Why Give

All gifts to St. Mary's Sewanee support the mission of the institution:

St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development is dedicated to providing spiritual hospitality to persons of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds, in a place of natural beauty, simplicity, silence, tranquility and warm spiritual rest through retreats, renewal and learning.


Annual Fund

Thank you for considering a gift to St. Mary’s Sewanee. As an independent, nonprofit, spiritual development center, we count on our donors and advocates to support our mission. St. Mary’s Sewanee is not an endowed organization. Our revenues include the fees charged for use and programming, donations from guests and friends, and grants from churches, foundations and corporations. You can play a part in moving this vision forward with your financial support.

St. Mary’s Sewanee has several convenient ways for you to make a donation to our annual fund:

  • Give Online

St. Mary’s Sewanee offers a secure platform to make credit card donations on our website. Click on the Give Now tab to make a one-time gift or recurring donations to the annual fund and/or the capital campaign.

  • Phone

To make a credit card gift over the telephone, call St. Mary’s Sewanee at (800) 728-1659.

  • Mail

If you prefer to donate by mail, you may send a gift to:

St. Mary’s Sewanee, P.O. Box 188, Sewanee, TN 37375

  • Give a Tribute Gift

You may make a gift in honor or memory of a friend or family member to St. Mary’s Sewanee. We will then send the friend or family a card acknowledging your gift.

  • Gift of Stock

For more information about a gift of stocks, bonds or mutual funds, please call Kylene McDonald at (800) 728-1659.


Thank you for supporting St. Mary’s Sewanee.



Capital Campaign

Thanks to strong growth in group reservations and program attendance, St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development has realized a need to expand our physical buildings and spiritual offerings. That’s why, in 2010, the board of trustees launched a multiyear capital campaign to secure funds to build facilities that will improve the guest experience and allow St. Mary’s Sewanee to further its mission.

Since completion in April 2013, our new residential facility provides comfortable, attractive meeting and lodging spaces and remarkable views of the Hawkins Cove below. The layout of rooms and meeting spaces allows the Center to host several groups at the same time, with quiet areas for contemplative practice and gathering places for those engaged in more interactive programs.

The board of trustees has created several phases for the campaign and the subsequent campus development. 

The Hospitality Lodge, the vital next step

The hospitality lodge will provide near unlimited opportunity for St. Mary's Sewanee to offer hospitality to its guests. There will be two meeting rooms, a dining room, a well-equipped kitchen, a reception foyer, a reading room, conversation alcoves, and a laundry. Gifts and pledges have already been offered to name the James Avery Dining Room and the Parsley and Keating meeting rooms. To take advantage of the natural beauty of the campus, the lodge will have extra-wide porches on all sides. 

For 28 years, guests have accepted with grace a sometimes too small meeting room or have waited while a meal is cleared so the dining room can be used for the next group. The center's staff has accepted with equal grace the challenge of producing exceptional meals for all of our age groups with limited space. Along with the new lodging facility and the McRae Meeting Room, the hospitality lodge, will provide fresh, new facilities for the center's faithful participants while also making it more welcoming to newcomers. Additional meeting space, a state-of-the-art kitchen, and a large dining room will enable the center to host several groups at a time, while ensuring space apart for each. 

Future Phases might include a second residential building with 16 guest rooms, additional meeting space, reception foyer, four hermitage houses, welcome center, chapel, library and a third residential building with 14 guest rooms.

The board of trustees recognizes the challenge of a campaign of this size. It also appreciates the opportunity for expanded and enhanced ministry that the new space will bring. Members of the board invite you to join them and the more than 160 others who share the vision for St. Mary’s Sewanee in transforming that vision into reality.

To receive more information about the new Ayres Center campus or discuss ways you can contribute to the campaign, please contact Andy Anderson at andy.anderson@stmaryssewanee.org or (800) 728-1659.