Spiritual direction is time spent on the sacred ground of your soul with another person who is able to listen deeply, present both to you and to God with you—an anam cara, the Gaelic word for “soul friend.” A spiritual director has been trained to hold space for your story, your emotions, your experience (or lack thereof) with God. In spiritual direction, you may simply find a much-needed listening ear for all things related to your spiritual life. You may discover new ways of being with God in silence or imaginative prayer or creative play. You may explore pieces of your story that have left you feeling “stuck” for so, so long. Your entire self is welcome in spiritual direction, and your body and soul and relationships may come into the process just as much as the things we might usually think of as “spiritual.”
Spiritual direction is not a new thing. It has been practiced for millennia in all the Abrahamic traditions, including Christianity, and is the accompanying of another, witnessing to the spiritual life. It has looked different ways in different eras (we can still read some of the spiritual direction entered into by the men and women of past ages because they committed their questions and responses to paper in a practice of spiritual direction through letter-writing!) and different cultures.
“What exactly do spiritual directors do? The simple and most direct answer I can give is that they help others attend to God’s presence and revelation and prepare to respond to him. In other words, they help people attune themselves to God.”
In individual and group settings, director and directee meet in the presence of the One who transforms. According to late spiritual director Elizabeth de Smaele, who practiced in the Netherlands, spiritual direction “offers a voice of guidance and grace to those who are intent on growth, with special emphasis given to recognizing and responding to the presence of God in one’s life.” Eugene Peterson, in his course at Regent College “Tell It Slant: The Parables As Spiritual Direction,” suggested that spiritual direction is “listening truth into being.”
The language around spiritual direction may seem vague and mystical to those unfamiliar with the practice and with the contemplative aspects of Christian spirituality. It can be frustratingly difficult to understand what actually happens in a spiritual direction session, especially for those used to programs and other structured curriculum for the spiritual journey. In essence, spiritual direction is simply what it appears to be: an intentional time of listening to and following the voice of God in the life of the directee.
There are many metaphors for spiritual direction. Companionship, guidance, hospitality and listening are but at few. Our name, Anam Cara, is a term coined by the ancient Celts. A soul friend is one who journeys alongside in a deeper way than a friend might, stepping into the story of the other in a manner that acknowledges the holy and nurtures its growth.
The second image that guides us is that of a midwife. We operate with the assumption that everyone who contacts Anam Cara Ministries is in some way pregnant with the life of God. The role of a spiritual director is to come alongside as a midwife might, to nurture that life within them and to walk with them as it is brought forth into the world.
There are many options for both individual and group spiritual direction. You may find yourself in a season that simply needs another person with you in the mess that real-life faith can sometimes be; or it may be more helpful for you to have a group that can witness each other’s joys and pains, and listen both to and with each other and God. Spiritual direction is not therapy, or mentoring, or discipleship, or pastoral counseling—though it shares some similarities with these. In essence, spiritual direction is simply what it appears to be: an intentional time of listening and responding to God in the life of the directee.
You may enter spiritual direction because you’ve hit a crisis point in your faith and things seem to be crashing down around you. Or you may have gone through a process of deconstructing some things and are looking to sort through and see what is still there as you continue to relate to God, but in new ways. You may feel like everything is good; you just have this inexplicable longing to go “further up and further in” and spiritual direction seems to be drawing your attention. If you have more questions about spiritual direction, check out our FAQs below (or contact us!):
Some topics spiritual direction explores:
Spiritual direction is the practice of coming alongside people to assist them in attuning their hearts to the movement of God in their stories. In individual and group sessions, the director provides the gift of holy listening, a sacred practice of welcoming the presence of the other and of God in a contemplative and transformative experience.
In a word, no. Spiritual direction is not about proselytization, propaganda or control. The aim of spiritual direction is not to tell another person what to do or to control their spiritual journey. Your story is uniquely your own, including your experience of God. A spiritual director’s role is to assist you in discerning the movement of the Spirit of God in your life, and to help you to align yourself to that movement.
Anam Cara Ministries is a non-denominational, ecumenical ministry that is not formally associated with any specific church body. We welcome directees from all denominations and faith journeys.
Our founder, Tara Owens, is a member of the International Anglican Church of Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has journeyed through and with several denominations, including the United Church of Canada, the United Methodists, the Christian & Missionary Alliance, and several non-denominational Bible churches—for each of which she is very grateful. While Tara lives out her faith in the Anglican tradition, her practice is ecumenical and welcoming to all.
Spiritual direction sessions are typically 50 minutes long. A session generally begins with a time of silence and centering, as well as a short time of prayer, if that is comfortable for you. Then, you and your director will often spend time discovering and dialoguing about the movements of God in your life recently. Other times, the session could focus on entering into silence well or exploring new prayer forms. The session will usually end with a time of prayer or silence as closure.
A spiritual direction session is a place of openness and safety, where you and everything you bring are welcome. Everything that happens in a spiritual direction session is confidential.
No, there is a wide variety. Spiritual direction is practiced in many faith traditions, so it’s important to at least have a general idea of your preferred faith tradition when you seek out a spiritual director.
The education programs available for spiritual directors also vary from state to state and country to country. The length and depth of training ranges from two-week programs to two-year intensive masters degrees. While proficiency and wisdom in spiritual direction are not necessarily related to education, this is something to take into prayerful consideration as you seek out a spiritual director.
Certification is also a topic of discussion in the spiritual direction community. In Canada, the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC) sets standards and issues certifications for a Certified Spiritual Director (CSD). If you are interested in the requirements, you can click here to learn more.
In the United States, there is currently no universal form of certification or oversight. Instead, the designation CSD is issued through a variety of different organizations with a variety of different standards for certification. There is now a global certifying body for both CSDs and Certified Spiritual Director Supervisors (CSDSs) called CCPC Global. It evolved from CCPC, and you can learn more about it here.
Tara Owens has a Masters of Theological Studies with a concentration in Spiritual Formation from Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is a non-denominational evangelical seminary. She certified through the CCPC Global as a CSD and as a CSDS. She is a member in good standing of the Tyndale Association of Spiritual Directors (TASD), Spiritual Directors International (SDI), Spiritual Direction Colorado, ESDA, and the Spiritual Formation Network of Colorado Springs. As such, she is bound by the code of ethics for the TASD, SDI, and CCPC Global.
In discipleship, just as in mentorship, the person to whom the disciple comes takes an active, directive role. This often involves study, exercises to be completed, and lessons to learn in a successive pattern that is designed to track growth.
While spiritual direction does involve some teaching, that is not the main thrust of the direction sessions. Your director may sometimes give you exercises to try or may teach in regards to methods of prayer or other topics, but the predominant role of a director is as a listener and guide. Much as you wouldn’t expect your guide up Mount Everest to stand at the bottom and instruct you in the methods needed to reach the summit, a director takes the path with you, listening, watching, and only occasionally intervening when he or she sees that you may be veering close to a cliff edge.
Spiritual direction is quite explicitly neither counseling nor therapy. Counseling seeks to redress specific areas of wounding or dysfunction and equip the client with tools—both psychological and social—that will enable them to lead full, functional lives. Therapy aims to deal with the issues, both presenting and underlying, that brought the client to therapy in the first place and enable them to move out of the counseling setting into their lives independent of the therapist.
While healing may occur in a spiritual direction session, the focus of spiritual direction is deepening your relationship with God and with those around you. There is no sense that the directee needs to move on from spiritual direction. In fact, spiritual direction relationships lasting 10, 20, or even 30 years are considered healthy.
In general, our directors meet with directees monthly or every two weeks. Occasionally, life circumstances warrant meeting with the directee once a week. However, that intensity of direction is only meant for a season before returning to a twice-a-month schedule.
The first step is to contact Tara Owens, by email or by phone (719-233-5568), to discuss your desire to enter the spiritual direction relationship.
After reading the Preparing for Spiritual Direction page, you can download the Anam Cara SD Consent Form and return it as an email attachment.
The rate for spiritual direction with Tara Owens is US$75/hour, plus applicable fees. If you are in financial distress, other arrangements can be discussed. This cost can be paid via check or verified PayPal.
However, each spiritual director runs their practice differently, as they continue to discern and live out their call to holy listening, their responsibility to the communities they serve, and their own families and needs. Some directors do not charge at all, some ask for donations, and others charge a fee but have a sliding scale.
If you’re looking for a low- or no-cost introduction to spiritual direction, many of our apprentices are open to taking on new directees.
Anam Cara Ministries is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The ministry, however, is both national and international.
Tara meets with local directees in person in her office in Colorado Springs. She can also travel in the Colorado area to meet with directees, which incurs a travel fee per mile in addition to the fee per hour. Beyond the Colorado area, Tara meets with directees over the phone or via Zoom. The latter is her preferred method for at-a-distance meetings, as it affords greater interaction at a variety of levels.
With a small number of directees, Tara also conducts a ministry of writing, in which letters are exchanged as a method of soul care. This practice of letter writing is an ancient one, undertaken by spiritual companions such as St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.
A few of our other spiritual directors offer distance options as well. If you are interested, we suggest you first download and read Spiritual Direction At A Distance and speak with Tara before deciding if this is right for you. Tara can be reached by email or by phone (719-233-5568).
Definitely not! In addition to being a spiritual director, Tara runs the Anam Cara Apprenticeship in spiritual direction, which is a relationship-based learning in the ancient tradition of apprenticeship. Tara also plans and leads contemplative experiences and retreats, teaches classes related to spiritual formation, and leads rabbinic Scripture study both in person and online. For more information, visit our Formation & Training or Resources & Events pages.
Tara also writes on topics of spiritual formation and spiritual direction, both here at Anam Cara as well as for the International Anglican Church. She has written two books (Embracing the Body: Finding God in Our Flesh & Bone and At Play In God’s Creation: A Contemplative Coloring Book) and numerous articles. She served as the Senior Editor of Conversations Journal, an ecumenical journal of spiritual transformation, for seven years. Her work has also appeared in Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction.
Ideally, the answer to that question is yes. However, we’re a long way from the ideal Church. We’ve forgotten—or not been taught—the very things that would allow us to truly be soul friends to one another. We live in a busy, distracted society and often congregate in busy, distracted churches, looking for the newest program for godliness.
Spiritual direction reminds us how to slow down, showing us what it means to truly listen to one another. It helps us practice the spiritual disciplines of silence, solitude, and guidance. It equips us not only to have a deep, transformative relationship with God, but also enables us to move in peace and love toward others. And when we have worked on interior freedom with a spiritual director, we often become agents of peace and change in our churches and our world.
At Anam Cara, we believe that the process of finding the right spiritual director deserves the same amount of care and accompaniment as spiritual direction itself. Seeking a director is a courageous and vulnerable process, and we have someone whose role is to help match you with a few spiritual directors who might be right for you. The term ostiary has its roots in just such a role. An ostiary is another term for a doorkeeper, especially of a church or sacred structure; someone who ushers you in and helps you to find your way into the places and relationships you need.
Rachel Reed is both a spiritual director with Anam Cara and someone who is adept at listening inside your story, desires, concerns, and hopes with compassion and grace. If you’re looking for a spiritual director, but would like a little more companionship in that journey, contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the button to book a free consultation.
Tara Owens (CSD, CSDS) is the founder and executive director of Anam Cara Ministries, where she has been accompanying others in their journeys with God for 15 years as a certified spiritual director and supervisor. Her deep longing is to see others move toward wholeness with themselves, with God, with their communities, and with the world. Tara holds a Masters of Theological Studies in Spiritual Formation, combined with a certificate in Death, Dying & Grieving, from Tyndale Seminary, and the Advanced Certificate in Supervision from the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University. She pioneered and leads the Anam Cara Apprenticeship, which is a relationally-delimited training in spiritual direction. Tara also teaches rabbinic Scripture study groups and trains others in the process of wrestling with God and the Word in community, and leads an intentional community of sojourners in the Anam Cara Abbey. In addition to her work with Anam Cara, she teaches for the Potter’s Inn Soul Care Institute, and is on staff with Paseo for their spiritual direction training program, Stewards of the Mystery, and guest lectures at various seminaries, churches, and non-profits. Tara is the author of two books, Embracing the Body: Finding God in Our Flesh & Bone (IVP, 2015), and At Play In God’s Creation: A Contemplative Coloring Book (Franciscan Media, 2016), and was the Senior Editor of Conversations Journal for 7 years. She lives out her own wrestlings in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, Brother Juniper.
In addition to individual and group spiritual direction, Tara is available for speaking and teaching engagements. At the moment, Tara is not taking any new individual directees, but you can contact her if you’d like to be put on the waitlist or have her match you with one of the other Anam Cara spiritual directors. She also runs retreats and develops guided contemplative experiences. Tara can be reached by email or by phone (719-233-5568).
Jeremy Frye is a spiritual director, supervisor candidate, retreat leader, and Director of Sacred Community for Anam Cara Ministries. One of his deepest joys is companioning people on their journey toward living into and out of their belovedness. His vocational pilgrimage began with serving for 20 years in full-time pastoral ministry in the local church, which has given him a profound understanding of and compassion for those whose personal spirituality and professional contexts converge (sometimes easily and sometimes causing great distress). He is deeply acquainted with grief and loss as well as the good but difficult work of the disordering and reordering of one’s faith. Jeremy has completed a certificate in Soul Care from the Soul Care Institute, through Fuller Seminary, a 2-year apprenticeship in spiritual direction through Anam Cara, and is currently enrolled in the Companioning Center’s program for Supervision Training. Jeremy lives with his wife, two children, one dog, six chickens, and whoever else needs a place to rest their head at An Téarmann (Gaelic for the refuge), their little urban homestead in East Nashville, Tennessee. He is taking both local and at-a-distance directees and supervisees.
In the Celtic tradition, Peregrini were traveling missionary monks who were attached to an abbey or monastery but “wandered” or lived outside the abbey. At Anam Cara, our Peregrini community is made up of spiritual directors scattered across the country who share our heart and vision for spiritual friendship. Take a few minutes to get to know these lovely people!
Rachel Reed is a spiritual director whose heart is to invite people into a place where they are free to engage the tension of the broken places alongside the hope of promised restoration to come. She believes it is here we can encounter the most beautiful echoes of God dwelling among humanity.
After working in ministry for over 12 years, Rachel’s work as a spiritual director has been a kind of coming home, where she listens with sacred curiosity to people, creating space that is willing to hold questions without the demand of answers and that welcomes the process of the journey.
Rachel can be reached by email, by phone (720-454-6173) or online at rachelmreed.com.
Jamie Bonilla is a finder of lost things. She often uses found objects as part of her art practice, which she believes is just as sacred as “real work.” Jamie didn’t discover her creativity until well into adulthood, and she’s passionate about the fact that you, too, are creative.
Jamie was a pediatric nurse for 10 years, but her care of others has now shifted into the arena of spiritual direction. She received her Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care this year, and the many hours she has spent in spiritual direction have been some of her greatest joys. Other joys are at home, where she loves spending time with her two boys and their dad. Jamie is a 9 on the Enneagram, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and definitely an introvert, which has her both excited and concerned about her family’s recent new adventure: homeschooling! People say her superpower is that they immediately feel calmer in her presence and that she gives really good hugs. She loves to ask questions that invite people to discover new things in themselves and God. She also loves liturgy, coffee, and naps.
Jamie can be reached by email.
Craig Hamlow loves sitting with others and hearing where God is working in their lives to shape and mold them into His image. After serving 10 years in Alaska caring for pastors and missionaries in bush villages, Craig, his wife Karen, and their three children moved to Colorado to shepherd others through Potter’s Inn. Now, as a Member Care Specialist at Mission Aviation Fellowship, he has found a wonderful convergence of his journey.
Craig is a graduate of the apprenticeship with Anam Cara Ministries. He loves to worship in the beauty of creation through fly fishing, hiking, camping, and sitting in wonder of what has been made. He is currently taking new directees in person and at a distance.
Craig can be reached by email.
Niecy LoCricchio is founder of The Soul Care Place, which helps the community of Christ to experience greater wholeness, healing, and intimacy with the God who loves us. With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Niecy is passionate about coming alongside others and attending to God’s voice in ordinary moments. In addition to her work in spiritual direction, Niecy creates and leads retreats and workshops where she loves to incorporate creative expression to help attendees discover new avenues for connecting with God. As a recovering perfectionist and overachiever, Niecy has found play and slowing down to be life-giving practices in her spiritual rhythm. She loves to spend time with her husband and family, especially her granddaughter—you might spot them paddleboarding, playing laser tag, or having fun with paint.
Niecy is available for spiritual direction, creating and leading workshops, and speaking on topics of soul care, spiritual formation, and spiritual practices.
Niecy can be reached by email or phone (720-213-6372).
Suzie Richard’s passion is to create safe environments and opportunities for people to experience God. She specializes in guiding personal spiritual formation and soul care for ministry leaders, and she is trained in emotional healing prayer, which is an integration of psychology and spirituality. Suzie also uses the Enneagram to partner with the healing process and develop spiritual rhythms of the soul.
Suzie graduated from Westmont College with a degree in Interpersonal Communication. She studied spiritual formation with the Soul Care Institute and received her training in Spiritual Direction from Anam Cara Ministries. For the past 25 years, Suzie has served in a variety of roles for both small and large ministries. She has actively promoted the spiritual development and soul care for scores of Young Life staff and volunteers, and she has served as a retreat leader, soul formation group facilitator, and Sabbatical coach. She lives in Boulder with her husband Gill and two teenage children.
Suzie can be reached by email.
Dale Gish believes that there is more of God’s love and presence offered to us than we know how to access or receive. God does not stand far off, with a look of disappointment. Instead, God draws near to us with tender love and compassion, closer to us than we are to ourselves. Though hurt, disappointment, the busyness of life, fear, apathy, or distraction may hold us back, God is at work to comfort, heal and restore. Spiritual direction is a space where we intentionally open ourselves to this good work God is doing.
Dale offers spiritual direction and guides people through the life-transforming journey of the Ignatian Exercises. He is an empathic listener, deep thinker, Christ-centered, and sensitive to the work of the Spirit. Dale brings 30 years of experience as a pastor and ministry leader, work as a mental health counselor, and heart for those on the margins to his work. He has an MDiv and was trained as a spiritual director through SoulFormation. Dale and his wife Debbie live in San Francisco with their two teenage daughters, have been married for over 20 years, and lead a marriage ministry called Cana.
Dale can be reached by email, by phone (415-608-4604) or online at deeplybeloved.com
Bryan’s driving passion is to see people grow deeper in Christ. He is captivated by the reality that there is more of Christ and His love than we have yet experienced. He specializes in walking alongside pastors and missionaries, helping them attend to their own life in Christ in the midst of caring for others. He also works with anyone who is interested in attending to their own spiritual journeys and longs to have someone accompany them. Alongside his wife Rachel, Bryan leads a spiritual formation and soul care ministry called CURATE Ministries (curateministries.org) and he oversees staff care and development for an international church planting ministry.
Bryan graduated from Fuller Seminary with a Masters in Theology in 2015 and received training as a spiritual director (2018) and as a supervisor (2020) from Sustainable Faith. He is currently working on his Doctorate in Ministry with an emphasis in Spiritual Formation at Denver Seminary.
Bryan has been serving in ministry, leading retreats, teaching formational practices for over a decade. He lives in Colorado Springs with Rachel and their daughter Eva.
Bryan is available for spiritual direction in person or online, leading retreats, teaching workshops or working with church leadership to integrate spiritual formation practices into their own lives as well as their congregations.
Annalise Hume (she/her) is a passionate, creative, down-to-earth Spiritual Director who loves listening and asking questions to help others recognize the movement of God in their life.
After graduating with an MDiv and MA in Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary, she felt a deep pull toward training as a spiritual director. She completed her training with Oasis Ministries under Glenn Mitchell.
Now Annalise teaches, facilitates movement workshops, and offers spiritual direction to others with the hope of helping individuals and groups take steps toward wholeness and flourishi
She lives in Ewing, New Jersey with her husband, son, and adorable whoodle. In her spare time, you will find her walking around outside barefoot, dancing, going to the theater, or dreaming up her next trip.
You can connect with Annalise by email or online through withannalise.com.
Janine appreciates the depth and individualization each person brings to this world. She is interested in walking with you, as your own individual, seeking the Trinity as our guide as we explore your relationship with Jesus. Janine is passionate about life and experiencing God through different lenses. She also loves sipping her morning cup ‘o joe, noticing every shade of orange in every single thing, and making a piece of art from scraps, paint, or cut-outs so she can have a symbolic piece to hold. This slow expansive heart is what Janine offers to you. As we sit together listening for the holy spirit’s invitations, to consider the paradoxes and contradictions of our lives (the both/and of life), we welcome transformation and a growing awareness of God.
After over 30 years in education with a focus on behavior management and social/emotional development plus living in Mozambique, Africa, Janine has found the heart of people to be calling and aching for care and love just like her own heart. This awareness brought her to take a deep look at the second half of her life and what God was calling her to do. She had to face her own pride and how it got in the way of ministry when she was single on the mission field. Taking this deep look and listening to her internal stirrings, led her to the Soul Care Institute. Janine was committed to doing the work for her own spiritual transformation and learning the tools to provide soul care for others. She then completed training as a spiritual director at Denver Seminary. Janine’s deepest desire is for you to know that you are seen, chosen, and the beloved. She welcomes you on this journey with her. Peace be with you today.
Janine can be reached by email.
Jo is a spiritual director trained through the Anam Cara Apprenticeship. She loves the privilege of seeing others experience their Belovedness as they meet with God in spiritual direction. A widow, a cancer survivor, and a mom who has lost her only son, Jo knows God’s kindness and redemption in the midst of deep pain. She lives in Austin, TX, but gets to Colorado as often as she can!
Heather Swanson is an educator, currently an associate principal in an urban high school, and a mother of two children. She completed training at the Soul Care Institute in 2018 and completed an apprenticeship in Spiritual Direction through Anam Cara Ministries in 2021. For nearly two decades, she was active in pastoral support and church ministry. During that time, she learned first hand the value of soul care and spiritual direction in our journey with God. Grateful for the hospitality she experienced and the soul friends who walk with her, Heather offers that holy hospitality to others on the spiritual journey.
Will Forsythe was born and raised in Colorado. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of All Souls Church of Boulder. He is deeply passionate about the interior journey we can take, in which we descend into the immense palace of our souls to experience the mystery of God within, as well as the beloved community we walk side by side with on this journey and how we are able to bring our whole selves—broken and beautiful—for the good of others.
Will is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction apprenticeship with Anam Cara Ministries. In his free time, he can be found fly fishing, reading Wendell Berry, listening to boring philosophy lectures, wrestling with his kids, and enjoying craft coffee way too much. Will can be reached by email.
Kate is a supportive listener who offers a safe, sacred space that welcomes honesty
and vulnerability. She longs to see God’s love meet people in the rough and tender
places. Her hope is that you will experience the love of God more deeply and delight in the gift of being yourself. Kate received a certificate in spiritual direction from Selah in 2020 and offers a contemplative approach. She brings a background in psychology, and a lens of attachment to relationship with God. Kate is passionate about building communities of spiritual friendship. She leads soul care retreats and spiritual formation groups to engage people in sharing their lives and steeping in God’s love together. Kate also works with Fuller Seminary, leading groups for students to explore their vocation and spiritual formation as pastors and leaders.
Kate lives in Citrus Heights, CA with her husband and two children, Jedidiah (10)
Adelyn (7). Motherhood has been the ground for much of her own wrestling, and a
place of receiving the surprising, no-strings-attached love of God. Learning to see God in everything, especially the mess and the mundane, is an ongoing process for her. Kate offers spiritual direction in person and on Zoom. She is also available for retreats, workshops, and speaking engagements. Kate can be reached by email
(email@example.com) or through her website (www.katelaymon.com).
Nish is an adventurer’s wife, a mother to two brilliant & hilarious kids, and a spiritual director. She did her undergraduate work in Religion & Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, completed spiritual direction training through Sustainable Faith and received continuing education at Loyola University Chicago. Because she has always struggled with feeling like she’s “too much,” she takes great care and joy in offering a safe, sacred space for others to bring their full selves without shame, and to ask the hard questions about God, themselves, and the world. Nish lives in McCall, Idaho with her husband, Erik, and their children, Rowan and Scout.
Julie calls the mountains outside of Denver her home and soul care space. Conifers and aspen,
deer, hummingbirds, as well as her beloved rescue dogs and chickens fill the
canvas of a peaceful, inviting, life-filled space. Her joy is inviting people to
experience God and Spirit in nature, words, community, spiritual direction, and in
reality, all of life. Through meditative nature walks, hiking, and mountain biking,
Julie invites you into a more deeply loving, mystical, and active
encounter with God. You can join Julie in-person or online for spiritual direction. A lover of
poetry, Julie offers lectio divina (divine reading) with poetry as well as scripture, inviting you to
deeply encounter words, metaphor, story, and self. Julie helps people like you
move through grief and loss, deconstruction, unlearning white supremacy, and engage
creation care. Julie’s care and concern for the world and her fellow
humans inhabits all she does, as she works with others to co-create
loving, grateful, generous communities.
Julie is a graduate of The Living School with the Center for Action and Contemplation, as well
as Restoring Connection spiritual direction program with an emphasis serving people on the
margins. She has worked as a social worker for over 20 years in marginalized communities.
Julie can be reached by email.
Elizabeth Peterson is a spiritual director (Gonzaga University), spiritual direction supervisor (Companioning Center, in process), and retreat facilitator (M.A. in Spiritual Formation, Portland Seminary), with fifteen years of experience in retreat ministry. She deeply values the sacred work of listening alongside individuals and groups for the tender ways God meets each unique person, marveling at the paradox of God’s intimacy and mystery. The disorientation of infertility and divorce revealed to her the time-worn truth: reorientation eventually emerges through the redemptive waters of grief. Elizabeth lives in the woods north of Spokane, WA with her husband Eric, their three teenagers and their yellow lab, Samson Rainier. Elizabeth can be reached by email.
Sandy makes her home with her husband Lee and dog Lucy (who rescued
them) in the mountains of Colorado. She likes to say that she lives “closer to
Creation to Sandy is both an outdoor adventure and a balm to her soul, with
hiking and snowshoeing being some of her favorite activities.
Sandy spent her working years as a Labor and Delivery nurse, accompanying
families in both the miracle of birth and the heartbreak of infant loss.
With God alongside, she has held both a thick thread of grief, along with
God’s provision of joy, as she walked through the stillbirth of her second son,
and the death of her eldest adult son after his 10-year battle with cancer.
Sandy spent two years in transformation with Jesus, participating in The Soul
Care Institute before completing the two year Spiritual Direction
apprenticeship with Anam Cara Ministries.
Sandy thoroughly enjoys her spiritual direction practice which includes
individual (in-person or by zoom) and group direction.
Sandy can be reached by email
Brandon completed the Anam Cara Apprenticeship in 2023 and resonates deeply with the Benedictine principle of hospitality: “to welcome everyone as Christ.” He loves to create spaces that are free of shame and open to possibility, and to witness the story of peoples’ lives with God. He is a father of five, an historical theology nerd, a ministry leadership veteran, a family trauma survivor, and a recovering anxiety addict. He currently resides in Cañon City, Colorado.
We’re excited to introduce you to our incredible community of apprentices at Anam Cara Ministries. These delightful folks are all in various places in their journey of apprenticeship, but we believe in their hearts for God and those whom He loves. Each one carries a God-story that will enrich and bless your own walk with the Trinity.
Brandon Booth has spent 25 years in ministry as a teacher and speaker. He is the father of five children, an intellectual explorer, an amateur entrepreneur, and is serious about pursuing authentic faith and life with God.
Growing up on the eastern plains of Colorado gave him a love for paradox: mountains and expansive prairies, leisure and hard work, the love of home and an insatiable wanderlust.
These days he lives in Canon City, Colorado, where he reads too many books, works a little too hard, plays with his kids, and takes long walks with his wife. He is learning to stay behind Jesus, following him where he leads and at his pace, and God has given him a passion for befriending fellow travelers along the way. Brandon can be reached by email.
Janine Young comes to the Apprenticeship with a background in listening to the stories of people’s lives. She delights in journeying with those who are telling their story and the movements of God and in their soul. A survivor of breast cancer and childhood trauma who had lost hope and found hope, an avid fly fisher, she lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband and Labrador, Whiskey.
Sandy spent two years in transformation in Jesus in the Soul Care Institute with Potter’s Inn. She is an apprentice in spiritual direction with Anam Cara and is taking directees. Sandy can be reached by email.
Emily P. Freeman comes to the Apprenticeship with a background in spiritual formation and leadership. She finds great joy in the ministry of presence, holding generous space for fellow journeyers to listen and watch for the movement and mystery of God. Because of her own life-long struggle with belonging, she continues to learn how to trust that God not only loves the world generally but also loves her specifically. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three teenagers. Emily can be reached by email.
Devany believes the greatest invitation of life is to come alive to who we’ve been created to be. She’s had plenty of experience looking to the world to define her identity and purpose, but the wilderness of motherhood has offered a sacred path of unraveling, reclaiming and discovering her true identity and belovedness in Christ.
Maybe you are feeling a little lost? Or wayward? Or uncertain of yourself or God? Devany wants to offer you soul friendship on your journey and create safe spaces for you to consider your own questions, to experience God and to remember how deeply you are known & loved.
She offers her own journey and the ways she’s found aliveness in Christ through embodiment, connection, contemplative practices, and courageously facing your own questions. Certified as a 200-hour yoga instructor, Devany guides yoga as a way to come home to ourselves in God. When not on her mat you’ll find her reading, walking her dog, drinking coffee with friends, writing or singing along to Adele in carpool. She’s married to her highschool sweetheart and has two small kids in her native Colorado, where she loves the mountains (her favorite sanctuary). You can learn more about Devany and contact her here: www.devanyanne.com
From a young age, Polly always had a deep knowing of God and a desire to experience that connection with others.
She was raised in Christian family, attending mostly evangelical churches and found herself finding much joy and belonging in this community. She began working in that evangelical context through her young adulthood in youth ministry, para-church ministries, non-profits, and christian education. She went on to get her Masters of Theological Studies. After working in many unhealthy ministry contexts, dealing with burn-out, and going through her own faith deconstruction, she decided to stop working in vocational ministry.
Kate has worked in large churches, tiny churches, para-church ministry, and academic institutions. A couple of questions she has found herself asking (and being asked) in all these settings are: what does it look like to truly ground one’s identity in their Belovedness? And, what does it look like to love our neighbors near and far, especially the least, the last, and the left out? Kate plans to be asking these questions her entire life. She is passionate about the intersection of anti-racism and spiritual formation and believes that our inner work is not merely for our own liberation, but for the liberation of all of God’s good creation.
Kate lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, but is a Michigander at heart. She loves everything about the morning except talking and believes that dancing might just save the world. Kate can be reached by email.
Jess Lyons comes to the Apprenticeship with a decade in the world of higher education, living in the dorms, teaching in classrooms, and walking with students as they ask big questions. She is passionate in her pursuit of the Shepherd’s voice and care and loves inviting others to do the same, offering a steady presence along the way. A driven achiever who is ever-wrestling out where true significance lies, she lives in South Bend, Indiana with her incredibly likable husband and most favorite, spirited young boys.
Holly Phillips comes to the Apprenticeship with a background in church ministry. She feels called to walk alongside others and help them find the sacred in the ordinary. After years of wrestling with her place in the church and overthinking life with God, Holly has found new ways of encountering the Spirit through simply being. She currently serves as Co-Pastor at a small church in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her musician husband, their three kids, and a backyard full of birds.
Jenny’s passion is to experience, embrace, and extend the hospitality of God at whose table we are healed and made whole.
Jenny is a free-lance writer and seasoned speaker with over 20 years experience in leadership development, retreat planning, and community cultivation. In 2016 she entered what she calls her “weeping years.” It was during this time that, after decades of hosting others, Jenny came to know the upclose, intimate bending, tending, and mending hospitality of God.
Jenny resides in the Amish country of Pennsylvania with her husband of 32 years, their grown son, and as many people as she can possibly cram into her little home.
Jenny enjoys crackling fires, classical music, and chocolate of the darkest variety. She’s a word-nerd with an alliterative anointing. Her happy place is in a hammock and her great love is encouraging others through words.
Justin McRoberts lives in Martinez, CA with his wife Amy and their two children, Asa and Katelyn. After two decades making music and writing books, it is the connection art forms Justin came to value most; a connection he seeks to help make in spiritual direction.
Lauren Winner is Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality and Duke Divinity School, and an Episcopal priest currently serving a parish in the Diocese of North Carolina. She’s also a writer, whose books include Still and Wearing God. Lauren can be reached by email.
Ivy Clark is a Spiritual Director Apprentice with Anam Cara Ministries and has been devoted to mentoring women of faith and leadership since 2017. Formerly she worked in media companies, co-hosted a live radio program and led marketing and community engagement projects in Canada. Unspeakable hardship in her first marriage, and a season of single-motherhood, has strengthened her faith and vastly deepened her understanding of vulnerabilities, disparity, stigmatism and injustice. She persevered to reclaim her identity, courage, resilience and calling! Ivy remarried and lives with her loving husband and son in North Vancouver, BC.
Joy Hoot comes to the Apprenticeship with 15 years of soul care ministry to young adults, 18 years of motherhood, and 45 years of (well) …being human. She longs to invite hurting hearts to discover the beauty hidden in the sacredness of sorrow. She welcomes the weary traveler into belonging, cultivating the belief they are beloved. Her heart’s desire is to facilitate safe spaces for being known and awakening hope. Jesus has invited her to unlock the door of hope through her journey of lament as she navigates her son’s life-altering, physical disability. She is learning to live in the beautiful reality of God’s redefining—redefining beauty, redefining healing, redefining ability, redefining grief, redefining motherhood. She lives in Colorado with her encouraging husband, two beautiful daughters, and courageous son.
The Anam Cara Apprenticeship graduates people on a relational rather than time-delimited basis. Each of these apprentices has proven not just competency but also individual agency and dedication to the art and practice of spiritual direction. Our graduates often go on to be a part of the Peregrini Program at Anam Cara Ministries as associated spiritual directors.
Our current graduates are: