We are thrilled to introduce our team to you. It is comprised of individuals who are passionate about their area of expertise and see it as an expression of their life as a disciple of Christ.
Jackie L. Halstead, Ph.D., LMFT, is the founder and CEO of Selah. Her doctorate is in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has been a therapist for thirty years, specializing in clergy and their families. Dr. Halstead has two certificates from Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats and in Spiritual Guidance. She has been speaking, teaching, and leading retreats on spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, relational and mental health issues for the past twenty years at the national and international levels. Dr. Halstead will be involved in the areas of spiritual formation, relationship enhancement, and emotional/psychological education.
Stephen Alred Jr. is Selah Spiritual’s Marketing Coordinator. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Finance, concentrating in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. His role consists of putting together and executing marketing strategies that are inline with Selah’s mission to promote an understanding and experience of God as love. Stephen utilizes his experience in marketing and business to grow Selah’s presence in the world and on the web.
Stephen is also the founder of Ignite Financial, a next-generation financial planning firm and resides in Atlanta, GA. He is passionate about helping others fulfill their purpose and live out their “why”.
Benjamin Berry, MA, is one of our instructors. He spent nearly a decade as a missionary in Japan. While in the middle of his missionary career, he earned a Masters in Missions from Abilene Christian University and Ben’s interest in spiritual direction and the contemplative life began to deepen. He was ordained as a spiritual director through the Institute for Christian Spirituality’s 15 month program. Both in Japan, and in Nebraska where he, his wife, Erica, and their son, Beckett, currently live, Ben has offered spiritual direction, led contemplative retreats, hosted weekly guided meditations, and taught about contemplative practices in his local church.
Fr. Marshall Craver is one of the directors of the Certificate in Spiritual Direction. He is the Associate Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Mobile, AL., ministering for the past twelve years primarily in the areas of adult spiritual formation, contemplative prayer groups, retreats, and one-on-one spiritual direction. He is a graduate of The Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Shalem for the past nine years. Marshall has a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Jesuits of Spring Hill College and feels deeply called to the ministry of spiritual direction. View Extended Bio
Susan Ernst is one of our instructors. She is an artist, horticulturist, naturalist, wife, and mother. Believing that “beauty will save the world”, she is studying the connection between art, nature and spiritual formation at Yale Divinity school. Susan has facilitated art, nature and SoulCollage® workshops and one-day retreats which connect participants to God through these experiences. She has an AAS Ornamental Horticulture, a BS Studio Art from Southern Connecticut State University, and is working on an MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School. Susan lives with her husband in Stratford, CT.
Renee Farkas, is one of the directors of the Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is the Director and founder of Ambernest Spiritual Direction located in Nashville, TN. Through Ambernest, she offers group and individual spiritual direction, directed silent retreats, and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Loyola. Renee holds an MA in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University as well as a certificate in Spiritual Direction. She offers ongoing education and supervision for spiritual directors and is the director of the Advanced Training in Ignatian Spirituality–Track Two.
Erin Halstead Alred is a consultant. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in pursuit of a life of service for underserved immigrant and refugee communities. She is an alumna of the Episcopal Service Corps’ New York Intern Program, a year-long service program dedicated to social justice, spiritual discernment, and intentional community. Erin’s passion is engaging in cross-cultural environments, including religious ones, and she has spent time working in Muslim and Jewish contexts. Both experiences had a deep impact on her view of faith and the spiritual journey. She will soon be graduating from Georgia State University with her Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management and working for Global Village Project, a nonprofit in Atlanta that provides education for refugee girls with interrupted schooling. Erin will be contributing a blog on her experiences and spiritual walk, especially as a millennial raised in the church.
Gary Holloway, Ph.D. is one of our instructors and is the Executive Director of the World Convention.. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited twenty-nine books, including A Month with Jesus from Leafwood Press as well as several volumes in the Meditative Commentary Series, also from Leafwood. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.
Casey McCollum is one of our instructors. He grew up in Richardson, TX, a suburb of north Dallas and graduated from Abilene Christian University in 2003 with a B.S. in Youth & Family Ministry and a Masters of Divinity in 2006. Since 2000, he’s worked for five different Churches of Christ in young adult, youth, and college ministry. He also spent a few years at ACU teaching in the Bible department and directing the K-12 summer camps. His wife Kasey, (yes you read that correctly!) also graduated from ACU with a degree in Youth Ministry and a Masters of Divinity and has done hospital chaplaincy for many years. They have two kids Clare (7) and Micah (5).
Caitlin Phelps is our director of social media. She graduated from Lipscomb University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and in 2017 with her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. Caitlin currently lives in her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska and works with adolescents as a school-based therapist. She is also in the process of building her private practice working primarily with adults. Caitlin is an instructor for REFIT®, a community-centered,value-
Nan Smith is one of our writers. She has been interested and a student of nutrition and healthy life style for over 25 years. She has studied with nutritionist experts Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, Rip Esselstyn (Fire Engine 2 diet), George Malkmus from Hallelujah Acres, Dr. Neal Barnard and others. Nan regards stewardship of the body as a spiritual discipline and one which she like the rest of us battles each day, hopefully making small steps toward God’s call that whatsoever we eat or drink, or whatever we do, do all for the glory of God. She realizes that living in a culture of abundance has its own challenges as does poverty. Mrs. Smith contributes a blog on body wellness and spirituality.
Jason Wain is our videographer. A professional videographer, Jason is located in Nashville and works both nationally and internationally. He specializes in drone work as well as still and video shots. His experience includes work for churches, mission efforts, cities, and businesses. In addition, he is an accomplished singer/songwriter. View a sample of his video work and music here. Jason is from Oregon, but has lived in Nashville for the past ten years.
Alyssa Walden is our director of communications. She graduated from the University of Arkansas (Go Hogs!) in 2011. She is passionate about seeing people awaken to the adventure and joy of following Christ as they begin to understand what it means to live abundantly (John 10:10). Prior to moving to Nashville, she served in Northwest Arkansas as the Associate Area Director of Young Life, an outreach organization that seeks to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and helps them grow in their faith. As she dove deeply into ministry, she began to realize how many things can truly be broken and restored in the context of relationships, serving as the catalyst to her decision to become a Marriage and Family Therapist. In the summer of 2015, she moved to Nashville to pursue an MFT graduate degree at Lipscomb University. She is interning at Lipscomb Family Therapy Center and Therapeutic Wellness Center, as well as leading psychoeducation groups on addiction at Elam Mental Health. She considers it a sacred honor to hold space for hurting people and see hearts, relationships, and lives restored.
Terri Wolfe is one of our instructors. She lives in the Pacific Northwest in the state of hope, confusion, and grace. Her husband Jerry abides with her. They worship with the Church of Christ at Federal Way, WA., where she works part-time. A long time ago she got a B.A. in English and very recently became a certified Spiritual Director through Selah Center for Spiritual Formation. In the early 2000’s she discovered spiritual disciplines and practices. This led to a discovery of the rich monastic life all around her. In 2006 she took a course on exploring spiritual disciplines and this led to a deeper commitment to practicing a more monastic approach to everyday life, which included seeking a spiritual director who she sees monthly. She regularly enjoys classes at St. Placid Priory near her home. She offers spiritual direction in her local faith community and teaches classes involving exploring the spiritual disciplines.
David Wray, DRE, is one of our instructors and is a congregational leader for a church in Abilene, Texas. He served for 20 years in congregational staff ministry before transitioning to teaching and administering in the College of Biblical Studies at Abilene Christian University.
At the University David researched and taught graduate courses in Christian Spiritual Formation and practical theology. While teaching in higher education he led spiritual life retreats and presented seminars in Spiritual Formation and ministerial care in congregations in the States and internationally. After retiring from ACU, David continues to serve as an interim director of some university programs. David and his wife Jeanne celebrate 50 years of marriage next year, and they have two children and four grandchildren.
Lauren Seaber is one of our writers. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two dogs. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2015 and upon realizing where the Lord’s plan and her deep desire for purposeful work met, she pursued a career in education. Currently, she teaches Kindergarten in Dallas and takes great joy in her daily work. She wholeheartedly believes that the rhythm of the Christian faith includes pain and beauty, difficulty and triumph, sorrow and joy. She is passionate about seeing Christ bring areas of darkness in her own life, and the lives of others, into the light. Lauren volunteers for Young Life, a non-profit outreach ministry that seeks to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. She values meaningful relationships in all aspects of her day-to-day life and leans into spiritual growth as a wife, a coworker, a teacher, a mentor, and friend.