Sarum Course in Spiritual Direction

CertSpiritualDirectionThe Sarum Course in Spiritual Direction aims to equip those who are called to this ministry to confidently and competently accompany others. Spread over two years, it offers a balanced learning environment blending personal and spiritual formation with skills development.

The focus of year one is the lived experience of group members; personal spiritual development; basic listening and reflective skills and attention to the transformative power of God.

Year two focuses on the key skills for this ministry e.g. building the accompaniment relationship; learning to listen empathically, maintaining appropriate boundaries, the importance of on-going supervision and becoming a more self-aware director.

“Spiritual direction is a place where my story can be shared, heard and treated as sacred. It is a process, whereby one individual (the Director) encourages another (the Directee) to reflectively embrace their story with all its complexity – deeply inhabiting it and reflectively noticing how that story is held in a bigger story. The divine story of God’s compassionate engagement with our world. In spiritual direction we are invited to cast a contemplative eye on all we are and do, opening ourselves to the possibility of transformation. This incarnational view is rooted in a recognition of the interconnectedness between all humanity, held in the compassionate Heart of God.”

Learning Environment


Participants undertake this training as part of a group: the learning environment will be experiential, developmental and group focussed. We will honour the wisdom of the group by attending to individual reflection, the use of triads and a variety of shared conversations. The course will also make use of personal reading, reflective journaling, book reviews, presentations and the use of supervision.

This course will enable you to:

  • Understand and process your own faith experience in an open and mature manner
  • Better understand the process and dynamics of working with others
  • Feel confidence to undertake the shared journey of life with others
  • Have the capacity to listen empathically while observing a contemplative and respectful stance towards the experience of another
  • Gain insight, recognise your strengths and your limitations and appreciate the importance of supervision and referral
  • Understand the dynamics of the accompaniment relationship especially the unconscious at play in the process
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries within the relationship
  • Deepen your awareness of the rhythm of the spiritual life
  • Notice factors that might enable or disable the process

We will adopt a creative model of learning that focuses on the use of personal and group reflection, reading, presentations, book reviews, journaling and the use of supervision and reflective practice (second year).

Course Themes


Some of the themes we will explore during the course include:

  • My Life as a Sacred Journey
  • The Power of our Images of God and Self
  • The Dynamic of the Spiritual Life
  • The Art of Listening Empathically
  • Locating the Sacred
  • Discernment
  • Finding support for our ministry

Booking Information


The personal developmental nature of this training requires full attendance by participants at all sessions. This is critical as the course requires participants to practice accompanying others in year two. Applicants will have been in spiritual direction for some time and are expected to continue throughout the course. The certificate is not a licence for practicing spiritual direction, but is evidence of training in the area.

The course programme is spread over two years with eight two-day and one three-day residentials. Each residential begins at 10am on Thursday and finishes at 4pm on Friday (except the two-night session in June 2018). All meals, refreshments and en-suite accomodation is included during the course.

Year 1: 14 to 15 September 2017; 23 to 24 November 2017; 22 to 23 February 2018 and 21 to 23 June 2018 (2 nights)

Year 2: 27 to 28 September 2018; 22 to 23 November 2018; 31 January to 1 February 2019; 21 to 22 March 2019 and 6 to 7 June 2019.

To receive an application form email courses@sarum.ac.uk or telephone 01722 424800.

The Team


Julia Mourant is a Scholar in Residence at Sarum College where she is responsible for the Sarum Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is an Anglican priest who has worked as Director of Ordinands and Vocations Officer in Winchester Diocese and in clergy training for Chelmsford Diocese. She has been involved in training and supervising spiritual directors for many years as well as offering quiet days and retreats. She currently offers spiritual direction and supervision, pastoral supervision and vocational and life coaching.

Ellen Farmer works as a spiritual director, pastoral supervisor, tutor and manager. She has over 25 years’ experience of working with adult learners in education and training. Currently Ellen is a co-director at the House of Prayer in East Molesey, a tutor on the London-based Ignatian Spirituality Course and a visiting retreat guide at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre.