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Summer Institute for Spiritual Formation

people walking labyrinthThe Summer Institute for Spiritual Formation provides training 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 Institute is held at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Summer Institute 2020

June 15-26, 2020

Cost: see the business office page for current costs and fees
Institute fee (all participants)- $60
Registration: Current students can register through the registrars office at the seminary. New students or occasional students should use this online registration form
See the updated schedule

General Information and Curriculum

The Summer Institute is a two-week institute offered every June. If students complete three consecutive summers or 12 semester hours they will receive a certificate of course completion (not an academic degree).

Core courses in the Summer Institute are:

Spiritual Guidance in Life and Practice (First Year) – 1 SH
Grounded in the understanding that God in Jesus 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 formation; an understanding of spiritual discernment; and learning the practice of spiritual guidance.

Spiritual Directors Peer Group (Years 2 & 3) – 1 SH
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 of the summer institute.

Home-based Practicum – 1 SH
Students engage in 50 hours of practice in leading spiritual direction or formation at home between August and May. Three practicums, one after each summer, are required to complete a certificate. Students will receive individual guidance from faculty based on their project.

Oasis (non-credit)
Oasis is a non-credit option for pastors and church leaders on sabbatical and spiritual directors looking for continuing education and support. 


Each year two or three spiritual formation electives are offered during the summer institute. Choices may be made from any of the focus areas totaling three courses:

Note: no worship focus course will be offered summer 2020.

Spiritual Direction Focus:

  • Journey of the Soul – 2 SH
  • Seasons of Impasse (including work on “dark night of the soul”) – 2 SH
  • Spiritual Formation for Congregational Discernment – 2 SH

Worship Focus:

  • Spiritually Formative Worship – 2 SH
  • Intergenerational Worship – 2 SH
  • Prayer Practices in Worship – 2 SH 
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