• Friday, July 21, 2017
    • 5:00 PM
    • Sunday, July 23, 2017
    • 1:00 PM
    • Immanuel Retreat Center
    • 14

    Learn to consciously use the voice and music as tools for personal transformation, creativity and connection to spirit. This SOUNDS OF TRANSFORMATION workshop will introduce practices of humming, toning chanting, mantras and simple improvisation. Tools that can be used in creating a daily sound practice to continue after the workshop. We will explore new ways of experiencing music and how to use music and sound more effectively in daily life. In addition to sound the group makes together, Ruth will be creating live music using voice, medieval harp and flute created specifically for the group of people gathered.

    "I love the work I’m doing now as a musician and a sound healing practitioner because it uses all the skills that I have worked on throughout my life: singing, flute playing, keyboard, harp as well as spiritual practices that I have engaged in for many years. I create music live for individual clients and workshops, reiki circles, yoga classes and massage. When I work with people, I encourage them to use music more consciously and especially to use their own voices as a tool for transformation, healing and connection to spirit. Music, sound and vibration are amazing tools and I think in times to come, people will realize more and more what a powerful gift they are for both healing ourselves and the planet. "  - Ruth Cunningham


    Ruth Cunningham is a classically trained musician, a sound healing practitioner, and a founding member  Anonymous 4. She combines these skills to improvise music that connects people to the healing and spiritual power of music. She specializes in improvisational sacred music from varied spiritual traditions in both liturgical and concert settings. Her solo program Light and Shadow encompasses a mixture of music including several traditional chants from Western and Eastern traditions as well as Ruth's own compositions and improvisations. The texts include Medieval Latin Marian texts, Sanskrit texts, prayers, and poems by Ruth's sister Elizabeth Cunningham. She accompanies herself on Medieval harp, Renaissance flute and recorder, piano and shruti box.

    With Anonymous 4, she performed in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East and made twelve recordings with harmonia mundi and one, Voices of Light by contemporary composer Richard Einhorn, for Sony Classical. After leaving Anonymous 4 for a number of years to study music and healing, Ruth rejoined the group in 2007 and sang with them until the group disbanded in 2015. 

    Ruth's most recent CD releases are Light and Shadow: Chants, Prayers and Improvisations and Harpmodes: Journey for Voice and HarpShe has released two CDs of multi faith chants with colleague Ana Hernandez: Blessed by Light and  HARC: Inside Chants. Among her other recordings are Sacred Light with harpist Diana Stork on the At Peace Music label and Ancient Beginnings which is part of the Open Ear Center’s music for healing series.  She is featured on Invoking the Muse a CD with Frame Drummer Layne Redmond released on the SoundsTrue label.

    She was part of the women's ensemble of Early Music NY and participated in their CD Music of Medieval Love . She has also performed and recorded with the Renaissance vocal ensemble Pomerium. She is a regular member of the professional choir at St Ignatius of Antioch in New York City. As a sound healing practitioner, Ruth works with individuals and groups on using the voice and music as tools for healing and transformation. She collaborates with other healers and musicians in a variety of settings and is interested in integrating sound healing and performance. Ruth played and taught a sound healing class for the Integrative Stress Management Program at St Vincent's Hospital in NYC from 2001-2007. In 2001-2002 she was among the musicians who offered their services at St. Paul's Chapel, which served as a refuge for the workers at Ground Zero.

    Ruth received a B. Mus. in Performance of Early Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and taught recorder and renaissance flute at the Amherst Early Music Workshops for sixteen years. She is certified as a cross cultural music healing practitioner (CCMHP) by the Open Ear Center where she studied with Pat Moffitt Cook. She has also studied vocal improvisation with Rhiannon.

    To listen to Ruth's music and singing, visit her website, www.ruthcunningham.com.

    • Saturday, July 29, 2017
    • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    • Currier Hall
    • 14

    The image, the sound, even the presence of the harp can evoke beauty, magic, stillness, peace. What is it about the harp that draws us? Why do so many cultures claim the harp as their national instrument and why such variety in one instrument called the harp? What is this association we commonly have with harp and the angels?

    Join Judi Byron, Certified Therapeutic Harp Practitioner as we explore these and many other questions. We will look at the harp’s rich history through time and cultures; examine Harp Therapy, a new practice from an age old tradition; look at the science of sound through the harp’s healing lens and get to put your fingers on some harps and play! There will be on hand a variety of harps to explore. 

    Judi has a degree in education, is certified in both Therapeutic Harp and Vibroacoustic Harp Therapy and has played the harp for over 30 years. She leads workshops and lectures on the “Healing Harp”. She has provided palliative care through the harp at The UVM Medical Center in Burlington (formerly Fletcher Allen Hospital), and plays at the bedside for the sick and dying both in hospitals and nursing homes as well as in private homes. She travels Vermont playing sing-alongs for residents of nursing homes, adult day care and rehab and has had much success with patients accessing memory through song.

    Judi is a harp performer, teacher, choir director, liturgical musician and multi-instrumentalist, playing piano, guitar and steel pans along with the harp, though not at the same time! Judi entertained the Trapp Family Lodge’s guests through harp music in the dining room and was the Lodge’s Music Director leading and teaching programs for kids and adults. Judi attended the University of Massachusetts where she received her degree in Education, and Berklee College of Music in Boston where she majored in jazz performance. Judi is a member of the Music Teachers National Association and Vermont Music Teachers Association and teachers privately from her studio in Duxbury, Vermont.

    Judi is the proud owner of nine harps from a wee 10 stringharp to a double strung 68 stringed one-of- a-kind “sidewinder”. Small harps will be available to rent for the workshop (day) or by the month if you would like to pursue learning to play the harp.

    Judi is available for instruction. Call (802) 244-7237 for more information or email jubaladyharps@comcast.net.

    • Friday, September 22, 2017
    • 5:00 PM
    • Sunday, September 24, 2017
    • 2:30 PM
    • Stone Church Center
    • 22

    In all the world's religions, there are mystical traditions that offer rich legacies of spiritual practice both old and new. In this retreat, we will explore a myriad of practices, such as chanting , walking meditation and centering prayer, that open the heart and awaken the soul. Practical, applied spirituality nurtures receptiveness to the presence of God or our true selves and helps us see the miraculous in the everyday,  

     In this spacious retreat, we will explore:

    • Christian Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer
    • Buddhist Mindfulness and Meditation
    • Worship and Ritual
    • Walking the Labyrinth
    • Prayer Beads
    • Sacred Song and Chant
    • Somatic Breathing
    • The Eucharist

    While the retreat will be led by Robert Bowler (Beau), Director of Stone Church Center, various Guest Faculty will share their understandings based on many years of experience in particular practices.

    Our time together will be enhanced by contemplative morning and evening prayer, optional spiritual direction, informal discussion and personal time as well as the main group sessions. 


    When you first look at the schedule, it may seem very full. However, please note, that for several of the sessions there are two options, and if you are not interested in a particular session, you should feel to take the time to go for a walk, read and even take a nap! A retreat is a time to refresh and find new inspiration. All the sessions are resources to assist you in that goal. Please view the full schedule HERE.

    There are some options with extra costs on the registration form. There is a small charge for the materials for making your own prayer beads during the Saturday afternoon session. And, if you wish to participate in the Breath of the Heart workshop Sunday at 9:00 am, there is a fee for that. However, you can also choose to have a more leisurely Sunday morning with the option of attending the Sunday Eucharist worship service in the church at 10 am.


    Robert Bowler or "Beau" is the Director of Stone Church Center. He majored in Religious Studies at Reed College, earned an M.Div. degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister.


    Liz Rogers will lead us in Sacred Song and Chant and serve as our Chaplain, sitting in on our sessions and available for private counsel throughout the retreat. She is a psychotherapist specializing in the ways spirituality increases mental and emotional health. She is also a singer/songwriter and, as a child, sang for the Metropolitan Opera. 

    The Rev. Bruce MacDuffie is a retired Episcopal priest associated with Immanuel Episcopal Church. Bruce spent much of his ministry serving churches comprised of Native Americans in North Dakota, other Midwestern Episcopal Dioceses and most recently he served parishes in upstate New York. In retirement, he is active in our area, presiding and preaching at Sunday services and guiding local congregations

    Manny Mansbach teaches Insight (Vipassana) Meditation with Vermont Insight Meditation Center in Brattleboro, VT,  in Bellows Falls, VT and elsewhere in New England, and offers counseling and consultation for individuals, couples and organizations. For his entire adult life, Manny has been keenly interested in nurturing and facilitating the connections between transformative inner work such as meditation and therapy, relational practices based in skillful communication, development of wholesome community, and nonviolent social transformation.

    Sadelle Wiltshire, who will lead the session on Walking the Labyrinth, is a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth facilitator, a textile/jewelry/mixed media artist and a Certified Zentangle® Teacher from Putney, Vermont. She has taught a wide variety of workshops across the US and as far as the UK. Sadelle’s art work is influenced by her Quaker faith and she enjoys creating, practicing and teaching with a view towards mindfulness and contemplation.

    Nancy Tusinski will teach the session on Prayer Beads and offer private Spiritual Direction during the retreat. She received her formal training as a Spiritual Director with the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation in Lino Lakes, MN. She also has a BS in Adult Learning and Development and is a librarian in a small Vermont town. 

    Kaiilama Morris will lead the Sunday Morning session on Somatic Breath Practice. She is a lifetime seeker and supporter of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Her interest in a variety of spiritual studies and experiences. Her first connecting breathing experience was so profound and astounding that six months later she began training to facilitate others in breath practice.


    PLEASE NOTE: The Base cost of $275 is for Regular Tuition and all meals, Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Pay 20% less than that with Early Bird pricing if you register by September 15. There are also further discounts for Friends and Sponsors. You will find the various housing and commuter and other options once you begin the registration process. Call for scholarship information. 


    Breakfast is self-serve with the breakfast foods available in the kitchen. Lunches and dinners are catered buffet style. Our caterers are skilled at accommodating various dietary needs. Please make a note of your dietary and any other needs on the registration form.


    The Retreat House accommodations are comfortable but basic and therefore relatively inexpensive. If you wish to stay at a local Bed and Breakfast, please choose the commuter option. You would then have breakfast at the B&B and lunches and dinners in the Retreat House. We have negotiated special prices at a local B&B: 

    The Harvest Barn Inn ($10 off going rate per night). 
    Ask for the Stone Church Arts rate.

    • Sunday, September 24, 2017
    • 9:00 AM - 12:15 PM
    • Currier Hall, 12 Church St.
    • 8

    Once you've learned this natural process, your spiritual liberation, your emotional healing process, and your mastery of the body becomes easier and more efficient.

    "Breath is the master key to health and wellness a function we can learn regulate and develop in order to improve our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being."  --Andrew Weil, MD.

    About Somatic Breath Practice... 

    When we were newborns most of us breathed easily, freely engaging our full breath system. We inhale fully into the belly then release and relax our exhale. As we experience life physically, mentally, and emotionally we learn "coping" patterns. These patterns usually have a mirror image in our breath. These unconscious breath patterns become our “normal” way of breathing; often allowing little or no breathe to certain areas of the body. Over time, this can lead to physical, emotional, and mental im-balance or dis-ease.

    Somatic Breath Practice is a conscious intentional tool that assists the body to return to an open healthy breath. Through gentle “coaching” the body and mind to learn to relax into a connected full belly breath allowing the healing of the breath system and all the "bodies" to unfold. Each person's experience and journey of this unfolding is unique and individual. The body, through the breath, knows the way to wellness. Trusting the breath to lead the way is a key to allowing the pathway to each level of freedom in the body, mind and emotions.

    An additional benefit of opening our breath is a deeper connection to our "essential" self specifically connecting us to the amazing love that each one of truly IS! If you yearn to know your true self, lay down and breathe and you will discover you!

    How are repressed emotions and traumas resolved with Somatic Breath Therapy ?  

    Restricted breathing often comes from stuffing our feelings. By holding our breath we deactivate emotions. This subconscious behavior requires a tremendous amount of energy and creates chronic tension in our bodies. These repressed feelings affect our behavior unconsciously often in limiting and self-sabotaging ways. Conscious connected breathing integrates the wounded aspects of self into one functioning whole. It produces an entrainment effect in the electromagnetic field which allows dense, lower vibrational patterns to be transformed into a higher vibrational energy. Through this process, trauma is cleared. Old patterns are restructured and the true inner nature reveals itself. Additionally, over time Somatic Breath Therapy changes neurobiology by allowing our memories/ traumas/experiences to become fully "integrated" instead of just feelings/emotions/reactions with no words or understanding. 

    Somatic Breath Practice stimulates natural healing of the body/mind system...

    Physically: tension relief; stress reduction; detoxification; improved respiratory capacity; strengthened immune system; opens Chakras; dissolution of limiting beliefs and tremendous energy increase. 

    Emotionally: Can initiate a long lasting change in self esteem, life style outlook and ability to emotionally and mentally regulate your life. Enlivens Innate Emotional Intelligence.  

    Mentally: limiting beliefs are dissolved, mental clarity is improved and the subconscious mind is cleared. Peace is achieved and creativity is expanded. 

    Spiritually: your awareness of the connection to Source is solidified. Many report mystical experiences of great beauty which bring insight and greater clarity to their lives by providing access to higher states of consciousness. 

    Please bring a small pillow, blanket and water bottle and wear loose, comfortable clothing. 


    Kaiilama Morris is a lifetime seeker and supporter of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Her interest in a variety of spiritual studies and experiences such as a thirty five year marriage and mothering 3 sons has led her to explore Somatic Breath Practice to receive relief from suffering. Her first connecting breathing experience  was so profound and astounding that six months later she began to facilitate others towards the goal of certification.

    She initially studied with Judy Kravitz of the Transformational Breath Foundation and then completed her training with the Power of Breath Institute to become a Certified Somatic Breath Educator and facilitator. Presently, Over the past fifteen years she has facilitated individuals, groups and trainings. 

    Kaiilama has a genuine intuitive gift sprinkled with experience, compassion and deep inner knowing. She consistently champions joy, overall well being and true happiness. Her passion in life is to assist others in finding their way home to a deeper connection and a relaxed freedom of truly loving themselves and life! 

    • Friday, November 03, 2017
    • 5:00 PM
    • Sunday, November 05, 2017
    • 1:00 PM
    • Immanuel Retreat Center
    • 14

    This workshop will lead you into the hollow hills, the icy sea, and the splendor of the sky, as they once were experienced by the ancient Celtic races.  Through discussion and shamanic journeying, we will unravel their unique and poetic vision, their wild and courageous heart, and their deep reverence for the natural world, both seen and unseen.  We will learn how to access, for purposes of divination and wisdom gathering, the Otherworld, and locate our spirit allies there. We will try our hand at shapeshifting, omen hunting and love-talking to nature. We will make power bracelets and bring back a cloak of power from the Otherworld. We will swim with the salmon and run with the deer, as the storied Fianna once did. We will ignite, align and draw inspiration from the three cauldrons of warming, motion and knowing. We will explore the Celtic Medicine Wheel, Samhain and the dark time of the year, the spiritual intention of ordeal, and the transmigration of the soul.

    "The shamanic path is a way for ordinary people to live their lives in an extraordinary way, a way of living more wholly and deeply in the world, more peaceably and compassionately.  A way of becoming the hero of your own story."  --
    Jane Burns


    Jane Burns is a shamanic practitioner and teacher who lives and works in Southbury, CT.  When diagnosed with cancer in 1996, she was inspired to make the journey a spiritual one, and that decision steered her away from chemotherapy and radiation towards choices like energy medicine and shamanism.  In the ensuing years, she studied core shamanism, soul retrieval, Medicine for the Earth, and shamanic teacher training with Sandra Ingerman, Celtic Shamanism and Faery Doctoring with Tom Cowan, and Compassionate Depossession and mediumship with Betsy Bergstrom.  Her ancestry is Irish and Scottish, and her practice is motivated by the challenge of bringing Celtic Shamanism, a broken tradition, back to its original vibrancy.  She started her client practice (www.journeystothesoul.com) in 2005, and has been teaching shamanism since 2007.  She is also a Celtic Reiki Master, an ordained minister, a writer and inspirational speaker.

    Jane's book, Up a Tree: A Novel and Shamanic Handbook, is available on Amazon.com.

    When Clare discovers troubling secrets in her dead husband’s papers, she turns to some unusual sources for help.   Through the power and insight of shamanic revelations and tools, she is able to resolve her struggles and restore health and stability to her family in some very unexpected ways. Up A Tree includes a handbook of journeys, tools and tips for readers who wish to access this path of spiritual guidance on their own.

    • Thursday, December 14, 2017
    • 5:00 PM
    • Saturday, December 16, 2017
    • 1:00 PM
    • Immanuel Retreat Center
    • 16

    An Advent Retreat

    Things Celtic seem to be appearing frequently in our culture – in music, art, jewelry, movies – as well as in spirituality. In fact, Celtic spiritual tradition is deeply embedded in Anglican Christianity. 

    The ancient Celts prized deep connections with nature and the divine wisdom hidden within it – in the rocks, plants and animals that share our world, as well as in our souls and physical bodies. Due to current upheavals in our earth’s climate as well as in human society, a deep yearning for a different way seems to be emerging in many of us, which may find resonance in the wisdom of our Celtic Christian ancestors. 

    In this introductory retreat, we will discuss what traits distinguish Celtic Christian spirituality, including images and ideas coming from earlier spiritual systems.  We will read and discuss selected writings from early Celtic Christian theologians that illuminate their thoughts and theology.  We will study and learn some prayers from the Carmina Gadelica, a collection of early Celtic prayers from the Hebrides, as well as some early Gaelic chants.  We will hear and discuss stories of the Celtic saints.  Through the beauty of prayer, chant, Celtic harp music and song, story, and time spent walking and praying in nature, we will seek to deepen our awareness of Christ's presence, within ourselves and in all that surrounds us.


    James Ruff, our Retreat Leader, is a professional singer and harper specializing in music for voice and harp from Gaelic Scotland and Ireland.  A speaker of Scottish Gaelic and a member of the Episcopal Church since 2000, he has also been involved with the Ceile De (Culdee) Order – a Celtic Christian monastic order centered in Scotland – since 2005.  He has sung as soloist with many early music groups, opera companies and festivals throughout the US and in Europe, teaches Music: Voice at Vassar College, and was Director of Music  at Christ the King Episcopal Church in Stone Ridge, NY from 2004-2015.

    Robert Bowler or "Beau" is the Director of Immanuel Retreat Center and will be our host and Chaplain. He will sit in on the sessions, be available for private counsel, and lead Celtic Evening and Morning Prayer services. Beau majored in Religious Studies at Reed College, earned an M.Div. degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 1994 and has been practicing Celtic spirituality with the Ceile De Order since 2007.

Past Events

Saturday, April 22, 2017 Breath of the Heart: Intro to Somatic Breath Practice
Saturday, January 28, 2017 Breath of the Heart: Intro to Somatic Breath Practice
Friday, December 09, 2016 Hildegard of Bingen: Magistra, Mystic, Musician
Saturday, November 19, 2016 Mandala forms for Zentangle
Friday, November 11, 2016 Uniting Heaven and Earth: An Introduction to the Céile Dé Christian Tradition
Friday, September 30, 2016 A Heart for All: Awakening the Celtic Christ, a retreat in ordinary time
Saturday, June 18, 2016 Zentangle® Noir
Saturday, June 18, 2016 Nature & Garden Tangles, A Zentangle Class
Saturday, June 04, 2016 Art as Meditation: an Introduction to Zentangle®
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 The End is the Beginning: The Dynamic Spirituality of Meister Eckhart
Saturday, May 14, 2016 Help Make a Labyrinth for Immanuel Retreat Center
Saturday, May 14, 2016 Labyrinth Making Workshop
Friday, May 13, 2016 An Introduction to the Labyrinth: A Short Documentary Film, a Powerpoint Presentation, and a Labyrinth Walk
Saturday, May 07, 2016 Breath of the Heart: Introduction to Somatic Breath Therapy
Friday, May 06, 2016 A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O'Donohue
Saturday, April 16, 2016 Zentangle 201: Magic Tangles & Dancing Strings
Saturday, April 16, 2016 Art as Meditation: an Introduction to Zentangle®
Friday, April 15, 2016 A Celtic Pilgrimage with John O'Donohue
Saturday, February 27, 2016 Zentangle Mandalas ("Zendalas")
Saturday, February 13, 2016 Zentangle 802 – Shading & Embellishments
Saturday, January 23, 2016 Art as Meditation: an Introduction to Zentangle®
Saturday, January 09, 2016 Art as Meditation: an Introduction to Zentangle®
Friday, December 11, 2015 Pillars of Faith: Celtic Saints, a documentary film
Friday, December 11, 2015 Journeys with Celtic Christians, an Advent weekend retreat
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Contemplative Circle
Friday, October 23, 2015 Remembering the Songs: Traditional Native American Flute Music
Saturday, September 26, 2015 Breath of the Heart: Introduction to Somatic Breath Therapy
Saturday, July 26, 2014 QUIET DAY: The Way of the Mystics
Friday, March 28, 2014 RETREAT: Soul Stories: Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography
Saturday, March 01, 2014 QUIET DAY: The Emerging Church
Friday, February 21, 2014 RETREAT: Celtic Spirituality: A Holy Embrace of Spirit and Nature
Friday, February 14, 2014 WORKSHOP: Sound, Music & Healing

Contact Us:     Phone: 802-460-0110     Email: sca@sover.net     Snail Mail: 12 Church St., Bellows Falls, VT 05101

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