By Debbie Eisenbise
Each May, spiritual directors from throughout the Church of the Brethren meet for an annual retreat and continuing education. Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry and Retreat Center in Sharpsburg, Md., provides a beautiful and quiet setting for this event, which includes opportunities for worship, prayer, silence, creative expression, peer supervision, and keynote presentations.
This year’s keynote speaker was Betsey Beckman, spiritual director, sacred dancer, choreographer, founder of The Dancing Word ( www.thedancingword.com ), and InterPlay leader. Through the Abbey of the Arts and in collaboration with others, she leads pilgrimages, creates resources, and experiential training for spiritual directors around the world. She has facilitated numerous events for Spiritual Directors International. From May 22-24, Brethren spiritual directors from throughout the country came together to learn from her about Hildegard of Bingen; experience prayer and scripture in word, music, and movement; and explore embodiment and creativity in the midst of silence, worship, and natural beauty.
The retreat offers Brethren spiritual directors a unique opportunity to meet with peers and explore the practice of spiritual direction from within a shared tradition. Continuing education units are offered for participants, and opportunity is given for peer supervision and support.
Active spiritual directors, and chaplains and pastors who integrate contemplative practices into their ministries, are invited to attend next year’s retreat on May 21-23, 2018, at Shepherd’s Spring.
The Spiritual Directors Network is open to all who are receiving or have completed training as spiritual directors and who offer spiritual direction to individuals and/or groups. To join, fill out the survey at www.brethren.org/SpiritualDirectorsSurvey .
At this year’s Annual Conference on Friday, June 30, at 9 p.m., an insight session will be hosted by the Spiritual Directors Network to introduce spiritual direction to those interested. By the end of the year, a new webpage will provide online information for anyone seeking a Church of the Brethren spiritual director.
-- Debbie Eisenbise is director of Intergenerational Ministries for the Church of the Brethren and a member of the Congregational Life Ministries staff. She also is a spiritual director. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 306.