Vessels of Honor: Training in the Essentials of Spiritual Direction
A pilot program of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to raise up and equip spiritual companions and directors for kingdom service
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…” 2 Tim 2:8
The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh is forming a two-year experimental training cohort to prepare individuals for service as spiritual directors and companions (the “Vessels of Honor” cohort). The goal of this program is to prepare individuals spiritually and practically for the ministries of spiritual direction and companioning. Through this cohort, the diocese will in turn discern the readiness and viability of an on-going spiritual direction training program. The cohort structure and curriculum have been built on the foundation of five core values:
- Trinitarian worship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Servanthood (service in community)
- An ethos of gentleness and humility
- Formation and readiness for ministry
Cohort Structure/Schedule: The program is a combination of every-other-month in-person seminars (Friday-Saturday, 9 am-5pm), with ten readings and related assignments in-between (averaging one book and two reflections per month). The schedule format is designed to build community and allow participants to come together for two days/ month, without being overly burdensome on their everyday lives. Participants are also required to be in direction and will begin sitting with directees, under supervision, during Year One. The cohort size will be 8-12 members.
Year One 2020-2021
Aug 14-15, 2020 (overnight)
Feb 12-13, 2021
Year Two 2021-2022 (likely dates; to be confirmed)
August 20-21, 2021
Feb 11-12, 2022
April 8-9, 2022 (overnight)
Curriculum: The curriculum design is an interweaving of three strands: personal formation, skill building, and theological grounding for the ministry of spiritual companioning/direction. These strands are unfolded in conversation with the elements of “The Great Tradition”: liturgy, church history, sacramental theology, and, as Anglicans, the Prayer Book tradition. The community context created by the weekend seminars is essential to the program. In others words, this training is not about “head knowledge,” or “conceptual teaching.” It is about forming who the participant is, in preparation to serve in a particular way in the wider ministry of the church. Generally speaking,
- Year One focuses on personal formation/ readiness, relationship with the Lord, introduction to practices, and skill development.
- Year Two deepens Year One with an emphasis on theological grounding and formation practices
- Though all applications will be considered, the pilot cohort will strongly preference participants willing to make a two year commitment. Future cohorts have the option to take Year One without proceeding to Year Two.
Outcomes: The purpose of the program is to serve the church and the kingdom of God by raising up leaders called to the particular ministries of companioning and spiritual direction. The curriculum is designed to provide participants with the personal, spiritual readiness and practical tools necessary to establish a ministry of spiritual direction. A “Certificate of Completion” will be given at the end of Year Two.
Tuition/Payment: The cost of the program is $2400 per year. Tuition includes the opening retreat, lunches during cohort weekends, and group supervision. Travel, books, and your own direction are not part of the tuition.
There is a $50 application fee, which will be applied toward the total cost for applicants who are accepted to the program, and a $250 deposit is due upon acceptance to the program. An installment payment plan is available, though an 8% discount will be given if full program payment is made before the opening retreat (payment by August 7th).
Application Process: The application is available at the bottom of this article and on our website, or you can request one by emailing Cn. Joanne Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are now being received and will be accepted until May30th, allowing us to interview applicants and notify those accepted by June 15th. It is our goal to hold interest meetings in April in locations around the diocese if circumstances permit.
All applications will be fully considered, though for this pilot cohort, priority consideration will be given to male applicants and those intending to serve in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. This priority is because these are the most urgent needs in our diocese at this time.
The ideal candidate for this pilot cohort is someone who:
- Has demonstrated a clear commitment to Jesus Christ and a lively faith
- Already has some sort of demonstrable Scripture/prayer practice
- Already has some experience in mentoring/discipling others
- Is established/participating regularly in a worshipping community.
Questions? Please contact Cn. Joanne Martin, Canon for Prayer & Worship, 412-281-6131 ext 150 or email@example.com.