Faculty and Guest Speakers

The Rev. Mary Catherine Akamatsu is the Executive Director of Metagem Institute in Alabama. She received an M.Div. from Sewanee: The School of Theology and a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of North Alabama. Prior to seminary, Mary Catherine was responsible for a corporate division that delivered large scale software systems. She brings an interest in technology integration, science & religion coherence, and leadership development to her role in the church. Mary Catherine is an instructor at the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS), which prepares postulants for ordained ministry. She is a member of the Diocese of Alabama’s Commission on Spirituality. She practices Centering Prayer, engages in dreamwork, and enjoys regular exercise. She is a Spiritual Director, trained in Jungian practices at the Haden Institute in NC. Mary Catherine is frequently invited to lead prayer retreats and workshops on integrative and spiritual practices. She recently completed a two year program under spiritual master teachers—Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley—at the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Mary Catherine is a life-long learner and gifted teacher. She is married to Jeff Akamatsu and is the mother of two young adults, Dillon and Martin.


The Rev. Kathryn Mary (Kammy) Young, AOJN is the Director of Contextual Education on the faculty of the School of Theology, Sewanee. Prior to teaching at Sewanee, she served for three years as Associate Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL where she directed the church’s mission in the pursuit of deeper spirituality and justice. This calling followed ten grace-filled years of ministry with St. George Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, FL where she had been called in 1998 to serve as the first woman rector in the Diocese of Florida. While there she founded a silent retreat ministry center on Ft. George Island, partnering with the Order of Julian of Norwich, with which she is a vowed associate member. Kammy has been a proactive diocesan and congregational leader in implementing creative ministry development, continuing education and formation for clergy and laity, through innovative programs that deepen spiritual practices. Kammy received an M.Div. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University. She is currently studying Ministry Development in Virginia Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry degree program. She is married to the Rt. Rev. George Young and they have two grown children, George and Lucy, who live in Pensacola, FL.

mcarlsonThe Rev. Monica A. Carlson is the Rector of The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Leeds, AL. She is a member of the Diocese of Alabama’s Commission on Spirituality. Monica received an M.Div. from Sewanee: The School of Theology, where she earned the honors prize for Practical Theology. She received a B.A. from Duke University with a double-major in History and English. Prior to attending seminary, Monica lived in Nashville, TN where she worked for many years as a real estate paralegal. For several months after seminary, Monica lived with the nuns of the Community of St. Mary, where she deepened her experiential knowledge of Benedictine Spirituality. She continues to live by a Rule of Life, to pray the Daily Office, and to practice Centering Prayer. Monica is an instructor at the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS), which prepares postulants for ordained ministry. Monica has led several workshops on spirituality. She enjoys long walks and cheering for the Duke basketball team, the New Orleans Saints, and the Tennessee Titans. Now living in Alabama, she has become a fan of local sports teams, as well.

jcakamatsuMr. Jeff Akamatsu, AOJN is an active lay minister with an interest in integrative health. He is trained in The Living Compass wellness program as a Congregational Wellness Advocate. Jeff is also a Stephen Minister, an associate member of the Order of St. Luke (healing ministry), a teacher of integrative and spiritual practices, an accredited Education for Ministry (EfM) mentor, a vowed associate member of the Order of Julian of Norwich, and a Haden Institute certified Spiritual Director. Jeff is also an instructor at the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS). Jeff retired from a career with the federal government in human resources and from the Army as a Colonel. He is a former paratrooper, Army Ranger, Green Beret, and scuba diver. He received an undergraduate degree from West Point and a master’s in business from Boston University. Jeff is a former competitive runner who now practices yoga, bikes, hikes, and roller skates. His morning ritual includes a workout at the gym and praying the Daily Office (Morning Prayer). He and his wife, the Rev. Mary Catherine Akamatsu conclude their day with the Daily Office (Evening Prayer) and Centering Prayer.


Ms. Beth Cook is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice who has over 20 years of experience in psychotherapy. She has an interest in the interweaving of spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of health. In 1987 after reading John Sanford’s Healing and Wholeness, Beth began what would become a life-long study of Jungian psychology, creation spirituality, mythology, feminist theology, and Christian mysticism. In 2010, Beth became a certified Spiritual Director after completing the two-year Haden Institute training program. Beth has a particular interest in working with members of the LGBTQ community and others who have experienced marginalization from traditional religious groups. A member of the Episcopal Church, Beth is drawn to practices ancient and modern from many faith and spiritual traditions including dreamwork, mindfulness, meditation, the Enneagram, Celtic spirituality, poetry, fairy tales, and the labyrinth. Beth leads Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training programs and is a co-founder of the Alabama Institute for Mindfulness (AIM). She maintains a daily meditation practice. Beth is married to Tim Cook and they have one daughter, Bailey, who is a freshman in college.

mmarlarThe Rev. Dr. Malcolm Lewis Marler is the Director of Pastoral Care at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, AL and is a Board Certified Chaplain. He oversees a department that cares for persons in the hospital, outpatient clinic, and community. Prior to coming to UAB Hospital, he was the first full-time Chaplain for HIV/AIDS patients in the United States. Malcolm began “The Support Team Network” in 1994 to support persons with HIV disease and then expanded it into a national program for persons with any healthcare need. Malcolm has taught thousands of people how to offer practical, emotional, and spiritual support to others who are sick, grieving, or healing. Malcolm played football for the Clemson Tigers and graduated from Clemson University with a B.A. in Psychology. He received an M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1978, and later was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Malcolm’s mission in life is to embody grace and compassion in all relationships. Malcolm lives in Birmingham, AL and is married to the Rev. Mary Bea Sullivan. They have two grown children, Brendan and Kristin (Kiki).


The Rev. Mary Bea Sullivan is the Associate Rector for Pastoral Care at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, AL. She received an M.Div. from the Virginia Theological Seminary. Mary Bea is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and author. Her most recent book, Living Awake: Forty Days Toward Renewal offers simple, yet meaningful, spiritual reflections and practices that guide the reader toward emotional, physical, and spiritual restoration. Prior to her work in spiritual formation, Mary Bea founded the end-of-life care non-profit Project Compassion which is based out of Chapel Hill, NC. She has been a staff development consultant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is trained in a number of personal development programs. A practitioner of contemplative prayer, Mary Bea is passionate about spiritual practice and how it informs our being, and bringing the Good News to a world seeking Shalom. Grounded in Christianity, she has been exposed to many different faith traditions, most notably Tibetan Buddhism. Mary Bea is interested in interfaith dialogue and inter-spiritual practice. She is thrilled to be a part of the Metagem Institute faculty because it offers an opportunity to participate in a learning community which is committed to bringing people closer to God, themselves, and others. Mary Bea is married to the Rev. Malcolm Marler and is the mother of Brendan and Kristin (Kiki).

Guest Speakers

The Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Kee graduated from Mississippi State University before going to seminary at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was ordained a priest in 1982 and bishop suffragan in 2008. He became the diocesan bishop in 2012. Kee has participated in nearly twenty medical mission trips to Honduras. He has served as Director of Special Sessions for people with mental and physical disabilities at diocesan camps in Mississippi and Alabama. He founded the Special Session program in the Diocese of Alabama. As part of the spiritual direction formation program, Kee teaches through storytelling illustrating that our story is sacred story. Kee grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi; his wife, Tina, grew up in Leland in the Mississippi Delta. They now live in Birmingham, Alabama, and have two children, McKee and Mary Nell.

The Rev. Bude Van Dyke is an ordained Episcopal Priest and Spiritual Director for Bradford Health Services, a provider of addiction treatment throughout the Southeastern United States. Bude is one of 18 persons who was invited by Paula D’Arcy to attend a Think Tank Summit sponsored by the Red Bird Foundation to inform the Womenspeak Conference, a widely attended international event. For Metagem Institute’s spiritual direction program, Bude teaches on the topic of “Spiritual Direction and Recovery,” offering brilliant insights into the inner life and spiritual growth of those in recovery from addiction. He is also a singer-songwriter; his 2016 Album, Visible Rust, is a collection of Native Americana music. Bude’s grown children, Lily and Herschel, perform on the album with him. Bude lives in Sewanee, TN with his beloved wife Pam.


Additional speakers will be incorporated into the two-year programs:
Spiritual Direction Formation
Holy, Whole, and Bold: The Contemplative Path.