Cultivating attention to the Spirit's presence in people's lives.
The Center for Christian Spirituality
The Center for Christian Spirituality (CCS) at General Theological Seminary is dedicated to cultivating attention to the Spirit's presence in people's lives. It offers several programs of study to train lay and ordained Christian leaders in the ministry of spiritual direction. It also serves as a resource for those within the GTS community who wish to receive spiritual direction. Finally, the CCS sponsors events and public lectures to enrich the spiritual formation of all people.
General Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff are invited to sign up for spiritual direction through the Center for Christian Spirituality. Personal spiritual direction can help you to listen for the voice of God and live more fully in Christian faith.
About Spiritual Direction
Spiritual direction is the practice of guiding someone as they attempt to deepen their relationship with God and grow in their own spirituality. This process — lead by a Spiritual Director — was perfectly described by Thomas Merton: “A spiritual director is then one who helps another to recognize and to follow the inspirations of grace in his [or her] life, in order to arrive at the end to which God is leading.”
Discerning a Potential Call
Discernment is the art of listening to our inner selves and learning to recognize (discern) movements that rise from the Holy Spirit. The dictionary defines the verb “discern” as “distinguishing with the eye or the mind.”
What are the signs that I am called to this ministry? What are the gifts I bring to spiritual direction? What are my limitations, or growing edges, at this time? What are my basic suppositions about... God? Christ? the Holy Spirit? spiritual experience? human relationships with God?
Studying Spiritual Direction
at General Seminary
Since 1976, the General Theological Seminary, through its Center for Christian Spirituality, has offered programs and courses designed to develop and nurture the gifts of women and men, lay and ordained, in guiding others in the life of the Spirit.
Combining academic and experiential learning, the General Theological Seminary offers the following programs and options for pursuing study in spiritual direction:
- Certificate in Spiritual Direction
- Master of Divinity (MDiv) with Certificate in Spiritual Direction
- Master of Arts (MA) in Spiritual Direction
- Elective or “General Learner” study
Courses include an academic Foundation course (Introduction to Christian Spirituality), several Practicum courses (combining academic study with in-class practice and/or practice-oriented assignments), and several Supervision courses (for which students offer spiritual direction outside of class and reflect on their experiences in a group supervision format).
Interested in taking a course?
The Center for Christian Spirituality offers courses in ascetical theology and spiritual direction. Courses have two main formats: traditional, which meet weekly throughout an academic semester, and intensive, which typically meet for a number of hours each day over the course of one weekend or week. For intensive courses, students complete reading and practical work in advance and then submit final papers or projects within several weeks after the course.
To learn more about the CCS, please contact the Center for Christian Spirituality at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 243-5150, ext. 271.
Application and enrollment
For information on applying and enrolling in a CCS certificate or degree program, please contact the GTS Admissions Team at email@example.com.
Kay Butler Gill Lecture
The Kay Butler Gill Lecture in Christian Spirituality, hosted by the seminary's Center for Christian Spirituality, is one of General Seminary's two named lectures. Now in its thirteenth year, the lecture heralds the place of Christian spirituality as a scholarly field within the theological academy.
Bringing eminent scholars and spiritual teachers to the seminary is made possible by donations to lecture's endowment, initially established by a generous grant from the estate of Kay Butler Gill, a graduate of General Seminary and the Center for Christian Spirituality.
Kay cared about the spiritual life: After her education and formation here for a ministry of spiritual direction, she spent many years serving the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, offering retreats and quiet days and holding, as she so eloquently described it, “spiritual conversations with others.”
The 2018 Kay Butler Gill Lecture
Details coming soon...