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Spiritual Prayer Retreat Offered at St. James

(3/19) "Explore Contemplation and Spiritual Direction" is the subject of a retreat being offered at Gettysburg’s St. James Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The retreat is open to the public.

Organized by Oasis Ministries of Camp Hill, the retreat will introduce participants to the nature of contemplative prayer and how to find spiritual direction. Gettysburg’s retreat is the first in a series of seven retreats being offered across Pennsylvania and New Jersey and will be led by Pastor Michael Allwein, senior pastor at St. James; and Mary Stevenson, a retired additions counselor who resides in Gettysburg.

"People of all faiths and backgrounds, including those who are new to prayer, are welcome to attend," said Allwein. "Our goal is to provide a nurturing retreat in which tools are provided to help participants deepen their faith."

Past participants describe the retreat as "quenching the thirst I have had all my life" and "I now feel like I have the tools to feed my soul—I feel alive." Also, "It has nurtured my soul and deepened my walk with God."

Registration can be made on line in one of three ways: Online at, by calling the Oasis office at 717-737-8222 or by emailing There is not a formal registration fee, however organizers suggest a donation of $15 to offset the cost of materials. Coffee and snacks will be provided; participants are asked to bring a bag lunch.

Mary Stevenson is a retired addictions counselor who had a practice in Gettysburg for nearly 20 years. A member of the Episcopal Church, Stevenson has held many positions at the local, diocesan and national church levels. Most recently, she completed ten years as a mentor for individuals in the ordination process.

Michael Allwein currently serves as senior pastor at St. James Lutheran Church. He was ordained in 1980 and has served several congregations in south central PA. In addition to degrees in Education, Divinity and Counseling, Allwein is a Board-Certified Counselor, completing the Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides progam with Oasis in 2003 and the Contemplative Living program in 2011. Allwein serves as spiritual director with numerous seminary students and pastors and leads several prayer groups.

St. James Lutheran Church, 109 York Street, Gettysburg, is handicap accessible; all are welcome. The church website is

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