Spiritual Guidance Program: Nurturing the Call Overview
An ecumenical, experiential spiritual formation program to strengthen the ministry of one-to-one spiritual direction
The Shalem Spiritual Guidance Program is designed to nurture the spiritual heart of those called to the ministry of “holy listening,” known as spiritual direction, spiritual guidance, or spiritual companionship. Begun in 1978, this program was the first to offer both academic resources and experiential support for an ecumenical mix of spiritual directors. Since its inception, the Spiritual Guidance Program has attracted and been enriched by men and women from a wide variety of professions and faith traditions from around the world.
From the beginning, Washington Theological Union has offered graduate-level academic credit for participants in this program who wish it. The breadth of material available in this Program is similar to that of many academic programs, and its experiential component is of a depth that few can offer. The breadth of learning that takes place between participants is also nearly unrivaled as all participants must already be spiritual companions.
Shalem’s Spiritual Guidance Program draws on the rich resources of Christian contemplative tradition to enhance and deepen the spiritual lives of those called to this ministry. At its heart is the radical conviction that spiritual companionship is a form of prayer and that contemplative listening comes not so much from a set of skills but from grounding in one’s relationship with God.
To support this understanding, this program offers an environment that nurtures an increasing openness to the many ways God’s Spirit is seeking to be alive in both our participants and in those whom they companion on life’s spiritual journey. This is done in a spacious, prayer-filled atmosphere with the support and guidance of committed peers and Shalem’s seasoned staff. Always, emphasis is on an open, immediate awareness of God’s presence.
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