Spiritual Companionship for the Spiritually Independent
(Watch the video recordings at your convenience)
Spiritual Independents make up a major new spiritual movement.
And spiritual companionship, with its focus on the agency of each person, is ideally suited to address their needs.
Would you like to learn how best to serve them?
Spiritual Independents form the fastest-growing spiritual movement in the United States - now making up 27 percent of the adult population. Around the world, the numbers of spiritually-focused but religiously unaffiliated people are on the increase, too - as are those individuals who claim roots in multiple traditions. These people are both motivated and skeptical. They are curious and often open to learning from non-traditional as well as traditional sources. But they don't want to be told what to believe.
Isn't this an ideal population to be served by spiritual companions - with our focus on listening, discernment and nurturing the spiritual life?
We think so. That's why we're offering this webinar series about the spiritually independent. We'll explore why people choose this path, what their needs are when it comes to spiritual companionship, and how we can best serve them. We recruited two experienced and innovative spiritual companions to present the series. Janice L. Lundy, DMin and Jeanette Banashak, PhD are co-founders and co-directors of The Spiritual Training Guidance Institute, which offers certification in interspiritual and interfaith spiritual direction (guidance). They have been trailblazers in bringing companionship to the spiritually independent.
This four-session series is designed for spiritual directors/companions - as well as chaplains and other spiritual guides. We welcome all traditions and those who companion from no tradition. Students who are training in listening-based spiritual care are also invited to join. In two of the sessions, our presenters will work directly with someone who is spiritually independent to demonstrate how a spiritual companioning session might evolve.
All sessions will run 75 minutes each. There will be a pdf workbook for each participant so you can keep notes and jot down questions and observations.
But even if that doesn't fit your schedule, please remember: each session is recorded so you can watch at your convenience.
Are you "spiritually fluid"?
Session 1 - The changing religious/spiritual landscape: Why are people choosing to be “Spiritually Independent”?--
Recent research presented by the Pew Forum (Religious Landscape Studies) and the work of Elizabeth Drescher (Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of American’s Nones) help us understand that the growing numbers of people choosing non-traditional forms of spiritual expression include more than just those who are “leaving church." In fact, a sociological trend toward spiritual independence has been developing since World War II, and not just with Christians, but with Jews, and many other traditions worldwide. What does this mean for us as spiritual companions?
Session 2: Exploring our views about non-traditional seekers: Rooting out personal bias -
What are our views about non-traditional seekers? What terms are we using to describe them and are they suitable and respectful terms for their unique spiritual understandings? How do we explore and root out personal bias toward non-traditional people? How do we move from trying to get them back into church or temple to acceptance of where they are? We will experience a contemplative practice to help us do this.
Session 3: What does it mean to be spiritually and religiously curious? What are the needs of a spiritually curious person when it comes to spiritual companionship and how can we best serve? -
There are some similarities between spiritual independents and spiritually curious people. What are spiritually curious people looking for and how can we serve? What are their wounds, their triggers? What do these needs invite us to as spiritual companions? Why would this person come to spiritual direction at all? We will meet Rabbi Lauren Henderson to ask questions and gain insights.
Session 4: Deeper thoughts and questions about companioning spiritually fluid and multi-faith seekers -
Concluding thoughts. Final questions. We will feature Tahil Sharma, an interfaith activist with a Hindu mother and Sikh father. We will hear about the work he is doing in multi-faith contexts and hear how his story informs him today. We will explore our growing edges regarding our companioning of Spiritual Independents, including crafting a prayer for ourselves as we go forward. How can we best serve all beings of any spiritual persuasion or none with non-judgmental, compassionate presence?
Janice L. Lundy, DMin. is an interfaith, interspiritual guide and the co-founder and co-director of The Spiritual Guidance Training Institute. An experienced educator, she is author of several spiritual formation books, and the creator of the Pure Presence® method of compassionate listening. She is currently Visiting Professor of Spiritual Direction at The Graduate Theological Foundation. She is also a regular presenter for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), a national learning network.
Jeanette Banashak, PhD, is a bilingual, inter-religious spiritual guide and the co-founder and co-director of The Spiritual Guidance Training Institute. She has a background in traditional and alternative education, Spiritual Formation and mindfulness as an educational tool, interdisciplinary studies, leadership development, human development, Spanish, and the Enneagram. She is the author of The Mindful Pilgrimage: A 40-Day Pocket Devotional for Pilgrims of Any Faith or None. Originally a high school teacher, Jeanette is currently an adjunct professor at Erikson Institute and a Visiting Professor of Spiritual Direction at The Graduate Theological Foundation.
Rabbi Lauren Henderson, special guest for session 3, works as the Director of Family Learning and Spirituality at Miskan, a self-described “spiritual community in Chicago reclaiming Judaism’s inspiration and transformative essence.” Lauren recently finished rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, with a Masters in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care. Lauren grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina as part of an interfaith family. At Miskan, she’ll be developing and expanding the Jewish mindfulness meditation and working with community partners on social justice learning and initiatives.
Tahil Sharma, special guest session 4, is a Southern California native born to a Hindu and Sikh Indian family. An interfaith activist, Tahil serves as a Religious Director from the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. He also serves as an Interfaith Liaison for Sadhana: The Coalition of Progressive Hindus and the Vice Chair for the Committee on Human Relations for the city of Claremont. He is the youngest member of the board of the Southern California committee for the Parliament of World Religions.
Each session session will run 75 minutes. We understand that the timing of the seminar will not be convenient in every time zone on the planet. For those who have trouble making this time, a recorded copy of each session will be made available to all those who sign up. CEU credits are available for all those who participate. (See below)
This series of webinars is designed for all those who provide spiritual care. It aims to explore why spiritually independent people choose their paths, what their needs are when it comes to spiritual companionship, and how we can best serve them. Through actual interviews with Spiritual Independents, our presenters will demonstrate key issues and approaches. As in all our webinars, there will be space for contemplation, spiritual practice and for question and response with our presenters. We hope each participant will leave the webinar with a clear idea of how spiritual companions can support Spiritual Independents.
Who may join the webinar?
Everyone is invited to participate in SDI Webinars.
Are CEUs available?
SDI will provide a certificate of completion for self-reporting to agencies. More information can be found here: continuing education units (CEUs).
Tuition (4-part webinar package):
SDI Member Rate USD$59.00
Non-Member Rate USD$79.00
Tuition for webinar participation is non-refundable. All registered participants will receive access to the online recording of the SDI Webinar following the event.
A limited number of scholarships are available for those facing financial hardship. Please apply here.