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Spiritual Direction

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Center for Spiritual Direction

St. Paul’s Center for Spiritual Direction, established in September 2016, serves as an extension of our pastoral ministry and as a resource for spiritual guidance to the parish and to the larger community. To be paired with a spiritual director, contact any of the directors directly or complete the form below. We recommend three sessions with a director to discern if it is the right pairing for both members. The charge for spiritual direction is on a sliding scale, depending on the directee’s ability to pay, but we recommend between $50 and $100 per session.
Questions? Contact the Rev. Elizabeth Rees – 703-549-3312 x24

What is spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction is a professional dedicated relationship between a director and a directee to explore a conscious experience of God’s presence in our daily lives. Spiritual direction is less about being directed and more of an encouragement to explore self and our relationship to God.

Why spiritual direction?

We each have times when we wonder about the greater meaning of life, our place in the grand evolution, and who God is. We want to find meaning and connect deeply to God and one another. Is a peace that passes all understanding truly possible? Spiritual direction helps you understand and clarify your own inner wisdom. It is a journey about you and your relationship with God.

Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation explains it best: “Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny…to work out our identity in God.”

What to expect in Christian spiritual direction?

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). Setting the premise that each person already has a spiritual life, spiritual direction provides a safe place and time to allow God to act within you.

It is normative to begin by committing to three sessions to figure out if the relationship between director and directee is right for both of you.

The first session (usually about an hour) involves telling the director about yourself and your story. All of life is spiritual but the focus of your spiritual story (or “journey”) is about how God may be shaping you through your experiences.

The ongoing process of spiritual direction may also include various methods of prayer including silence, resource information, simple rituals to begin at home, or perhaps an assignment to notice God’s presence between sessions.

What happens after the third session?

Together you and your director will discern if an ongoing direction relationship is right. Spiritual directors are trained in programs whose approaches vary. It is helpful to find a spiritual director whose approach suits your personality, spiritual leanings, and perceived needs. The important part is to find the one who will help you grow at this time in your life.

How do I know this works?

Growth in the spiritual life is looking at the fruits of the spirit, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23 — “By contrast the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If over time you find yourself living deeper into these virtues, then you will also begin to notice how your life is in alignment with God’s hope for you.

Meet the Spiritual Directors

AMELIA J. DYER, PH.D.

Dr. Amelia J. Gearey Dyer is the James Maxwell Professor of Christian Education and Pastoral Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary, and Director of the Seminary’s Ministry Resident Program. Amy earned her B. S. from The State University of New York at Plattsburgh and her M. S. and Ph. D. from Florida State University. She has done additional graduate work in Christian Education, Bible, Church History, and Theology. Amy’s interests include working with children, travel, and reading. During a recent sabbatical leave, she spent time in Ireland studying early Celtic Spirituality.

THE REV. SAMUEL A. MASON, OBJN

The Rev. Sam Mason, ObJN, is an Episcopal priest, an oblate of the Order of St. Julian of Norwich, and St. Paul’s own Artist-in-Residence. Sam served as part of St. Paul’s clergy for many years following early retirement from full-time parish ministry. While with us at St. Paul’s, Sam already had a quiet ministry of spiritual direction, which is expanded with the opening of this center.

LISA RICHARD

Lisa Richard is a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, a discernment facilitator for the Diocese of Virginia, and a member of the program team at the Center for Spiritual Deepening at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria. She is also a member of Spiritual Directors International. At the heart of Lisa’s own spiritual development is a desire to maintain a receptive stance, open to signs of the Spirit at work. She is honored to be a companion to other seekers on their journeys, creating space for their stories and experiences.

THE REV. DR. HOWARD F. KEMPSELL, JR.

Howard Kempsell is an Episcopal Priest who has served in parish/cathedral, university, and hospital settings. He completed his doctoral studies in spiritual direction at the University of the South (Sewanee) and the Graduate Theological Foundation, with a special interest in spiritual direction in an age of rapid communication. He studied with Ewert Cousins, editor of the Classics of Western Spirituality. In addition to offering in-person spiritual direction, he is able to offer St. Paul’s parishioners spiritual direction at-a-distance via FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International.

SUSAN MOORE

For Susan Moore, spiritual direction is being a companion to others on their journey to a deeper relationship with God. It is a time of settling into the heart of God through quiet and listening for the Spirit’s voice.  Susan has explored silence, quiet, and contemplative-living at the Shalem Institute, Richmond Hill and Bon Secours.  She enjoys finding the Spirit in meditation, morning prayer, contemplative art, blessing rituals, walking meditation and community. With a background in group facilitation and healthcare, Susan is currently leading St Paul’s group spiritual direction offering, and is also available for individual spiritual direction.  She is a graduate of the RUAH School of Spiritual Guidance, a two year residential program in Richmond, Virginia, and a member of Spiritual Directors International.

Spiritual Direction Interest Form

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