Sr. Rachel Dietz, a licensed clinical and social worker and a licensed marriage and family therapist, has given many retreats and workshops for individuals and groups for more than 20 years. Currently she directs the Spiritual Director Formation program at St. Scholastica Retreat Center and has a small counseling practice.
Velma Frye (left in picture) is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist with a strong background in classical and popular styles who performed nine times on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and went on a 6-college tour with Garrison as his pianist and vocal duet partner. Her fourth CD, Sacred Pauses, puts Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB’s poetry in Seven Sacred Pauses to music. While continuing to perform, record, and teach piano, Velma leads weekly singing circles for women and for mixed chorus. She also puts these skills to use in workshops and retreats.
Nicholas G. Cole, MD, has been practicing prayer since attending his first ten-day retreat in Snowmass, Colorado in May, 1990. In 1991 he was commissioned to teach the prayer and has presented numerous introductory workshops. He began serving retreats at Snowmass (St. Benedict's Monastery Retreat Center) in 1993. Nick is now retired from the active practice of medicine. He does some volunteer medical clinic work and teaches in the residency program in the University of Colorado in Denver. He also continues to share the prayer through retreat work and centering prayer workshops. He is married to Carolyn and they share five children and nine grandchildren. Nick and Carolyn divide their time between Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Morrison, Colorado.
Cindy Shaw ministers through the Emmaus Retreat House in the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, where she serves as a spiritual director, directs individual and group retreats, days of reflection, and workshops on various topics, including Ignatian spirituality.
After a thirty-year career as a radiation therapist, Cindy returned to the classroom where she received her M.A. Ministry and her M.A. certification in spiritual direction and retreat direction from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Cindy co-authored My Heart’s Desire, an adult formation series, served as a guest columnist in the Arkansas Catholic, and is currently collaborating on an adult formation series. Cindy moved to Iowa from Arkansas, where she spent the majority of her adult life in both parish and diocesan ministry. She and her husband Cody have been married for 45 years, have four children and 17 grandchildren.
Fr. Tom Elliott is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been a priest in the diocese since 1999. He received certification as a spiritual director through the Institute of Priestly Formation. He is an active retreat leader and spiritual director who enjoys teaching RCIA and providing adult faith formation. He often expresses his spirituality through music, photography, art, and videography.
"My hope is that everything I do as a priest and everything I am as a priest gives people an opportunity to encounter the living God and encourages them to deepen their personal prayer life," Fr. Tom said. "I've come to understand that personal prayer is essential for Christian apostleship and is the path to deepening intimacy with God."
Jillian Guthrie, LCSW is a mental health therapist, and Founder and Presenter of the organization Healers in Balance, created to identify and address the challenges faced by those in the helping professions; fostering health in healers and their work environments. Working in the field for the past 25 years, she has a range of experience that includes State and Private Counseling Clinics, Child Welfare/Juveniles, Homeless, Emergency Services, Adjunct Professor, and Clinical Supervisor/Trainer. In addition to providing presentations/workshops, consultation, interviews, and literature through her organization, she has a successful private practice in Eureka Springs, AR. Workshop participants have described Jillian’s speaking style as open, insightful, interactive, challenging, humorous, genuine, and real-world experienced.
Diana's passion is working with creativity through the dream, images, the body and all manner of material. This has led her to explore a wide variety of professions – from fashion to psychology. Trained as a Jungian psychotherapist, Diana is a skilled educator, an international keynote speaker, consultant, leader of pilgrimages and an iconographer. As a senior presenter with the Haden Institute since 1998, teaching Spiritual Direction and Dreamwork, Diana has deepened her passion for the integration of the unconscious into body and life, embracing the true teachings of Christianity's Wisdom tradition. Ordained an Interfaith Minister, Diana continues to search for the common threads that weave humanity and soul together.
Lance grew up in Monroeville, Alabama where he began following Christ at age 12 and preached his first sermon at age 16. He received his Bachelor’s degree at Auburn University in Montgomery, his Masters of Divinity at New Orleans Seminary and his Doctorate of Ministry at Samford University in Birmingham. This year marks Lance’s 20th year in ministry. He led two churches in Alabama, and then served as senior pastor of FBC Muskogee, OK for 10 years before coming to Mena.
Lance and his wife Melina are now celebrating 20 years of marriage. They have two children – Luke, age 14 and Jake, age 16. Lance likes taking long walks with Melina and sitting on his porch with a good cup of coffee. But most of all he loves the constant pursuit of God – forever seeking and finding and following the Christ he met as a child.
His life verse is Matthew 7:7 "Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened unto you."