An Open Place

The Ministry of Group Spirtual Direction

Marlene Kropf and Daniel Schrock

Nov/2012, 224 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819228161



Written from an ecumenical standpoint as a practical aid for moving those experienced in individual spiritual direction toward group practices

This book responds to the movement to expand spiritual direction beyond the classic one-with-one model. Group spiritual direction has the potential to offer the rich experience of individual spiritual direction to a much wider audience, yet very little has been written to provide guidance for starting such groups.

This book responds to that challenge. It outlines ways that a diverse and ecumenical group of spiritual directors worked to initiate groups in multiple contexts. It examines the many variables—among directors, directees, even meeting spaces—that affect and enliven this ministry. And it summarizes pitfalls, successes, and discoveries.

Marlene Kropf has been a spiritual director since 1986 and a Mennonite seminary professor since 1985.

Daniel Schrock has been a spiritual director since 1996 and a Mennonite pastor since 1990. They have been collaborating to train spiritual directors at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, Indiana) since 2009.

“With exquisite skill, Marlene Kropf and Daniel Schrock show us how to invite God’s presence into group spiritual direction. Nine additional contributors share group practices with women, business leaders, retired men, pastors, and congregational groups. We witness the difference between “listening for problem solving and listening for clues to the activity of God.” We discover that it possible even in our quick paced culture to create groups that are “open, kind and generous.” The theological and historical grounding of small group gatherings, together with contemporary wisdom from spiritual direction literature, is an inspiration for all who seek to create groups where spiritual friendships are nourished."

—Dwight H. Judy, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Formation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Author, Discerning Life Transitions: Listening Together in Spiritual Direction

“This book provides an important new contribution to the growing resources for group spiritual direction. An interdenominational group of spiritual directors previously trained for one-with-one relationships undergo their own formation as group spiritual directors and then report their experiences leading groups in a variety of contexts including the congregation, clergy groups, business leaders, a retirement community, and more.  Thoughtful presentations on spiritual direction issues and spiritual formation-related theological topics make An Open Place a valuable addition to the field of group spiritual direction. Spiritual directors and spiritual formation ministers will want to have this book for their own continuing enrichment and skill development.”
—Dan Prechtel, Author, Where Two or Three are Gathered: Spiritual Direction for Small Groups and Consultant, Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries

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