Second Spiritual Direction Certification course scheduled


Through the efforts of Rev. Mike Densmore and Rev. Denise Mullaney, the Perkins School of Theology at SMU offered a Spiritual Direction Certification course at Camp Sumatanga beginning in October of 2015. The two-year program trains clergy and laity called to this specialized ministry. As the course to draws to a close, two participants in the program were asked to share their thoughts.

I graduated from Perkins with an M.Div. in 2002, so I knew first-hand how excellent the school was. A few years ago, when Perkins first offered the certification program, I was very interested, but was not in a place professionally or financially to attend. When it was announced that the program was going to be offered at Camp Sumatanga, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to sign up. I have not been disappointed – it was what I expected it would be: excellent teaching and processing through the whole course.

As a pastor, I was and am often called upon for spiritual direction in an informal way as part of my job. However, I realized that I needed more knowledge and practice in a structured and credible way. I have received that and more.

I have grown personally in my own faith walk with God. I have been led to examine spiritual disciplines I had not tried before, such as centering prayer. I have learned which spiritual practices work for me and which don’t. This will be valuable when I direct others – I can lead them into these practices and understand what they are going through as they grow in their spiritual lives. I can also help them discover and develop their own spiritual muscles.

The instructors we have had so far have stretched me, guiding me into learning more about spiritual formation and direction, instilling in me the desire to know more and to grow deeper in my faith journey, personally and professionally. 
One of the best things has been the relationships I have formed with members of my cohort. We have shared so much of our spiritual lives with one another, and I have observed and learned from them things that have deepened my faith. As in seminary, these are relationships that will remain for a lifetime.

—Rev. Patsy Carlberg

My participation in the Perkins School of Theology’s Certification in Spiritual Direction program is the result of a 15 year old journey. In the Summer of 2000, as I was preparing to leave seminary, I was horrified by my emptiness. I needed to reconnect with God, but I struggled with the how. It was a three-day silent retreat with opportunities for spiritual direction that got me going again, and ultimately contributed to saving the day. As I began processing this event - two hours after getting back home – I simply knew that my contribution to the church would be in the area of spiritual direction. Fifteen years later, here I was about to begin gathering the tools that would equip me to be a companion to others on their spiritual journey.

 Thus far, I have experienced four of the six modules that make up the program. Taken separately, they have each been informative in the sense that they have highlighted and brought clarity to a number of dynamics that are involved with spiritual direction. The sessions have also been formative as they offered opportunities for further self-discovery, and personal spiritual development through the practice of various disciplines. The most recent session that dealt with the stages of spiritual formation offered very practical tools to be used in the process of listening, discernment, and directing. This one was a reminder that accompanying someone calls for serious preparation.

The highly qualified faculty, the rhythm, the peer group, the environment in which we meet quarterly, and the readings come together to offer both a life giving, and an empowering experience for which I am grateful.

I am truly thankful for this opportunity, and I look forward to the rest of the experience as well as to “walking” with others as they seek to grow in Christ-likeness.
Stephane Brooks

Perkins will offer a second cohort at Camp Sumatanga beginning in October of 2017. Those interested may apply online no later than October 1, 2017. Click here for details. 

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