Individuals, couples, families, and groups are warmly welcome. The Redwood Center is committed to being accessible to as many people as possible by offering a sliding fee scale. Services comprise three primary areas. Click on the links below or scroll down. See also the Vision and Values Statement for more information on the Center’s approach to care.
1. Regular Spiritual Direction
Spiritual Direction provides compassionate listening as you contemplate your life in light of spiritual realities. It is a unique form of help different from therapy, counseling, or advising. Spiritual Direction seeks to foster a deeper relationship with God who is the source of all well-being. As you connect with God you become aware of how God is active in your life, thereby empowering you to make decisions and respond in ways that are life-giving. For a clear description of what you can expect, be sure to read What is Spiritual Direction? Sessions are typically 60 minutes on a monthly basis, but may occur more frequently depending on need.
- Walk & Talk Spiritual Direction is a special option for individuals who would like to walk in a designated park setting for their spiritual direction session rather than meeting in an office. This allows you to take in God’s creation as you reflect and share your heart. This option is also particularly helpful for those who might feel anxious in an office setting. Walking and being outdoors can foster feelings of relaxation and ease. If an outdoor session sounds appealing, but walking is difficult, adaptations can be made.
2. Retreats in Daily Life
Retreats in daily life consist of weekly 60 minute individual sessions or 90 minute group sessions for 6-8 weeks. These retreats are for those who would like a brief season to refresh their spiritual life. Typically retreats focus on a particular theme:
- Understanding and Experiencing God’s Love
- Inner Freedom (learning to be content and relax in God’s will)
- Discernment (distinguishing spiritual influences; making decisions)
- The Life of Jesus
- The Joy of Gratitude
- Prayer Practices
- Sabbath Rest
- Advent Retreat (longing for Jesus/preparing for Christmas)
- Lenten Retreat (humble reflection/preparing for Good Friday and Easter)
- Tailored (to your personal focus; for individuals only)
3. Reshaping the Imagination: A 30-day Spiritual Cleanse Intensive
This is a 30-day spiritual rehab geared toward addressing the effects of the internet and other media on the heart and mind. Whether it’s a compulsion to Facebook and social media, over-consumption of television, a struggle with pornography, or depressed mood from repetitive exposure to tragedy in the news, this spiritual direction experience aims to restore and renew the imagination. The process is not an easy fix and requires a readiness of heart. It includes a sabbath from internet use and other media for the month (excluding those pertaining to employment and those incorporated into the program). At an initial needs assessment meeting a personalized Spiritual Action Plan will be created that focuses on life-giving contemplation and activities that will guide your attention and energy during the process. Spiritual direction occurs once or twice a week for 60 minute sessions (for a total of 4-8 sessions; frequency is based on level of need). For more information and to request an application contact Karen at email@example.com.
4. Ignatian Spiritual Exercises
Also known as the 19th Annotation retreat in daily life, this spiritual direction experience is a 9 months intensive for those who want a serious spiritual formation experience. The Exercises focus on the life of Jesus, discernment, inner freedom, prayer, and more. Click here to learn more about the Spiritual Exercises. Both group and individual spiritual direction options are available. Groups meet weekly for 90 minute sessions. Individuals meet for 60 minute sessions biweekly (or approximately twice a month). Those who want to form their own group from specific church communities, friends, or family can be considered. Group minimum is three members and maximum is five. The Spiritual Exercises are offered from September through June. For more information and to request an application, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Navigating Conflict
With attention to principles of dialogue, spiritual direction can provide a useful method for helping individuals or groups through conflict or disagreement. Is your church staff or congregation experiencing tension? Is your family struggling to communicate across differences? Is disagreement or animosity creating problems in your community? Spiritual direction might provide a way forward if all participants are open to prayer and connection with God. Number and length of sessions depend on the unique needs of each situation.
2. The Art of Friendship
Studies have shown that the number of people who suffer loneliness has significantly increased in recent years. Many report they do not have someone to confide in about personal concerns. This group focuses on the meaning and cultivation of friendship. Spiritual direction will be supplemented with practical attention to interpersonal communication skills. Topics include friendship as a spiritual practice, trust, awareness of emotions and moods, communicating clearly, non-verbal and verbal cues, listening, managing conflict, the role of prayer in cultivating relationships, and more. The group meets weekly for 90 minute sessions over a 9 months period.
3. Care for Leaders
Those in leadership are often isolated and without adequate support. If you are a pastor, faculty, missions worker, or other leader in a high demand position, spiritual direction can be helpful option to nurture your own spirit. Individual or group opportunities provide safe and confidential space to contemplate your life and work in light of spiritual realities. For those working overseas in missions or humanitarian work, Skype sessions are available.
4. Recovering from Church Group
Do you feel done with church? Are you burned out? Have you been hurt by the church or religious leaders? This group is for those who are trying to recover from disappointing church experiences or spiritual abuse. It is also for those who might feel spiritually jaded or uncertain about what to believe anymore. Attention will be given to sharing experiences, grieving losses, healing, forgiveness, and looking forward. Group meets bi-weekly for 90 minutes over a 9 months period. There is no fee charged for this group.
1. Ignatian Spiritual Exercises
This is a 10 months bi-weekly course for spiritual directors and qualified ministry leaders who want to be trained in offering the Spiritual Exercises. Applicants must have already completed the Spiritual Exercises themselves at least once in a 30 day or 19th Annotation retreat under the guidance of a spiritual director. Contact Karen at email@example.com to request an application and more information.
2. Cultivating Community and Friendship
This training is especially helpful for church congregations or community groups. Scripture describes the church as a place where people bear each other’s burdens and care for one another. Scripture also describes the church as family. Yet all too often relationships stay at the surface. Pressures abound to put on a good face. This training gives congregations or other groups the tools and practice to begin creating a meaningful community of intimate friendship. Length of training depends on group size and dynamics. Regular sessions for 8-10 months is recommended. Cultivation of these relational skills takes time and practice that cannot come from a one or two day workshop.
3. How to Read the Bible
What we believe about the Bible and how we read it significantly affects our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. The educational opportunities below are designed to help you read Scripture in ways that are life-giving. Trainings range from guest talks to half-day workshops to 12 week courses depending on your group’s needs and depth desired. My approach to teaching is Ignatian. That means, I believe learning is experiential, reflective, transformative, and leads to action. Learning is not merely receiving and collecting information. As much as possible, I incorporate discussion and activity in classes and workshops.
- How to Read the Bible (learning how to read and interpret Scripture; practical approaches)
- What is the Bible? (introduction to the Bible, broad overview)
- Making Sense of the Old Testament (overview of the Old Testament or emphasis on a particular book)
- Making Sense of the New Testament (overview of the the New Testament or emphasis on a particular book)
- Why is There Violence in the Bible and Other Hard Questions You Always Wanted to Ask (one barrier to reading and benefiting from Scripture is how to make sense of difficult passages. This class offers helpful interpretive approaches with particular attention to the Old Testament.)
- The Shaping of a Life: Personal and Communal Effects of Bible Reading (this process oriented discussion explores how we have been shaped in childhood and/or adulthood by immersion in Bible-reading cultures and communities. This can include both positive and negative experiences. Attention is given to how our belief systems have developed and the specific ways they impact our lives on an experiential level.)
- The Bible Tells Me So: Appropriating Ethics from Scripture (an advanced level discussion on different ways individuals and communities draw ethics from the Bible; social, cultural, and spiritual effects)
4. Spiritual Discernment and Decision Making for Daily Life
The Christian faith teaches that spiritual influences exist in the world that pull us away from or toward God. Yet very few opportunities exist to learn how to “discern the spirits.” Ignatius of Loyola had a keen awareness of spiritual influences and their relationship to the inner person (moods, desires, and attitudes). By learning from relevant Scriptural texts and Ignatius’s pastoral insights, you will gain practices to improve your ability to discern and make spiritually informed responses and decisions. Training ranges from guest talks to half-day workshops to 12 week courses depending on your group’s needs and depth desired.
5. Engaging Our World: Critical Thinking Skills for Today’s Complex Issues
Every day we are bombarded with messages, advertisements, and appeals to affirm particular views. How do we discern what is beneficial or harmful? This training takes seriously the impact of ideas on personal and communal wellness. You will learn how to thoughtfully examine ideas to determine their effects and merit. Topics covered include assessment of evidence, interpretation, cultural and experiential influences, recognition of biases and assumptions, problem solving, identifying manipulation, use of logic, as well as the importance of the mind for the spiritual life. Training ranges from guest talks to half-day workshops to 12 week courses depending on your group’s needs and depth desired.
6. Prayer Practices
Prayer is the key to the spiritual life. Connection with God is what shapes us and affects how we move in the world. Whether you are a seasoned prayer warrior, struggle to pray at all, or are new to the concept of intimate conversation with God, this training is designed to enhance your ability to pray. In conjunction with Scriptural and traditional sources various forms of prayer will be discussed and practiced. Depending on the length of the training, this could include the Examen, the prayers of Paul the Apostle, Centering prayer, prayer journals, the body and prayer, intercessory prayer, Psalms, lament, praying with art etc. Training ranges from guest talks to half-day workshops to 12 week courses depending on your group’s needs and depth desired.
7. Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality
Not sure who Ignatius of Loyola is? Curious about how you might benefit from Ignatian Spirituality? This training covers the biography of Ignatius and his significant contribution to practices of spiritual formation, including ways of praying and reading Scripture, discernment, inner freedom, serving others as “contemplatives in action,” and experiencing God in daily life. Training ranges from guest talks to half-day workshops to 12 week courses depending on your group’s needs and depth desired.
**Note: Bi-weekly refers to every other week (or approximately twice a month).