Spiritual Direction, Discernment, Mission and the Liberal Church

I’ve just finished presenting a paper at my Unitarian Universalist ministers study group, The Greenfield Group.  Our convocation was on the topic of Faith Formation 2020. Continuing a topic we discussed last time, we did reading and heard presentations on what the liberal church needs to do to adequately prepare and form our people for the next generation, to be ready to meet the faith formation needs of the church in 2020.

My paper was titled “Out of This Stillness: Spiritual Direction, Discernment and Mission in Liberal Congregations.”  I discuss how liberal congregations might better use group and individual spiritual direction as a foundation for discerning mission and becoming more missional in the coming century.  This is the beginning of a body of work and research that I will continue and turn into a research project for my certification in spiritual direction this coming spring as well as a series of “Sunset Talks” this coming summer at our UU district church camp, SWUUSI.

I have passed the paper around a bit outside the Greenfield Group and posted it to the UU Growth Lab on Facebook. I have been asked for it by more and more people so I am posting it here as a pdf file:

Out of This Stillness: Spiritual Direction, Discernment and Mission in Liberal Congregations

4 thoughts on “Spiritual Direction, Discernment, Mission and the Liberal Church

  1. Tony –

    Thanks so much for posting this paper. It touches on so many things niggling in my soul, and helps me pull them together. Also, it happens that the Malibu Study Group (to which I belong) has chosen “spiritual formation” as the topic for our next study retreat – so I called your paper to the attention of my colleagues there. I’ve just begun a spiritual director training program offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas – motivated by all those niggling things in my soul. Your paper comes at a perfect time for me – thanks again for sharing it!


  2. Enjoyed your reflection, Tony. Your experience with Wellspring is similar to what I’ve seen in Des Moines. I know my own life and ministry have expanded via spiritual direction. I’ve got a long way to go, but at least I’m on the path. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mark. I’d like to talk with you about surveying people who have been through Wellspring there and talk to you more about your observations. I have to contact Rochester too.

  3. Great paper Tony. I find the missional possibilities for Unitarian Universalists to be such a vital way forward. And the beautiful challenge of mission is that it simply demands that we live our faith in increasingly holistic ways.

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