Justice-Forward Spiritual Direction

If you long to repair the world from systemic injustice and have a heart to listen to others’ soul stories, you may be called to be a Spiritual Director.

people walking an outdoor prayer labyrinthEastern Mennonite Seminary’s program in Justice-Forward Spiritual Direction offers new emphasis to the ancient practice of spiritual companioning. We place justice at the forefront of all we do, from our curricular model to our mentoring and supervision to fostering connections with potential directees.

Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to listen into our changing spiritual landscape, the program weaves together foundational courses with those that respond to emergent needs of those who lead or participate in compassion, peace, and justice movements or ministries.

Additionally, our courses serve as professional or personal enrichment for current spiritual directors seeking to deepen their practice and others exploring justice-infused spiritual listening.

Program Goals

Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s Justice-Forward Spiritual Direction program forms students to become

  • Hospitable companions who celebrate difference, offer a conduit for healing, and affirm the dignity of every person.
  • Discerning listeners who provide contemplative attention to the movement of the Divine within self and others.
  • Ethical practitioners who are culturally competent and trauma informed, recognizing and honoring boundaries.

Curriculum Outline

The Justice-Forward Spiritual Direction Program can be completed at your own pace. Students who wish for an accelerated plan can finish the program in 22 months. Others can take a flexible approach that conforms to their various family and work responsibilities.

Outside of the first course, which is offered every summer, students can complete their coursework in any order. To earn the certificate, students will successfully complete eight required courses and provide 20 hours of direction under individual and group supervision.

The following courses are required for completion of the certificate. Each course is also open to non-certificate-seeking students for professional or personal enrichment.

  1. Contemplative Listening
  2. Inner Life and Wisdom Centers
  3. Power Dynamics and Interpathy
  4. Trauma-Informed Spiritual Direction
  5. Discernment
  6. Justice Literacy
  7. Cultural Ways of Knowing
  8. World Spiritualities

All students must complete the Contemplative Listening course (or equivalent if taken from another institution) in order to register for any subsequent courses. This course will be offered every summer. All other courses may be completed in any order. Additional 3-week mini-courses will be offered as electives.

Additionally, all JFSD students will receive invitations to special programming during EMS’s Shalom Academy, held every January, and the Summer Peacebuilding Institute each May and June.


All regular program courses are held synchronously online via Zoom.

Contemplative Listening November 4 - December 2, 2024
Shalom Academy January 6 - January 8, 2025
Inner Life and Wisdom Centers January 13 - February 10, 2025
Power Dynamics and Interpathy March 3 - March 31, 2025
Trauma-Informed Spiritual Direction April 28 - May 26, 2025
Summer Peacebuilding Institute May - June, 2025
Contemplative Listening July 14 - August 11, 2025
Group Spiritual Direction July 14 - July 28, 2025
Discernment September 15 - October 13, 2025
Justice Literacy November 3 - December 1, 2025
Shalom Academy January 5 - January 7, 2026
Cultural Ways of Knowing January 12 - February 9, 2026
World Spiritualities March 2 - March 30, 2026
Logistics of Practice April 13 - April 27, 2026
Summer Peacebuilding Institute May - June, 2026

*Courses in bold are required for certificate completion.

Details on costs and affordability and an online registration form will be posted soon. For more information, please contact Courtney Joyner.

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