Friday Workshops

Participating in the workshops of the Seeking Connection conference will be a transformational experience where ancient truths are celebrated and new insights are discovered. SDI offers a variety of workshops to match the learning styles and needs of participants. The percentages after each workshop are intended to help you choose experience that will suit your learning style:% Presentation, % Discussion, and % Experiential. CEUs are available for workshop participants. Come to engage, participate, and learn from the SDI global learning community. To learn more about a presenter, click on his or her name.


F1. Building Bridges to a World of Diversity and Acceptance
(Rev. April Bolin, LCSW, and Rev. Allen Mosley)

Race should not divide us. The more effort we put into understanding one another, the more we realize just how much we share. The topic of race is a painful one that many would rather not address. This workshop supports participants in exploring the uncomfortable and inspires them to be a part of a healing process by dialoguing with others and listening with compassion.

33% Presentation, 34% Discussion, 33% Experiential


F2. The Body’s Voice in Spiritual Direction
Session one is FULL; Space available in session two.

(Alexandra Caverly-Lowery)

Our bodies, created in a wondrous interconnected wholeness, are storytellers. We turn to the body’s “language” as a healing vehicle for re-connection with self, others, the Divine, and all creation.

Gentle physical exploration of the body’s natural planes of movement, shapes of soul-states, and qualities of energy can expand our perceptions of another’s spiritual journeying. As spiritual directors, we can listen more fully. Possibilities for one’s own contemplative body practice are interwoven in the flow of this experience.

33% Presentation, 33% Discussion, 34% Experiential


F3. Connecting the Dots: Paper Constellation as a Discernment Tool
(Alfred DePew)

Some call it “the committee,” those voices in our head, weighing in on a challenge we face. One voice says one thing; another says the opposite. In this workshop, we will constellate these voices on paper in order to see how they are related and how we want to relate to them. After a brief demonstration, participants will experience the tool for themselves and then discuss various applications to our work with those we accompany.

25% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 45% Experiential


F4. Sacred Wounds: Scars as Sites of Transfiguration
(Ryan Kuja, MA)

Our personal narratives are an indispensable aspect of the healing work we do in the world. Without knowing and loving our own stories, especially the difficult places of harm and tragedy, our work with others can become one dimensional, devoid of the “exquisite mutuality” that Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, speaks of. In the space where suffering meets suffering, there is the potential for true transformation to be born. Mutually we are hurting, and mutually we are transformed.

40% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 30% Experiential


F5. Group Spiritual Direction: Teaching Contemplative Skills for Connecting Participants in Small Groups
(Christine Luna Munger)

This workshop is for those interested in facilitating group spiritual direction sessions. Participants will consider five contemplative skills necessary for group spiritual direction, including listening, sharing, responding, beholding, and empathizing. Participants will come away from the workshop with practical teaching techniques for equipping others to participate in group spiritual direction through nuanced understanding of different ways to listen, share, and respond. 

50% Presentation, 10% Discussion, 40% Experiential


F6. Spiritual Guidance Across Traditions
(John Mabry)

Many spiritual direction training programs prepare people to guide people within their own tradition, but the reality of the ministry is much more diverse. People from every spiritual tradition seek us out for spiritual direction. How do we offer effective guidance to those who are of different faiths? In this workshop, John Mabry outlines the "interfaith assumptions" needed to direct people from a wide variety of traditions.

50% Presentation, 25% Discussion, 25% Experiential


F7. Poetry as Medicine for the Soul: How to Express the Inexpressible through Imagination
(Kava Schafer, MDiv, MA)

Poetry has the power to express the inexpressible. Through imagination, we connect with the soul. Experientially, through a process of contemplative poetry making, we deconstruct the fear that often accompanies the blank page. Using evocative seed-phrases as a scaffold, everyone has the capacity to write a poem revealing the depths within. There will be group discussions afterwards to develop applications for personal spiritual practice and individual spiritual directee sessions.

30% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 40% Experiential


F8. The Sacred Work of Being Human
(Kaye Twining)

We are entering a time within human history which is calling forth new ways of connecting with self, others, the wider Earth community, and the mystery of life itself. The workshop will outline three such ways of seeking connection: an integral framework, unity with diversity, and conversation as a spiritual practice. The workshop will also explore implications arising from such ways of connecting for those in the field of spiritual care.

50% Presentation, 10% Discussion, 40% Experiential


F9. Connecting to Our Souls by Engaging the World
(Rev. Jane E. Vennard)

We often believe that we need to withdraw from the world to connect to our souls. However, it can fruitful to engage in the world and allow what we discover to connect us to our rich inner lives. Together we will explore how involvement in the world can lead us to these connections and discover spiritual practices to strengthen the experience. The workshop will include presentation, practice, imagery, dyad sharing, and group discussion.

35% Presentation, 25% Discussion, 40% Experiential


F10. Creating Soul Connections: Art as a Means of Jewish Spiritual Direction with Youth
(Dr. Elyssa Wortzman)

Dr. Elyssa Wortzman will introduce you to a methodology for creating soul connections informed by art therapy and expressive therapy, as well as Jewish Hasidism and mysticism. Experience Elyssa’s mindful art-based spiritual direction process using brief text study, intention setting (kavvana), art making, aesthetic meditation (modified shiviti practice), and witnessing to create and engage the visual image as Divine messenger.

30% Presentation, 30% Discussion, 40% Experiential