Usually at our Biennial Training Event we have time to hear what is happening in regional groupings of Spiritual Directors. Jeannie Martin Blaker has chased up some reports, and here is the latest…
Spiritual Direction Virtual Support Group
We began in 2021 to cater for anyone experiencing challenges accessing the groups already set up. These challenges are mainly geographical. The group has members from the length of NZ and even beyond our shores. We meet monthly on Zoom for 1 hour. (First Tuesday of the month, February to November, 7 pm).
We take turns at contributing the various elements – devotion, how’s our sd practice going?, a professional development topic and sharing resources. At our initial meeting we took time to set up the way the group would work: content, processes, confidentiality etc. A lovely rapport and understanding of each other is developing despite never having met each other face to face.
Topics have been balanced – drawing from the strengths within the group & fromm external sources – SGM, ACSD Australia conference, Renovare (USA).
Contact Petra Corbett 021738675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Kapiti group usually has between 10 and 12 attendees, and we meet four times a year. In December we have a gathering to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the past year, and to plan events for the following year. Our regular time of meeting is between 3.15 and 5.15 pm, commencing with afternoon tea and conversation.
In March we met at the Otaki Marae and were led by Father Alan Roberts and Phil Cody, with the focus being on Maori spirituality. Everyone present found that a very worthwhile time. In June we met at the home of the Cenacle Sisters where Sr Anne Powell led us in a poetry afternoon. We were all encouraged to bring copies of a poem we had found useful personally and in our work of accompanying others. That was a very rich time – and was easy to organise.
In August Val Roberts led us in a session on ‘Body Prayer’, sharing very openly and powerfully about her own journey. Once again we met at the Cenacle Sisters home where the hospitality is always wonderful.
Again in December we will follow our usual pattern, taking suggestions from the group about what would be helpful in 2022. We welcome input from members of our own group, but on occasions invite outside speakers. I usually host that one, hoping for a fine day for a garden meeting.
Blessings, Bev Phillips
Report for ACSD on activities for the Auckland Spiritual Directors Network It is and honour to encourage and build into who our SDs are and what they do.
Since Sept 2020 –
13 Oct Evening meeting at Eden Community Church (15 people)
“Spirituality and Justice” by Steve Tollestrup
An informative talk and discussion on the topic and Steve encouraged us as SDs to
be ‘awake’ to what is happening around us in social media, advertising, etc. He
suggested that “Spiritual Direction is a subversive activity”!
2 Feb Annual Refresher Day at Eden Community Church (55 people!)
“Narrative and Spiritual Direction” by David Crawley
A great day – David very generous and deeply reflective with his input – plus small
group discussions and general fellowship with other SDs. Gave us much food for
our own journey and deepening our work as an SD.
12 May Evening Zoom session (34 people)
“Dreams and Spiritual Direction” by Kristen Hobby – hosted by Fran
(We decided our Zoom session last year during lockdown was so well attended we
planned this one, even though we were not in lockdown, also a great alternative
for those not driving at night.)
14 August Saturday morning at the Friary (24 people)
“Group Spiritual Direction” by Fran and Jenny
Excellent input and discussion…
- We have missed the Mercy Spirituality Centre, located in central Auckland and where
SGM previously held the SDFP training, as a venue.
- Great to see people join us from north of Auckland and as far south as Tauranga
- We are delighted to have an increasing number of people at our meetings who are recent
graduates of the SGM programme, or who are currently participating in it! (We need
them – it refreshes us all.) We’ve also had trained SDs returning to NZ and to practice.
- Living in or near Auckland means we have more resources of people to draw on than
other areas – but also travel, especially at night, is an issue.
Wellington Spiritual Directors
In the 2 years since our last ACSD gathering Wellington Spiritual Directors have continued the pattern of a formal gathering usually twice a year, and an informal get together at a café early in the year. The formal gathering almost always includes a shared evening meal and a great deal of catching-up and conversations.
Covid 19 has been an interrupter for us as for others. A number of us were also very much involved in planning for the Training Event that did not eventuate in 2021. Knowing that ‘nothing is wasted’ we trust that the energy and imagination and planning of those meetings will bear fruit in 2022!
Our formal meetings are usually held in the evening and we typically have between 20 to 25 people able to join us. We aim to have content and conversation that will contribute to meeting our need for ongoing development as spiritual directors.
- So in 2020 Maureen Lamb introduced a model of contemplative listening in small groups at our July meeting.
- In September we were privileged to hear from one of our recent graduates from the SGM formation programme. Judith Lorrimer talked about her journey with the diagnosis of a brain tumour in November 2019 and shared some of the poetry that has emerged from that experience. Her courage, faith and steady love of life were very evident to us all that evening. With much sadness we record that Judith passed away on the 29th of August 2021.
- The content of our final meeting for 2020 concerned walking as spiritual directors with people who have been sexually and spiritually abused and was led by Trish McBride.
- In 2021 we have so far had our café meeting and a very stimulating and enjoyable presentation from Anne Chrisp on the Enneagram and spiritual direction.
Maureen Lamb, Adrienne Thompson and Jane Wilkinson do the not very onerous work of organising dates, speakers and venues for our meetings each year. The other significant activity of the Wellington group is provided by Susan Chrisp who shares information about activities, retreats, training opportunities and anything else that’s relevant to everyone on the email list.
Ngā mihi, Adrienne Thompson
Manawatu Spiritual Directors regional report.
Our support group meets bi-monthly 12.30pm for a cuppa and chat, finishing -2.30ish, generally in Feilding but with flexibility to change. Our group’s purpose includes opportunity for collegiality, nourishment, refreshment, peer supervision , meditation, discussion around an agreed theme and prayer. Spiritual directors and those in training are invited to join the group.
This year we explored IDT at the introductory level and several times practiced peer contemplative supervision which we find very helpful. For professional development we were inspired by a 5 hour workshop Creative Practices in Christian Spirituality that included collage, poetry and psalm writing. Generally one meeting a year is a relaxed shared lunch.
Monthly a 3 hour listening space is offered to the community ( various venues) and various facilitators ( not all spiritual directors but all contemplatives.) This is well received with increasing numbers attending. A short reflection is followed by 2 hours of silence before gathering to share . Morning tea and reflection resources are provided.
We are a small group of Taranaki Spiritual Companions. We meet about four times a year to support and encourage each other and together plan quiet mornings across Taranaki. I attach a leaflet that we put together this year for distribution around our churches and communities. Ngā manaakitanga o tēnei rā Blessings this day Heather Lofthouse