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We are contemplative guides who provide a process for healing and soulful presence in the world. We connect with individuals—no matter their vocation—to partner with what is already taking place and offer life-affirming soul care.


In 2005, Seeking the Spirit Within began as a vision to provide soul care to clergy and seekers alike. After a StSW survey of clergy in the NE Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) revealed that there was a hunger for spirituality and soul care, the Faith Formation Institute, created and developed Seeking the Spirit Within.

Founder Vera Hummel partnered with Bishop Dave deFreese in creating a program in which to train people in the ministry of spiritual direction.


To date Seeking the Spirit Within has trained over seventy people in the art of spiritual direction and formational practices.


In keeping with the original vision of StSW, we seek to enlarge our influence and impact by caring for and training those who will tend to the Spirit in themselves, others and the world around us.


Commitment to Unfolding Spirituality

The philosophy and practice of Seeking the Spirit Within seeks to reflect the spirit of Jesus Christ who cared for, taught, healed and tended to all who crossed his path. 


As students of Jesus, we are invited to embody the same Spirit that enlivened him. It is in this vein that we honor each individual's path and call to enter into the process of becoming a spiritual director. 

We are ecumenical in nature. We honor learners who come from various religious traditions and theologies. We also affirm the diversity of personal histories, theologies, orientations and experiences. We welcome each participant to recognize that spirituality is an unfolding mystery - God’s presence is alive and active in each person - and therefore extends kindness and openness to each person in their cohort.


We also are deeply thankful for the vision and support we receive from the ELCA. We are grateful to partner with them in mission and ministry.




David C. Pinkston

A practicing contemplative and spiritual leader, David has been an ordained minister and community leader for over 25 years. He and his wife served the Pasadena area for nearly 3 decades. He’s been associated with urban ministry and justice initiatives, as well as a touring musician.

He discovered his passion for the ministry of spiritual direction in 2015 and received certification through the School of Sustainable Faith. He then graduated with a Masters in Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary at George Fox University in 2020. As a spiritual director, he specializes in clergy care as well as those who are spiritual-but-not-religious. 

David loves serving as Program Director for Seeking the Spirit Within. He and his wife happily live in their new hometown of Fremont, Nebraska with their oldest son and a very cuddly plush-lop-eared bunny named Jack Fremont. 



Carm Aderman

Rev. Carm Aderman (Ret.) has been active with Seeking the Spirit Within since its inception. She does individual direction, group spiritual direction, and retreat leadership. Carm has been on the board, the faculty, and a supervisor for the Institute over the years. 


In addition to her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, she has a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN. After she completed the academics for the MAT, she earned a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction, also from St. Catherine's. 



Emily Wageman

Emily Wageman (Gloe) was raised in Plainview, Nebraska and moved to Fremont, Nebraska when she attended Midland Lutheran College in 1989. She joined Sinai Lutheran Church a short time in Lincoln after college and continues to be in ministry at the ELCA church in Fremont as a Parish Administrator, Faith Formation and Children’s Ministry Director.  She is married to Ward and together they have a daughter, Rachel, who is in high school.


She is a trained Spiritual Director through the Nebraska Synod’s Seeking the Spirit Within certification program in Cohort 6 certifying in June 2020. Emily co-facilitates the Synod’s Drink from the Well spiritual practices program to help deepen inner spiritual life. She is passionate about children, Kiwanis, music and is able to use her spiritual direction training to lead the congregation in faith formation and prayer practices during Lent and other times of year. 



Pat Gregory

Pat was raised in the small Nebraska town of Rising City.  After graduating from Midland University, Fremont, NE, he taught Junior High mathematics, transitioned into the information technology field, and served as a church administrator before retirement in 2017.


Pat was certified as a Stephen Ministry Leader in 2003 and as a Parish Ministry Associate (PMA) by the Nebraska Synod, ELCA, in 2008.  Pat was certified as a Spiritual Director by Seeking the Spirit Within, the institute for Spiritual Direction of the Nebraska Synod, ELCA, in 2010.  


Pat finds fulfillment through walking with persons seeking to deepen their relationships with God. He has walked with numerous spiritual directees and has facilitated spiritual formation within his community, local and regional churches, and for the Nebraska Synod, ELCA.

Pat states, “Answer God’s call to become a Spiritual Director and deepening my relationship with God through self-awareness is the most significant experience of my life.”



Shirley Knight

Shirley Knight was raised near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska.  Shirley was certified as a spiritual director through Seeking the Spirit Within in 2012. She has been a long-time member of Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Omaha where she has been involved in teaching, going on mission trips with the youth, leading faith formation programs, retreats and group spiritual direction.  In addition, she is a Supervisor of Reflective Practices, was previously involved in Drinking from the Well and teaching for the spiritual training program.  


In her spare time, Shirley and her husband Don love to hit the road with their camper and boat (and their three dogs) to enjoy nature, rest and hopefully catch some fish.


Seeking the Spirit Within has been life changing for me personally, deepening my connection and relationship with God, learning what types of prayer connect most deeply to me, opening myself to God’s desire for me to find healing to help me be more who God created me to be, and provided opportunities beyond being certified as a spiritual direction.  It has changed how I serve God and the areas in which I now find myself doing God’s ministry in the world.  When I entered the program through Seeking the Spirit Within it was what I sensed God was calling me next to serve but I have surprised on what unfolded for me personally. What I learned and experienced in my training and the years following certification is that God has used these experiences in unexpected ways – teaching prayer practices to Confirmation students, leading faith formation groups in my church, preparing and leading retreats in my church and outside of my church. 



Brad Meyer

Pastor Brad Meyer recently retired as Senior Pastor at Rejoice! Lutheran Church after 8 years of service. He is a graduate of both California Lutheran University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary and has served in the Nebraska Synod since 1991.

Pastor Brad was in the first cohort for Seeking the Spirit Within (StSW) and is a certified Spiritual Director and Chairs the Advisory Board for StSW.

He comments about StSW in this way. “In seminary I learned the “head knowledge” for pastoral ministry. Seeking the Spirit Within introduced me to the heart and depth of my faith and spiritual connection with God. Being a Spiritual Director has had significant impact on my pastoral ministry and personal spiritual practices as I have the privilege to travel with others on their faith journey.”

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Glenda Dietrich Moore

Glenda Dietrich Moore was certified as a Spiritual Director by Seeking the Spirit Within in 2016.  Glenda is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, where she currently lives. She is a spiritual director, an artist, art teacher, retreat leader and retired pastor with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In her current ministry, “Creation Energy—Intersections of Art and Spirit”, Glenda leads seminars and retreats incorporating the visual arts, creativity, and the spiritual life.


“I was fortunate to have a colleague tell me about the ministry of spiritual direction over 35 years ago. I have been in direction for over 30 years myself and I find it to be life-giving and faith-affirming. When the opportunity to be trained as a spiritual director with Seeking the Spirit Within arose, I rejoiced and signed up! The course aided the deepening of my spiritual life by broadening my prayer practices. The readings and class presentations delved into my inner soul in a refreshing and affirmative way and helped me appreciate a variety of spiritual viewpoints. In addition, a new community of like-minded colleagues and teachers who accompanied me on the journey was formed. I feel the entire experience prepared me to meet soul-to-soul with directees, which I continue to do both in person and via zoom.”

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Vicki Schleifer Buras

Born and raised Lutheran in rural Nebraska, a mid-life mystical invitation drew Vicki to a conference where she had what some call a “born again” experience. This ushered in a season of spiritual hunger fueled by challenging life events. Depleted, lost and panicked, Vicki came to the end of her self. The path forward was dimly lit and more than a little scary. However, Vicki’s spiritual hunger found nourishment and hope in a variety of renewal groups offered under the umbrella of spiritual formation.


Playing a significant role, which led to the doors of Seeking the Spirit Within, were two friends who discovered the Institute in 2012. For two years, while waiting for the next cohort to open, Vicki witnessed the change that occurred in her friends. During this time she also noticed changes within herself as she integrated spiritual practices and spiritual direction into her life. Vicki received her spiritual direction certification in 2016. In reflection, Vicki’s Seeking the Spirit Within journey began her second half of life shift from role to soul, that of a spiritual elder who walks beside others in life.

As a spiritual director, Vicki has deep compassion for those who are in the liminal space of deconstruction. It is often a lonely place of spiritual discovery. As a spiritual healing practitioner and retired nurse, Vicki leans into spiritual growth through the science of somatic health and the practice of BioSpiritual focusing where “Everything is spiritual” and “Your issues are in your tissues.” She has served in various student and adult ministries including contemplative and healing prayer, spiritual development, and as a Grief Share and Divorce Care facilitator.




Terri Storer

Terri was born and raised on a farm in Northeast Nebraska steeped in a rich heritage of faith and family. As often happens, life has a way of taking directions we don’t anticipate. While in what could be called an identity crisis, there was an awakening to the work of the Holy Spirit through divine synchronicity with touchstones and messengers along the way. Meeting with a spiritual director created space for deeper exploration and further evolved into self-acceptance and embracing my belovedness in God. Spiritual direction became a balm for the soul nudging a small ember of light to life. 


Being accepted into the Seeking the Spirit Within program invited deeper inner soul work, opening a door to self-revelation, and answering the quest for authenticity. It clarified and confirmed a call into a Ministry of Presence as she completed the program in 2016. 


Terri values creating and holding a safe, sacred space for individuals and small groups. With deep, empathic listening with an ear to the Holy Spirit, these times become an opportunity to bear witness to how God is working in the ordinary days of our lives with acceptance, not judgment, honoring others in the truth of their own lived experience. Primary offerings include spiritual direction, group spiritual direction, bio-spiritual focusing, creative expression as a contemplative practice, and retreat work.

For a further list of StSW Directors, click on link here and download document from the Synod site: 

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