Seminary of the Southwest announces an exciting curricular relaunch of its long-standing Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation (MSF) degree to answer the rapidly growing needs in the field of professional Spiritual Direction. Creating a degree plan with a more intentional focus on the vocational requirements of the Spiritual Director, the degree now offers training in trauma-informed and culturally-responsive spiritual direction for private practice or with groups, organizations, and faith communities.
“The MSF program at Southwest has always equipped students to accompany people on their spiritual journeys,” said Dr. Claire Colombo, coordinator of the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation degree program. “But now it does so much more. It gives students on-the-ground practice using those tools within unique ministry contexts — churches, workplaces, community organizations, and beyond — that align with each student’s unique gifts and sense of vocation.”
Southwest’s status as the only Episcopal seminary that offers both a Master of Divinity degree and Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree creates an unique educational environment that offers multiple pedagogical resources for this innovative degree. The curriculum equips students with a foundation in ethics, sacred scripture, communication, contemplative practices, and supervised field work in spiritual direction with individuals and communities.
“The spiritual landscape of our culture is shifting as we reckon with post-pandemic life, trauma awareness, and our commitment to racial healing,” said Dr. Gena St. David, Director of the Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation and Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Seminary of the Southwest. “Spiritual directors are uniquely trained to support the spiritual health of all human beings, which is essential to our collective health and wellness.”
Students can complete the 39-credit hour degree Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation degree on a full- or part-time basis. The degree is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and the majority of the curriculum is taught by core Southwest faculty, supplemented by senior instructors who are experts in their curricular domains. The curricular revisions build on a degree program has already established itself as effective and meaningful training for this evolving profession.
“The MSF program provided me with a solid foundation for offering spiritual direction to individuals and for serving in leadership roles within my church community,” says Dr. James Adjan, a pediatric dentist and MSF graduate from 2021. “The well-rounded and stimulating curriculum expanded my spiritual horizons, offering opportunities for me to look at spirituality from new perspectives. Perhaps the greatest blessing from my time at Seminary of the Southwest has been the wonderful people I encountered and the enduring friendships I continue to enjoy.”
The Master of Spiritual of Formation degree is coordinated by Dr. Claire Colombo, in partnership with Dr. Gena St. David. Together they survey documented trends in the spiritual needs of diverse populations and consult with advisory group members representing different vectors of the local and national landscape. Dr. St. David and Dr. Colombo ensure the curriculum and formation experience students receive at Southwest is infused with the latest social science research and antiracist practices to equip students to work in a culturally responsive way with diverse communities.
To learn more about the Master of Spiritual Direction degree at Seminary of the Southwest, contact Grayson Dail, Enrollment Manager, at [email protected].