Creek with a waterfall

What People Say…

Encouraging the Spiritual Life of Spiritual Leaders

nancy ogne
I heartily commend to you Julie Johnson as a retreat or conference leader.
Julie Johnson is engaging, warm and wise … As a leader, she deftly weaves the ancient/modern tapestry, helping participants discover both the rootedness of our ancient faith and also real-time applications to embrace the Christ-life in a postmodern culture. As a human being, Julie draws the best from each individual – forging thoughtful, loving relationships with all she comes to know.
Whether your retreat participants already possess profound spiritual depth or they have just launched an exploration of Christian faith, Julie Johnson will meet them where they are – gently inviting them to encounter the Source, Jesus Christ.

Once you’ve been privileged to learn from Julie Johnson, I feel confident you will share my enthusiasm with joy.

Rev. Nancy Graham Ogne, Associate Pastor & Teaching Elder, Community Presbyterian Church, Celebration, Florida

“I have known Julie Johnson for over a decade, and it has been a rich, joyful and nurturing relationship. I first met Julie when she was helping to lead the Spirituality Program at Columbia Seminary in Decatur, GA. She was subsequently made Director of the Spirituality program, and I travelled with her to Avila as we studied Saint Teresa and to Iona on pilgrimmage. I have found Julie to be a gifted teacher, preacher and retreat leader, as well as a wonderful spiritual companion. She is also an inspirational worship leader. I recommend her highly and without reservation. You could not do better than have Julie lead your event! Frank McNair” April 11, 2009

Frank McNair , Senior Partner , McNair and McNair,  worked directly with Julie at HolyCreek Ministries

carrie patterson grindon
I have been in Spiritual Direction with Julie for several years now, and continue to be newly grateful each month for her gentle companionship on the journey of faith. What I encounter when I walk into Julie’s office is safe harbor. With Julie my whole self is always welcome and encouraged, and my friendship with God is honored and celebrated. She helps me consistently to recognize God’s loving action in my days, and to watch for where God is stirring in me now. Julie listens deeply, and when she does speak, her own vibrant life with God is evident.

The Rev. Carri Patterson Grindon is currently the Associate Rector of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta where she is responsible for overseeing Adult Formation and Pastoral Care. She lives in Chamblee, Ga with her partner, Al and their daughters, Lucy and Sophie.

suzanne hassell
I have observed Julie for over ten years as she’s worked with various churches and organizations.

In the formative days of the Order of St. Brigit, Julie helped bring together a group of women from very diverse denominational backgrounds with sometimes opposite views. She helped us discover that God was calling us into a unity centered on Jesus Christ and that complete agreement on theological, political, or social issues was not necessary or even desirable. On more than one occasion, members were close to abandoning their vision and Julie quietly guided us back to prayer and reconciliation. We live 200 miles apart, but she selflessly made herself available via email, phone, and occasional visits for consultation, prayer, and guidance.

Julie has the unusual gift of being both a visionary and one who can organize groups to accomplish practical goals.

Julie is a gifted teacher, especially in the area of spiritual formation. She practices what she preaches; she walks her talk. She teaches leadership by modeling servanthood. She is vulnerable and quick to admit her own faults, creating a “safe” place for others who struggle on their spiritual journey. She is the best retreat leader I’ve ever experienced and has mentored myself and many others in the art of building community on retreats and pilgrimages.

Susanne Vanzant Hassell, Founder and Director of Holy Paths, Inc. Non-profit ministry offering retreats, spiritual direction, and Order of St. Brigit. Unit Leader for Creative Memories, Home business teaching people to tell their story with photos and journaling. Knoxville, TN.

james davidson
I have known Julie since I became Director of Continuing Education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2002. We began working together closely on the Spiritual Formation Program, and I came to know and admire her thoughtfulness, compassion, creativity, supportive nature, and general love for all things. I could go on to add words like warm, understanding, and engaging! But beyond these wonderful personal characteristics, Julie is also a seasoned teacher and retreat leader. She has now taught two courses in our Spiritual Formation program here on campus and was well loved by participants. I have her scheduled to come back again! If you are planning a retreat or workshop event, I recommend that you talk with her about your needs, and I am sure she will “do a great job for you” to make your event a blessing for all your participants.

Dr. James E. Davison, Director of Continuing Education, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

David Forney
For me, attentiveness is at the center of a great teacher, attentiveness to both who and what is being taught. We all have had consultants or conference leaders who have a great idea to teach but do so as template, with a one-size-fits-all approach that has no concern with actual seminar participants. Equally troubling are those leaders who are only aware of the people in the room because they have no content. Julie Johnson, though, has the exceptional ability to fluidly balance both the content of what she teaches with the particular needs of those she is teaching. And it is this balance that provides a rich learning environment that challenges and encourages participants in their journey with God.

The Reverend Dr. David G. Forney is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Clarksville, Tennessee. Before coming to Clarksville in 2007, David served as the associate dean of faculty at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta and two churches in Texas after being ordained in the PCUSA in 1993. David has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas, a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, and currently serves as the Editor of the Journal of Religious Leadership.