Class of 2022-2023 Spiritual Direction Training

The next cohort begins March 2022, and runs through the end of 2023. Each cohort of SDT features 18 months of teaching.


Kairos Faculty

These three form the core of the SDT faculty. Guest Experts will join them monthly to address specific topics.

Jean Lengacher, M.Div, has 20+ years of connection with Kairos as a student and faculty member, and is returning in the newly formed position of Contemplative Faculty. She received her M.Div. in Christian Spiritual Formation and a Certificate of Spiritual Direction from Eastern Mennonite Seminary. She has completed additional training through Kairos, Shalem Institute, Maryland Center for Reiki Training, and Common Awakening.

Jean specializes in mindful meditation, awareness, and compassion-based practices, honoring Christian and Buddhist traditions. She is a reiki master and attends to energy and body movement as prayer practices.

Anne Byram Blackwood is an Anabaptist Christian spiritual director. Originally trained as a physician, Anne received training in the art of spiritual direction at Mercy Center (Burlingame, CA), and San Francisco Theological Seminary (San Anselmo, CA), and supervision training through Spiritual Directors International. She is also trained as a mediator, conflict coach, and facilitator. While Anne’s own background and training are in Christianity, she recognizes and honors wisdom from diverse traditions.

Through her spiritual direction and supervision practice, which she calls “Roots and Vision,” Anne seeks to accompany others, especially those called to the work of compassion, peace and justice, in exploring their deepest beliefs and experiences, as balm for difficult times and as a window into the paths to which they feel called, and the steps they can take on their journey toward spiritual freedom, authenticity, and connection.

Amy Shutt, MBA, is a long-time spiritual companion and retreat leader. She is a Kairos SDT alum and former Kairos board member. She has an MBA from Drexel and a Bachelor’s in Architectural Engineering. Amy is employed as a Senior Mechanical Engineer, managing HVAC system design and construction in the pharmaceutical sector. She especially enjoys mentoring the next generation of engineers.

Amy is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA and active as a teacher and leader in her church – First Presbyterian in Pottstown.

Topics and Expert Instructors

Self-Care and Professional Resilience

Learn the science and strategies of mindfulness to monitor and manage your levels of stress.

Lesley Huff, Psy.D.

Lesley Huff holds a Doctorate of Psychology, specializing in Family and Marriage Therapy. She is a licensed psychologist and certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion. Working in a relational and systemic way, she helps clients to build a sense of balance and compassion for self and for others. 

Spiritual Kinship

Students will explore how to creatively adapt SD to broaden its application and accessibility to those who may not normally have the opportunity or means to participate. Father Gregory Boyle writes about this important ability to see ourselves in kinship with those on the margins.

Dan Jurman, D.Min.

Dan Jurman is the first Executive Director of Governor Wolf’s new Office of Advocacy and Reform. His focus is to create better outcomes for all people whose circumstances have made them vulnerable. He has taught courses on the intersection of Theology and Poverty and was the CEO of Community Action Partnership (CAP) in Lancaster.

Ethical Considerations

Students dive into the nuts and bolts of professional ethics, including: confidentiality, healthy boundaries, appropriate contexts for SD, dual relationships and when to make referrals.

Erin Cox-Holmes, D.Min.

Erin Cox-Holmes has been the Executive Presbyter of the Donegal Presbytery for over ten years. She has helped churches implement child-safety guidelines and led boundary and ethics trainings. She has also served in multiple pastoral roles.

Ignatian Discernment in Spiritual Direction

Learn the history of the traditional discernment process of Ignatius of Loyola. This foundation will give students a starting point to observe the will of God internally and externally with their directees.

Paul Burgmayer, Ph.D.

Paul Burgmayer holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and is retired from his career as a research scientist and teacher. He is an active Director and Supervisor. He earned an MA in Holistic Spirituality from Chestnut Hill College, trained in Supervision at Together in the Mystery, and has deeper training in Ignatian Spirituality.

Discernment in Spiritual Direction

Learn to journey through discernment yourself and with others, towards a sense of calm decisiveness with additional tools of healthy discernment

Kelly Dignan, M.Div.

Rev. Kelly Dignan is a spiritual coach and companion who works with people who want to accelerate and deepen connection with their true self, community, nature and Spirit. She holds a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology and is an adjunct instructor there. She is an ordained Unitarian Universalist (UU) minister. UUism allows her to be spiritually fluid which means she’s fluent in multiple spiritual orienting systems, meeting people where they are.

Cultural Diversity

Intentional spiritual kinship can often create uncomfortable situations and miscommunications. Students will explore ways to listen across cultural differences.

Faculty Julia Bruton-Sheppard with Carla Wilson

Carla Wilson, M.Div., is Associate Pastor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. She is also the Assistant to the Bishop in Charge of Justice Ministries of Lower Susquehanna Synod in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – one of the first out LGBTQ Black women ordained in her denomination. She specializes in storytelling, community-based advocacy, survivor empowerment, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, and cultural competency.

Sexuality and Embodiment

Humans are embodied, spirits with the companionship of our physical body. These embodied spirits can be shamed, avoided, or embraced. Sexual health, violence, and identity all deeply affect the spiritual journey.

Jenny Schulder Brant

Jenny Schulder Brant is an ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher. Her focus is on creating a community where it is understood that the health of our own bodies and minds directly connect to the health of our communities and the world. She is a certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. 

The Second Half of Life

Rhythms change in the later stages of life when aging and diminishment bring challenges and new opportunities. Students will gain a perspective to help access the deep wisdom of the second half of life.

Ellie Straton, M.Div.

Ellie Stratton is an ordained minister in Presbyterian Church (USA) and a spiritual director with over 25 years of experience offering companionship to individuals and groups in addition to supervision.  She is a graduate of the Forest Dwelling Program at Oblate School of Theology, which educates in the wisdom and spirituality of aging.

Beginning Spiritual Direction

SDT Faculty will lead students to explore the foundational God-person relationship where God is present in all movements. Students discuss the role of a spiritual companion, including: deep listening, creating a working alliance, and professional boundaries.

SDT Faculty


Contemplative Diversity

Through a diverse panel of experts, students will get to broaden their knowledge on a wide range of contemplative traditions, which will provide the opportunity to incorporate diverse influences into their own personal practices.

Faculty Jean Lengacher with Jenny Schulder Brant and Annmarie Early

Jenny Schulder Brant is an ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher. As a Jewish woman who grew up Modern Orthodox, she finds great joy in sharing her love of Jewish ritual and the spirituality that accompanies it.

Annmarie Early, Ph.D., is trained as a psychotherapist and an Integrative Energetic Medicine practitioner. She is a Reiki practitioner. She uses these modalities in her practice as an intuitive where she provides Divine guidance and energetic support for healing— body, mind, and spirit.

Effects of Trauma

The experience of trauma is universal, but the manifestations are individual, complex and affect a person’s relationship with the Divine. Students will reflect on their own experiences, learn to recognize instances of transference, and embrace their role as a “wounded healer” in spiritual companioning.

Rob Fennimore, M.A.

Robert Fennimore works full-time providing restorative practices to children in the Eastern Lancaster County School District. He holds an M.A. in Education and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Education and Restorative Justice. He has additional extensive training completing both levels of Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) training and holds a graduate certificate in Trauma and Resilience in Educational Environments. 


Spiritual Practices

Students learn about and get to engage in a diverse range of spiritual practices. Special attention is paid to practices that complement the rhythms of everyday life.

Kimberly Secrist Ashby, MA, MDiv

Kimberly Secrist Ashby has a B.A. in Spanish, an M.A. in Education, and an M.Div. as well as additional training in Emotional Intelligence. She is a Presbyterian pastor and teaches spiritual practices and Emotional Intelligence. She tends her own spiritual life amidst work and parenting with gardening, cooking, baking, and reading.

Religious Diversity

Explore diversity within and between faiths including those with no religious home. A diverse panel will explore interfaith commonalities and distinctions while also examining the diversity that exists within their own spiritual community.

Panel with Vanessa Lovelace, Mukaram Syed, and Israel Buffardi

Vanessa Lovelace, PhD, is an experienced Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholar. Her teaching and research interests include interpreting biblical texts using literary criticism and theory of gender and nation through a womanist lens, examining the interlocking identity categories of race, gender, sexuality and class. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Mukaram Syed, a chemical engineer, is one of the founding members of Islamic Community Center of Lancaster. He is on their Board of Trustees and is very involved with community outreach and inter-faith activities. Mukaram holds educational seminars at various local schools and colleges on topics of Islamic faith and practices. He is also the Principal of Sunday Islamic School.

Contemplative Communities

Contemplation is a community practice, not just an individual one. Contemplative practices and skills can be used to strengthen all kinds of communities, with or without religious ties.

Parish Resource Center Staff and Volunteers

Parish Resource Center (PRC) routinely brings groups with different or no religious beliefs together to seek common goals – such as providing food to those who are food insecure, restorative practices training, forgiving crippling medical debt, accompanying asylum-seekers, or stepping aside in retreat.

Dark Night Experiences

Everyone experiences dark times – physically, mentally, or spiritually. Learn to sit with yourself and others in dark nights. Dwelling intentionally in the dark can reveal God’s movements.


Students can choose to participate in person or online via Zoom.  

9:00am: Contemplative Gathering

9:30am: Main Teaching Time with Guest Expert

12:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm: Contemplative Time

2:30pm: Teaching Integration (practicums, discussion, readings)

4:30pm: Fish Bowl

5:30pm: Contemplative Closing

6:00pm: Departure



Students will all participate online via Zoom.  

Small groups of students will meet with a faculty member for two hours each month at a time convenient for students for supervision and practicums tailored to students’ needs.


Students can choose to give direction in person or online.   

Students will start seeing directees after the September teaching Saturday. PRC is available to help students find directees.

Students will try to schedule 1-2 every month. Each session averages 45-60 minutes. Exploring spiritual direction in non-traditional settings is encouraged. 

Course Requirements

Spiritual Disciplines:

  • Engage in personal, life-giving spiritual practices. Share your spiritual journey regularly with your own spiritual director, and with your SDT cohort through small group times, forum posts, and Saturday sessions.
  • Complete times of solitary retreat to focus on your own journey and contemplative practices. We recommend discussing these experiences with your spiritual director.

Spiritual Direction:

  • Provide spiritual direction for at least two adults for a combined minimum of 20 sessions (at least seven sessions with one individual). Students should not have more than four directees at one time. Students should not provide spiritual direction prior to the start of supervision. PRC can help you find directees. 
  • Supervision groups are a foundational element of the SDT program, each led by an SD faculty member. Actively participate in your small supervision group to reflect on direction sessions and receive feedback and guidance. This intensive, hands-on learning process increases each student’s skills and confidence.
  • Write a 1-2 page verbatim each month on a direction session you have given. Submit it to your faculty supervisor at least one week prior to supervision.
  • Student liability insurance is required prior to seeing directees. The most popular option is to join SDI as a student member ($59/year) and apply for student liability insurance through American Professional Agency, Inc. ($35/year). More information will be provided in class.  

Spiritual Kinship:

  • Broaden the application of spiritual direction by applying the same skills to new settings. Meet with and offer spiritual kinship to someone on the margins. PRC will make the arrangements through its work with local immigration and in the Community Meal Program in Lancaster City. Forums and teaching sessions will also emphasize practicing spiritual kinship.


  • Regular participation in teaching Saturdays, monthly small groups, and the online student forum. Always engage respectfully and thoughtfully with those holding differing views.


  • Read and interact with the texts and assigned readings each month prior to class. Parish Resource Center is a member of SDI and has a subscription for students to be able to access the archives of Presence magazine.

Rader Park

In-person SDT students meet on the grounds of beautiful Rader Park. Classes meet in the pavilion or in an adjacent building. Students are free to utilize the entire park, including the firepit among the pines, butterfly garden, walking path with benches and gazebos, pond, bee hives, community garden, and more. Alternately, students may join virtually and will be helped to establish their own contemplative space. 


Mar 5, 2022
Apr 2, 2022
May 7, 2022
June 4, 2022

Sep 10, 2022
Oct 1, 2022
Nov 5, 2022
Dec 3, 2022



Jan 7, 2023
Feb 4, 2023
Mar 4, 2023
Apr 1, 2023
May 6, 2023
June 3, 2023

Sep 9, 2023
Oct 7, 2023
Nov 4, 2023
Dec 2, 2023



Early Bird Price: $6,200 for two year program 

(Apply before Nov. 30, 2021)

Pay Monthly (18 payments)
Set up automatic, monthly payments of $345

Pay Yearly (2 payments)
$3,100 due upon acceptance
$3,100 due on Jan. 15, 2023

Regular Price: $7,200 for two year program

(Apply after Nov. 30, 2021)

 Pay Monthly (18 payments)
Set up automatic, monthly payments of $400

Pay Yearly (2 payments)
$3,600 due upon acceptance
$3,600 due on Jan. 15, 2023

PRC Members receive 10% discount. Limited financial aid is available. Applicants are encouraged to seek funding from their church, religious affiliations, or employer.

$500 scholarships are available on a limited basis. If you are interested in a scholarship, please include a letter of request for financial aid with your application. The letter of request should include why you are seeking financial aid at this time, other avenues of funding you have pursued, and any other information that would be helpful in making this decision. If you receive a scholarship, it will be spread evenly across your first-year payments.

Scholarships are awarded yearly based on the pool of applicants from all SDT cohorts. A first-year scholarship does not guarantee a second-year scholarship. You will need to submit a new letter of request (by Nov. 30, 2022) to be considered.

Additional aid may be available to help students receive monthly spiritual direction throughout SDT. If the cost of this practice is prohibitive, please include it in your letter of request.

Have three references write a letter of recommendation answering the questions below. Please include two recent professional references and one personal reference. The personal reference should have known you for 5 or more years and not be related to you. References must be submitted before your application can be considered. If the requirements for references are an issue for you, please contact PRC. 

  1. How are you familiar with the applicant and their abilities? How long have you known them?
  2. What is your personal appraisal of the applicant’s skills and potential in Spiritual Direction? (Please note that skills in spiritual direction—listening, noticing God, tending someone’s spiritual journey—can be demonstrated in any profession).
  3. Would you have any hesitation in referring someone to the applicant for spiritual direction?
  4. What is your appraisal of the applicant’s spiritual maturity and practice?
  5. What is your opinion of the applicant’s psychological maturity and stability?
  6. What is at least one area of the applicant’s life or work that you see as an area in need of growth?


All applications should include a 1-2 page personal essay including:

  • Your discernment around starting Spiritual Direction Training;
  • Experience of spiritual direction or spiritual friendships with others;
  • Background in theology, psychology, communications;
  • Exposure to readings and/or study in spiritual formation. 

Apply Now

Applications are being accepted now. 


1. Fill out the Applicant Form.

 2. Download the References Form and send it to 3 references. We cannot consider your application until we receive the references.

3. Submit your personal essay (and financial aid request if applicable) to

4. Provide copies of your Act 34 PA Criminal History Check and your Act 151 PA Child Abuse History Check (dated within the last two years). If you have resided outside of PA in the last ten years, you will also need to submit your Act 114 FBI Criminal History Report.

For applicants residing outside of PA, comparable clearances will need to be submitted. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact PRC.

5. Pay the $150 application fee (invoiced after application is received).

Questions? Contact Us

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