Spiritual Accompaniment - A one year ecumenical training course for lay and ordained Christians

1st February 2018

Birmingham Forum for Spiritual Directors and Companions

September 2018 to July 2019

Who is the course for?

The course is open to Christians of any denomination. Those seeking a place would be people who:

  • find others turn naturally to them to talk about their life and faith
  • are stable and open to learning in their Christian faith, and keen to develop their knowledge and discipleship.
  • already have, or be prepared to have, a spiritual director.

The Course Aims to:

  • Encourage each person to grow and develop gifts for spiritual accompaniment
  • Offer knowledge, critical awareness, and skills, for spiritual accompaniment and direction

By the end of the course, participants will have:-

  • Broadened and deepened their understanding of the Christian traditions of prayer.
  • Experienced differing approaches to, and emphases within, Christian spirituality
  • Explored the meaning of their faith and spiritual traditions and how these encourage growth and personal fulfilment.
  • Practiced key skills as a spiritual companion, and supported others in this process.
  • Developed a reflective approach to their work as a spiritual companion.

Could this course be for you?

Some questions you might want to ask yourself . . .

  • Do others come to share with you their hopes and fears about their Christian pilgrimage?
  • Have you felt that God may be calling you to ‘companion’ others in this way?
  • Have you considered whether training might develop your gifts?

When and where?

The course consists of 14 Tuesday meetings, over three terms, (avoiding school half terms) from 10 am till 3.30 pm. There will be a weekend non- residential retreat for all of us at the beginning of the second term.


Term 1: (2018) 18th Sep, 2nd Oct, 23rd Oct, 13th Nov, 4th Dec.

Term 2: (2019) Retreat Weekend - 12th /13th January.

Then: 29th Jan, 25th Feb, 19th March, 9thApril

Term 3: (2019) 30th April, 21st May, 11th June, 25th June, 9th July,

Venue: St. Luke’s Church Centre, Great Colmore Row, Lee Bank, Birmingham, B15 2AT

Cost: £ 420 for the 14 Tuesday sessions. ( payable in 3 instalments).

There is an additional cost of about £30 for the Retreat weekend.

Help with costs may be available within your church or diocese

Course content will include:

  • Foundation: Introduction and Approaches to Spiritual Accompaniment,
  • Human faith development, Images of God, Forms of prayer
  • Skills: Reflective listening, ‘presence’, communication and discernment,
  • Ethics and Boundaries, Using supervision, Safeguarding,
  • Beginnings and Endings.

Each day will include teaching input, prayer and discussion, small group sharing and skills practice.


  • Peer and facilitator feedback is continuous throughout the course.
  • Towards the end of the course, participants are also asked to write a reflection on their learning.

Attendance and Certification:

In order to protect the quality of the course, a Certificate of Attendance will be given where 80 % of the sessions have been attended. This will be presented after the written reflection on learning has been completed.

The Facilitating Team will be:

Revd Canon John Austen: John is an experienced spiritual director and has been leading these courses for many years. He chairs the Birmingham Forum for Spiritual Directors and Companions.

Maureen Slattery Marsh: Maureen is Catholic with a background in theology, therapy and training. A past member of the course, she works in spiritual accompaniment and pastoral supervision alongside her therapy practice. She has been involved in ecumenical and reconciliation initiatives for over 30 years.

Alison Paris: Alison is Anglican with a background in probation work, lecturing and psychotherapy. A past member of the course, she now offers spiritual accompaniment, also contributing to quiet days and retreats, with an interest in Poetry, Prayer and Spirituality.

We will also be drawing on the skills and experience of other speakers, and facilitators from different traditions and denominations, including Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, and Quaker. This course is ecumenical!

Applying for the course

Course places are limited to 20, and since we want to ensure that the course is right for each participant, admission is not automatic, and will include an informal interview. We need to receive applications by 25th March 2018.

For further information about the course, and details of how to apply, please email: [email protected]

or contact Revd Canon John Austen
151 Church Lane, Handsworth, Birmingham B20 2RU
Tel: 0121-554-8882

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