2017 Annual Retreat

On Monday, November 13, 2017, The Network of Evangelical Spiritual Directors met for our first Annual Retreat at the beautiful Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House. 

It was such a delight to see this dream come to fruition as we gathered our network of Spiritual Directors together for a day experience of personal practice and spiritual refreshment led by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, followed by some equipping in The Enneagram by our beloved Sibyl Towner. 

Our morning began with a welcoming registration, and warm introductions as our network came together in community and fellowship. It was wonderful to see so many familiar - and new! - faces come together for the sake of transformation. 

Fr. Michael led a wonderfully refreshing morning session accompanied by Aaron Niequist as we walked through practices of embodied prayer, the Examen, and prayer meditations to open us up to what God was speaking to each of us.   

After a hearty Fall lunch, we enjoyed an hour of silence and solitude on the beautiful campus of Bellarmine to settle into and rest in what God had shared, before joining together for an afternoon session with Sibyl Towner focused on wading into the weeds of deep content in 'The Sacred Enneagram' and 'Motions of the Soul' and how these insights might be applied to Spiritual Direction.

Our time ended around the table, led in liturgy by Aaron Niequist, and later communion by Jenna Perrine as we reflected on the miracle of the incarnation reflected in the table and how it touches on our centers of intelligence in head, heart, and body. 

It was truly a wonderful and refreshing day for all of us, and we can't wait to keep learning and improving on what God has for our community in the future. We look forward to building upon this great foundation of spiritual rest and reflection for Spiritual Directors as the NESD grows. 


The Network of Spiritual Directors Team

Our First Quarterly Gathering

Photo cred: Eric Niequist @ New Branch Flims 

Photo cred: Eric Niequist @ New Branch Flims 

On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, the Network of Evangelical Spiritual Directors (NESD) met for the very first time to launch our first year as a community. 

This dream has been in the making for quite some time now, and it was so exciting to see our ideas give birth to reality as we gathered to cast the vision for the NESD. Our gathering began with an explosion of networking and connecting among our spiritual directors and attendees as we grabbed coffee, pastries, and made soul conversation with one another. For a room of people accustomed to practicing listening, silence, and solitude - we sure can make some noise when the occasion calls for it! 

We opened our time together with worship and prayer - thanking God that we were able to join together for this exciting beginning. Then, our fearless leader Lori Shoults and I (Jenna), led us through a time of casting vision and sharing the future plans for our network. 

Our Vision for The Network of Evangelical Spiritual Directors is to be a local, gathering community of evangelical spiritual directors committed to providing and connecting others to quality soul care. A large part of our network will be community - hence the importance of gathering regularly in a local setting to connect and provide refreshment to Spiritual Directors. A few key highlights from the presentation: 

  • Our Quarterly Gatherings will consist of time to connect, business items, a time to practice, and a special guest to provide training or soul care for our members. 
  • Annual Membership with the NESD includes access to quarterly gatherings, our annual retreat, curated resources, and our monthly newsletter. If you are a certified Spiritual Director from a 2 year program you will also be represented in our online Directory. (Spiritual Directors in training can be members, but will only be added to the Directory once training is completed.) 
  • Anyone can purchase membership online to attend our Gatherings and Retreat, but they will not be added to the directory until we meet them in person (typically at the next quarterly gathering) to confirm their training and take a photo/bio for their page. 
  • Lori and I (Jenna) also announced some future projects such as an online Ignatian Exercises e-course and a Formation Collective 'hub' website that we hope will provide resources and traffic to our website in the not too distant future. 

After our business updates we took a break to refresh and have headshot taken / information gathered for bios. The talented Eric Niequist of New Branch Films captured the beauty of the room, while  I (Jenna) took down basic information to write up bios for our website. I was struck by how many of you wanted to share your willingness and openness to work with a wide variety and diversity of spiritual clients at all stages of faith and exploration. 

We then gathered back together for a time of practice, utilizing the CD A New Liturgy 6: The Examen - a resource created by Aaron Niequist and Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ that guides listeners through the practice of the Examen from they very own living room. 

Our time then moved to focus on our special guest Sybil Towner, as she led us through a reflection and discussion of the great book "You Are What You Love" by James Smith. Sybil encouraged us to reflect on the liturgies and rhythms we and our clients are shaped by on a daily basis that form our hearts either towards or away from God. Time was spent in large group and small group discussion.

The gathering ended in worship and thanksgiving - with the announcement that our next gathering would take place on Monday October 16, 2017 at 9:00am and that our Annual Retreat would take place November 13, 2017 (registration is now open for all NESD members). 

It was a wonderful time of being together and seeing dreams come to life. We look forward to many more gatherings in the future that shape our hearts to become better Spiritual Directors and lovers of God on the journey. We hope to send out an interests survey to all members to allow members to shape future quarterly gatherings to fit the needs and interests they are facing in their work. 

If you attended the meeting, it was our pleasure to gift you your first year of Membership with us free of charge. For all others interested in membership, you can purchase it through our membership page for $50.00. Please share this opportunity with any Spiritual Directors who you feel would be moved by the cause. 

Friends, continue to pray and celebrate with us in what God is doing. It is an exciting time to be an Evangelical Spiritual Director - as we reach those who need quality care with quality people. 


The Network of Evangelical Spiritual Directors