St. Paul's Center for Spiritual Direction
Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny...to work out our identity in God. - Thomas Merton“
St. Paul's Center for Spiritual Direction, established in September 2016, serves as an extension of our pastoral ministry and as a resource for spiritual guidance to the parish and to the larger community. To be paired with a spiritual director, contact any of the directors directly or complete the form below. We recommend three sessions with a director to discern if it is the right pairing for both members. The cost to the directee is $100 for one hour. Contact the Rev. Gregory L. Millikin with questions about scholarship funds or for more information.
Upcoming Adult Forum
To learn more about spiritual direction, our center, and to meet our spiritual directors, come to an adult forum on Sunday, November 20, 10 a.m. in Norton Hall.
About Spiritual Direction
What is it? Spiritual direction is a professional dedicated relationship between a director and a directee to explore a conscious experience of God's presence in our daily lives. Spiritual direction is less about being directed and more of an encouragement to explore self and our relationship to God.
Why Spiritual Direction? We each have times when we wonder about the greater meaning of life, our place in the grand evolution, and who God is. We want to find meaning and connect deeply to God and one another. Is a peace that passes all understanding truly possible? Spiritual direction helps you understand and clarify your own inner wisdom. It is a journey about you and your relationship with God.
Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation explains it best: "Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny…to work out our identity in God."
What to expect in Christian Spiritual Direction? "Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?" (1 Cor 3:16). Setting the premise that each person already has a spiritual life, spiritual direction provides a safe place and time to allow God to act within you.
It is normative to begin by committing to three sessions to figure out if the relationship between director and directee is right for both of you.
The first session (usually about an hour) involves telling the director about yourself and your story. All of life is spiritual but the focus of your spiritual story (or "journey") is about how God may be shaping you through your experiences.
The ongoing process of spiritual direction may also include various methods of prayer including silence, resource information, simple rituals to begin at home, or perhaps an assignment to notice God’s presence between sessions.
What happens after the third session? Together you and your director will discern if an ongoing direction relationship is right. Spiritual directors are trained in programs whose approaches vary. It is helpful to find a spiritual director whose approach suits your personality, spiritual leanings, and perceived needs. The important part is to find the one who will help you grow at this time in your life.
How do I know this works? Growth in the spiritual life is looking at the fruits of the spirit, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23 — "By contrast the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." If over time you find yourself living deeper into these virtues, then you will also begin to notice how your life is in alignment with God’s hope for you.
Meet Our Spiritual Directors
The Rev. Dr. Howard F. Kempsell, Jr.
The Rev. Dr. Howard F. Kempsell, Jr. is an Episcopal priest who was ordained at a young age, embracing the 30-year early retirement option so that he could devote himself in a more focused way to the ministry of spiritual direction. Howard did his doctoral studies in spiritual direction at the University of the South and the Graduate Theological Foundation. He is one of two spiritual directors selected by the Bishop of Virginia to offer spiritual direction on a quarterly basis in the Pathways Spiritual Direction Program at Roslyn, the Retreat and Conference of the Diocese of Virginia in the west end of Richmond. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and actively participates in their annual conferences, pilgrimage days, and retreats. Howard can be reached by email here.
Regina Roman is a long-time parishioner of St. Paul’s and a long-time experienced spiritual director. She is a 1997 graduate of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and later served on its board and as an associate member of its staff, and has been a member of Spiritual Directors International since 2002. In addition, she is a retreat leader, pilgrimage guide, photographer, and has published numerous articles on the topic of spiritual formation. Regina can be reached by email here.
The Rev. Samuel A. Mason, ObJN
The Rev. Sam Mason, ObJN, is an Episcopal priest, an oblate of the Order of St. Julian of Norwich, and St. Paul’s own Artist-in-Residence. Sam served as part of St. Paul’s clergy for many years following early retirement from full-time parish ministry. While with us at St. Paul’s, Sam already had a quiet ministry of spiritual direction, which is expanded with the opening of this center. Sam can be reached by email here.