Rivendell Spiritual Formation

What Does the Rivendell Spiritual Formation Program Offer?

Our Spiritual Formation program is tailored to meet the unique spiritual needs of the academic community. We focus on personal transformation and faith integration through:

  • Spiritual Formation Scripture Studies (large and small group discussions)
  • Individual Mentoring
  • First Friday Series: Faculty Lectures, “Finding God at Yale”
  • Visiting Author/Scholar Lecture Series
  • Retreats
  • Colloquia

What is Spiritual Formation?

Spiritual Formation is the process that enables Christians to move from knowledge to practice as we seek to fully identify as Christ followers in the world. You will develop practices that serve to ground you in a greater sense of identity and purpose as a Christian––especially through the enormous challenges of academic and professional life.

Who May Participate?

We welcome graduate, professional students, post-docs, and spouses. A variety of disciplines and departments are represented in our fellowship to foster cross-discipline discussion and community.

Spiritual Formation Director Karen Mahan leading a Friday Night Scripture Study

Spiritual Formation Scripture Studies on Friday Nights

Our weekly Friday night Spiritual Formation meetings make up the majority of our programming. As we examine the truths and lies we believe about God, our culture, and ourselves, we learn how to see ourselves through the lens of Christ and how to be intentional about living a more faith-integrated life.

Towards that end, the scripture studies emphasize practical ways to foster spiritual formation in our busy lives. Our sequential curriculum focuses on the Gospels, Psalms, and Epistles as well as spiritual practices such as Contemplation and Lectio Divina. These are taught for those who would like to employ them as their own daily practices.

Following a catered meal and large group lecture on the evening’s scripture focus, time is spent in small group discussion and personal reflection.

Spiritual Formation Director Sue Smedley and Ophelia Gao, M.P.H. ’20, Yale SOM
Students enjoying the catering!

Prof. John Hare, Yale Divinity School, sharing his experience of integrating faith in academia

First Friday Series: Faculty Lectures, “Finding God at Yale”

Once a month, we invite faculty from the various graduate and professional schools to share from their own faith journey, how they integrate their faith with their work and life here at Yale. These First Fridays take the place of our typical Spiritual Formation meeting, complete with a catered dinner. Q&A follows the presentation.

We also annually invite an author to share and discuss one of their publications.

Fall 2019 Retreat, Killam’s Point, CT


We kick off the school year in the fall with a Seaside Day Retreat that is open to students, post-docs, spouses, and staff. All Yale graduate and professional Christian fellowships are invited to attend. This fall’s retreat will be held on Saturday, September 25 from 10am-2pm at Killam’s Point, Branford.

During the spring semester, we host an Evening Prayer Retreat to practice various Spiritual Formation disciplines.

Directions & Contact Information

View of the Rivendell House from Edwards St.
Parking locations near Rivendell (click to enlarge)

“The spiritual formation program at Rivendell has kept me anchored and at peace amidst the challenges of graduate study. It has been a constant reminder that my identity and happiness are not found in what I do, but in Christ. Mentors are readily available to assist Yale students in their academic and spiritual journeys. Additionally, the sense of ‘community’ is authentic. The Rivendell Spiritual Formation program is not an opportunity to be passed up!”

Jane Meditz, M.A.R. ’17, Yale Divinity School