MARK YACONELLI is the founder and executive director of The Hearth—a registered nonprofit that assists individuals, faith communities, and service-based agencies in employing personal storytelling practices to strengthen relationships, address injustices, and cultivate compassion. Through The Hearth, Mark has led numerous retreats and workshops including The Certificate in Community Storytelling which draws community builders from across the United States. In his storytelling work he has consulted with and facilitated training events for The Lilly Endowment, The Center for Congregations, The Ford Family Foundation, The Oregon Community Foundation, The Church of Wales, Luther Seminary, The Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Augsburg University, Seattle Pacific University, The Diocese of London, Asante Hospice Services, The Oregon Department of Human Services, Claremont School of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and many other organizations across the United States and United Kingdom.
For five years Mark was the co-founder and program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion where he helped develop a unique set of practices and training programs for assisting individuals, organizations, and communities in creating genuine peace, healing, and reconciliation. While at the CEC Mark designed skills-based training programs and led retreats for agencies such as Prison Fellowship Canada, Religion and Politics, and The Mutare Pastoral Care and Counseling Center (Zimbabwe).
Mark is in demand as a speaker and retreat leader. He speaks to a variety of audiences each year across North America and the United Kingdom including The Greenbelt Arts Festival, Compassion International, The National Conference for Anglican Youth and Family Workers, Welsh Conference on Mental Health and Wellbeing, Storylab at Princeton Seminary, The Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation Community Building Summit, The National Youth Workers Convention (U.K., Canada, and U.S.), The Salvation Army, Global Gathering for Spirituality and Justice, The National Presbyterian Youth Triennium, and many other events and organizations.
Mark holds an MA in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union and received a Graduate Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is formerly Founder and Director of the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, San Francisco Theological Seminary, a ground-breaking project that received national exposure (ABC News, Wall Street Journal, PBS) for its exploration of contemplative practice and awareness within Christian youth programs.
Interviews and profiles of Mark’s work have appeared in numerous outlets including the BBC Radio 4, Wall Street Journal, BBC Wales “All Things Considered,” New York Times Online, Nomad Podcast, ABC World News Tonight, and many other smaller publications and platforms in North America and the United Kingdom.
Mark is the author of Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus (Zondervan and SPCK, 2006); Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry (Zondervan and SPCK, 2007); Downtime: Helping Teenagers Pray (Zondervan and SPCK, 2008); Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers (Zondervan, 2009/SPCK, 2010); The Gift of Hard Things: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places (InterVarsity Press, 2016). Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us (Broadleaf, 2022).
Mark and his wife, Jill, have three adult children, Noah, Joseph, and Grace. He lives in Ashland, Oregon.