Exploring the idea of a national forum for Spiritual Direction in the UK. 

supported by:

  • The Retreat Association
  • The Jesuits
  • The London Centre for Spiritual Direction
  • The Spiritual Exercises Network
  • Many individual practitioners

About this initiative

Over the last year we have been having conversations about the desirability of developing a national forum for Spiritual Direction in the UK.

Supporting good practice

We see the potential for such a forum to be a common table and a centre of gravity for thinking together and encouraging good practice in Spiritual Direction. This common table provides the place where we can gather, relate and share matters of mutual interest. A centre of gravity holds things in relationship and in a forum our common concern for Spiritual Direction provides this. In so doing it allows for individuality in finding our places around it. Thus the forum would be a space for communication and discernment rather than oversight or control. 

Discernment and Consultation Process 2020 

To develop a National Forum for Spiritual Direction?

We embarked on a discernment process that sought to draw upon the prayed response of many who are actively involved in Spiritual Direction in the UK. 

  • July 2020: email invitation to participate by praying and giving feedback circulated to as many contacts as we were able to, with the invitation to pass on to others.
  • Participants register their involvement using an online form and received the prayer sheet.
  • end of July 2020: Link to give feedback mailed out
  • Participants pray with question
  • Participants complete online feedback form
  • 31 August 2020: Deadline for feedback

  • September 2020: Feedback collated, and summary circulated to all who registered. 

  • 3 November 2020: Discernment Day for steering group
  • Mid-Late November 2020: Outcome of process shared with all participants and published online

Original Invitation to Participate

Extending the conversation

We would like to extend our conversation and discernment around this possibility to those who are involved in the provision, training and promotion of Spiritual Direction across the UK. To this end, we invite you to contribute to this, by thinking, praying and sharing your insights with us. We will then give time to look at the responses, reflect and continue our discernment and report back to you about what emerges from this process.

Prayerful consideration

We ask you to prayerfully consider this idea of a ‘forum for Spiritual Direction’ – both what you find positive, attractive, hopeful about it, and what you find negative or worrying about it. Please download this sheet that outlines a way you might prayerfully engage with this. At the end of July we’ll open an online feedback form for you to use and submit your response by the end of August.

Inviting others

Please also, pass this invitation on to others you are connected with in supporting, training and promoting the ministry of Spiritual Direction.

Register your interest
We would like you to be a contributor to our process in discerning the way ahead. (Whether you have received this directly or had it passed on by someone.) Please register your interest in this process by completing the short online form below. This will ensure you get the invitation to give your feedback.


  • Julie Dunstan and John-Francis Friendship from the London Centre for Spiritual Direction
  • Alison MacTier, Executive Director of the Retreat Association
  • David Smolira SJ & Ruth Holgate of The Jesuits
  • Nick Helm of The Spiritual Exercises Network and Hereford Diocese
  • Chris Chapman, Canterbury
  • Julia MacDonald of St Bede’s Pastoral Centre, York

If you would like to be on our mailing list, to be updated with developments, please enter your details here:

FAQ – A few questions we are being asked

What relationship does this initiative have to the group exploring accreditation, now called Spiritual Direction UK?

Our intention is that a Forum would enable those involved in Spiritual Direction to connect, explore and encourage best practice in Spiritual Direction in a way that affirms our commonality and diversity. We are aware of the recent announcement by the group that has been exploring accreditation of their intention to establish ’Spiritual Direction UK’. We take no particular stance on accreditation, welcoming Spiritual Directors to the forum in their diversity of view on this and many other subjects.