Ministry of Spiritual Direction

What’s New

The Ministry of Spiritual Direction

A program of The Center for Spiritual Formation, the Ministry of Spiritual Direction was founded in 1996, first meeting in a local hotel and then meeting in a local church. The MSD program eventually found its home base at Orchard Hill Retreat Center. The program expanded by adding an online cohort in Lexington, KY in 2015 and Orlando, FL in 2019.

Lawn chairs set up in a grassy field.

From the Mountain to the Clouds

The pandemic of 2020 forced the program to go fully online. Although the addition of the online cohorts had been successful, there were many questions about how meeting virtually from individual’s homes instead of gathering together would affect the experience of the participants.

Following the Spirit’s leading into the unknown of virtual meetings has been a blessing, both for The Center of Spiritual Formation and the Ministry of Spiritual Direction program. Being fully online has allowed the program to reach a greater and more diverse audience. Current class participants live in states that reach both the Canadian and Mexican border, as well as both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and everywhere in between. The virtual gatherings have also allowed us to include persons living in Africa and the Middle East. This has allowed the program to grow, now averaging around 22 students in each class.

A map of the United States.

The geographical location of the MSD participants is not the only thing that has changed in the program over the last four years. The program has expanded its reach to include a larger demographic. Participants reflect a broad continuum of age, stage of life, and perspective of the faith journey. Our faculty and participants bring a richness thru multi-cultural engagement and ecumenical community.

All Are Welcome

As part of The Center for Spiritual Formation, all are welcome regardless of your spiritual and/or religious background and experience. We honor all people without exception, regardless of age, race, ethnic background, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, family or socioeconomic status, educational background, political affiliation, physical or mental ability, immigration status, faith history, or life experience. Coming from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we celebrate our differences and our commonalities. We cherish all people as beloved by God, of equal worth and dignity.

Ever Evolving

MSD leadership continually reviews all aspects of the program, committed to the contemporary teaching of the ancient practice of spiritual direction. We strive to adhere to its deeply rooted principles while also ensuring that the curriculum and sessions are contemporary and culturally relevant.

The following highlights some of the changes made to the program over the last few years.

Friday Evening Sessions

Our Friday evening sessions have expanded to include the following:

  • The Year One class meets for monthly “Prayer, Share, Prayer” sessions.
  • The Year Two class meets for monthly peer supervision sessions.
  • In a revision to the MSD Reading List, the classes participate in a Common Reading Experience every three months. These small group discussions are facilitated by MSD alumni.
  • Twice a year, Guest Panels are held, where current students have the opportunity to meet and talk with seasoned spiritual directors.
A video conference call.

Saturday Sessions

Saturday mornings continue to start with the communion liturgy from the MSD Daily Office.

Morning sessions continue to be a time of teaching and discussion with our faculty. An application approach is incorporated into the afternoon sessions, highlighting the practice and engagement of the teaching.

Being fully online has also allowed the program to attract new faculty, broadening the program’s depth of experience, practice, and insight.

The following sessions have been added to the curriculum:

  • “Group Direction”
  • “Trauma Informed Spiritual Direction”
  • “Expressions of Spiritual Direction”, dedicated to exploring the ways that persons engage in spiritual direction outside the traditional one-on-one or group direction models.
  • “Retreat Design”
  • “The Use of Creativity in Spiritual Direction”

In addition to these changes to the MSD curriculum, the program now includes at least one session each year with a contemporary author.  For example, this year the program invited Dr. Barbara Peacock to present a session based on her book “Soul Care in African American Tradition”.

People having a conversation.

We Need You!

You are a part of our long-standing Center and MSD community.

Do you know someone who you feel may be called to the work of spiritual direction?  Please refer them to the Center’s MSD website, where they can learn more and begin the registration process.

A cross in a field.