Frequently Asked Questions
What is Spiritual Formation?
How do I subscribe to Hungryhearts?
How can I get a labyrinth?
How can I get leadership for my event?
Can I contribute something to Hungryhearts?
Can I suggest books and Web sites, or send in events?
According to the Office of Spiritual Formation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), "Spiritual formation is the activity of the Holy Spirit which molds our lives into the likeness of Jesus Christ. This likeness is one of deep intimacy with God and genuine compassion for all of creation. The Spirit works not only in the lives of individuals but also in the church, shaping it into the Body of Christ. We cooperate with this work of the Spirit through certain practices that make us more open and responsive to the Spirit's touch, disciplines such as sabbath keeping, works of compassion and justice, discernment, worship, hospitality, spiritual friendships, and contemplative silence."
Hungryhearts is available through a free subscription. Call Tammy Wiens-Sorge at (888) 728-7228 x5496.
Because of the great demand, the Office of Spiritual Formation is unable to provide a labyrinth for the many who request one. There are, however, many others who provide labyrinths for rent or sale.
Among those you might try:
- Your presbytery's Resource Center
- The St. Louis Labyrinth Project (rentals)
P.O. Box 502244
Indianopolis, IN 46250
Phone: (317) 842-2997
Labyrinth Company (rental/purchase)
Please note: we are not endorsing any of these organizations. They simply responded to our request for information.
For more information on labyrinths:
The Labyrinth Coalition
The Labyrinth Society
Labyrinths Around the World
The Spiritual Formation Leadership Network is designed for this very purpose. You can look for folks who may be in your area, or who have a particular expertise.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spiritual Direction, courtesy of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, offering the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. Contact the program office at (415) 258-6538.
- Tell me about spiritual direction within the Church.
Spiritual direction, an ancient ministry of the church, is a relationship in which one person assists another, or others, in attending to God's presence and call. Spiritual direction has been, and remains, particularly strong within Roman Catholic and Orthodox religious orders, and over the past twenty years Anglican and Protestant traditions have begun to recover it more fully. There is also growing interest in spiritual direction among other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Buddhism. Throughout Christian history, spiritual direction has traditionally been practiced by ordained clergy alone. In recent years, however, this practice has widened to embrace the spiritual gifts of non-ordained persons as well. Today, spiritual direction is regarded as a ministry open to all, not an order or office reserved for the few.
- Is spiritual direction practiced outside the Church?
While there is a growing movement to practice spiritual direction outside the Church, the SFTS spiritual direction program encourages spiritual directors to stay connected to congregations and other communities of faith.
- Do people practice spiritual direction as a fully self-supporting vocation? If so, how?
Some spiritual directors do support themselves through their profession. Some retreat centers and counseling centers, for instance, hire spiritual directors to supplement the spiritual and psychological services they offer. There is, however, controversy around the question of whether or not to charge those in need of spiritual assistance. Furthermore, those involved in spiritual direction disagree about what role, if any, the Church should play in offsetting such expenses.
- Is there a license or credential that one must obtain in order to practice spiritual direction?
At the present time one need not obtain any licenses or credentials in order to practice spiritual direction. However, the professional organization Spiritual Directors International is currently discussing the need for such professional requirements. Furthermore, different churches may have their own denominational requirements regarding the oversight of this ministry.
- How will I notify others of my availability as a spiritual director?
Many spiritual directors become known through word-of-mouth or through referrals made by a community of faith to which they are connected. One can also utilize Spiritual Directors International, which publishes an international directory of spiritual directors.
- What is the best resource for information on spiritual direction programs?
We recommend Spiritual Directors International as a comprehensive resource for such information. The Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction program at SFTS may be completed alone or in combination with either the Doctor of Ministry, the Master of Divinity or the Master of Arts in Theological Studies degrees.
- Do the charismatic or Pentecostal traditions offer spiritual direction and/or spiritual direction training?
The School for Spiritual Directors at the Benedictine Monastery in Pecos, New Mexico, offers such services and/or training.
- How do I find a spiritual director in my area?
Contact Spiritual Directors International
P.O. Box 25469
Seattle, WA USA 98125-2369
Phone: (425) 455-1565
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Please do! Because of limited space, many suggested items will appear only on our Web site. But paragraph length reviews of books or Web sites may well be used in our hard copy version. Send suggestions to Tammy Wiens-Sorge at (888) 728-7228 x5496.