What is Spiritual Direction ?
- Accompanying another person to enable them to see clearer how God is working in their life.
- Supporting them in their personal growth with God as they live out this deepening relationship with Him.
Is this the same as crisis counselling or for learning new prayer techniques? - No, it is to “walk with” another on a personal spiritual journey.
Is it confidential? - Absolutely and totally, except where it is that there are issues of current or potential harm to children, young people or vulnerable adults*.
* In these circumstances matters will be referred to the Diocesan Safeguarding Office or to statutory agencies as appropriate.
Who is it for? - Any adult truly seeking to deepen their relationship with God, such as:
- Those newly received or returning to the Church and those already active or in Ministry.
- Those with young families and those retired from work; all who seek to enrich their spiritual life.
How and when would they meet their Spiritual Director? - Following an initial meeting, usually for an hour about every six weeks at the Director's home or or Parish Office.
Do you have to be the same Christian denomination as the Spiritual Director? - No, but all those offering to give Spiritual Direction on the Diocesan register are Roman Catholics.
Has the Spiritual Director any formal training for this ministry? - Yes, through an approved or accredited course of between one and three years part time or a three month residential full time course.
Is the Spiritual Director themself in Supervision? - Yes, some in groups, but some may have one-to-one supervision for their work. These sessions are also fully confidential.
Is there any cost involved? - In most situations a donation of between £5 and £20 (or an hour's wages) a session depending on your financial circumstances will help towards the Director's expenses and ongoing training. (However no-one would be turned away for financial reasons). No donation is expected for the initial exploratory meeting.
Where to go for more information
The Diocesan Spiritual Direction Referral or Brokerage Service exists to put those who seek direction/accompaniment in touch with those who offer this ministry. A conversation takes place by phone to help find the best match, trying to take account of such preferences as the seeking of a male / female director and distance one can travel.
The Broker then contacts an available Director to see if there is a vacancy. After this the one seeking direction is then given details of how to contact the proposed Director. If it does not work out at their initial meeting, either side may withdraw without embarrassment.
Training for Spiritual Direction
The Diocese does not run its own training programme or ongoing formation courses as there are some excellent ones within daily travelling distance.
1. London Centre for Spirituality, Lombard St. London EC3V 9EA www.spiritualitycentre.org
2. Pelagos Spirituality and Retreat Centre, near Great Missenden, Bucks HP16 0HJ www.pelagos.co.uk
3. Cambridge Courses in Spiritual Direction, Cambridge www.cc-sd.net
4. Courses for training in Spiritual Direction are available at Douai Abbey (near Reading ) www.douaiabbey.org.uk
5. SPI-DIR - Spiritual Direction Network for Berks, Bucks & Oxon. Website www.soulfriend.org.uk. This is organised through the Anglican Diocese of Oxford but is ecumenical. They are starting a course "Spiritual Direction - an Introduction" at Douai Abbey from Sept 2016 - June 2017. For the south end of the diocese this might be preferred to London or Cambridge.
There are also residential courses at St Beuno's Ignatian Spirituality Centre, St Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales www.beunos.com
For help finding a Spiritual Director, or to discuss training, contact Marie Heath via email@example.com