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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 is a three-year course of study offered within the Eastern Mennonite Seminary curriculum beginning in the fall of each academic year. Students complete 13 semester hours of study and receive a certificate of course completion (not an academic degree). Courses are taken for either Graduate Level Academic Credit, or as Participation Audit.

Courses in the program

First Year

FS 521 Introduction to Spiritual Guidance -  2 SH
Offered Fall Semester

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.

FS 532 Spiritual Formation for Congregational Discernment - 2 SH
Offered Spring Semester

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.

FS 613 Home-based Practicum – 1 SH (3 SH required)
Offered every year

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

FS 663 Spiritual Directors Peer Group (Years 2 & 3) – 1 SH (2 SH required)
Offered May 16-27, 2022

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.

Every other year one of these two classes are offered during May/June

FS 622 Seasons of Impasse – 2 or 3 SH
Offered May/June 2023

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?

FS 621 Journey of the Soul – 2 or 3 SH
Offered May 16-27, 2022

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.

Advanced Directed Study Courses (for graduate level credit only)

FS 622 Spiritual Direction Seminar (3SH)

This Directed Study is designed to provide students the opportunity to explore a specific topic or spirituality in the area of spiritual formation and direction. (prerequisites required:  FS 521 and one of the following - FS 621, FS 623, FS 532)

FS 624 Spiritual Direction Practicum for Supervision Training (3SH)

This Directed Study course is designed to provide the opportunity for a more direct practicum and training for spiritual direction supervision. (prerequisites required: FS 521, one of the following - FS 621, FS 623, FS 532, and the completion of FS 613 Home-based Practicum and FS 663 Spiritual Directors Peer Group requirements for the Spiritual Direction Program)

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