New Diocesan Initiatives - Spiritual Companioning and Direction

New Diocesan Initiatives - Spiritual Companioning and Direction

This article is part of the Easter 2020 Trinity Magazine issue. You can view the entire issue here.

By Canon Joanne Martin

Spiritual companioning, in its simplest form, is the ministry of one member of the body of Christ to another; acting as support, listening ear and guide along the pilgrim’s way. Over time, some members of the community may be recognized as having particular gifts in this area, an actual vocation to serve in this ministry in a more intentional way. Those with the vocation of companioning are often referred to as “spiritual directors,” and may be either clergy or lay people. Spiritual direction is then, before all else, about learning to listen and respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Since Bishop Hobby appointed a Canon for Prayer & Worship in 2018, “training related to spiritual direction” has been the most frequently requested resource from this position. In early 2019, a needs assessment was conducted to determine the needs of current directors, clergy, lay people and the Bishop’s Office. “Training for current directors, education to raise up new directors, more male directors, and a clear, unified understanding of what direction is” were identified as the immediate needs. In response to this, after a year of prayerful discernment, the Bishop encouraged Canon Joanne Martin to create a training series for current directors, called Spiritual Direction Expansions, and a pilot program for raising up new companions and spiritual directors. The pilot program, called Vessels of Honor: Spiritual Direction Essentials, is now accepting applications for a cohort to begin in August 2020.