Retreats, Book Clubs, and Workshops

This page includes affiliate links that support independent bookstores as well as my own calling to curate enriching literature, at no additional cost to you.

Melanie carries a unique voice that is both grounded and imaginative. Her ability to foster conversations where personal experiences transform into profound life lessons makes her a captivating speaker and thought leader. I am incredibly grateful for voices like Melanie’s, whose willingness to lead with courage, wisdom, and empathy has undoubtedly impacted my life and many others.

-Natalie Brown, author of Fifty-Two Cups of Coffee and former Sojourners fellow

I’m thrilled to announce some new poetry and prayer workshops, retreats, and book clubs!

Lenten Poetry & Prayer Workshops

For Lent 2023, join me in Washington, DC at the Washington Retreat House as we wander through Lent via poetry and prayer. Each Wednesday, we’ll explore a new poetry prompt based on a different set of Lenten-themed images. Whether you are brand new to poetry, or an experienced poet, these workshops will provide a fresh opportunity to enter into the sights and senses of this season. These generative sessions will also offer you a new poem each week that can serve as your own personal prayer. There is an optional $12 lunch after each session.

I’m a published poet, former pastor for foreigners in Shanghai, #ChurchToo spiritual abuse survivor, and Poetry Editor at Geez Magazine. I have a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, a Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Certificate from the Shalem Institute, and I’m currently pursuing an MFA in poetry from Spalding University.

Workshop Details:

When: Wednesdays during Lent, 10am-12pm

Where: Washington Retreat House (4000 Harewood Rd NE, Washington, DC 20017)

Weekly Themes:

  • February 22nd: fire, ashes, trumpets
  • March 1st:  pilgrimage
  • March 8th: wilderness and water
  • March 15th:  light and sight
  • March 22nd:  waiting at the grave
  • March 29th:  through the gate

Cost: Suggested sliding scale donation of $15-$25/person, per session.

COVID protocols: vaccines and at least one booster required, masks optional. If you are feeling sick, please stay home, and join us next time.

For those looking to visit from out of town, the Washington Retreat House may be able to offer you overnight accommodation. Please contact them to ask about availability, as well as nearby contemplative spaces worth visiting.

An RSVP each week is encouraged, but not required. Please email me at to RSVP, and/or to ask any questions.

Photo credit: Ryan Hallock on

Previous Workshops and Events I’ve Offered

To give you a feel for the types of events that I like to facilitate, here is a running list of previous events and workshops I’ve offered. You are always welcome to invite me to lead one or more of these events for your group. Feel free to contact me to inquire about crafting an event for your own context.

I will likely host some/all of these events again in the future. Sign up for my newsletter below to be the first to learn about the next time I host one of these events.

Join the Poetry & Prayer Conversation!

Submit your email address below for my free newsletter that I send out on the 27th of every month. The newsletter is the first place where I announce new events, and it contains exclusive content:

  • a personal reflection about where I’ve found poetry lately
  • a “poetry around town” section of broader news, updates, and events
  • “why poetry?” observations from a kaleidoscope of poets
  • an invitation to conversation

Success! You're on the list.