Spiritual accompaniment is a process of accompanying someone to help them discern the place and work of God in their life, and to deepen that relationship.
It is a confidential, prayerful relationship of trust between two people of faith, in which one listens to the other, enabled by the Holy Spirit, in discerning, supporting, affirming, and offering guidance in the life-long journey of spiritual maturity.
Also known as spiritual direction, it has been part of the practice of the Church since early times. Often thought to be only for clergy and those in religious orders, it is available for any Christian who wants to grow in faith and spiritual practice.
A spiritual director offers:
- a safe and secure relationship in which to explore God’s call and direction
- time for YOU, especially valuable in the midst of a busy life
- encouragement and affirmation, without leading or deciding for you
- a place in which to explore questions and difficulties
- guidance in exploring fresh approaches to prayer
- the discipline of self- examination and being accountable to another
- companionship during a period of discernment or change
Who can help?
In the South-West, this ministry is offered by many people – men and women, ordained and lay – across the Christian denominations.
They have been through a process of discernment and training, and are aware of the riches of spiritual wisdom in scripture and our Christian heritage. They are committed to their own growth in responding to the invitation of God to know and love Him.
There is a good geographical spread, so the choice may be made to see someone closer to home or to travel further. Length and frequency of meetings will be decided by the people concerned, but the norm is to meet for about an hour and at intervals of anything from four weeks to four months.
Where to go
Spiritual direction referral exists to put those who seek accompaniment in touch with those who offer this ministry: to offer a sacred and safe place where you can deepen your personal awareness of yourself and others.
An initial conversation will take place either by phone or face-to-face, to help to find the best match.
This will cover preferences such as male/female, ordained/lay, close to home or further afield, spiritual tradition, and particular areas in which help is sought.
Questions about the process of accompaniment can be addressed at this time.
An introduction will then be made. If it does not work out, either side may withdraw without embarrassment, and further suggestions may be given, to enable you to find the best guide for you.
Spiritual Direction referral
Open to all under the auspices of the diocese of Bath and Wells Spirituality Adviser, Jane Eastell.
Or for local areas please contact:
North Somerset: Email Sue Lloyd or call 01179 866503
Central Somerset: Email Paula Hollingsworth or call 01749 870293
West and South Somerset: Email Nick Taylor or call 01460 929392
Or speak to your local church leader.