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Imagine a life lived freely and fully — and in service to the world.

Rooted at the Servant Leadership School.
Reaching out through Second Breath.

The Reverend Tim Patterson founded The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro in 1991 after personally discovering the power of merging an inner spiritual journey with his outward-focused professional life as a priest. Inspired by thought-leaders Bennett Sims, Robert Greenleaf and Gordon Cosby, Tim crafted a curriculum to teach students in Greensboro, North Carolina, how the wisdom of servant leadership transforms individual lives and, by extension, the world. For more than 25 years, our curriculum’s intellectual framework and spiritual practices have sparked students to uncover their true selves, live out their call, and impact their community.

We continuously update our spiritual practices and workshops to reflect how the latest discoveries across a variety of disciplines confirm and expand upon ancient wisdom. With the launch of Second Breath, we’re able to make these learning experiences available to people well beyond our Greensboro home — an important part of our mission to empower as many as possible in co-creating a better world.

Second Breath: The meaning behind the name

We pull from some of the most powerful teachings across a wide range of disciplines — but we know that a curriculum based on knowledge alone will not be transformational. For that reason, our offerings center on a life-changing learning experience that helps students grow their positive influence by uncovering their truest selves.

For us, everything hinges on, as instructor Rev. Greg Farrand says, “making the coins drop” — moving from mere intellectual understanding of God, faith, and love to actually experiencing them. The best method we know for making the coins drop is spiritual practice. Spiritual practice creates space for a shift to occur; a shift from fear to love, from braced to open, from anxious to trusting. The name Second Breath describes this shift. Often with our first breath we automatically react to a situation. The second breath provides an opportunity to pause, reflect, connect, and respond. It is the gateway into the present moment where we connect with God and our true selves so that we can live the free and full life that God intended for us.

Second Breath Philosophy

We have been living a life far away from true self — so we make an intentional decision to take a second breath and move towards a life of freedom and fullness.

We begin by being honest with the way things are and then commit to shift to a life that we know — deep within — awaits us.

We know this second breath will take some humor, spiritual practice and a community of support. We are willing to move to the edge of our comfort zone and breathe — expanding into new life.

We realize we have been duped into believing that more, bigger and best equals life fulfillment. We know this “up, up and away” life leads to physical exhaustion, spiritual flatness and emotional collapse.

We are eager and ready for a second breath in life — and we are willing to do what it takes to move towards this breath of life — this fullness of life.

We are ready for more energy, connection and meaning.

Second Breath Faculty

All of our faculty members have experienced dramatic transformation in their lives through the wisdom, practices and community they found at Second Breath. Compelled by their experience, they are here to share their expertise and new understanding through core and companion courses that blend spiritual practice with their greatest passions. Their professions span counseling, social work, spiritual coaching, divinity, education, creative writing and more.


Ruth D. Anderson, chief content officer

When Ruth encountered Second Breath’s coursework (The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro at the time), she was an overwhelmed, stressed out corporate vice-president. As she worked her way through the Servant Leadership School’s curriculum, she developed the ability to work more effectively and courageously in her job and ultimately gained a new sense of call. Now, she is the chief content officer of Second Breath.

Ruth earned a master’s from Kent State University and a doctorate from the University of Oregon, both in Communication. She has worked as a professor at North Carolina State University and as vice-president of Kindermusik International. A passionate nonprofit advocate, Ruth was actively engaged in the creation of Guilford Nonprofit Consortium and The Executive Director Academy and writes a monthly article for the Greensboro News & Record on the work of nonprofits in the community. For the last 15 years, Ruth also has been involved in the work of Partnership Village, a transitional housing community where she organizes tutoring, facilitates summer camp opportunities and participates in the Future Bound program. She is the author of two books: Hairpin Turn: Trusting Your Heart’s Direction in Leadership and Life and Ruthie Stories: Recapturing the Girl Left Behind.

Greg Farrand, executive director

Greg began his career in ministry full of passion to help people. His passion took him from Uganda, where he was a missionary, to campus ministry at Wake Forest and NC School of the Arts, to founding a church in Greensboro, NC, where he served as senior pastor for almost nine years. Over the course of those years, passion gave way to burnout — it was in a class at The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro where he learned how to refill his tank. Now, as executive director at Second Breath, he passionately shares the content that transformed his life and career with students who are also seeking renewal.

Greg was first ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian church. He has served as co-executive director of Selah Spiritual Formation, a nonprofit focused on spiritual direction and retreat leadership, and is currently an ordained Episcopal priest, serving as associate rector at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, the original home of The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro.

Summer Estes, faculty member

Summer devotes her life to helping people heal. As a licensed professional counselor, she saw how a cognitive approach to working with clients helped people make progress towards healing, but she also sensed it wasn’t the full picture. At the Servant Leadership School of Greensboro, she encountered practices for a tri-centered (mind, heart and body) approach to healing. She also found a beautiful intersection of her passion for spirituality and mindfulness within the community. Having directly experiencing the transformative power of a holistic approach to healing, Summer is passionate about sharing these practices with others as a faculty member at Second Breath.

Summer received her master’s in an integrative program in theology and community counseling from Denver Seminary. In addition to teaching, she keeps a part-time practice in counseling.

Learn more about our extended network of spiritual directors, coaches and nonprofit organizations — as well as helpful resources to aid your journey as student, teacher, leader, etc.

To sign up for our newsletter or reach out about our workshops, visit our Contact page.

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