JourneyMates, a locally accessible Christian soul care and spiritual formation ministry, is designed to open time and space for Christians to simply be with God and to notice and respond to God’s presence and invitation within and around them.


JM began with the vision of gathering like-hearted Christians together around the shared desire and intention to be prayerfully present, attentive and authentic with and through the presence of the Triune God in Christ.

That vision, held by founders Jennifer Ennis and Sally Breedlove, led to the first JourneyMates Community of 25 women forming in 2006. They were joined in volunteer leadership by Mary Vandel Young in 2007 and added a second JourneyMates Community of men and women in 2008. Today, JourneyMates comprises six JourneyMates Communities in and around Raleigh, NC, and five JourneyMates Affiliate Ministries in Omaha, NE, Edenton, NC, Virginia Beach, VA, Greenwich, CT, and our newest JourneyMates Affiliate in Atlanta, GA. JourneyMates engages with over 400 participants yearly through JourneyMates Communities, JourneyMates Retreats and JourneyMates Facilitator Training.

In January of 2012 the JourneyMates Board of Trustees was named, and JourneyMates became a non-profit, 501C3 entity, with Mary Vandel Young serving as Executive Director. At that time the following Vision, Mission and Core Values were established to guide the ministry of JourneyMates:

  • Vision – To glorify the Triune God and grow in trusting him in all of life by making space for Christians to notice and respond to God’s presence and invitation within and around us.
  • Mission – To provide contemplative settings where spiritual disciplines are modeled and practiced in Christian community.
  • Core Values – Authority of Scripture – Silence and Solitude – Prayerful Presence, Attentiveness and Authenticity – Four Movements of the Soul: Upward, Inward, Among and Outward – Spiritual Friendship – Orthodox Christian Faith -Traditional Spiritual Disciplines – Mystery of God – Whole Person: Mind, Body, Soul – Humbly recognize JourneyMates plays one part in God’s Kingdom plan.
  • JourneyMates Why – Christians need time and space to simply be with Jesus.

JourneyMates Ministry leaders are seeking to listen to God and respond to Him as He leads us in growing other JourneyMates Ministries and Christian spiritual formation resources.

We seek God in being faithful and responsible in passing on what we have received from God through JourneyMates. Most of all we want to be faithful to the Triune God, so that anything he has allowed us to create would be to the praise of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Read more about our vision and history

Ministry Overview pdf


Who we are

Mary Vandel Young
Executive Director and Trustee

Mary Vandel Young’s passion for transformational ministry and soul care has guided her participation, study, leadership and ministry in the area of Christian spiritual formation for more than 20 years. God blessed Mary’s life with JourneyMates in 2006 when she and her husband, Jason, moved to the Raleigh area. A year later, JM Founders, Jennifer Ennis and Sally Breedlove, invited Mary to join them in leading JourneyMates. Mary has served as JourneyMates Executive Director since 2012 when JourneyMates became a non-profit ministry.

In addition to her work with JourneyMates, Mary ministers as a spiritual director, teacher in the Raleigh Fellows program and retreat leader, teacher and speaker. Raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Mary graduated from Baylor University in 1990. She served on Young Life staff nationally and internationally until 2000 and completed a M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2003.

Mary and her husband, Dr. Jason Young, a psychologist, have two teenage sons, Luke and Tobias, and a precious Shi-Tzu named Petey.

maryvandelyoung@journeymates.org


Barney Ford
Board Chair

Barney & Arlene have three adult daughters and six grandchildren. They have lived in the Raleigh area for the last ten years moving here to be close to their daughters and grandchildren. In retirement Barney does executive coaching, spiritual formation and spiritual direction.

In his ministry career Barney served in a variety of direct ministry and executive leadership positions with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an interdenominational ministry on college and university campuses.

 

 


Mike Gioielli
Board Vice Chair

Mike has a BS degree in computer science from Union College in Schenectady, NY. In his forty years as a software professional, Mike has developed innovative software products and solutions for leading private and public entities.

Mike and his family were residents of the Triangle area for over 25 years, then spent 2 years in southern California before moving to the Denver area to be with family and grandchildren.

While religion was an active part of Mike’s early life, he did not become a true believer in Jesus Christ until 1998. Since then, he has continually sought to experience more intimacy with God and to share that experience with others.

Mike sees a need for the contemporary Christian believer to adopt and practice core spiritual disciplines as essential pathways to the transformation of spirit that is needed for the Gospel to flourish in today’s world. Mike believes that JourneyMates is a primary way to learn and experience, in a corporate context, the spiritual rhythms necessary for authentic spiritual transformation.

Mike and his wife Ellen have been married for 40 years and have three sons. They have been past leaders in youth ministry and were founding leaders of the Cary Teen Community Bible Study (TeenCBS). Mike has also served as an eMentor for Family Life.

While in North Carolina, Mike and Ellen were members of Southbridge Fellowship Church involved in mentoring, small groups, and children’s and worship ministries. Mike has served on the leadership team at Southbridge and has coauthored a teaching curriculum on Christian discipleship called “Foundations” which integrates core concepts of the Christian faith with essential spiritual disciplines. He and Ellen also facilitated spiritual formation groups using the “Good and Beautiful” series from James Bryan Smith.

His current passion is in helping local churches understand the need for spiritual formation and transformative practices that yield Christ-like behavior.


Sally Breedlove
Founder and Trustee

Sally is a co-founder of JourneyMates, a contemplative small group ministry that invites people to connect intimately with the Triune God by making space in their everyday lives. She presently serves as a trainer and supervisor for JourneyMates and as guest faculty with Selah, Leadership Transformations’ training program for spiritual directors.

As a spiritual director, teacher, and retreat leader, her heart delight is helping people learn to notice, trust, and follow Jesus. Sally is the author of Choosing Rest (NavPress) and one of the authors of The Shame Exchange (NavPress). Sally and her husband Steve, who serves as a bishop in the Anglican Church in North America, live their life together in the rich context of five married children and fourteen grandchildren.

sallybreedlove@gmail.com


Jeff Brovet
Treasurer and Trustee

Jeff is a partner at Thomas, Judy & Tucker, P.A. in the firm’s assurance and advisory practice. Prior to joining TJT in 2007, Jeff and his wife worked as missionaries in South Africa for three years. Jeff spent the first ten years of his career with Ernst & Young.

Jeff enjoys the outdoors and loves early morning workouts with his brothers through Fitness Fellowship and Faith (F3).  Jeff loves to listen for the voice of God in all aspects of life – as a husband, in his role as a father, fostering relationships and client needs in his work environment, as a friend and in moments of solitude.

Jeff earned his Master of Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Jeff lives in Raleigh with his wife, Erin, and they have four children.


Scottie Dietz
Trustee

From her childhood home in Delaware, Scottie came to North Carolina to attend Wake Forest University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in English, followed by a Masters Degree in School Counseling from UNC-Chapel Hill. Scottie enjoyed 32 years as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in a variety of public and private schools.

After retiring as Director of College Counseling at St. David’s School in Raleigh, Scottie felt God’s invitation for a deeper intimacy with Him and was led to join JourneyMates where she is now a Facilitator.  JourneyMates offers the opportunity for Scottie to combine her passion for listening to others with her love for scripture and her desire to seek God’s faithful presence.

Scottie is a former member of the Raleigh Young Life Committee and has volunteered as a client advocate at Gateway, a faith-based pregnancy resource center in Raleigh. She currently serves in the Stephen Minister and Cancer Companion Ministries at White Plains United Methodist Church in Cary. Scottie is presently enrolled in the Selah Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction.

Scottie and her husband Bob have four married adult children and are devoted to their growing family including their twelve precious grandchildren.


Pam Pitt
Trustee

I love helping people move towards wholeness in Christ. My 30+ years of vocational ministry experience in campus, nonprofit/human trafficking, contemplative and outdoor settings is enriched with spiritual direction training from Richmont Graduate University and a Master’s in Counseling from Colorado Christian University. This allows me to minister through: Leading a JourneyMates contemplative community, spiritual direction for individuals and groups, retreats, and outdoor contemplative experiences. People from a wide range of faith backgrounds and life experiences have reflected that it is easy to talk openly with me.


Mary Dee Smith
Trustee

Mary Dee is a native of Raleigh where she returned after schooling, career and marriage took her to various places. She spent three years at The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia for high school, Wake Forest University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, followed by a Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from UNC-Chapel Hill. Mary Dee completed her Clinical Fellowship in Speech-Language Pathology at The Kennedy Krieger Institute, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University Hospital. She enjoyed continuing her work with young children with speech and language disabilities in Charlotte, North Carolina. After having children, Mary Dee felt called to stay home with them and was led to several different Bible studies over the years that catered to the needs of young children and young mothers. Once her children were all in school full-time, she accepted the invitation to join JourneyMates where she has been a member for the past 8 years. For the last two years, she has been a host for the Midtown Raleigh Friday Morning Community Group.

Mary Dee is a member of Holy Trinity Anglican Church where she has enjoyed being a leader of Alpha, a mentor for New City Fellows, as well as a facilitator for a young women’s weekly Bible study. Opening her home and studying God’s word has become a joy for Mary Dee over the years as she also hosts and facilitates the weekly Bible study for the parent volunteer group (Friends) of St. David’s School.

Mary Dee and her husband Mike have three children – two in college and one in high school at St. David’s School in Raleigh. They love to travel and enjoy these ages and stages with their children.


Nancy Crowell
Trustee

Nancy has participated in JourneyMates since 2010 and is privileged to currently host the Durham JM community. Nancy’s experience includes leadership in women’s Bible studies and healing prayer ministries. Her passion is spiritual formation and walking with others as they grow into more fully trusting Jesus in all aspects of their lives. Nancy’s background as a nurse includes working as a nurse practitioner in endocrinology in Raleigh and 10 years as an assistant professor at UNC CH School of Nursing. She currently serves with the prayer ministry at All Saints Anglican Church and volunteers at The Samaritan Health Center in Durham as an NP.

She and Peter have lived in Durham for over 30 years. They love spending time with their children and grandchildren as well as traveling, gardening, reading, and having great conversations over delicious meals with friends and church family.


Megan Miedema
Operations Manager

Megan grew up in Wilmington, NC and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a Minor in Accounting from North Carolina State University. Before coming on staff with JourneyMates, Megan worked at the Gene Pleasants Insurance Agency and was a cheerleading coach for the NCSU White Team.

As a North Raleigh YoungLife Committee member, Megan has a passion for every high school kid in Raleigh to come to know Jesus. Megan is also a member of Church of the Apostles Anglican Church. JourneyMates drew Megan in as she experienced the gift of time and space to simply receive from the Lord.

Megan resides in Raleigh with her husband Jared and their three children.


Jen Whipple
Event Coordinator/Administrative Assistant

In January of 2018 Durham, N.C. became Jen’s latest address as her husband, Mark, responded to a new pastoral call which brought her back to Tarheel country.  It felt like coming home as Jen went to UNC-Chapel Hill for college and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and Spanish.  While teaching during the day and singing in a band at night, she met her husband Mark.  They married in Durham and soon moved to Philadelphia where Jen worked as a project manager while Mark went to seminary.  Upon graduation they moved to Asheville, N.C. and began a family.  During sixteen years of ministry and mountain air, Jen took on a variety of roles from mom to worship leader to aquatic fitness instructor.  However, it was in her role as a pastor’s wife that the gift of solitude and silence became deep and necessary nourishment for her soul.  After hearing of JourneyMates for years from Triangle friends, Jen joined the Durham community in the fall of 2018 and is currently a facilitator in training.  She joined JourneyMates staff as the Event Coordinator/Administrative Assistant in October of 2020.

Jen is a member of Church of the Good Shepherd in Durham, N.C.  She loves dark coffee, making music, being outside and open-ended questions at large farm tables…especially ones that include her husband’s barbacoa tacos and her four teenage children.


JourneyMates is supported by more than 70 volunteers who serve as JM Community Leaders, Supervisors, Facilitators, Facilitators-in-Training and Venue Hosts.

JourneyMates Facilitator Training Conference February 2019