Teaching and Upcoming Workshops

Marcelle Martin has traveled widely to facilitate programs at retreat centers and Quaker meetings across the USA. She began leading workshops and teaching courses about spirituality in 1986. From 2006-2010, she served as resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill retreat and study center (in Wallingford, PA).  She has been a core teacher of the 9-month Nurturing Faithfulness programs held at Woolman Hill retreat center and online, and of the Way of Ministry Program, co-sponsored by the School of the Spirit and Pendle Hill.  In 2013, Marcelle was the Mullen Writing Fellow at Earlham School of Religion, where she worked on her book, Our Life is Love: the Quaker Spiritual Journey, published by Inner Light Books in 2016.  This book examines ten elements of the spiritual transformation experienced by the first Friends and by Quakers in our time.  A second book, A Guide to Faithfulness Groups was published in 2019.  Marcelle is following a leading of the Spirit to nurture the vitality of individuals and spiritual communities by helping people open to the direct experience of God active within and among them. She is a member of Swarthmore Friends Meeting (PA), which recognizes and supports her ministry.

Topics of her classes, workshops, and retreats have included: The Spiritual Journey, Being Spiritual Companions to One Another, Discernment, Clearness Committees, Nurturing Faithfulness, Experiment with Light, Exploring Prayer, Listening for God’s Call, Mysticism, Healing, Forgiveness, Quakerism, the Way of Ministry, Prophetic Ministry, Contemplative Prayer, and the Lives and Teachings of Inspired Women and Men.

Marcelle is available to lead retreats, facilitate workshops, and teach classes on all of these subjects.

MM May 2018 crop b

Below are descriptions of a March 2020 retreat, Practices for Supporting Faithfulness and three recent programs:  a five-day Wisdom School co-led with Cynthia Bourgeault and Paulette Meier May 12-17, 2019, a three-day weekend workshop on Exploring Prayer and Meditation over Memorial Day weekend 2019, and a nine-month program, Nurturing Faithfulness, co-led with Hilary Burgin, Sept 2019 to May 2020.

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Practices for Supporting Faithfulness

Ben Lomond Quaker Center

1000 Hubbard Gulch Rd, Ben Lomond, CA 95005

March 24-29, 2020

In this 5-day retreat we’ll try practices to help each other pay attention to the divine presence within, explore what blocks our whole-hearted response, and offer support for following the leadings of the Spirit.  There will be time both for individual reflection and for supporting one another in pairs and small groups.  We’ll worship together and practice the Faithfulness Groups format.

view from Orchard Lodge to the Quaker Center office

Ben Lomond Quaker Center is a lovely retreat setting nestled among 80 acres of redwood forest, an hour and a half south of San Francisco and 25 minutes outside of Santa Cruz.

Redwood Lodge before morning session 2

Payment for this 5-day retreat is by sliding scale.  Check the Ben Lomond website in 2020 to register.

Quaker Center entrance with Elaine and Bob

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Recently Offered Programs

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MAY 24-27 (FRIDAY-MONDAY), 2019 (Memorial Day weekend)

WOOLMAN HILL Quaker Retreat Center

107 Keets Road Deerfield MA 01342

Meetinghouse interior

During this three-day weekend, we will experiment with numerous approaches to prayer and meditation, includingthanks-giving, petition, intercession, healing prayer, Examen, Lectio Divina, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, Centering Prayer, Grand Silence, extended meeting for worship, and prayer with scripture, images, music, and the body. Through these experiments, we will seek to know more fully the nature of our consciousness, our true self, and our connection to God. We will explore how communion with the Divine affects not only our inner and outer lives, but radiates beyond us into the world. There will be opportunities to share our experiences with partners and in small groups. No particular beliefs are required, only a willingness to earnestly try different kinds of prayer and meditation, notice what we experience, and listen respectfully to the experiences shared by others.

Program cost of $310 includes program, meals and accommodation. Sliding scale and scholarships available.

Green arriving in WH h

Marcelle Martin, a member of Swarthmore Meeting, is the author of Our Life is Love: the Quaker Spiritual Journey. For over twenty years, she has been leading workshops for Friends. She was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill for four years, and the core teacher for the Nurturing Worship, Faith & Faithfulness program at Woolman Hill.

NOTE: This workshop is also a chance to experience a taste of the Nurturing Faithfulness nine-month course to be offered at Woolman Hill August 2019-May 2020. More info about the course can be found at woolmanhill.org/upcomingprograms/nurturingfaithfulness/.

413-774-3431   www. woolmanhill.org   info@ woolmanhill.org   www.Facebook.com/

WH Conference Center with daffodils a b

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The Wisdom of Jesus and the Light of Christ

May 12-17, 2019

A five-day Quaker Wisdom School with Cynthia Bourgeault,

Marcelle Martin, and Paulette Meier

(Sunday dinner through Friday lunch.)

$985/private room; $885/shared room; $540/commuter

If you are seeking financial assistance to participate in this program, please click on the link for our Financial Assistance Application form, below. Do NOT register online.

Call Us for More Information!

610-566-4507, ext. 137

Financial aid may be available. If you are seeking funds to participate in this program, click to review and complete our Financial Assistance Application and a Pendle Hill staff member will follow-up with you shortly (please do NOT register online). Thank you for your interest.

The first Quakers were convinced they had rediscovered the original form of Christianity, in which the risen Christ was their inward Teacher, guiding them directly. From its inception, Quakerism has been deeply rooted in the living presence of Christ, experienced as the inward Light. Both faith and practice emerge from maintaining a steady connection to this wellspring of compassionate abundance and ethical action.

In this five-day Quaker Wisdom School, Cynthia Bourgeault, drawing from classical/enduring mystical principles, will guide us in exploring Jesus as a Wisdom teacher who invited his followers to a radical transformation of consciousness. Marcelle Martin will help us examine the Quaker experience of the Light of Christ within, which leads faithful people to participate actively in God’s transforming work in the world. And Paulette Meier will help to make the whole exploration heart-riveting by leading us in chants based on the words of passionate Quakers who experienced the living presence of Christ.

Material will be drawn not only from Quaker writers through the centuries, but also from the canonical gospels and the Gospel of Thomas. Our time together will include rhythms of communal worship, prayer, study, and work.


Modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader,Cynthia Bourgeault travels globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom path. A long-time advocate of the meditative practice of Centering Prayer, she has worked closely with such colleagues as Thomas Keating, Bruno Barnhart, and Richard Rohr and has participated in numerous InterSpiritual dialogues and events with such leaders as A.H. Almaas, Kabir Helminski, Swami Atmarupananda, and Rami Shapiro. Cynthia is the author of eight books: The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, The Wisdom Jesus, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, Mystical Hope, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, Chanting the Psalms, and Love is Stronger than Death.

Paulette MeierPaulette Meier is a singer/songwriter, whose work as a peace educator led to her award-winning CD, Come Join the Circle: LessonSongs for Peacemaking, used in classrooms and families around the country to inspire and help children learn the ways of non-violence. While a Quaker artist-in-residence at Pendle Hill, Paulette was inspired to set some early Quaker texts to song and record them in chant-like, a cappella style.

"Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong" coverHer Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong opens a window on Quaker spirituality and offers a meditative focus in spiritual practice. We will learn the chants in this collection, and they will be woven into our meditation and work together. For more information about Paulette and the chants visit: http://www.paulettemeier.com/spiritual-wisdom.html.

MM May 2018 crop bMarcelle Martin is a member of Swarthmore Friends Meeting (PA). Her best-selling book Our Life is Love (QuakerBooks of FGC) explores the ten essential elements of the Quaker spiritual journey. She has led retreats at Quaker meetings across the country and for four years was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill. She is the author of two Pendle Hill pamphlets, Invitation to a Deeper Communion and Holding One Another in the Light. Her blog, “A Whole Heart,” is at www.awholeheart.com.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill. FAQs about Short-Term Education Programs (please read before calling). Click to view the flyer.

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A collaboration between Woolman Hill Retreat Center,
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends,
Hilary Burgin and Marcelle Martin
August 2019 to May 2020

Nurturing Faithfulness is a multi-generational faith and leadership program designed to help Friends explore ways to meet God more deeply, hone methods of discernment, reach for fuller faithfulness, and ultimately bring these gifts and strengthened abilities home to their local meetings and beyond. The program is structured to set in place support, encouragement, and accountability. It includes three weekend residencies from August 2019-May 2020 at Woolman Hill, as well as a short mid-course retreat organized by regional groups. Between residencies, participants will engage in online learning and discussion, and connect once a month with local (or virtual) Faithfulness Groups, as well as with a care committee based in their local meeting. The class members will become a community of practice so as to support each other in providing and receiving spiritual nurture to and from local meetings in lasting ways.

In this video, past participants speak about their experience.


Information webinar: Jan 22, 2019 (recording available)


Our Quaker tradition is a path that, when lived deeply and faithfully, can have a tremendous transforming and healing effect on the world. Our hope is to seed deeper worship and faith through this program, as well as greater spiritual vitality and more radical faithfulness in our local meetings. The program is designed to help educate, equip, and support those following a leading, ministers, elders, leaders and all those who hold a concern for deeper spiritual grounding and courageous faithfulness. Participants will be given specific guidance, practice, and support in deeply sharing their Quaker faith and faithful witness, first in their own meetings/churches, and then in the larger world. Participants will undertake projects and ministry to bring new spiritual deepening, religious education, and other opportunities to their meetings and to other groups. In this program we are also concerned to interrupt domination because of race and class in our Quaker processes.

Details of the Program

The Nurturing Faithfulness (NF) program includes a total of ten overnights—four at the first residency, three at a mid-course weekend, and three at the closing weekend, plus a short mid-course retreat organized by regional groups. In addition to practices that help open the heart to the power of God, the program will also teach skills in discernment, methods to offer and find spiritual support, and ways to ground one’s faithfulness, ministry or witness in one’s home meeting. Participants will form local Faithfulness Groups that foster spiritual openness and accountability, and which support Friends over time in meeting God more intimately in worship, in daily life, and in service or witness. Faithfulness Groups of four to six people agree to come together for a two hour meeting once a month for mutual help in faithfully discerning and follow divine guidance. These local groups can include some Friends who do not enroll in the program. The members will discern together and carry out teaching and ministry to help deepen the worship and faith of their local meetings as well as to support meeting members and one another to grow in courageous faithfulness. Each participant in NF will also form a care committee which includes at least two members of their home meeting. This committee will meet with them periodically to discuss their learning in NF and help them find ways to share it with their meeting.

After acceptance into the Nurturing Faithfulness program, both before and between residencies, participants will read assigned texts and watch short videos, then discuss them online. Participants will connect with each other in online webinars about once a month. They will form local Faithfulness Groups based on the guidelines and introductory materials provided by the program, participating monthly in such a group for the rest of the program. Each participant will connect with a mentor who will accompany them throughout the program.

The teaching team for Nurturing Faithfulness will include Hilary Burgin and Marcelle Martin as the core teachers. 

Hilary Burgin is the Executive Director of Quaker Voluntary Service (QVS).  Previously she served as the Boston City Coordinator of QVS and the Young Adult Engagement Coordinator of New England Yearly Meeting. In her work, Hilary has had the opportunity to support young adults engaged in the never-ending questions of living an integrated life. Additionally, she has worked with Quaker meetings on welcoming and outreach. Hilary grew up in Acton (MA) Friends Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting, attended Oberlin College, and became a Bostonian in the fall of 2010.    

Marcelle Martin was the resident Quaker Studies teacher at Pendle Hill for four years and has traveled widely among Friends to lead classes, workshops, and retreats related to the Quaker spiritual life. Requests for a program like this rose after Marcelle was invited to travel in the ministry in New England in October 2016, to share about her book, Our Life is Love: The Quaker Spiritual Journey.  She is currently working on the manuscript of another book, A Guide to Faithfulness Groups.

Two or three elders will serve on the teaching team, including Janet Hough and Anne Pomeroy.  Xinef Afraim will be the guest teacher at the first residency, and Jay O’Hara at the third residency, adding richness with their particular perspective and expertise.

A series of intentional invitations to engagement and activity for the home meetings will increase the likelihood that the meeting will embrace the participant’s journey as part of their own venture in the Light. This parallel path for the local meeting will begin with the application process and will encourage careful discernment requesting a letter of affirmation witnessing to the applicant’s Living journey in the Light. This could come from the local meeting or other Friends. 

Our Hopes

To have the greatest positive impact for New England, we need to have a strong, diverse, and fairly large class. We especially hope to include young adult Friends and Friends of color. We believe this will make for a richer and more diverse program. To make the program accessible to all who would benefit from the program and contribute to the overall experience, there is a sliding scale fee. We also hope we can find sufficient scholarship assistance for those who cannot afford even the more modest fee.  Those in need of financial support will be encouraged to seek some partnership in funding from their meetings and other bodies.

The program is designed for 24 participants. Through April 1, priority will be given to members of NEYM for early applications. Afterward, it will be open equally to Friends from other Yearly Meetings. We believe this Nurturing Worship, Faith, and Faithfulness program will benefit not only the actual participants, but a much wider circle of Friends.

Dates of Residencies at Woolman Hill

August 30 – September 3, 2017 (Friday through Tuesday, Labor Day weekend)

December 12 – 15, 2017 (Thursday through Sunday)

April 30 – May 3, 2018 (Thursday through Sunday)

Actual cost: $2,500 per participant.    There is a sliding scale fee, with the average cost being $1,800.  In addition, we hope significant scholarship assistance will be available.

For more information go to the Woolman Hill website.

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Blog post about Marcelle’s visit to Haverford College while serving as Friend in Residence, September 2013.

Marcelle travels to lead workshops, retreats, and conver­sations about the Quaker spiritual journey and many aspects of the spiritual lifeFor more information, you can contact her by leaving a reply at the bottom of this page.

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