Who We Are
The Lydia Group is a coalition of individuals and organizations who seek to nurture growth and strengthen souls (beginning with ourselves) toward wholeness. We exist to help people connect with God and allow God to reshape them.
Our ministry exists to accompany, equip and support people and organizations toward vibrant spirituality and responsive discernment. This is in service of dismantling our false-self narrative and awakening our True Self so that we are “able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV
In the spirit of Lydia (Acts 16), our aim is to be a catalyst for helping folks stretch their mind, free their spirit and grow ever closer to their true purpose and potential.
What We Do
Our aim is to nurture transformation in Christ through the spiritual practices of Jesus and the ancient church. The practices of Jesus have long been honored and recognized as the “square one” activities of the spiritual life.
Who We Attract
The Lydia offerings are open to all people. Those most drawn to the Lydia offerings are clergy, spiritual directors, faith leaders and lay folk who want a deeper connection with God and have a strong desire to enter into time tested ways of developing that relationship. If you want to experience God more deeply and respond to Him more significantly, we invite you to notice what offerings draw you. Come. Experience. Grow. Join us in pursuit wholeness.
Ann Starrette founded The Lydia Group, LLC retreat ministry in 1998, has been the Director of Spiritual Formation at Davidson United Methodist Church in Davidson since 2004, and since 2006 Ann and husband Tom have offered sacred space apart for individuals and groups at Starrette Farm Retreat Center in Statesville. Ann earned her business degree from UNC-Charlotte with decades of entrepreneur experience in their landmark family business. Her post graduate studies have focused on Spiritual Formation and Direction through Shalem Institute, Renovare Institute, and Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. As a spiritual director, presenter, retreat facilitator, and founding director of the one-year Clergy/Leaders School of the Spirit program, Ann views her role as quietly planting inner seeds of freedom, growth, and change toward divine wholeness. Contact Ann at Starrette@mindspring.com.
W. DON CARROLL, JR.
Don Carroll is a spiritual director, Enneagram teacher and writer. He is a member of Davidson United Methodist Church. Don also attends the Davidson Friends Meeting (Quaker) in Davidson and the Inclusion Community. A graduate of Sursum Corda School of Spiritual Direction, Don provides individual spiritual direction and assists in the spiritual formation program at Davidson UMC. He has extensive background in counseling, coaching and the 12-steps from his work in the mental health and addiction field as Director of the North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program. Don is a certified Enneagram teacher and leads retreats for individuals on using the Enneagram as a spiritual tool and for church staffs on team building and vision implementation.
Don is the author of the Consciousness Trilogy: Hacking Toward Consciousness, The End of Democracy, and The Armageddon Choice, as well as King Arthur and the Consciousness Gene and The Beguines and the Search for Visionary Consciousness, and the interactive CONNECTmeditation journal and The 9 and 12 Workbook and other writings to help on the spiritual journey. Details at www.doncarroll.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole Greer is the Vibrant Coach. In 2007, Nicole, a spirited entrepreneur, developed Vibrant Coaching. Over the last 20 years, she has embraced her ‘wind’ to help individuals, corporations and churches become the people they were created to be through defining and fulfilling a mission, to work better in teams, understand how personality types interact, get motivated, chart a direction, uncover ambitions, blind spots, hidden strengths thorough 360 work and exemplify excellent leadership. Ultimately, she longs to see people fully alive, alert, and awake! She is on a mission to energize, impact, and influence people to live vibrant lives through engaging the possibilities. Nicole works to learn, is a life long student of business practices and she loves to travel. Her traveling companions are David, her “earthy” husband of 25+ years, and two adult children. Contact Nicole through her website or email email@example.com.
REV. DIANNE LAWHORN
Dianne Lawhorn is currently serving as our Minister of Spiritual Formation. She is an Ordained Minister who brings over 15 years experience in facilitating small groups for spiritual growth. She is also a Program Associate in the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation. Dianne shares our passion for creating sacred space for souls to be tended. She is available for consultation regarding your needs as well as leadership for your next workshop, retreat, or study series. It would be her pleasure and privilege to work with you to discern how to best meet your needs for spiritual transformation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-576-1476.
Roxanne Morgan is a founding member and elder at Warehouse 242 (a Presbyterian congregation) where she leads contemplative spiritual formation classes. She has a God-given artistic bent that delights in fostering creativity, and helping others discover and live out sacred rhythms in their lives. She is a professor with the Lórien Academy of the Arts which provides art education and experiences for West Charlotte youth. She has served as a facilitator for the Trust Circle for Discernment ministry at Davidson UMC, is a graduate of School of the Spirit, and also serves with The Lydia Group LLC for School of the Spirit, the Into The Desert day retreat, and The Inner Artist retreats.
Audrey Brendel is the host and registrar for Quiet Space Fridays, the second Friday of each month at Starrette Farm. Audrey is a member at First United Methodist Church in Hickory, a School of the Spirit graduate, a member of the Wesleyan Contemplative Order, and is a Benedictine oblate in formation through Belmont Abbey. A contemplative artist, Audrey has a God-given gift of quiet hospitality and serves with Roxanne Morgan at The Inner Artist retreats. Contact Audrey at (828) 551-5935.
The Lydia Group ministry was founded in 1998 by Methodist lay woman, Ann Starrette, after being inspired by the story of Lydia in Acts 16 (some scholars say this was written around 70 AD). Sacred history tells us that Lydia was the first person converted to Christianity on European soil, the first person to have house church to share the Gospel, and the first business woman, a seller of purple, ever recorded.
Little is known as fact about her but we do know she was “a seller of purple.” What does it mean to “sell purple?” In those days dyes were natural, not synthetic, and the dye for purple was made from a juice found in minute quantities in shellfish. It took thousands of crustaceans to make a yard or two of purple cloth. Being very expensive, it was a statement of status and wealth. And that’s what Lydia is selling. She’s selling purple; purple cloth, purple tapestry, purple robes. She’s selling the power of purple. It was a product that required tenacity, a strong work ethic, excellent craftsmanship, attention to detail, working with vendors, employees, customers.
So here’s Lydia listening intently to Paul in Acts 16. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. Her household was baptized. She invited Paul and his companions into her home... and then others. Imagine her connections. You could say she was Paul’s “social media” of 70 A.D. for spreading the Gospel.
Devotion to St. Lydia is greater in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches than the Catholic Church and evident in the myriad of icons depicting this woman. The Orthodox Church has given her the title of “Equal to the Apostles,” which signifies her importance and level of holiness. There is a church located in Philippi, which many consider to be built in St. Lydia's honor. A modern baptistery is located on the traditional site where Lydia was baptized by St. Paul near Philippi as well.
Lydia, no doubt, was a person of hospitality, generosity and influence; a person of contemplative prayer, action and excellence – a fitting model for our contemporary times of someone who earnestly and seamlessly blended their life, work and faith in service to others and glory to God.
The grape is said to represent Christ. Grapes and leaves symbolize the Christian faith and our connection to God (John 15:5) and each other. It also symbolizes growth. As a plant that grows in abundance, it was one of the earliest cultivated crops known to mobilized society. The grape & leaves also symbolize spiritual growth and transformation. From the planting of the seed, to the support of the trellis, the tending, pruning, and breaking away as needed until harvest, we witness the transformative steps from the fruit of the vine to a jar of jam to the Cup of Salvation. Through God’s grace, and our cooperation, we pursue wholeness.