Center for spiritual formation

The mission of the Center for Spiritual Formation is to be a resource for people in their spiritual growth, through the encouragement, teaching, and practice of spiritual formation exercises.

Spiritual Formation is about intentionally taking time to grow one’s own individual relationship with God.  It is about spending intimate time with God, through the learning and practice of ancient and contemporary Christian spiritual practices.  

Here is one model of spiritual formation:

The intention of the Center for Spiritual Formation is to foster a deep relationship with Jesus, so that each individual can then go out to serve God, in various capacities, according to each individual’s gifts and callings. Spiritual formation is about intentionally and contemplatively building an intimate relationship with God, from which one’s faith grows, as does one’s discernment in active service for God.  

While Spiritual Formation provides a benefit for pretty much everyone looking to grow in their faith, we believe that people who resonate with the following points might be more readily prepared, or benefit the most from, what the Center for Spiritual Formation offers:

  • Individuals seeking connection with God
  • Individuals looking to go deeper in their relationship with God
  • Individuals wondering about the purpose God has for them 
  • Individuals seeking discernment or direction
  • Individuals who want to explore contemplative practices in their faith journey
  • Individuals finding themselves too busy to fit “church activities” into their schedule  
  • Individuals finding themselves saying, “I am spiritual, but not religious.”
  • Individuals finding themselves disconnected from the “traditional church”
  • Individuals in actively involved in ministries, ministry leadership roles, and clergy 
Currently, the Center for Spiritual Formation seeks to help individuals on their faith journey by offering: 1) access to Spiritual Directors, 2), Spiritual Formation Classes, and 3) Contemplative Prayer Teaching and Practice.  

  • Spiritual Direction 
Spiritual Direction is an ancient Christian tradition that is seeing a resurgence in faith-based communities.  Many mature Christians feel a call to further their response to God’s purpose for them in their lives, and will engage a Spiritual Director to walk part of their journey with them.  While it is structured similarly, Spiritual Direction is not quite therapy, nor is it quite pastoral care.  Rather, a Spiritual Director is an ordained or lay minister extensively trained to help people look for, and listen for, where God is moving in their lives.  It is often described as an intimate three-way conversation between the directee, the director, and God, in which individuals have an opportunity to candidly talk about the summits and valley of one’s own faith journey free from judgement.  

Although always flexible, sessions are typically monthly for about an hour. Professional Spiritual Directors who do not charge a fee, or who charge nominally, may request that you make an at-will donation directly to the church only if you have the means, and if you find the sessions beneficial.   

Depending on the arraignments you coordinate with your Spiritual Director, sessions may be held at the church, or remotely by Zoom.  

Each Spiritual Director is an independent practitioner, but we currently have three dedicated to our church and the Center for Spiritual Formation.  It is important to feel comfortable and connected with your Spiritual Director; so, if you do not connect with one us, do not be discouraged.  We believe anyone who wants a spiritual director should have access to one, and it is important to us to help you get connected with a match for you.  We are affiliated with several professional Spiritual Directors across the valley and across several denominations, and we can help you get in contact with them.

  • Spiritual Formation Classes 
Do you want to learn more about our Christian Spiritual Formation Heritage and Traditions?  Our team of clergy, scholars, theologians, spiritual directors, and subject matter guests periodically conduct classes and workshops teaching key historical personas and spiritual practices, and how we might apply them to our own contemporary spiritual life in the midst of our daily routines.  Depending on the teaching, the session may introduce spiritual formation exercises; however, these workshops are more teaching oriented.  Class topics range from ancient to contemporary.

Below is a sampling of classes faculty has offered in the past:

  • The Faith Journey
  • The Trinity of Contemplation: Silence, Solitude, and Stillness
  • Fixed Hour Prayer 
  • Centering Prayer
  • Imaginative Prayer
  • Prayer of Examen
  • Lectio Divina 
  • Visio Divina
  • Introduction to the Enneagram for Spiritual Growth and Formation
  • Advanced Studies in the Enneagram
  • Dare to Love:  A Challenge to Complacency
  • The Medicine Wheel as a Tool for Christian Formation
  • Celtic Spirituality
  • Franciscan Spirituality

Starting at the beginning of 2022, we will be offering these classes at least once a quarter.  Watch the church announcements for upcoming classes.
  • Contemplative Prayer Teaching and Practice
Most of the practices we are talking about here are “contemplative,” meaning we are intentionally taking the time to be alone with God.  Throughout the centuries, numerous ancient and contemporary Christian contemplative prayer styles have been practiced.  Because not everyone resonates with each style, we want to help you comfortably sample some of these practices so you might find some that connect with you.  

The Center for Spiritual Formation believes it is important to provide a sacred and dedicated time and space to learn and practice a particular contemplative prayer.  While teaching and guidance is provided, unlike the Spiritual Formation Classes with an emphasis on teaching, these sessions emphasize the practice and prayer itself.  Special intention is placed towards embracing a sacred atmosphere that is more conducive to exploring the particular type of contemplative prayer we are exploring that day.

Below is a sampling of contemplative prayer sessions that may be offered:
  • Centering Prayer
  • Imaginative Prayer
  • Prayer of Examen
  • Lectio Divina 
  • Visio Divina

These sessions are designed for novices and the experienced, alike.  For those new to the practice, our guides want to do our best to make you feel comfortable learning and exploring a new way of praying and connecting with God, and you will be gently guided through the practice.  If you connect with the practice, it is our hope that you will take what you have learned and practice it further on your own.  For the well-practiced contemplative, we want to help by intentionally providing a sacred time and space for your prayer. 

Starting at the beginning of 2022, we will be offering these practices at least once a quarter.  Watch the church announcements for upcoming opportunities.
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