Vessels of Honor - Training in the Essentials of Spiritual Direction

Vessels of Honor - Training in the Essentials of Spiritual Direction

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

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
  • Competence
  • Formation and readiness for ministry

Cohort Structure/Schedule: The program is a combination of every-other-month in-person meetings (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.

General Curriculum:

  • 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.
  • 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 to those finishing Year Two.

Year 1 - 2020-21 Year 2* - 2021-22
August 14-15, 2020 (overnight) August 20-21, 2021
October 16-17, 2020 October 16-17, 2020
December 11-12, 2020 December 10-11, 2020
February 12-13, 2021 February 11-12, 2022
April 16-17, 2021 April 8-9, 2022 (overnight)

*2021-22 dates to be confirmed

Cost/Payment: The cost of the program is $2100 per year. There is a $50 application fee, which will be applied toward the total cost for applicants who are accepted to the program. A payment plan schedule is being developed and will be released when applications are available.

Applications will be accepted until May 30th, allowing us to interview applicants and notify those accepted by June 15th.

The ideal candidate for this pilot cohort is someone who:

1. Has demonstrated a clear commitment to Jesus Christ and a lively faith.

2. Already has some sort of demonstrable Scripture/prayer practice.

3. Already has some experience in mentoring/discipling others.

4. Is established/participating regularly in a worshipping community.

Questions? Please contact Cn. Joanne Martin, Canon for Prayer & Worship, 412-281-6131 ext 150 or

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