Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation Inc.

3025 Fourth St. NE, Suite 22
Washington, DC 20017
Phone: (301) 897-7334

Shalem Institute For Spiritual Formation:

Welcome to Shalem, an ecumenical Christian community dedicated to the support of contemplative living and leadership.

Shalem’s roots go back to 1973, when Tilden Edwards – an Episcopal priest and head of an ecumenical center located in Washington, D.C. -began meeting with a group of people who desired, as he did, to deepen their relationship with God through contemplative awareness.

Shalem became an independent organization in 1979 and began to offer even more groups, retreats and workshops as well as a long-term program for spiritual directors. Over the years, five other long-term, extension programs have been added to Shalem’s program offerings.


Shalem (pronounced “sha-lame”) is named for the Hebrew word meaning whole: to be complete. Scripture tells us to worship God with a lev shalem, or a whole heart. Although Shalem is grounded in the Christian contemplative path, we continue to be enriched by the grace present in other traditions.


It comes from the Latin roots cum (with) and templum (temple), connoting a sense of the sacred. Stated simply, the classical tradition understands contemplation as a loving quality of presence in which one is open to things just as they are in the present moment. In Christianity and other traditions that understand God to be present everywhere, contemplation includes a reverence for the Divine Mystery, “finding God in all things,” or “being open to God’s presence, however it may appear.” When referring to prayer or other spiritual practices, contemplation is classically distinguished from meditation. Generally this means that meditation seems like something we “do” by means of our own effort and intention, while contemplation always seems to come as a gift.

In this understanding, contemplation is in no way opposed to action. In fact, our sense is that truly effective, responsive action in the world needs to be undergirded and informed by contemplative awareness.


Extension Programs; Drop-In Programs; Introductory Workshops; Groups; Quiet Days; Workshops; Retreats; Pilgrimages.

For information on numerous programs please visit the website.



Online Fellowship Network

Links to Comtemplative Resources (Shalem’s policy is to provide links to texts of the great authors of contemplative spirituality)

Funding Grants:


For more information please visit the website.