Howard Thurman and
Contemplative Resistance

What Howard Thurman can teach us about
living mercifully in an unjust world

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Who was Howard Thurman and what can he teach us? Why is this theologian especially relevant to us today?

Howard Thurman engaged with both Christian wisdom and mystical insights. He was committed to non-violent practices like those taught by Ghandi. And, “He rather gently and powerfully moved through the world in a spirit of grace, dignity, and humility,” says Professor Walter Fluker. And so, in today’s shrill and sharply divided environment, Howard Thurman’s teachings and way of being are especially relevant.

In this workshop, we’ll explore a spirituality that gives us a more reconciling and less reactive way to engage, and disengage, from the violence of our current world.

Our workshop leader will be Dr. Tejai Beulah, an assistant professor of history, ethics and black church and African diaspora studies at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Her areas of expertise include African American studies, race and the ethical thought of Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman.

Who is this workshop for? Content and time of workshop may be more suitable for ages 16 years old and up, but all are welcome. Previous knowledge of meditative practice or Howard Thurman not required.

What’s the format? The format will be via Zoom and will include a presentation by Dr. Beulah, meditation and conversations with the speaker and among the group about Howard Thurman and what he has to teach us.

Date: Saturday, February 20 from 9 - 11 AM

Cost: $10 per person

For questions about this event, please email Nancy LeVasseur.

In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.—Howard Thurman

A story of resiliency, bravery, and hope and an act of kindness

Born in Daytona Beach, Florida,  Howard was only fourteen years old when he left the comforts of home in pursuit of knowledge at a boarding school in Jacksonville as there was no high school for black children in Daytona Beach.

When he arrived at the train station to make his trek north, he was shocked to learn that while he had enough money for the fare, he needed more to check his trunk. Thurman thought his adventure was doomed to end on that platform until an “anonymous stranger” approached him and asked him why he was crying. This stranger changed the trajectory of Thurman’s life, giving him the funds he needed to get to Jacksonville. (


​​Kimberlee Peifer is a spiritual director and retreat leader who currently works at Work Wisdom in Lancaster in the field of organizational behavior. She helps guide individuals, businesses and organizations to embrace a more reflective, thoughtful posture through exploring contemplative leadership, spiritual direction, coaching with compassion, and the Enneagram. Kimberlee’s prior positions include Director for Contemplative Prayer and Practices at Saint James Episcopal Church and the Parish Resource Center; facilitator and spiritual director at Kavanna House, and as a health and physical education teacher. Kimberlee holds a BS in Kinesiology and a Masters of Education in Health Education, both from Penn State University. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

The Rev. Glenn Mitchell is Co-Director of Oasis Ministries and has a practice of spiritual direction in Spring Mills, Pennsylvania. Glenn loves all things contemplative and in his spare time enjoys watching birds, restoring their 1800's log home and making things from wood.

The Urban Well is a registered trademark of Saint James Episcopal Church.