Statement of Purpose:
We exist as an intentional community covenanting to attend to our ongoing individual and corporate formation as well as the formation of others whom we are privileged to accompany along the journey directly and indirectly as we seek to govern and carry out the God-given calling (mission and vision) of the organization (CenterQuest) we embrace.
Our Core Identity:
Ours is decidedly that of a covenant community expressing its primary identity in mutual and corporate:
Meet Our Community:
Wil Hernandez, Ph.D., Obl. O.S.B.
Wil is the founder of CenterQuest and serves as its president and executive director. Born and raised in the Philippines, he came to the U.S. to complete his master’s (Th.M. in counseling ministry) and doctoral (Ph.D. in practical theology with a concentration in spirituality) degrees. A lay Benedictine oblate, trained counselor, spiritual director, and retreat leader, Wil regularly travels across the U.S. and abroad conducting seminars, workshops, retreats, and classes in the field of spirituality. He is the author of a trilogy of books on Henri Nouwen and is an avid promoter of Nouwen’s spiritual legacy. Besides being an active member of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Wil serves on the editorial panel of Presence, the journal published by Spiritual Directors International. A natural networker and passionate collaborator, he considers accompanying people on their sacred journeys his most rewarding personal investment of all.
Jeanne is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in psychology. After working for a number of years in the fashion and retail industries, she now focuses on the spiritual accompaniment of others on their journeys of transformation. Jeanne received extensive training in spiritual direction at Loyola House in Guelph, Ontario, and at Pecos Monastery in Pecos, New Mexico, and Santa Barbara, California. Aside from spending time with her two grandchildren, she maintains an interest in music and art. She and her husband spend a good part of the year in North America and the rest of their time in Manila, Philippines. Jeanne, a recently converted Catholic, is co-founder, along with her husband, Lowry, of Open Hearts, Open Minds, a resource ministry they started when they were still residing in Toronto, Canada.
Lowry Chua, Ph.D.
Lowry received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Yale University after which he returned to the Philippines where he taught at the Ateneo de Manila University and worked in a number of businesses. In 1983, he and his family immigrated to Canada where he worked in a geophysics research and manufacturing company for many years. Lowry has consistently been active in variouschurch ministries at the leadership level. Since retiring in 2008, he received training in spiritual direction at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery in New Mexico. Together with his wife, Jeanne, they started Open Hearts, Open Minds as an ecumenical ministry bringing in resource speakers to Toronto, Canada as well as Manila, Philippines. Lowry enjoys learning to play the flute as well as sketching, but most of all he enjoys playing with his two grandchildren.
Val Dodge Head, M.A.
Val is the communications coordinator for CenterQuest and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received her M.A. in spiritual formation and leadership at Spring Arbor University and her spiritual direction training from the Dominican Center at Marywood, where she is an adjunct teacher. Since returning to her roots of Catholicism four years ago, Val has developed a growing interest in the writings of St. Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus, which she loves (almost) as much as making green smoothies with her grandson. Val has three daughters, two sons-in-law, and one son on the verge of being deployed as an Army medic. She waits in great anticipation for the arrival of her second grandchild in February 2014. One of Val’s new interests is examining ways to reach the “spiritually marginalized” with spiritual direction and formation toward paths of integration.
Dale Fraaza, M.A.
Dale Fraaza grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and graduated from Western Michigan University in 1972. Following a brief stint in Philadelphia, where he met and married his wife, Judy, he returned to Kalamazoo to join his father and brother in the family business. After working in the business for more than 30 years, Dale began to have a passion for ministry and leadership, specifically in the form of discipleship and leadership training. In 2010, he received his M.A. in spiritual formation and leadership from Spring Arbor University and is finishing a spiritual direction program at the Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dale is looking forward to retiring from the business and devoting more of his attention to ministry. Meanwhile, he is embarking on a process of leading a class in spiritual formation and discipleship to a group of ministry leaders at his local church.
Kenton Hammonds, M.A.
Ken is a lifelong learner who was reared in the United Methodist Church. Professionally, he has been in the oil business most of his adult life. He is the managing member of Long Leaf Title LLC and the manager of the Permian Basin Office of Continental Land Resources LLC, located in Roswell, New Mexico. Ken and his wife, Chiquita Ann, have raised four successful children, the youngest of whom graduated from high school in May 2013. Ken is an alumnus of New Mexico Military Institute, earned his B.A. in government and history at Texas Tech University in 1973, and obtained his M.A. in spiritual formation and leadership from Spring Arbor University in 2010. This fall, Ken is looking forward with excitement to entering the inaugural class of Fr. Richard Rohr’s Living School, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Paul has worked in the oil field industries and most recently served as the president of a local oil company and on the board of directors of Church Resource Ministries. Much of his work has centered on leading organizations toward sustainable and cultural change. He has enjoyed helping key leaders grow through an approach that empowers them to understand their personal development and how to relate with others on a team, congruently helping others on a path toward their greatest contribution. Paul loves to hike, not as much for the challenge as for the benefits of the journey along the way that allow him to pause and rest in the beauty around him. Paul and his wife, Cheryl, worship at Trinity Anglican Church in Bakersfield, California. He has four grandchildren with whom he shares the act of play and being silly, which is high on his list of all things sacred.
Betty Overton, Ph.D.
Betty is a native Floridian now living in Jackson, Michigan. She is currently clinical professor of higher education at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan and serves as the director of the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, she served for 12 years as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Spring Arbor University. Betty has spent much of her career in higher education, serving in a variety of capacities—faculty, department chair, and dean—at several institutions. She also spent 10 years as director of higher education and program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She has served as a trustee for two colleges and on the boards of a number of educational and community organizations. Betty is the mother of two sons and the grandmother of six
Scott Sternberg, M.S., Obl. O.S.B.
Scott earned his Master of Science degree in instructional design and technology from California State University, Fullerton, and has worked in higher education for the past 10 years. Most recently, Scott served as the director of instructional design at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He loves the water—he scuba dives, kayaks in the Pacific Ocean, and swims competitively with the Rose Bowl Masters Team. Scott is a lay Benedictine oblate through Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California. He and his wife, Lynn, live in Los Angeles, and he has a grown daughter named Heather. Scott serves as a consultant in instructional design and technology for our School of Spiritual Direction.
Scott Strand, M.S., M.A.T.S.
Scott lives in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, with his wife, Kris, of 30-plus years. They have two adult children and a wonderful granddaughter. A lifelong learner, he has been involved in higher education and instructional technology since 1998. Scott has been on a wild and wonderful spiritual adventure since 1982, which led him on a path of doctoral studies in the area of spiritual formation and the virtual world. He serves in his local church and offers a teaching ministry in a state prison. Through his life story, Scott has realized his calling to come alongside others on the path of transformation. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, puttering around the house, and photography. Scott assists in the instructional design and technology aspects of CenterQuest’s School of Spiritual Direction.
Lisa Myers, M.A.
Lisa majored in Christian spirituality at Creighton University. She began her ministry in spiritual direction in 1982 with one seminarian. Very soon, it became her passion to integrate spiritual guidance with her experience in teaching and leading small groups for spiritual growth and fostering contemplative prayer. Training at Shalem Institute deepened her commitment to inviting people into a contemplative experience. In 1996, Lisa designed Companions for the Journey, a contemplative guidance ministry for La Cañada Presbyterian Church that has continued for 16 years and is a model for spiritual guidance in community. Lisa has also designed training curriculum for spiritual directors and has led retreats for churches, seminaries, and other Christian organizations. Lisa is an honorary founding member of our community.