Valley Forge, PA (ABNS 5/14/21) —As a continuation of its 10-year emphasis on spiritual transformation and formation in the life of American Baptists, the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary is excited to announce a renewed focus on the practice of spiritual direction. In recognition that the demand for spiritual direction is greater than ever due to this unprecedented time in which we live, an ABC Spiritual Direction Team has been called to aid those American Baptists who desire to explore the practice of spiritual direction as well as those who express their call to ministry as spiritual directors. Rev. Betty Wright-Riggins, Rev. Judy Fackenthal, and Rev. Brad Berglund, all certified spiritual directors, will serve together as our ABC Spiritual Direction Team.
American Baptist pastors and members of ABC congregations are encouraged to consider and engage in the practice of spiritual direction. The ABC Spiritual Direction Team has updated the spiritual formation website with added material, resources, and suggestions on how to both begin and continue engaging in the discipline of spiritual direction as well as connect with members of the spiritual direction community.
“We pray you will explore the website and consider the gift of spiritual direction for your life,” writes Rev. Judy Fackenthal. “As American Baptists we commit our lives to serving as the hands, feet, and voice of Christ. We recognize the need to be sustained in body, mind, heart, and soul for this task. Spiritual direction offers the gift of a trained companion who listens with us as God’s Spirit refreshes and guides us.” She further adds that a renewal of the American Baptist Spiritual Direction network and website gives space for spiritual directors to engage and support one another as well as a way for Baptists to locate a spiritual director near them.
Rev. Betty Wright-Riggins describes this renewed spiritual direction community and website as “a sacred space for ABC clergy and laypersons to share resources and ideas as well as find a spiritual director.” Wright-Riggins adds, “Spiritual directors or companions are trained in guiding seekers in active continuous listening, inner quiet, prayer, and utilizing tools necessary for soul tending.”
The ABC Spiritual Direction Team hopes that ABC pastors and lay people will engage in spiritual direction as they navigate these turbulent times. “The ancient Christian practice of spiritual friendship is becoming a growing and much needed compliment to living out our life in Christ during the challenging and fractured times in which we live,” observes Rev. Brad Berglund. Extending an open invitation to all, he writes “this website is meant to serve as a portal into resources, identify spiritual directors, and network with other American Baptists who are practicing this vocation. Please take advantage of this opportunity and join us on the journey. You are most welcome.”
Interested persons are invited to visit the website at www.abcspiritualformation.com to explore resources and connect with other American Baptists who are engaging in this spiritual practice.
Attendees at the ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit this June can connect with the Rev. Dr. Patricia Hernandez, who serves as the staff liaison to the ABC Spiritual Direction team, through the ABCUSA Office the General Secretary Virtual Exhibit Booth. Additional opportunities to learn more about this renewed focus will also be listed in the booth.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.