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Spiritual Direction: What is it?

May 7, 2024
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By the Rev. Mark DiCristina

The Gulf Atlantic Diocese is preparing to launch a new network for spiritual directors. Why? And what is spiritual direction? Among many excellent descriptions of spiritual direction, I’ll share one from David Benner in Sacred Companions:

“In its classical form, spiritual direction is a one-on-one relationship organized around prayer and conversation directed toward deepening intimacy with God. [Spiritual directors] journey with others, who, like themselves, are committed to the process of spiritual transformation in Christ. And most important, they seek to help those with whom they journey discern the presence and leading of the Spirit of God – the One Jesus sent as our true Spiritual Director.”

Sacred Companions, p. 17

Spiritual direction is different from pastoral counseling and psychotherapy, which tend to be problem-centered and (hopefully) not lifelong. Spiritual direction is centered around growing one’s relationship with God, and is a lifelong process. It also differs from discipleship, mentoring and coaching, though there is or may be overlap with all of the above. Common to the best of all of these are safety, empathy, connection and empowerment. 

Our vision is to make spiritual direction available to all the people of the Diocese, especially those seeking to discern God’s call on their lives, and those whom God is calling into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. And so we are seeking to gather, support, and grow a network of spiritual directors, as well as to gather those currently involved in spiritual direction, those discerning a call to spiritual direction, and those seeking to be trained as such from both the clergy and the laity. 

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Fr. Craig Brown, Associate for Congregational Health for the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, at email.

Header/Featured Photo Credit

Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

Additional Photo Credits

Fr. Mark DiCristina headshotChurch of the Apostles, Eastern Shore


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