Whitney R. Simpson
After a life-changing health crisis, Whitney R. Simpson embraced a journey toward healing and wholeness, using her breath, body, and spirit. Her new lifestyle included time on a yoga mat and regular sessions with a spiritual director, which set the foundation for her path to recovery. Whitney later pursued professional certification in spiritual formation from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She now serves as a retreat facilitator, spiritual director, and yoga instructor. She seeks to experience and share the gifts of God’s peace. Connect with Whitney at ExploringPeace.com.
Sharon Seyfarth Garner
Sharon Seyfarth Garner is an ordained United Methodist pastor, a spiritual director, and a retreat leader. She founded Belly of the Whale Spiritual Direction & Retreat Ministries in 2014. Sharon finds great joy in sharing the journey of spiritual discovery with others. She also enjoys spending time with her family, kayaking, making pottery, singing loudly, and taking long walks with her husband and dog. Sharon is the author of Praying with Mandalas: A Colorful, Contemplative Practice.
Patricia Wilson is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. In 1982, she wrote her first book, The Daisies Are Still Free, for Upper Room Books. Since then, she has written ten Upper Room Books, including Quiet Spaces: Prayer Interludes for Women. Wilson writes on a wide variety of subjects, including books for business use, motivational audio programs, corporate training programs, short stories, mysteries, and children’s activity books.
Formerly a professional motivational speaker, Wilson traveled throughout Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and the Philippines, bringing her seminars to thousands of people. She is known for her down-to-earth style, humorous delivery, and remarkable candor. About ten years ago, she put away her suitcase and passport but continues to speak at various retreats, conferences, and meetings for both secular and church audiences. She has been a lay minister for many years and conducts services wherever she is called.
Now retired, Wilson and her husband, Gerald, live in Victoria, British Columbia.
Read Pat’s blog here.
Kristen E. Vincent
Award-winning author Kristen E. Vincent is owner and principal artisan of Prayerworks Studio, which specializes in making handcrafted prayer beads and other prayer tools. She speaks widely on prayer and prayer beads and enjoys leading retreats.
A freelance writer, Vincent writes frequently for Upper Room publications and is author of A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads and coauthor of Another Bead, Another Prayer: Devotions for Protestant Prayer Beads, both published by Upper Room Books. She also blogs at PrayerWorksStudio.com.
Kristen has a Master of Theological Studies degree from Duke Divinity School and is a graduate of the two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation (Academy #34). A native Texan, Kristen lives in Georgia with her husband, Max, a Methodist minister, and their son, Matthew. She loves dark chocolate, the Texas Hill Country, and gadgets. She remains committed to her lifelong quest for the perfect chocolate mousse.
Originally from Colorado, Jo Kadlecek is a writer, teacher and storyteller whose pursuit of a passionate life has included many adventures, lessons and surprises. A former soccer coach, waitress and college professor, she is the author of 16 books, including memoirs, novels, bible studies and non fiction. Jo currently lives on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, where she and her husband regularly walk their dog Clark Kent on the beach.
J. Dana Trent
The Rev. J. Dana Trent is the author of Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk. She is also an instructor and ordained Baptist minister. She holds an undergraduate degree in French and history from Salem College and a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Dana has worked with nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, and hospitals—holding positions at Duke University, UNC Health Care, and the Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church.
Dana is currently an adjunct faculty member at the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, where she teaches World Religion, English, and Public Speaking. She also offers “Writing as a Spiritual Practice” workshops for churches, community groups, and universities. Dana specializes in writing and spiritual direction surrounding interfaith topics, spiritual practices, death, and grief. Her work has appeared on Patheos, Time.com, The Christian Century, The Huffington Post, and Sojourners.
Dana is married to Fred Eaker, a devout Hindu and former monk. They love to cook vegetarian cuisine, travel, and be outdoors.
The Rev. Jane Herring is an author and ordained Presbyterian pastor. She holds an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies on the use of creative writing with children in therapeutic settings from the University of Memphis, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Divinity from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University. Jane taught college literature courses for many years until answering a call to ministry in 2008.
Jane is currently the solo pastor of a small church in Tennessee where she lives with her husband and daughter, near her grown stepchildren and grandchildren. She also leads contemplative retreats on prayer, meditation, and using writing in prayer and spiritual formation. Jane and her family enjoy creating art, walking in the Tennessee hills, and listening to all sorts of music.
Herring is the author of One Day I Wrote Back: Interacting with Scripture through Creative Writing from Upper Room Books.
Beth A. Richardson
Beth A. Richardson is managing editor of Alive Now magazine and serves as a deacon at Edgehill United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Beth received her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. A native Oklahoman, she enjoys liturgy, music, and photography. Beth is the author of two Advent books—Child of the Light and The Uncluttered Heart. Her latest book is Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.
Follow Beth at the following places:
The Alive Now blog: http://alivenow.upperroom.org/blog/
Follow Beth’s Scottish terrier, Jack, at: http://jackthescottie.com/