by Miriam Frey
“We sit together in the caring love of God, helping one another notice how this caring love has been present in our lives.” Rose Mary Dougherty
Ontario Jubilee recently held a workshop entitled “Enhancing Group Spiritual Direction Skills.” We invited Jubilee graduates to Crieff Hills Conference and Retreat Centre (www.crieffhills.com), the new location for Ontario Jubilee. The 250-acres retreat centre is nestled in the hills of southern Ontario near Guelph. It has a variety of lodges and houses available for meetings. We chose the circular Robert Yeats house with its large windows and cozy fireplace. It was a great place for practising spiritual direction in a small group.
The group of six met for 5 hours and covered a variety of areas. These included: how to differentiate group spiritual direction from Journey Groups (small group faith sharing), individual spiritual direction and supervision, books and resources are available for those wanting to facilitate group spiritual direction, what needs attention when facilitating group spiritual direction(like who to invite, how to invite them, how often to meet ) and creating a covenant with the group (preferably in writing).
Most of the five hours were spent in the activity of group spiritual direction. Participants listened to one another’s sacred story, responding with questions and observations that come from a deep place of Divine love, compassion and non-attachment. Silence surrounded the whole process.
The result of our time together was that participants gained experience and guidance in their desire to lead seekers in Group Spiritual Direction and as kindred spirits, we experienced the joy of a nourishing spiritual community.
Rose Mary Dougherty has long been the primary source for information about Group Spiritual Direction. He describes such a group as “willing to accept the responsibility of staying in the presence of the Divine on behalf of others. “
Recently a number of new books have been written that help to expand this understanding of small group ministry.
Miriam Frey is the Administrator of Ontario Jubilee
The Jubilee Programs offer training in spiritual direction, spiritual growth and soul development. We explore the contemplative life through spiritual practices including the enneagram, integration of head/heart/body, silent retreats, “holy listening” in journey groups and contemplative prayer and meditation. Read more about spiritual direction by clicking on our 3 national programs: Ontario Jubilee, Pacific Jubilee, Prairie Jubilee