Q: What is spiritual practice? What is the benefit?
A: Spiritual practice is any activity that is approached with attention and regularity with the intention of connecting with ourselves, the Holy or something larger than ourselves. Almost anything can be a spiritual practice if it is approached in this manner. We engage in spiritual practice to open our hearts, to renew our souls, and to give us the courage to live into our beliefs. FAQ on Spiritual Direction for UU Wellspring.
Note for religious professionals: there is a scholarship fund for religious professionals from the UUMA who are seeking spiritual direction.
Q: What happens in the small groups?
A: The small groups create a sacred time when the stories of our lives can be heard. The small-group format is based on the principles of deep listening outlined by Parker Palmer in his book “A Hidden Wholeness.” The format of the groups includes chalice lighting, check-in, silent reflection, conversation about that week’s readings, and a “so what” section that challenges participants to identify how the thoughts discussed can be put into faithful action.
Q: What is spiritual direction? Why is it required?
A: Spiritual directors support people in discovering how love is moving in their lives. They help people create the space necessary to hear the voice of the spirit. Importantly, they also help people discern themes in their lives. This article in the UU World describes it beautifully.
Q: How do I find a spiritual director?
A: Your UU Wellspring facilitator will provide a list of spiritual directors from which to choose. You may also search out your own spiritual director. The Unitarian Universalist Spiritual Director’s Network (www.uusdn.org) and Spiritual Directors International (www.sdiworld.org) are helpful resources. We recommend interviewing more than one potential director before choosing someone to work with. The second year spiritual directors in training at the Rowe Spiritual Direction Program may be able to provide pro bono direction beginning in November of each year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Q: What types of readings are required?
A: Resources in the UU Wellspring curriculum include segments of books such as those you will find on the Our Thoughts tab. We also call on TED talks, sermons written by a variety of ministers, YouTube videos and other types of resources.
Q: What is the cost of this program to individuals?
A: Individuals are responsible for the cost of spiritual direction, which is in the range of $50-$75/hour. Most spiritual directors work on a sliding scale basis. Participants also usually purchase the books that are part of the curriculum. Many churches have scholarship programs to help ensure that UU Wellspring is accessible to all, regardless of financial situation.
Q: What time commitment is required for participants?
A: Participants must attend a day-long opening retreat for the first-year program. Small groups meet for two hours every two weeks. An hour of spiritual direction is suggested each month. In addition, participants spend a variable amount of time in reading, reflection, journaling, and individual spiritual practice.
Q: Who leads UU Wellspring groups?
A: Groups are led by seasoned facilitators, both lay leaders and ministers. Facilitators typically have participated in UU Wellspring groups prior to leading a group.