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Endorsements for Elaine Heath

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

Elaine Heath is a visionary leader, thinker, and practitioner of the Christian spiritual life. She brings the wisdom of scripture and of the saints and mystics into conversation with our current social realities to envision how persons and communities of faith today can live as sources of God’s love and justice in the world. In addition, she always seeks to model what she teaches through innovative experiments in community and formation while empowering others to do the same. Elaine has been serving as faculty at our Academy for Spiritual Formation retreats for many years and is a favorite presenter and companion guide. After journeying with Elaine for a few days, our lay and clergy participants alike often report feeling challenged, inspired, more creative, and ready to take new risks in their lives and ministries. If you have the opportunity to learn from and with Elaine, do not pass it up!


Johnny Sears

Director, Academy for Spiritual Formation & Emerging Ministries at The Upper Room

Nashville, TN


Elaine Heath has roots planted in the ancient and in the future.    She is a scholar with deep understanding of where we’ve been as a Christian movement across the last two millennia. For her “best practices,“ is more than how best to do coffee time between services: it includes best practices in spirituality which we can borrow from another century.    She also is one of my most forward-thinking colleagues.  She sees more than glimpses of the church that is coming and (at the rate things are currently changing) will soon be here. She sees church beyond its current institutional stuckness in tired 20th century paradigms.    In short, if you work with Elaine, she is going to help you reframe everything, so that nothing ever again will look quite the same.

Paul Nixon 

President, The Epicenter Group

Washington, DC


The work of Elaine Heath, her books and lectures, have been greatly transformative to me personally and to my ministry. As the lead pastor of a large, suburban, Lutheran congregation, I had struggled for decades helping people to move from their “heads” to their “hearts.” We were good at teaching theology. We weren’t so good at turning off our need to “understand” God, creation, self, and other so that we could begin to fully experience life. Elaine’s integration of Christian mysticism and Celtic spirituality coupled with solid systematic theology provided us the perfect formula to guide us into a deeper experiential faith journey. Through Elaine’s guidance, we have incorporated contemplative practices into everything we do as a congregation from worship to small groups to youth ministries. Just about everyone at Abiding Hope can recite the contemplative flow that we learned from Elaine:  ·Be present to self and context ·Discern what God is doing with self and in the world  ·Make a decision to participate in God’s activities  ·Surrender all outcomes to God May Elaine’s work bless you, as it has blessed me, in your spiritual journey and in your formation as a leader for God’s church in the world.

Rev. Dr. Douglas A. Hill

Lead Pastor at Abiding Hope Church, Littleton, Colorado and author of Cultural Architecture: A Path to Creating Vitalized Congregations



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

Portland, OR


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


When we were envisioning a major new innovation in our seminary degrees at Lipscomb University several years ago, a consultation with Elaine Heath provided the perspective and encouragement we needed to fill out our vision and move forward. The new degree program has surpassed our expectations and continues to bless our students. Dr. Heath is an innovator. She well knows that traditional seminary programming will not take us where we need to go in this new season.


Leonard Allen, Dean

College of Bible & Ministry

Lipscomb University

Nashville, Tennessee


Elaine Heath's writings have had a profound impact on the birth and life of the Urban Monastery. Her ability to connect theology with culture, community and Christian spirituality, initially drew my attention. I since learnt, Elaine is not only a sage but fearless, willing to accept the most daunting promptings from the Holy Spirit. Such a prompting is how we first met...We had turned off our beautiful daughter, Isla's, life support.

Breagha, our eldest daughter was also diagnosed with the same genetic heart disease within two weeks of Isla's passing. Our dream of
founding an Urban Monastery had died with Isla and our days became a struggle to keep dear Breagha alive. During long hours by Breagha's bedside, I began to immerse myself in Elaine's books. Hope stirred in the midst of unfathomable grief. I wrote to thank Elaine for her healing words; a balm to my shattered heart. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Elaine flew across the globe to comfort our family. She skillfully and gently encouraged, guided, confirmed and resourced the Urban Monastery dream, believing that one day, it would become reality. Over the years, Breagha’s health has improved and Elaine continues to bless the new monastic vision. Today, I write from the Urban Monastery front office. I thank God for sending us His angel. Elaine Heath, healer of hearts and restorer of dreams.


Maggie and Darryl Patterson

Co-Founders and Stewards 

Urban Monastery

Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia


I've experienced Elaine's leadership in a variety of contexts -- theological writing and lectures, conference keynotes and workshops, pilgrimage and ethnography, and missional community "abbotting." What resounds through it all is her desire to help people experience the living God by offering herself with them as a co-participant in that salvation process. Her theological brilliance is inflected by spiritual conviction, humble assurance, and a deep Gospel vulnerability. She does not center herself, but is genuinely interested in the wisdom of others and is obviously in love with God. In my role serving at a denominational/general church, I have heard from people all across the theological and missiological spectrum who have been positively affected and equipped by Elaine's teaching. She is one of my top go-to people for insight on helping the whole Church deepen its practices of evangelism and discipleship.


Trey Hall

Director of Evangelism and Growth

Methodist Church in Britain

London, UK


One of the great blessings in my life has been to work with Elaine Heath.  Elaine is one that inspires any in her presence by her faithful witness that is lived out in her daily life.  We have worked together on guiding students in learning about other cultures, in particular, Indigenous peoples in the U.S. We have shared many cultural experiences together across the country and she is one that knows how to help others understand and appreciate the spirituality and life that is offered through our Indigenous communities.   Her mind and heart are constantly working towards thinking about ways to incorporate what she has learned and experienced.  The author of many books, I use her book, “Longing for spring; a New Vision for Wesleyan Community,” as it helps students understand new models for the Church and its mission. Her insight on the contemplative movement helps me much in my own life, “Show up, pay attention, cooperate with God and release the outcome.”   You will be a changed person to work and serve with Elaine!

Rev. Dr. David Wilson,

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Assistant to the Bishop, Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, United Methodist Church

Oklahoma City


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


Just when I begin to despair that the traditions of the Church can be tailored enough to fit the new shape of the world, a conversation with Elaine Heath or a re-reading of her writing opens up a new perspective that gives me hope again.  The depth of Elaine’s theological insight and her compassion grown out of real-life experience, which she shares authentically and generously, make her a graceful bridge between Christianity’s past and its future.  In her presence, her creativity, her theological insight, and her courageous faithfulness, I have found encouragement for a new and more daring witness to what God is doing among us.

Rev. Dr. Kathleen McShane

Senior Pastor, Los Altos United Methodist Church

Co-Founder, The Changemaker Initiative

Los Altos, CA


Elaine and I have taught together several times in the Academy for Spiritual Formation.

I have been inspired by her spirit and imagination, and gentle proclamation of the need for change in how we live and communicate our faith. I love to experience her creative and powerful teaching, such as her metaphor of wild dandelions for the church that is emerging as the Spirit blows the seeds in all sorts of places beyond the walls of the church. When Elaine served as the Bible Study teacher at the Wisconsin Annual Conference for all our clergy and lay leaders, the impact of her teaching was strong. I am so thankful for her presence and journey with our bountiful God.

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

Bishop in Residence

Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church

Madison, WI

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