Spiritual Direction Program

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Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s Spiritual Direction Program provides Seminary-based learning for those interested in individual spiritual direction and congregational spiritual formation. It also gives participants an opportunity to deepen their own faith and explore their own faith formation more fully. The program is held at Eastern Mennonite University in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Cost: see the business office page for current costs and fees

Registration: Current students can register through the registrars office at the seminary. New students or occasional students should use this online registration form

General Information and Curriculum

The Spiritual Direction Program can be completed in three years, including coursework, practicums and peer learning cohorts. A certificate of course completion (not an academic degree) is awarded at the end of the program. Courses are offered within the non-credit professional development area of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, with qualified instructor-practitioners in the field of spiritual direction.

Courses in the program

First Year

Introduction to Spiritual Guidance

Grounded in the understanding that God in Christ is inviting us to be reconciled- to God, to ourselves, to each other and to God’s creation- this course is designed to offer learning in three areas: a biblical foundation and historical overview of spiritual direction; an understanding of spiritual discernment; with an in-class practicum component for learning the practice of spiritual guidance.

Spiritual Formation for Congregational Discernment 

This class offers intentional opportunity to discover insight into the context and core identity of a community of faith, specific group, or ministry setting.  Participants will spend part of their time “outside the walls” of the seminary, listening to narratives of persons within a specific community/group/ setting. This listening will be accompanied by prayerful reflection on the corporate identity and guided discernment regarding initiating a spiritually formative response that nurtures the corporate soul of the community of faith specific group, or ministry setting.

Home-based Practicum

Students engage in 50 hours of practice in spiritual direction or spiritual formation in their home contest between August and May. Three practicums are required to complete the training. Students will receive individual guidance and supervision from faculty.

Years 2 & 3

Spiritual Directors Peer Group (Years 2 & 3) 

This class offers guidance for depth listening, reflection, spiritual discernment, and discovery in our journey as emerging spiritual directors. Participants engage in spiritual direction conversations and in-depth listening to verbatim. Students take this course in years two and three in May/June.

Seasons of Impasse

In this course, we will pay attention to the formational journey and stages of spiritual development, with an intentional focus on the experience of wilderness and awareness of the “dark night” or “seasons of impasse”. The questions we will explore are: How do we companion others as they encounter and embrace the profound and transformative work of God in impasse or wilderness experiences? What are the implications for the ministry of spiritual guidance during such periods of life —for the individual and the congregation?

Journey of the Soul

This course offers practical guidance as we trace stages of spiritual growth and awareness (journey of the soul) while attending to spiritual practice and discernment of God’s movement within us and culture. We will be attentive to discerning God’s presence and activity in the lives of persons, as well as caring for the congregational life across the formational journey.

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