The Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction is an outreach of the Alleluia Christian Community in Augusta, Georgia. We are an ecumenical, charismatic, covenant community. We have been called by God to “be a people” and have lived this life for 44 years. We are comprised of Christians from many different denominations seeking to be a sign of unity to the Church. Our life in the Alleluia Community offers tremendous support for the spiritual journey lived out on a daily basis as we seek to become more like Christ. You can learn more about the community at our website.
The Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction grew out of a need we perceived in our society as a whole. Individual Christians in all walks of life and from different traditions are experiencing direct touches from God, and know they are being called to deepen their spiritual lives, live a more contemplative prayer life and draw closer to the heart of Jesus. We have encountered many others on this journey in need of someone to walk with them.
The art of spiritual direction is an ancient Christian tradition. Ananias gave direction to Paul in his hour of darkness, and the desert fathers attracted many followers who sought to deepen their spiritual walk. There has been in the last 30 years, a swell of interest and a burgeoning need in the Protestant churches for spiritual direction. In the Catholic tradition, it was for centuries the exclusive arena of monks, nuns and priests; and lay people had little access to spiritual direction. Today this is greatly changed. Our school is endorsed by the Roman Catholic bishop of the Savannah diocese. This gift of walking deeper into the heart of Jesus is a gift for the whole Body of Christ. Ministers and lay people of all Christian traditions should all have access to the skills to walk with others on their journey.
Our two co-directors, Mike and Beverly Firmin, received their certification in spiritual direction from the Cenacle School of Spirituality in Clearwater, Florida. The Community's leaders decided to build upon this training in Spiritual Direction by establishing a new school of spiritual direction sponsored by the Alleluia Community here in Augusta, Georgia. The Community wants to offer this training in spiritual direction using it to meet the need for guidance and discernment that many Christians desire. Oftentimes this resource is lacking in our churches because of our overworked pastors. This critical time in our society demands a deepening spiritual walk for all Christians, and strength for their journey of faith is vitally needed. Spiritual direction can give this help.
We have enlisted wonderful, capable teachers from our local area and from other areas of the country. The program we offer does not demand any papers or exams. The course offerings are challenging and meant to build the skills needed to be an effective spiritual director. The method of direction we teach is referred to as the Contemplative-Evocative approach. Our program is centered on prayer and personal growth. Because of this, extended prayer time is included in each two-week training session. Group sharing is also a daily part of the schedule because the ability to share what the Lord is doing with us in our prayer time is essential to assisting others in sharing their journey with their director.
The Alleluia Community considers the School of Spiritual Direction as an opportunity for hospitality and provides meals, housing and intercessory prayer for all participants in the school. We are committed to support others in their walk into the heart of the Savior. Our hope is that the Spiritual Direction School will extend the help offered to those who seek Him.
"Spiritual Boot Camp"
On June 24, 2017, the Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction graduated its first class. Since that time we have had two more classes graduate, totaling twenty-five people certified to serve as spiritual directors to those seeking to grow in their relationship with God. They have attended six weeks of intensive training, completed a practicum of 16 weeks and made an 8-day silent retreat. It seems that the Holy Spirit has really moved in this ministry in the last two years. The school began in June of 2015 as an answer to the critical need in the Church for competent spiritual directors. God is touching many Christians and calling them into a deeper friendship with Him. The Alleluia Community, seeing this need, decided to serve the Church by beginning the Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction. The students sign on not so much for a transfer of information but instead a spiritual transformation. The intent of the school is to train people to be able to walk with others on their journey to the Father’s heart. Because it is impossible to give to others what you don’t have, it is imperative that people desiring to mentor others have a strong prayer life. It emphasizes growth in personal holiness and the schedule includes 2-3 hours of prayer each day.
The school has three sessions. One of the sessions is devoted to Prayer, another to Virtue and another to Healing. The school is open to any baptized Christian who feels called by the Lord to learn the skills necessary to accompany others in their spiritual walk. The students must complete three two-week sessions and make a directed silent retreat of 8 days. They also complete a Practicum in which they guide a person through 16 weeks of prayer toward a deeper relationship with Jesus. The Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction meets twice a year, in January and June.
Students can begin the process at any time in the January or June sessions. We currently have openings for the January session of 2019. Our students come from as far away as Newfoundland, Wisconsin, Missouri, Louisiana and Kansas. We currently have missionaries attending who are stationed in India, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The Family Missions Company regularly sends us missionaries to be trained to minister more effectively among the missionaries themselves and among those they serve. Students come from many areas of Georgia, from our diocese of Savannah as well as the Atlanta diocese. The Augusta pastors have been very supportive. Our school is held at St. Joseph’s Parish in Augusta, and the parish has been very welcoming and loving to the students. Bishop Hartmayer, the bishop of Savannah, has written to all the clergy of the diocese personally endorsing the Alleluia School of Spiritual Direction and pointing out that having trained spiritual directors available will greatly enrich the people of the diocese.