Gateways to God Spiritual Direction Training Program at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center

What is “Gateways to God?”

Gateways to God is a training program in spiritual direction offered jointly by Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center and the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. The training is offered during six mini-retreats and takes up to 18 months to complete in its entirety.

How can I use my participation in Gateways to God toward a UMC Certificate Program?

By attending all six retreats at Rolling Ridge, persons can fulfill two of the five courses they would need for the UMC Spiritual Formation Certificate, which is earned through Boston University School of Theology.  After completing the Gateways to God program students will still need to take a Bible course, a UM Studies course, and another course in spiritual disciplines/prayer or spiritual guidance to complete the certificate in full (the details of the Spiritual Formation Certificate are laid out here).

How do I register for academic & certificate credit at BU School of Theology?

To receive academic credit for a retreat, which can be used toward the UMC certificate, students must sign up for “STH TC 893 W1: Spirituality Practicum,” for 1 credit per weekend retreat.  This means that in semesters when only 1 weekend retreat occurs they will register for TC 893 as a 1-credit class.  And in semesters when two weekend retreats take place they will register for TC 893 as a 2-credit class.

In all cases Dr. Claire Wolfteich is the professor of record for the course. To register for this course a participant must send an email to the School of Theology Registrar (, requesting registration for STH TC 893 and indicating whether it should be a 1-credit or 2-credit registration in that semester.  The TC 893 course is not publicly advertised on the BU course listings website, so only the School of Theology Registrar is able to register students for this class directly.

Current STH Students:

Current School of Theology students in any first-level masters program may register for TC 893 by emailing their request to the STH Registrar.  This will allow them to gain academic credit for their participation in the Gateways to God training retreats. Please direct any questions to the STH Registrar (

People not yet enrolled in the School of Theology must become “Special Students” to earn BU academic credit & the certificate.

Each person who is not currently enrolled in an STH degree program, but who wishes to participate in a Gateways to God retreat for academic credit and/or complete the UMC Certificate in Spiritual Formation, must become a “Special Student” of the School of Theology.  Special Student status allows someone to register for individual courses at the University without having to enroll in a degree program.

The Special Student application instructions can be found under the “Admissions” section of the STH website (, and is a shortened form of the full STH online application.  (For example, the application requires all transcripts from previous academic institutions, but does not require letters of reference.)

The Special Student application costs $95 to submit, but need only be submitted once to gain “Special Student” status at the School of Theology.  A Special Student who remains registered in at least one course per each contiguous spring and fall semester retains their status and does not need to submit another application each semester.  However, once a Special Student lapses in their registration for a semester they lose their status and must reapply in a future semester using the online application and paying the $95 application fee once again.

Once you have submitted your Special Student application it takes approximately a month to receive an admissions decision from the School of Theology Admissions Office.  If you have any questions about the application process, please feel free to contact the School of Theology Admissions Office by phone (617-353-3036) or email (

The application deadline for Special Students is December 1st for Spring admission and August 1st for Fall admission.  However, all applicants are encouraged to make their applications several months prior to beginning their coursework.

**** Please note that Gateway to God retreats begin in November each year, which is too late to apply for Special Student status at BU School of Theology during the Fall semester.  Because of this, incoming Gateway to God students should wait and apply for Special Student status in the next spring semester, after they’ve already begun at Rolling Ridge.  This is the ideal timeline.  However, Gateways to God participants can apply to Boston University School of Theology as a Special Student at any point in their Gateways to God experience and gain academic credit for previous retreat attendance retroactively.

Retroactive academic credit:

To receive retroactive academic credit the person should 1. apply and receive Special Student status at the School of Theology, 2. contact the professor of record for each of their previous retreats attended (ex. Dr. Wolfteich), 3. ask that faculty member to email the School of Theology Registrar ( to communicate the semesters in which they received the credit and the grades received.  Retroactive credit will be billed according to the University per-credit cost of the current semester, not the semester in which the retreat was taken.

Tuition Scholarship:

Special students pay the STH normal part-time per-credit tuition rate (found on this website:  However, the School of Theology offers any Special Student who is in the Gateways to God program and/or pursuing the UMC Certificate a tuition scholarship of 70% off of their total tuition cost to make their studies more affordable.

This 70% tuition scholarship is the same amount of tuition scholarship that all STH Master of Divinity program students at the School of Theology receive upon admission.  Anyone pursuing and enjoying their Special Student studies are encouraged to apply for the MDiv program should they feel called to do so. All coursework from the Gateways to God program and/or UMC Certificate transfers into the MDiv program seamlessly.

Feel free to be in touch with the School of Theology Admissions Office if you would like to talk further about your discernment and possible enrollment in a degree program (617-353-3036 or


Questions about the Rolling Ridge Gateways to God program should be directed toward the leaders of that program, including Larry Peacock the Executive Director at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center, 978-682-8815.

Questions about registration and financial aid for School of Theology course credit or the UMC certificate program should be addressed to the School of Theology Registrar’s Office (

Questions about admission to the Boston University School of Theology as a Special Student should be directed toward the School of Theology’s Admissions Office (