Elaine A Heath | Author | Speaker | Retreat Leader | Consultant | United States

Show up.

Pay attention.

Cooperate with God.

Release the outcome.



Retreat Leader


Hi, I'm Elaine Heath

I am an author, speaker, retreat leader, and consultant.

I have had an amazing life journey, growing up in poverty with many hard experiences, including having to leave home and find my way when I was a junior in high school. After my children were born I went to college, then seminary, then earned a PhD in theology. I'm ordained in the United Methodist Church, served as a professor for eleven years at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and as Dean and Professor of Missional and Pastoral Theology at Duke Divinity School, Duke University. I retired from Duke to lead Neighborhood Seminary, a non-profit which I co-founded to provide theological, practical, and spiritual formation for lay people to know how to help their neighborhoods flourish by participating with what God is doing in their neighborhoods. 

I live with my spouse at Spring Forest, a multicultural intentional community in rural North Carolina, where along with 7 friends we tend a forest and small farm that supports immigrants who experience food insecurity, hold day retreats for small groups and individuals, and host a decentralized mission church, The Church at Spring Forest. I serve as Abbess for our residential community, and Theologian in Residence for our church.

Elaine Feb 2021.jpg

We are at the forefront of a new reformation, one that is freeing the Christian faith from the sinful structures of patriarchy, racism, classism, many phobias, and exploitive forms of mission and evangelism. The new reformation is all about the emergence of a generous, hospitable, equitable form of Christianity that heals the wounds of the world. I believe much of the work for the church in the years ahead must focus on healing the wounds inflicted by Christendom so that the beauty and inclusive goodness of the Gospel can be heard, seen, and experienced. My work as an author, speaker, retreat leader, and consultant focuses on helping leaders and organizations lean into the healing, liberating, and spiritually transformative journey into which God is calling the church in this new era.

Elaine A Heath | Author | Speaker | Retreat Leader | Consultant | United States

Endorsements For Elaine Heath

There are lots of people doing great work in forming small missional communities and there are lots of people reflecting theologically on the shape of church we need to serve the present age, but few combine the two as well as Elaine Heath. Her writing is borne out of her mission experience. Her mission is shaped by deep theological reflection.


Revd Graham Horsley

Fresh Expressions Missioner

Methodist Church in Britain

If John Wesley is the father of Methodism, Elaine Heath is the mother of its 21st century version. Not content to live in ivory towers, Elaine practices what she preaches and teaches. With a joyful spirit and contemplative orientation, she engages in helping leaders to form communities of faith that honor their contexts.  She mentors people all over the world through her humble witness and curious heart. She offers wise council, inspired visions, theological depth, and a listening heart. It is a joy to be in her presence and an honor to learn at her feet. 


Beth Estock

Beth Estock Coaching & Consulting LLC

Dr. Heath is a revered teacher and leader with an incredible capacity to reach out to people across diverse theological frameworks and various cultural backgrounds. Through her winsome and welcoming personality, she is able to communicate with people of all ages. As a preacher, teacher, writer, and retreat leader, I am convinced that she is a prophet ahead of her time, and the church will be blessed by taking her seriously! She has the gift of reading the signs of the time and challenging her readers to get out of the framework of self-fulfilling theological insights and comfortable cultural biases. She inspires people of all faiths to participate in the extension work of the Reign of God as pilgrims in the path of the Crucified Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, Resident Bishop, The United Methodist Church, Boston Area