anything else needed to prepare for guests. Please consider joining us for a week of work, fun, and fellowship!
Each year, we are pleased to welcome young men and their adult leaders from two Catholic high schools for special private retreats. Even though these retreats are closed, we still have volunteer opportunities available during these weeks. Please contact Andy Blackmun for more information about volunteering.
This advanced Enneagram-meets-Somatic-Healing retreat invites us into our full dimensionality as we deepen self-awareness and honor our gifts and resourcefulness. We will learn how we are hard-wired for healing, if we have the right relationship to our instinctual body and to change. Land, sky, sun and stars will companion us as we bravely face points of stuckness, points of orientation, and internal stories that no longer serve us. Our learning will be facilitated by the natural world and through poetry, movement, inquiry practices, small group discussions and lecture. Participants will engage all three centers of intelligence (head, heart, body) in this process. Sandra will offer questions to support our exploration of the gifts and perspectives of all nine Enneagram Types and how to expand our filters to integrate the wisdom of all personality types. Lee will guide us in listening to the subtle wisdom of our bodies, which is our compass and interface with the natural world, human companions and the unseen energies of Spirit.
Sandra Smith is a certified Narrative Enneagram teacher and consultant and Accredited IEA Professional. She teaches this system throughout the country as a tool for personal and spiritual growth, dissolving patterns that prevent authentic connection with self and other. She weaves her Enneagram expertise with her theological education to support the emergence of compassion in our lives as we live more fully into who we are. Sandra offers staff team building trainings, public workshops and works one-on-one with individuals as an Enneagram consultant and spiritual companion. Additionally, Sandra is a former Ring Lake Ranch wrangler whose spiritual life was shaped by the quiet and the beauty of this wilderness landscape.
Lee Ensign is a clinical psychologist who brings to her traditional training a lifelong fascination with exploring the interface of psychological, spiritual, and somatic experience. She is a certified Enneagram teacher in the Narrative Tradition, has trained in the Somatic Experiencing approach to the treatment of trauma, and incorporates decades of meditation practice into her work. Lee works in private practice in rural East Tennessee, with particular focus on treatment of trauma, mood and anxiety disorders. Her work engages others in listening to the body's subtle wisdom in support of their healing process. Having completed her Ph.D. at the University of Wyoming, she is thrilled to return to the vast beauty of the Wyoming landscape at Ring Lake Ranch.
Please note that while all guests are welcome to enroll, this seminar assumes everyone will have basic knowledge of the Enneagram at the start of the week.
There are few writers in the history of the church more beloved than Julian of Norwich, the fourteenth century English mystic, and with good reason. This woman's insistence on God's extravagant and tender love of us, along with God's refusal to take any interest in our sin, is a message of hope for our modern broken hearts. Her deep understanding of the Trinity as the Power of Love, the Wisdom of Love and the Goodness of Love, or as God the Father, God the Mother, and the Goodness of the Love between them, introduces us to a God beyond our deepest longings and imaginings. Come and let us share Julian's gifts with each other in our time together. Roberta Bondi is retired from Candler School of Theology, where she was Professor of Church History. Her books include To Love as God Love, Memories of God and Wild Things. She continues to teach with the Academy of Spiritual Formation.
Storytelling has special meaning for people of faith. We seek to identify and share our stories in nearly everything we do. Storytelling is a relationship between the speaker and the listener that may best be described not as a telling, but as story-sharing. Storytelling can enable hearers to more easily assimilate and remember history, values, culture, faith, life-lessons, and other critical. Through an understanding of the history of storytelling and of storytellers as keepers of beliefs, traditions, history, and values, we can find new meaning in the stories of our faith traditions, as well as learn what makes an effective story.
Author/illustrator Ray Buckley is of Lakota/Tlingit/Scots descent. He currently serves as the interim Director of the Center for Native American Spirituality and Christian Study. Ray has served The United Methodist Church as a staff member of The United Methodist Publishing House, Director of the Native People's Communication Office (UMCom) for nine years, and Director of Connectional Ministries for the Alaska Missionary Conference. He is the author/illustrator of several books, including The Give-Away: A Christmas Story in the Native American Tradition, and Dancing with Words: Storytelling as Legacy, Culture, and Faith. Ray has taught in Nigeria and Ghana and served as a lecturer in Native American studies for several universities.
Survey after survey demonstrates that ethnic diversity is only increasing in recent days and yet many of our churches remain culturally homogeneous. What might a church that invites diversity look like? Too often, our tendency has been to imagine that our faith "solves" the "problems" of diversity by making us all one, all the same. In contrast, the author of Luke-Acts views our differences as a gift to be treasured, not a difficulty to be overcome.
We will turn to the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles to wonder together how God's gift of diversity might take root in our lives together. Eric D. Barreto is the Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary and an ordained Baptist minister. The author of Ethnic Negotiations: The Function of Race and Ethnicity in Acts 16,, the co-author of Exploring the Bible, and editor of Reading Theologically, he is also a regular contributor to ONScripture.org, the Huffington Post, WorkingPreacher.org, and EntertheBible.org.
here is often more to the matter of fishing than meets the eye. Within the experience of pursuing fish in the pooled depths of a stream there is the opportunity to discover not merely the presence of a fish, but also the very presence of the holy. In this respect, the experience of fishing becomes a metaphor that can be used to express our human longing for connection with the God who waits for us in the depths of our own life experience. In our evening time together we will explore the theological connections and the faith implications of fly fishing. Of course, there will also be ample day time opportunity to cultivate an "experiential theology," one that grows out of the experience of "wetting a line" together. We will plan to fish some of the truly remarkable waters that the Wind River Mountains have to offer.
This week will offer the wonderful opportunity not only to make a deeper faith connection, but also to experience a deeper connection within the community of those who share a passion for faith as well as a passion for fly fishing. Ron Dunn is currently serving as the Lead Pastor of the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church in Alamo, California. Ron has been exploring the metaphorical connection between fly fishing and faith for the 40 years of his ministry. Ed Farrell-Starbuck serves as part-time pastor of the Harwich United Methodist Church on Cape Cod. He served congregations in California and New England before retiring in 2013. Ed has explored the Sierra Nevadas and other western waters for trout for more than forty years.
Novice flyfishers are encouraged to enroll for the week. We will have experienced teachers and gear available to work with anyone who would like to start with the basics or improve her or his techniques.
Ron Dunn and Ed Farrell-Starbuck
Some writing is like comfort food! For singer/songwriter Kate Campbell the work of Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Harper Lee is like that. They are all from the South and reading their work is like comfort food or "comfort language" each with their own recipe twists. Their work in particular has profoundly influenced Kate's own songwriting voice. She will be reading and singing and hopefully opening up further conversations about these writers and the notion of comfort language and finding our own voice in this seminar.
Maybe we'll talk about comfort food as well! As the daughter of a Baptist preacher from Sledge, Mississippi, Kate Campbell's formative years were spent in the very core of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the indelible experiences of those years have shaped her heart, character and convictions ever sense. Her endearing, clear water vocal delivery, eloquent gift for storytelling, easy command of a full range of American music styles, combine to earn Campbell recognition as a formidable talent by critics, musicians, and a discerning public.
When you hear the word "Psalms" what do you think of? Trust, peace, poetry? In fact the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible is a rich resource for the full range of human emotions and the complete possibilities of human behaviors. As a way of approaching the Psalms for today's world, John and Diana Holbert will facilitate our in-depth exploration of this literature by first reading the chosen texts carefully as a group; by responding to those readings, using the spiritual disciplines of Holy Listening and Lectio Divina; and by helping the participants create various kinds of presentations (movement, songs, poetry) of Laments, Songs of Thanksgiving, and Hymns of Praise in small groups.
Diana Brown Holbert is a liturgical dancer, a spiritual director, and a long-time pastor in the United Methodist Church, having served in England, suburbia, an all-African-American congregation, and the inner city of Dallas, Texas. As a retiree, Diana is currently writing about her experiences as the first woman, the first American, and the first Rollerblader pastor in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England.
John C. Holbert is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics Emeritus at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. John has published eleven books, the most recent being a novel, King Saul.
The sky is not a static place but is changing every single second! During this week we will explore the objects in the sky that change most dramatically beginning with a discussion and observation of the total solar eclipse on August 21st. This is a rare occurrence: the last total eclipses in the United States occurred in 1979 and 1991. Approximately two minute in duration, this event is an example of one of the most extreme observable changes in the sky with the naked eye.
But, what else changes in the sky? Together we will explore everything from planetary motion, asteroids and comets, to flaring stars, exploding stars, and the remnants from these explosions -- including black holes and the spinning remnants from the burned out embers of old stars! Ashley Zauderer is the Assistant Director of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the John Templeton Foundation, as well as a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University. She holds a BA from Agnes Scott College and a PhD from the University of Maryland.
This session is currently full, wait list only.
Belden will lead us in exploring various teachers in nature and the saints (or sages) who have sought them out as spiritual guides. Examples include Hildegard of Bingen and trees, Catherine of Siena and fire, Teresa of Avila and water, and Ignatius Loyola and caves. We'll look at these and others in relation to developmental life stages along the spiritual journey, following Bill Plotkin's work. How might one's whole life might be shaped by a life-long practice of learning from teachers in the natural world?
Thomas Berry, the Passionist priest and ecotheologian, complained that we've dropped out of the Great Conversation. "We're talking only to ourselves," he said. "We aren't talking to the rivers, we aren't listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the Great Conversation." This closing retreat of the season will invite us to listen once again—picking up our end of the dialogue through storytelling, ritual work, and time spent in nature. Belden Lane is Professor Emeritus of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University and author of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality and Backpacking with the Saints.
This session is currently full, wait list only.