About Heidi

Heidi Haverkamp is a writer, spiritual director, and Episcopal priest. In 2019, she won two awards from the Church Associated Press for her article “How I learned to love the doctrine of total depravity” in The Christian Century. Her newest book is the second in a series of three year-long guides for personal study and prayer based on the Sunday lectionary: Everyday Connections: Reflections and Practices for Year A (Year B forthcoming) (Year C published in 2021). She is the author of two previous books: Advent in Narnia and Holy Solitude: Lenten Reflections with Saints, Hermits, Prophets, and Rebels. She received her M.Div. from The University of Chicago Divinity School in 2006 and a certificate in Anglican studies from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (now Bexley Seabury). She lives in Indianapolis with her husband.

More about Heidi

I am a writer, author, spiritual director, and Episcopal priest. I write an occasional newsletter called Letters from a Part-time Hermit.

I was honored to be quoted in an article about spirituality and solitude in The New York Times, “What We Can Learn from Solitude” in November 2020, because of my book Holy Solitude and a piece I wrote for a hermit newsletter called Raven’s Bread, edited by Paul and Karyn Fredette, featured prominently in that NYT article.

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in Hyde Park. I went to St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School, even though my family attended a Protestant congregation, Hyde Park Union Church. I went to Catholic girls high school: first, Academy of the Sacred Heart, where my mother was a teacher, then, after it closed, its sister school, Woodlands Academy. I majored in English at the College of Wooster in Ohio. After college, I worked on organic farms, alongside adults with mental illness, as pastor of a rural congregation in New England, and in a Chicago corporate law office.

When I moved back home to Hyde Park, I found myself in the pews of St. Paul and the Redeemer and felt a welcome and call to leadership there. I earned my Master of Divinity at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2006, and finished a Certificate in Anglican Studies in 2007 at Seabury Western Theological Seminary, now part of the Bexley-Seabury Federation. I was ordained a deacon and a priest in 2007 in the Diocese of Chicago.

My first call was as the vicar of a small congregation in the southwestern Chicago suburbs. I spent nine years with the people of St. Benedict (Bolingbrook), which shaped me in many ways as a priest, a Christian, and a writer. For more of that story and some thoughts on the spiritual geography of strip malls and cornfields, explore the blog I kept from 2012-2016: The Vicar of Bolingbrook.

I started writing more, outside of my parish, in 2012, after being encouraged by friends and a writing workshop for pastors at the Collegeville Institute in Minnesota. I began writing for religious magazines and published two books with Westminster John Knox Press while working full-time in parish ministry.

In 2016, just a few weeks after I became the Senior Associate Rector at St. Chrysostom’s (Chicago), my mother died unexpectedly during cancer treatment. This changed many things in my life and in 2017, I decided to leave parish ministry. I started pursue writing full-time. My husband and I moved to DeKalb, Illinois, where he could finish coursework on his Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University.

In 2020, we moved to Indianapolis, to be near a growing cluster of our good friends and pursue some other opportunities. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a new book series, called Everyday Connections, a year-long devotional for each of the three lectionary years (A, B, C), based on the excellent new sermon commentary series, Connections.

I also work as a spiritual director, meeting with folks to puzzle through their spiritual questions, struggles, and wonderings. I completed a training and internship with the Claret Center in Chicago in 2019-2020. Contact me or look at this page if you’d like more information.

Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of life and liveliness in practicing vipassana or insight meditation and studying Buddhism, especially the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, and fellow writer Natalie Goldberg. It helps me feels closer to God, honestly. I did a seven-day silent retreat in July with Tri-State Dharma that was truly amazing. (My friend Kristin says that sounds like something off a Parks and Recreation episode. Ha!)

I call myself a Part-Time hermit because I have the best energy and zest for life when I spend most of my time alone. I love people but being around people takes a lot of energy out of me. I used to think this was strange and somehow wrong, but over time I’ve realized it’s just who I am. I try to use my solitude as a force for good in the world. When my friend, Sister Julia Walsh, interviewed me on her podcast I said something about how I’m only a “part-time” hermit because I still go to the grocery store and stuff – and she responded: “You really are a hermit if you consider going to the grocery store a social event!” We both laughed out loud.

I also like to read, make dinner, take pictures, go for walks, and delight in my niece and nephews. I’ve been married to minister, geographer, programmer, and photographer Adam Frieberg since 2008.

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