a ministry of Westhope Presbyterian Church
Rev. Erik Swanson
Executive Leadership Team
Erik is passionate about listening for the calling of God in people’s lives and helping them find freedom from that which binds them from relationship. He is the pastor of Westhope Presbyterian Church. Erik graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1998 with a Masters of Divinity and a concentration in Spiritual Formation. He spent a year living in and studying sacred Community in the Taize monastery in France. He received his Certificate in the Art of Spiritual Direction from the Spiritual Life Center in Bloomfield, CT.
Erik offers individual and group spiritual direction and leads spiritual retreats.
Brooke Maffia Wang
Executive Leadership Team
Brooke is passionate about creating space to listen and respond to God in all seasons of life. Trained at The Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot, she received her master's degree in 2005 in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. Falling in love with the gift and art of having someone listen with you along the spiritual journey, Brooke has continued to offer spiritual direction ever since, supporting pastors, lay leaders, churches and many others on their journey towards God. Currently, she serves as a co-director of The Contemplative Center, is an ordained Presbyterian Elder, wife and mother of two darling little girls. She has years of experience serving in the local church both vocationally and volunteering. Finding herself and so many others in need of sacred space to listen to God, she created Soul Care Retreats- quarterly offering four hours of gently held space to be with God. Welcoming both men and women of any life stage, she also specializes in working with those in or from an Evangelical tradition.
Brooke offers individual and group spiritual direction, leads spiritual retreats and is available for one-to-one retreat direction.
Executive Leadership Team
Desiree received her Masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from The Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology in May 2009. She feels profoundly grateful to have had the opportunity to study how God grows the soul over the course of a lifetime and how we can cooperate for our flourishing. Desiree considers it a privilege to sit with another, listening to their story and discerning together what God may be inviting them to next. She also enjoys helping people find prayer practices that fit their lives now.
Given Desiree’s background and education, she is especially attuned to the needs and challenges of those in the Evangelical tradition. She find herself concerned for those who have given much of themselves to the church, i.e. pastors and their spouses, church workers & faithful volunteers, and those who have despaired of ever finding the living waters. Desiree is experienced working with men and women, groups or individuals. When she’s not chasing after her toddler, she’s practicing yoga, reading, drinking coffee and enjoying nature.
Spiritual Direction for Debra is about creating a safe, open space where people connect to what matters most to them. She believes God speaks through the lives people lead and helps them pay attention to what feels most alive at that moment. Discernment comes from talking through life’s puzzles, pains, delights and demands in a place where their sense of God is heightened and their understanding of God’s compassion is deepened. She is a witness and companion to the invitation and response to that compassion.
Debra works in Human Resources in high tech and completed her Spiritual Direction training at The Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA.
Paul is passionate about seeing others come to new understandings and freedom about how deeply known and loved they are by God. His practice includes providing spiritual direction for pastors. Paul transitioned from a thirty year career in banking to full time ministry where he served as an elder and pastor for six years. He received his BSC from University of Santa Clara and Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Paul serves on the Leadership team for SoulCARE and on the Board of Directors for Wellspring. He is an ordained elder serving at Westhope Presbyterian Church.
Paul offers individual and group spiritual direction.
Roz is passionate about offering a safe arena for candid dialogue with a loving God. She is delighted to have discovered a love for spiritual direction, where it never ceases to amaze her how tenderly and yet pointedly God shows up—treasuring each of us for the distinct creatures we are, nudging us to move that much further into the mystery that is our life with the Holy. Roz is a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary where she was awarded a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. She is an ordained Presbyterian deacon.
Roz offers individual spiritual direction.
Rev. Portia Mather Hempler
BA, M.Div., DASD
Portia is a passionate listener and companion on the journey to the heart of our loving God. She enjoys companioning others as they encounter and grow in God’s grace in their daily lives. She is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of El Camino Real. She earned her Masters of Divinity from The Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1984. She has over 20 years of parish ministry experience and 12 years as a spiritual director. Portia received her initial training in spiritual direction at Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA and earned the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2008.
She specializes in working with women and those going through times of grief or transition in their lives. Portia offers individual and group spiritual direction and leads spiritual retreats.
Rev. Russel M. Ikeda
BEd, MDiv., DMin.
Russ enjoys coming along side an individual as a guide to quicken their awareness and attentiveness to God. He serves as Director of Emmaus Ministries of Silicon Valley. This is a relational marketplace ministry of coming alongside people in their faith journey and providing pastoral counsel and spiritual direction. He works with pastors in the South Bay and offers contemplative retreats. Russ serves on the Leadership team for SoulCARE, is an adjunct instructor at William Jessup University and has taught at Western Seminary. Russ is also the chaplain for the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department.
Russ offers individual spiritual direction and leads spiritual retreats.
BS, SDI, MA
Liz is passionate about helping people recognize and respond to God who is present and initiating in their lived reality. She supervises and trains spiritual direction interns at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA. After 25 years in high tech as a program manager, she transitioned to full time ministry building a bridge for the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises into a variety of Christian traditions. She completed the Spiritual Direction Institute at Mercy Center in Burlingame. She completed her internship in retreat direction and in supervision at Mercy Center. Liz received her Masters at Santa Clara University in Pastoral Ministries with a focus in Spirituality.
Liz offers individual and group spiritual direction, contemplative retreat direction, Ignatian Exercises retreat direction, supervision for spiritual directors, and trains small groups in the art of group spiritual direction.
Barbara Milligan loves to watch for God’s movements in the lives of others while helping them explore the stirrings of their souls. Whether they’re discerning a transition in their lives, facing a crisis, or simply seeking more of God, Barbara’s goal is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where they can experience God’s love, grace, and guidance. Barbara completed the Spiritual Direction Institute and the Internship in Retreat Direction at Mercy Center. Her website is www.togetherlivingwithcancer.com.
Barbara offers individual and group spiritual direction and leads retreats.
BA, MA, MS, Ph.D., DASD
Jim’s desire as a director is to enable others to notice, savor, and respond to the experience of God in their lives. He trains and supervises spiritual directors and co-leads Soul Work Studio. Jim received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago, 1972, the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1998, and Supervision training from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2000.
Jim offers individual and group spiritual direction, leads spiritual retreats, and supervises spiritual directors. He is available for one-to-one retreat direction.
A director of Spiritual Retreats and Groups
Susan is committed to creating spaces of stillness and quiet for deep listening. Attention is given towards healing, transformation and deeper connection with one’s unique spiritual identity. She delights in encouraging those interested in developing personal contemplative practices.
She has a private practice in Marriage and Family Therapy in San Jose. She is certified in Labyrinth facilitation through Veriditas as well as certified in “Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats” through the Shalem Instititute.
Susan offers retreat direction for individuals and groups, contemplative prayer groups reflecting on the seasons of the liturgical calendar and facilitates Soul Space – a monthly day of silence and prayer.
Kenton W. Smith
M.Div., D.Min., DASD
Kent helps individuals, groups, and organizations grow in awareness of God’s grace and guidance in their life, relationships, and work. He is a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) with 35 years experience and a spiritual director since 1998. Kent received his Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry, and Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. His direction practice serves men, women, and young people seeking personal connection with God. He specializes in spiritual direction with pastors, individual and corporate discernment, and practical approaches to spiritual leadership. He is Co-Director of Soul Work Studio (a spiritual direction practice seed funded by the Presbytery of San Jose), and occasional staff member in the Program in Christian Spirituality and Doctor of Ministry at SFTS.
Kent offers spiritual direction, supervision, training in spiritual formation, and leads contemplative retreats.
BA, M.Div., SDI
Nan loves God and people and loves connecting the two. She is a retired Presbyterian minister. She received her Spiritual Director Certificate from Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA in 1984. Her training for supervision of Spiritual Directors from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1985 and earned her Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1991.
Nan offers individual and group spiritual direction, leads spiritual retreats and is available for one-to-one retreat direction.
BSN, MSN, MBA, M.Div.
Linda is an Episcopal priest and former nurse who experiences her ministry as spiritual midwifery, providing support, guidance and presence as people give birth to deeper awareness of God’s grace and love. She completed the Spiritual Direction Institute at Mercy Center Burlingame in 1997 and graduated from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 1999. She specializes in vocational discernment, support for lay and ordained ministers and life transitions.
Linda offers individual, couples and group spiritual direction. She leads spiritual retreats and is available for one-to-one retreat direction.
Sharon enjoys helping people create space to meet with God in the midst of everyday life. Sharon has a masters degree in Cross Cultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, with course work in spiritual formation. Her special interests include multi-ethnic issues and leadership development in church and non-profit ministries. She completed her training as a spiritual director at the Mercy Center. She serves on the board of directors of WellSpring and is on staff at Vineyard Christian Fellowship of the Peninsula.
Sharon offers individual and group spiritual direction.
BA, MA, SDI
Charlotte joyfully offers time and a safe space for individuals to draw near to God, welcoming those seeking to experience God more fully in their everyday lives as well as those in transition or times of crisis. She loves accompanying people as they uncover and nurture their unique, God-given dreams and desires. As a knitter and a mother of three, Charlotte delights in the wild beauty of God's creative handiwork. She hosts art sessions at the Contemplative Center and leads spiritual direction groups for parents in all stages of parenting, helping them to discern the Spirit's work in their family relationships.
Charlotte completed the three-year Spiritual Directors Institute at Mercy Center, Burlingame and offers individual and group spiritual direction, as well as contemplative retreats.
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