Spiritual direction is a process of accompanying someone in their spiritual journey. It helps you discern the place and work of God in your life, and to deepen that relationship.
It is a confidential, prayerful relationship of trust between two people of faith. The accompanier listens and, enabled by the Holy Spirit, offers guidance in the life-long journey of spiritual maturity. The accompanier helps in discerning God, supporting and affirming your walk with God.
Also known as spiritual accompaniment, it has been part of the practice of the Church since early times. It is available for any Christian who wants to grow in faith and spiritual practice. It is not just for clergy and religious orders.
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.
It offers a sacred and safe place where you can deepen your personal awareness of yourself and others
Who can help?
In the south west, many people offer this ministry – men and women, ordained and lay – across the Christian denominations. The diocese maintains a list of trained directors and can help you find the right person.
Catriona Galbraith has been appointed the Bishops’ Spiritual Direction Adviser. This is an honorary appointment and volunteer role. Alongside the Spiritual Direction Advisory Group, the Spiritual Direction Advisor will work to:
- Ensure that Spiritual Direction offered through the Diocese of Bath and Wells is safe, fit for purpose and adheres to the Diocesan guidelines
- Support Bath and Wells’ Spiritual Directors by coordinating requests for supervision, ongoing training and other support when needed
- Ensure the effective working of the referral process by which people find a new spiritual director
- Ensure that there is training provided (in house or signposted) for potential new spiritual directors (in liaison with the Diocesan Training Team)
- Oversee the registration process for new spiritual directors or existing spiritual directors who now want to offer spiritual direction through the Diocese of Bath and Wells
Diocesan accompaniers have been through a process of discernment and training and are aware of the riches of spiritual wisdom in scripture and our Christian heritage. In addition they are committed to their own growth in responding to the invitation of God to know and love Him. The diocese requires a DBS check and follows the diocesan safer recruitment process in compiling the list.
There is a good geographical spread, so you can see someone closer to home or travel further. You will decide the length and frequency of meetings when you decide to go ahead. For many people an hour’s meeting at intervals of anything from four weeks to four months works well.
Where to go
You can find your own accompanier from a wise and trusted spiritual friend. However, we also offer a spiritual direction referral process to put those who seek spiritual direction in touch with those who offer this ministry.
An initial conversation will take place either by phone or face-to-face, to help to find the best match.
This covers your preferences in a director. Would you like male/female, ordained/lay, close to home or further afield. Is there a particular spiritual tradition you would like them to have? Are there any particular areas in which you would like help?
You can ask any questions about the process of spiritual direction at this time.
The referrer will pray and reflect and then offer an introduction. If it does not work out, either side may withdraw without embarrassment. We can then offer further suggestions, to enable you to find the best guide for you. It s very personal relationship and so may take some time to find just the right person for you.
Spiritual Direction referral
North Somerset: Email Sue Lloyd or call 01179 866503
Central Somerset: Email Joy Hawes or call 01458 830659
West and South Somerset: Email Nick Taylor or call 01460 929392
Or speak to your local church leader.