Contemplative Practice Group...

In addition to meeting with individuals 1:1, I offer a bi-monthly contemplative practice group. Contemplation is an antidote to a frenetic, impulse-driven approach to life. The practice develops a deeper way of being in the world and a way of knowing beyond the intellect and emotions.This experiential group meets from 10:00 - 11:30 AM the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Between 2 periods of shared silence,we read and reflect on classic texts written about contemplative life. All faith traditions, as well as individuals who are not rooted in any faith tradition are welcome. Come when you can; no commitment required. Suggested donation: $5.

Retreats and Workshops...

I am available to come to your location to lead retreats and to participate in other programs or events. I am process-oriented and my approach tends to be experiential as well as informational. I aim to create a safe environment that fosters openness to God's loving, healing, and transforming presence.

In 2019...

Prayer as Relationship

  • February 24 and March 3 (9:30-10:30 AM)
  • Glenshaw Presbyterian Church

Introduction to the Enneagram: A Powerful Tool for Growth

  • March 10 (6:00 - 8:00 PM)
  • Presenter: Kerry O'Donnell
  • Register at

Opening to Grace: A Retreat for Growth in the Christian Spiritual Life

  • April 22-25
  • St. Joseph Retreat Center; Wheeling, WV
  • With Betty Voigt

Finding God Within: A Centering Prayer Group

  • Thursday mornings throughout the year
  • Allegheny County Jail: Foundation of HOPE


"I remain convinced that when we go deep into the heart of ourselves, we also come closer to the heart of each other - therefore a retreat is not a retreat from others but a retreat to what is at the heart of all life. To make a retreat is not to escape from the real world, but to be in touch with aspects of reality that are often covered up by distractions and busyness... We are often escaping from reality (what is truly important and life giving) when we are so busy doing, and we are facing and encountering a deeper reality when we take time to be still and to listen to the movements of our hearts."

Retreat and Workshop Topics:

  • Addiction: It's Not Just About Drugs and Alcohol
  • Blue Christmas: Coping with Grief and Loss during the Holidays
  • Chemical Addiction: An Epidemic
  • Growing Deeper
  • Listening Well
  • Mindfulness vs. Mind-fullness: Practicing the Presence of God
  • "Lord, teach me to pray..."
  • Women's Health and Spirituality
  • Worry and Anxiety: A Psychological and Spiritual Perspective
  • Perfectionism
  • more

All retreats and workshops are customized to meet the needs of each group. I am also happy to address other topics.

A word about Silent Retreats:

We live in a very noisy world. We have come to rely on sound (among other things) to fill the void that we all experience as part of the human condition. It falls short though.

Additionally, we are so accustomed to noise that silence often feels threatening to us. Yet, according to many spiritual writers, silence is God's first language. To rightly fill this void we must be in communion with God; to be in communion with God we must learn to enter into silence, the posture for listening. A retreat provides a unique opportunity to enter into silence in an intentional way, whether it be for a few hours or longer. Being in silence while in community can be a powerful experience.

I am happy to structure and guide a silent retreat for your group.

Considerations when planning a retreat

  • Retreats can be held locally, at your church or other regular meeting place, or your group may choose to go away overnight. There are benefits to both. If you choose to go away, you are likely to attract fewer but more committed people because of the expense and time involved. If your goal is to introduce people to the concept of a retreat, holding it at your church or other regular meeting place will allow "the curious" to sample a retreat, but it is more likely that they will be distracted and will "come and go" as they try to juggle other commitments.

  • It is important to identify your purpose(s) in having a retreat. For example, is the primary purpose fellowship? rest? learning? deepening? healing? growing? prayer? mutual support? experiencing God?


Brief Bio

Lynn Holden is a professional counselor and spiritual director in private practice in the Pittsburgh area. She earned her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology degree from Chatham University, and has completed Pittsburgh Theological Seminary's Spiritual Formation Certificate Program and a 2-year Ministry of Spiritual Direction program through the Center for Spiritual Formation. Lynn has been married for 34 years; she and her husband are the parents of 2 young adults. She is passionate about integrating the spiritual, mental, physical, and relational dimensions of life, for herself and others.


Beloved is Where We Begin

by Jan Richrdson 

If you would enter into the wilderness,

do not begin without a blessing.

Do not leave without hearing who you are: Beloved,

named by the One who has traveled this path before you.

Do not go without letting it echo in your ears,

and if you find it is hard to let it into your heart,

do not despair,

that is what this journey is for.

I cannot promise this blessing will free you

from danger,

from fear,

from hunger or thirst,

the scorching of sun or the fall of the night.

But I can tell you that on this path there will be help.

I can tell you that on this way there will be rest.

I can tell you that you will know

the strange graces that come to our aid only on a road such as this,

that fly to meet us bearing comfort and strength,

that come alongside us for no other cause that to lean themselves toward our ear

and with their curious insistence whisper our name: