This 18-month course is designed for those mature Christians who already have some experience of receiving spiritual direction and who wish to explore and discern God’s call to offer this valuable ministry to others. It will also help participants to grow in spiritual depth as they engage with others and discover more of their own journey with God.
The course is made up of monthly day-sessions and three residentials. All are held at the Retreat House at Pleshey near Chelmsford – a beautiful and prayerful venue with strong links with Evelyn Underhill. It is led by a ‘core group’ of experienced directors drawn from various Christian traditions across the region who work closely together to offer an experiential approach to learning, While there are no academic essays or homework the course can be deeply challenging. A willingness to have an open, honest and positive attitude to all aspects of the course, and to each other, is essential. Participants come from many different backgrounds and each person is expected to show tolerance, respect and care for those with different views and life experience
Most of the sessions are run by members of the core group and there will also be a number of invited speakers who bring a particular expertise or a different understanding to of spiritual traditions.
Each course member will be part of a small ‘link group’ to provide mutual support, encouragement and a sharing of life experiences. These groups remain the same throughout the course and all shared experience is to be kept confidential.
The Pleshey course has now been running for over 30 years and has been well attested and much appreciated. It continues to evolve and to attract more applications than there are places. Membership of the course is through application form and interview, with ongoing assessment of all participants throughout the course. There is an independent Visitor who observes and monitors all aspects of the course. He is also involved in the assessments and the quality of the programme. Those who successfully complete the course are expected to join the list of available directors as they become fully fledged spiritual directors.