Sacred Art of Living Center Team

The Sacred Art of Living Team is a special group of professionals dedicated to the mission and vision of the center’s work for individuals and families world-wide, offering spiritually based education programs in palliative and end-of-life care. We consider every program participant– past and present– a real member of our extended international family. Each member of our team is dedicated to providing hospitality, compassion, and excellence in service ‘beyond the call of duty.” We consider our work much more than a job– but a contribution to the spiritual transformation of ourselves and everyone we serve.

Richard Groves, Founder and Executive Director, Sacred Art of Living Center

Richard Groves – Founding Director

Richard and his late wife Mary co-developed and founded the Sacred Art of Living Center in 1997. Richard is an internationally popular teacher and author who continues to present educational and spiritual development programs for health care institutions, faith communities of all traditions all over the world. Richard worked for more than 25 years as a chaplain in health care and hospice. He was also an executive director of hospice and ethics consultant for national health care organizations. A professor of world religions, Richard was ordained a Catholic priest in 1977 and earned graduate degrees in theology, ethics, pastoral counseling and law. His doctoral research focuses on cultural and inter-faith perspectives of the Sacred Art of Living and Dying. Richard is the co-author of The American Book of Living & Dying: Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain which is now in its third printing and has also been translated into Japanese and Spanish. Most of all Richard is proud of his family that includes three sons, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Joe Richter – Production Manager

Joe has been working for more than ten years at SALC. Among his diverse responsibilities is manager of SALC’s Tree of Life Resource Center and managing the many IT dimensions of Sacred Art of Living’s programming. He also travels with staff in North America and internationally recording and producing new audio and video program materials. Joe’s background includes a BA in Liberal Arts from Mt. Angel Seminary with an emphasis in behavioral sciences. He also brings 25 years of experience in video production and the printing industries. Joe is a fun-loving husband and dedicated dad who can also be found helping his son Zach hone his basketball skills and learning to fish. Joe and his wife Kristi are natives of Eastern Oregon and currently live in Bend.

Fiona Williams – Chief Financial Officer

Fiona has worked with Sacred Art of Living since 2013 and is currently its Chief Financial Officer. Her responsibilities at the Center include budgeting, financial reporting, program financial analysis, cash flow management, human resources, employee benefits and payroll. She has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources Director, Payroll and Accounting Manager. Fiona has also spent some time handling complex contracts and technical reviews for corporate accounts as a Renewable Energy Administrator, as well as prior non-profit experience as a Program Manager.  Fiona relocated to Bend in 2013 with her husband and two children and was drawn to the center for its mission and values.

Karin Olson – Program Manager

Karin began training for the Program Manager position in January of 2020 and is honored and delighted to be an integral part of the continuation of SALC’s mission as we Look toward the Future.  She was introduced to the Sacred Art of Living Center through her work in hospice care and her studies in death midwifery.  A former Waldorf Early Childhood Educator, she was called to end of life care and journeying with others through life and death transitions.  As an Anamcara Graduate Apprentice, Karin is deeply passionate for the work of Sacred Art of Living Center.  She has extensive experience and training in group facilitation, program coordination, networking, curriculum development, and interpersonal communications.  She brings to the Center a deep and diverse understanding of human nature and spiritual development from newborns to elders with many years of experience in mentoring people of all ages; a proclivity for acknowledging the sacred in every moment; and the joy of interweaving metaphor, ritual, and ceremony into everyday living and dying.  Karin has lived in Bend for 20 years and she and her partner, Julia, treasure its natural beauty while enjoying the outdoors through camping, hiking, Nordic skiing, and canoeing.

Karin-Olson

Debbie Doornbos – Canadian Director

Sacred Art of Living Center is delighted to announce that Debbie Doornbos of Edmonton, Alberta, has been named the first ever Canadian Director for SALC!  Debbie is a retreat leader and spiritual director with vast experience in adult education, facilitation, marketing and program development.  She utilized these skills most recently as Program Director at Providence Renewal Centre (PRC) in Edmonton. Her training is broad and includes Christian mysticism, Jungian psychology, Ignatian spirituality, the Enneagram, and World Religions.  She has a special interest in journeying with others through times of transition.   Debbie is a graduate of Newman Theological College, the Haden Institute Spiritual Direction Program and the Sacred Art of Living and Dying Anamcara Apprenticeship.  Debbie is an outdoors enthusiast.  Married to John, they love spending time with family and friends.

Westin Webre – Administrative Assistant

Westin started with the Sacred Art of Living Center in January of 2021. Westin’s educational background encompasses business administration, psychology, aging services, and geriatric care management. Prior to beginning with the Sacred Art of Living Center, Westin served as a business services manager and care manager for 10 years in our local senior in-home care industry. This experience has provided Westin with a vast knowledge of the various community resources aimed at serving the needs of the aging population in Central Oregon. His experiences as a volunteer with hospice and as a care manager led him to enroll in our Healing the Healers Series in 2020. Since beginning these trainings, Westin has been motivated by SALC’s curriculum to explore what it means to have a good death, and more so, how these concepts and teachings can be incorporated into our daily lives so that we can live in a manner that provides us with purpose, meaning and hope, not just at end-of-life, but throughout our lives. In recognizing the positive influence that these studies have had on his own journey, Westin is thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to the Sacred Art of Living Center’s mission and work. Outside of his work at SALC, Westin’s passions include playing guitar, tending to his garden, reading about the strange and mysterious, fishing and bird hunting with his two Brittany Spaniels, Ollie, and Bodhi.

Westin 2

Maryhelen Zabas – Anamcara Coordinator

Maryhelen is was Program Manager for the Sacred Art of Living Center for eight years and after her official “retirement” has transitioned into the role of caretaker of our Anamcara Project.  A former high school English teacher, she also brings to the Center over twenty years of Nursing Home Ministry with experience in Fund Development, Public Relations, Program Development and Pastoral Care, particularly work with the dying and their families.  Her passion for the work of SALC and for spiritual transformation are a gift in her supervision of the Anamcara Apprentices and in animator training for pilot site study groups.  She is a trained facilitator for the SALAD Units and serves on the Formation team for the Anamcara Apprenticeship.  She is a mentor for the Art of Spiritual Eldering Track, Year Two of the Apprenticeship.