National Forum for Spiritual Direction UK

Updated 30 January 2021

The Forum Happens!

Saturday 30 January 2021 saw an online gathering of over 120 people drawn together and experience ‘Forum’.

Members of the initiating group, (Julie Dunstan, Alison McTear, Chris Chapman, John-Francis Friendship and Nick Helm) shared something of their journey and interest in working to this initiative. Everyone had time in small groups. The Vision Statement (see below) was shared, and then reflected on in small groups. The feedback from the groups was shared on zoom chat and some observations made by the group. There was plenty of energy and enthusiasm, along with helpful questions and ideas. 



Vision Statement for the National Forum for Spiritual Direction UK

This statement came from a discerning process undertaken by the initiating group. This included a consultation with over 170 spiritual directors from all over the country who after prayerful reflection contributed their feedback. This was compiled into 72 page document. The group reflected and prayed with this, seeking to listen to all that was shared and draw together a vision statement. This vision statement comprises three sections:

  • Vision – the aim and purpose of the Forum
  • Values / Way – the values and ways in which it seeks to be
  • Mission – the actions that are needed in the first instance in order to begin to work to the aim and purpose. 
You can download a printable version here, or read it below. 


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...

Clearly there is work to be done in bringing together a core committee and the sub-groups. 

The initiating group will be reflecting on the feedback to the vision statement and on bringing these groups into being. 

To keep informed, please sign up for the Forum mailing list 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]