National Forum for Spiritual Direction UK

Updated 24 November 2020

Emerging Developments

The journey of exploring and discerning around establishing a National Forum for Spiritual Direction in the UK continues. 

The discernment day in early November brought together the results of our prayer and reflection on the 70 pages of feedback we’d received from the summer consultation. Participants were: Ruth Holgate, Julie Dunstan, Chris Chapman, Alison McTier, John-Francis Friendship and Nick Helm. We’d drawn out key points under the three headings of Vision, Values and Mission. The process of the day involved times of prayer, listening to each other and reflecting on what was emerging. 

A strong sense for the future emerged quickly, meaning that we made quicker progress than expected. 

The outcome is the following description of our shared discernment. It gives a Vision for the Forum, the Values we believe should guide the work and key elements to begin our Mission in working towards this. 


We desire

  • to support and resource spiritual directors
  • to promote and protect good practice 
  • to advocate and encourage the creative development of this ministry within the church and in a changing world. 


In the same spirit in which Spiritual Direction is conducted, we will endeavour to:

  • be a ‘common table’ through dialogue and hospitality
  • be led by the Spirit, in prayer and discernment
  • be theologically reflective
  • act with wisdom and humility
  • be exploratory and collaborative
  • be responsive and gracious
  • be inclusive and ecumenical
  • be appropriately professional and not professionalised
  • promote equality and respect for all
  • maintain openness and transparency
  • build things organically, being both adventurous and realistic
  • use simple communicative processes


Create a Core Committee

    •  with wide representation and a time-limited period of office.
    • responsible for developing sustainable structures and processes for the initial and ongoing work of the forum.
    • focussing on the following aspects:
      • Vision
      • Communications including website, social media, mailings, newsletters etc
      • Co-ordination of the work of the sub-groups
      • Finance & Administration including membership and fundraising

Create three working groups to represent the three faces of the forum

1. To support and resource spiritual directors by

        • developing ways to come together to encourage, listen and discern; by zoom gatherings, national conferences, regional meetings
        • gathering and shareing wisdom and inspiration by newsletters, websites, social media

2. To promote and protect good practice by

        • an ongoing articulation of a shared understanding of  good practice
        • involving networks, training courses, relevant organisations
        • producing clear guidelines and resources 
        • establishing an ongoing process for developing these over time
        • inviting ongoing discussion and development
        • commending good practice to practitioners

3. To advocate and encourage the creative development of this ministry within the church and in a changing world by 

        • developing relationships with existing relevant bodies including:
            • denominational structures
            • spirituality and spiritual direction networks; e.g. APR, CSR, SD Europe, SD UK (recognising we already represent some of these)

Next steps...

There’s plenty of work to do, but high on our agenda is to enable more conversations between the initiating group and those interested in the forum. 

The first step is to host a Zoom gathering on Saturday 30th January 11am – 1pm for the initiating group to share something of the story of what has inspired us in this, where we have got to and our next steps. 

All on our mailing list will receive an invitation to this. If you are not on our mailing list, but would like to be, please complete the form below. 

Join the Forum mailing list

This will ensure you are kept informed of developments, receive occasional news and invitations. 

Prayer for the Forum

Creator God, giver of all good things;
provide for us as we support and resource each other.
Jesus, incarnate, embodied;
enable us as we model and promote good practice.  
Holy Spirit, breathing life into the world;
inspire us as we advocate and encourage creative ministry.  
In all things, God, animate our vision with your desire.

This initiative is supported by:

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

email: [email protected]