Our Story

I was on staff at my church – a position I loved, working with people I loved, in a ministry I loved, when God first began to whisper to me about the possibility of a spiritual formation center.  At first, I resisted, but as I always do, I gave in. I went part-time in my church role to make some time to begin dreaming and planning. God had placed three wonderful women along side me who believed in the dream and helped me to bring it to be.

I knew that we would offer courses and classes in contemplative spirituality – focusing on practices like silence and solitude, journaling, examen, practicing Sabbath and presence. I also knew that we would offer spiritual direction and provide space for retreats.

The name, Kavanna House, was born in the San Francisco International Airport. I was browsing through a site on Hebrew words and their meaning and came across “kavanna” which I thought was a lovely word. Then I saw the meaning: intentional, mindful, awakened and devoted to prayer. It was perfect.

But where? The first year, we held classes in a borrowed space – the living room of a friend. The feedback was great so we pushed ahead to find a permanent space. One thing I knew was that the environment was as important as the classes – the environment would be essential to the overall experience of Kavanna House.

Then, in the summer of 2012, we found our current location at 1516 East Market Street in York, Pennsylvania. Although close to the city and situated on a busy street, the house seemed perfect for what we wanted to do.

Our desire is that Kavanna House offers a space and place for growing your relationship with God.

Deb Turnow ~ Founder, Kavanna House