Forum Launch 14 May 2022

Many gathered for the Forum Launch on Zoom at 10am on Saturday 14 May 2022.

Get a flavour of the event by reading and watching parts of it below. 

Nick Helm and Julie Dunstan (Co-chairs of the initiating group) welcomed everyone and outlined the plan for the event. 

Then everyone went into small groups to introduce themselves to each other and share 

Nick: I’m delighted to welcome you all to this ‘Launch event’ of the Spiritual Direction Forum UK.  Today is the outcome of a journey of nearly three years, in discerning, consulting and exploring the establishing of a Forum for Spiritual Direction in the UK. Today is a transition, taking the step of formally Launching the Forum. It is truly wonderful to see the interest and support for this initiative. I hope you are excited to see others here – a mix of faces known and not-yet known!

Can I suggest you greet each other!

I want to introduce the initiating group that are here today:

Alison MacTier – Director of the Retreat Association

Christopher Chapman – Spiritual Director…

Unable to be here: Ruth Holgate, now Director of St Beunos Spirituality Centre, John-Francis Friendship Spiritual Director and involved in the London Centre.

I’m Nick Helm, one of the co-chairs of the Forum initiating group. The other co-chair is Julie Dunstan.

Julie: This morning we’re going to use that much loved story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus to shape our time together and to walk us through the questions; where have we been? where are we now? and where are we going?  Being a lover of the church year, it gave me – and us – great joy to realise that our launch had been arranged, just by chance, here in Easter tide.  And so we give thanks this morning for this holy resonance: reminding us that stranger and friend walks alongside us, bringing the hope of astonishing new life. 

Trinity God, whose very being dances with the energy of creation, the longing of love and the power of the spirit: dance in and through us this morning.  Risen Christ, give us grace to hear you in all our conversations, to feel our hearts burn within us, to recognise you in the breaking of this bread. Amen.

Reading of Luke 24.13-35

Beginnings of the Forum

Image accompanying this: Road to Emmaus by Daniel Bonnell

Brief outline of the Forum’s development thus far:

September 2019

Initial conversation about what was needed to support, resource and develop spiritual direction in the UK

The idea of a National Forum for Spiritual Direction emerged from this.

This led to initiating a discernment process and the invitation to Spiritual directors, and those who hold spiritual direction networks in the UK to contribute to this. 

July 2020 Survey, inviting people to pray with and then give feedback to us about the concept of a National Spiritual Direction Forum

“We see the potential for such a forum to be a common table and a centre of gravity for thinking together and encouraging good practice in Spiritual Direction.

This common table provides the place where we can gather, relate and share matters of mutual interest.

A centre of gravity holds things in relationship and in a forum our common concern for Spiritual Direction provides this. In so doing it allows for individuality in finding our places around it.

Thus, the forum would be a space for communication and discernment rather than oversight or control. “

170 responses – with 70 pages of comments

95% supporting the idea of a forum

Holding group met to pray with, and try and distil the common themes emerging

Three key areas of work were identified:

  • To support and resource spiritual directors
  • To promote and protect good practice
  • To advocate and encourage the creative development of this ministry within the church and in a changing world.

‘Where have we come from?’ and the Emmaus Road story also relate to our own spiritual direction story: our experience of being accompanied, and accompanying others; the work we have done in supporting and promoting spiritual direction; our experience of support we have received or support we lacked within this work.

Take a few moments to reflect on where God has been present in your life

In what way am I inviting God into my own life and ministry?

As we celebrate this gathering – our common table – what has particularly resonated with each of us in the journey so far and today?

What has caught my attention?

After reflecting on this part of the Emmaus Road story… is there anything in particular that God is calling us towards?… is there anything for which we want to particularly give thanks?

What is God’s invitation to us today?

As we bring this part of our reflections to a close is there anything we would like to share with Jesus and each other?


Paintings (exact titles may differ slightly)

Our Hearts burn and Emmaus Road by Sieger Köder

Two paintings about Emmaus by Daniel Bonnell

 Road to Emmaus by Helge Boe

The Supper at Emmaus by Ceri Richards

Emmaus Le Repas by Jean-Marie Pirot

Supper at Emmaus by Maximino Cerezo Barredo


Le Onde by Ludovico Enaudi

We’ve looked back.  We’ve come into the present and celebrated who we are now. And before we step into the next bit of the story – to follow the disciples in their movement forward – Nick and I would like to share some of our sense of the emerging vision for the forum, inspired by  your responses and shaped by the Emmaus story. 

  • CONNECTING The importance of conversation on the road
  • REVEALING The prophetic dimension in conversation – being given the bigger picture
  • TRANSFORMING The transformative effect of recognising presence (discernment)
  • ENERGISING The energising effect for the journey onward

The last part of this video includes reflection on how you may be being called to offer your prayer, time and energy towards enabling the forum’s development. Please make your response here.

Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart

This is an act of commitment for the core group and for all who are here.

Firstly: the core group – we are representing the core group but we expect it to develop and change over the next few year….

In the presence of the divine Trinity: Creator God, Risen Christ, Life giving Spirit

  • We give thanks for the journey of the Forum so far.
  • We offer ourselves to support the ongoing development of the Forum
  • We commit to seeking God and discerning the Spirit’s lead in the part we play.

Now we invite you all to offer your response and commitment to the unfolding of the Forum (asking Alison Wooley to ‘speak for the whole group’)

In the presence of the divine Trinity: Creator God, Risen Christ, Life giving Spirit…

  • We give thanks for the development of the Forum
  • We will pray for the ministry of spiritual direction and the work of the Forum.
  • We will continue to support the ongoing development of the forum in prayer and participation.

The Forum Prayer & Blessing

Creator God, giver of all good things;
provide for us as we support and resource each other.
Jesus, incarnate, embodied;
enable us as we model and promote good practice.  
Holy Spirit, breathing life into the world;
inspire us as we advocate and encourage creative ministry.  
In all things, God, animate our vision with your desire.


May God the creator be the ground of our journey onward

May the Risen Christ continue to transform our humanity

May the Life-giving Spirit inspire and energise our ongoing life together

Amen. Alleluia!

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  1. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be at the launch of the Forum, but I have been truly inspired by the notes, video, and prayers. I look forward to joining you all on the 30th June.

    May our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ continue to uphold, empower, and envision, each of us with His love and compassion. Amen

  2. I was unable to be present but appreciated these notes etc and all the work and prayer this far in creating this much needed forum of support and challenge

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