Leading with Soul

Leading with Soul: A Retreat Series for Recent Eden Alums

Leading with Soul Retreat Series is a retreat experience designed for alums of Eden Theological Seminary who are in their first five years of ministry after graduation. In a cohort of 12, participants will have the opportunity to engage the Circle of Trust® model as a way to both connect with inner resources of courageous leadership and to engage and learn from other leaders seeking to lead prophetically and courageously in a variety of contexts. If you would like to apply to be a participant, please complete the short application below by October 18th.

The first years of ministry after seminary can be a time of significant transition and integration. To lead prophetic, life-giving ministries, a ministry leader needs both the inner resources of courage and resilience as well as a community of trustworthy peers. The Circle of Trust® model offers an invitation to explore one’s inner life and to build trustworthy relationships through a process that is intentionally ecumenical, cross-cultural, and multi-modal. Rather than relying on hierarchical models of mentorship, participants will engage a model of mutual mentoring based on the Circle of Trust® approach.

The series will be led by Rev. Chelsey Hillyer, who received her Master of Divinity from Eden in 2015 and who studied with Parker Palmer in her training to become a Courage and Renewal Facilitator in 2018. An ordained United Methodist Elder, Chelsey has experience leading both congregations and ministries beyond the local church in a variety of contexts. Committed to intersectional justice, Chelsey has firsthand experience of the challenges of leading communities through the theological and social shifts faith communities navigate today.

“One of the great advantages of going to Eden was the incredible resources of encouragement, support, and creativity I found in my peers,” Chelsey says. “When I graduated, I missed the generative dialogue that came from engaging with other committed progressive Christian leaders. With this series, I hope to give recent Eden graduates the opportunity to continue that peer formation as they integrate their learnings into their contextual practices of ministry and to provide them with the opportunity to develop soul-deep leadership practices for sustainable ministry.”

Out of an abundance of caution, both retreats and peer learning calls will be held virtually, with sensitivity and adaptation to the opportunities and limitations that virtual spaces hold. Our first retreat begins on the afternoon of Monday, October 25th and concludes by noon on Wednesday, October 27th.

Participant cost is $500. This experience is generously supported by the Walker Leadership Institute. In addition, individual scholarships will be available through a simple application process.

For more information – go to webpage or contact Rev. Chelsey Hillyer  ([email protected] or 309.310.6437) or Director of the Walker Leadership Steve Lawler ([email protected] or 314.753.7911).


Rev. Chelsey Hillyer is an Ordained Elder in the UMC, as well as a Facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal. She lives in Jefferson City, Missouri with her spouse and daughter, guinea pig, dog, and a whole mess of composting worms. She currently works with individuals and groups to support them in their pursuits of soul-lead leadership and ministries. As a writer and activist, Chelsey seeks to articulate intersectional understandings of justice and wellbeing in the world. You can learn more about her work at www.amateurefforts.com.