Rev. Dr. Sharri Johnson
Hi, my name is Rev. Dr. Sharri Johnson, and I am the Senior Minister and lead faculty for One Heart Retreats, formerly One Heart Retreat Center. This is how I came to be here:
I have spent my life in search of spiritual understanding, as an educator, mother, friend and practitioner. My goal is to continue that search, to be like a spiritual tree - as my high school biology teacher said, "Trees never die from old age, they only die when some outside force causes them to stop growing" - to me that is the epitome of "staying open at the top". In fulfilling this goal, I hope to be a model, a teacher, and a facilitator of growth for all who cross my path.
Although I was born in Junction City, Kansas, I have lived in 36 states, and been the “new kid in school” 35 times, not counting teaching appointments. I graduated from high school in Irving, Texas. After two marriages, each producing one child, had ended in divorce, I realized I really needed to go back to college and get a degree that would enable me to support and educate my children. I enrolled at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and completed a B.S. in Mathematics in three years, working 40 hours per week at the same time. By the time graduation rolled around, I had married a professor, who adopted my daughter and I prepared to go to graduate school, so that I could teach college. I completed my Master of Computer Studies degree in 14 months by taking classes in the summer, followed by fall and spring semesters, and finishing up in the second summer. I then taught college for 17 years, even going so far as to write a Computer Science textbook, before I discovered my true calling of ministry.
A great deal happened in those 17 years: my husband, who was in the throes of alcoholism, and unwilling to consider any spiritual path, reached rock bottom, and I went through a third divorce. I had an automobile accident that was my responsibility and the man in the other car died. My first grandson was born. My son, his father, who had been diagnosed as bipolar, but refused to take medication, took his own life. In my life I have been exposed to addiction in a spouse, bipolar disorder that eventually led to my son's suicide, bankruptcy and divorce. My youngest sister is a lesbian who married her partner of 27 years on the day same-sex marriae became legal in Missouri, so I have experienced, through her, the challenges of sexual discrimination. All of these experiences seem to me to be wonderful on-the-job training for ministry, and that has helped me to thrive and to help others thrive as well.
When I finally accepted the call to ministry, with some trepidation, I asked in prayer for guidance regarding my ministry (I did not see myself as a pulpit minister) and I received an astounding and detailed vision of a retreat center in the mountains. I followed that vision for over 20 years, convinced that it came direct from the Divine Mind. I even found a husband who was at the end of a 40-year career in hotel management and saw my vision of ministry as the next logical and spirit-driven step for him. He supported me through Ministerial training and spent most of his time searching for the “right” site. In my final term of seminary, he found a site in rural Arkansas.
My husband and I liquidated all of our assets, sold our house and most of what was in it (I even sold most of my 30-year collection of dragons!), in order to bring this vision into manifestation. Then we set out to purchase and equip One Heart Retreat Center outside Marshall, Arkansas. We moved here in the middle of October, 2017. There were physical and financial challenges with the property, but we KNEW this was where we were meant to build.
On February 19, 2018, my husband was quite unexpectedly diagnosed with acute small-cell lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain, his spine, his liver, and his adrenals. On March 19, 2018, he made his transition. He chose not to have a memorial service, donated his body to science, and requested that donations be sent to One Heart Retreat Center in lieu of flowers. His only request of me was that I keep One Heart alive and fulfill the vision we had shared for so long.
I was the entire staff for most of the first four and a half years, and with the support of my Board and guidance from Spirit, One Heart continued to grow, offering online classes, retreats, and an extensive website that includes the Spirit Online Directory (which has helped folks all over the world to stay connected to their CSL centers throughout COVID). In addition, I was ordained as a CSL minister on January 23, 2021, my 71st birthday!
The experience of the COVID pandemic taught me two very important things:
It IS possible to facilitate not only classes, but also retreats, counselling, and Practitioner sessions online successfully and at a very reasonable rate.
Managing 12.5 wooded acres with three buildings, 18 beds and an extensive library in an extremely rural area is too much for one person to handle - at least if that person is going to be simultaneously offering online classes, retreats, and an extensive website.
As a result, after a great deal of prayer, I sold the 12.5 acres, beds, and buildings and moved most of my ministry online. The library, relocated to Grandview, MO, is still a physical entity offered as a resource to students, Practitioners, and Ministers. Over the past four and half years, my interest and activity in/with Interfaith organization and events has grown tremendously, which is why the One Heart Metaphysical Library is available to ANY student, minister or practitioner by appointment. I have also started hosting a weekly interview program for Focus (non-traditional) Ministers on the New Thought Media Network, and will soon be starting a radio program on the same network offering audio recordings of my over 200 blogs. Of course, I love giving Sunday talks, both via Zoom and in person, too. I have also become quite active in the Affiliated New Thought Network and Emerson Theological Institute. In fact, on June 6, 2023 I received my Doctorate in Wisdom Studies from Emerson! And so, the adventure continues . . .
You can reach me any time at RevSharri@OneHeartRetreatCenter.org!