Encouraging conversations revealing Seismic Shifts
The two zoom meetings of people involved in Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Direction training on the 14th and 21st July respectively were really encouraging. I had a strong sense of being in the company of a deeply engaged group of people with a passion and commitment to Spiritual Direction and training people for this ministry. There was clearly a lot of wisdom and plenty of experience being shared. Whilst I did find it pretty exhausting to facilitate, I did appreciate the generosity of everyone to the endeavour and felt I was enriched by the experience. With a total of 80 people participating or indicating they would have participated if they could, clearly there was significant interest.
Report on Zoom and Spiritual Direction – 14 July 2020
I’ve produced a report on the wisdom emerging from the groups, gathering the points made into a two and a half page document. This is very much in note form – bullet points under various headings. I hope you find it helpful. You can download it here.
Report on Zoom and Training Spiritual Directors – 21 July 2020
The report on the Training session is similar in length with me taking a similar approach as the previous report in trying to assimilate all that was shared. You can download it here.
It seemed to me there were three significant things emerging.
1. Using zoom effectively: a mix of sharing common challenges and learning from each other
2. Zoom is here to stay as part of training programmes (we aren’t going back to the old way). This raises all sorts of questions about the future of training. Some of which will need to be examined in the light of experience further down the road.
3. ‘blended learning‘ (where some participants are in the room and some on zoom) is a live question. For some this was imminent for others probably unrealistic in the short term.
There is much in all this that suggests that the world of Spiritual Direction is in a time of Seismic shift. That the fundamental ground of operation – face to face meetings, has been replaced (for the time being at least) totally by the medium of internet video conferencing. While I am sure there will be a return to face-to-face, I don’t see it reverting. A proportion will remain online encounters.
Clearly these conversations were amongst the early adaptors, so the thinking is representative of them rather than the whole body of Spiritual Directors and trainers (and that is a pretty diverse group anyway). However, the palpable positive momentum towards ongoing embracing of these developments was interesting to behold, and if I’m honest somewhat surprising. However, we need to keep reflecting and sharing.
It is really valuable and important to share experiences reflect on them and do that important discernment about it all – so that we don’t
race on ahead buoyed by the simple excitement of the new, and avoid or miss the challenging questions. The key is to be attentive to the question ‘what is the Spirit of God revealing and leading us towards?’ Spiritual Directors, keep doing what you are called to do in holding this discerning question.