The David and Juliet Benner Teaching Retreat

Forty-one spiritual directors had the unique opportunity to spend three days with internationally renowned psychologist, spiritual director, teacher, Dr. David Benner and his wife Juliet, also a spiritual director, in a teaching retreat sponsored by Tyndale titled "Psychologically Based Spiritual Direction," in a retreat setting at Manresa spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering, October 17 -19, 2008. David prioritized the event in the midst of a schedule that was fully booked into 2009 because he feels that a basic understanding human psychodynamics is crucial for spiritual directors. A common response from attendees was that their minds were stimulated and their hearts were warmed. Participants were engaged with David’s authenticity, his vulnerability, and his reflective, Spirit-led approach. Juliet, a docent of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, led attendees in retreat, with several experiences of lectio divina, each followed by a time to reflect on pieces of fine art related to the passage. These gospel stories came alive in a deep and personal way for the participants.

An Association of Spiritual Directors

The retreat was organized by a group of spiritual directors led by Sandy Broadus with guidance provided by David Sherbino. This group has been working hard over the past year to form an association with a relationship to, and under the accountability of the seminary. At a special meeting during the retreat, Janet Clark, Academic Dean of the Seminary, announced that the seminary cabinet had approved, in principle, the concept of an association. Janet commented that the seminary does not want just a 3 or 4 year relationship with its students but wants to see a long term relationship of providing ongoing support. While there is much work still to be done to make this a reality, David Sherbino commented that he was excited to see the association, which was a vision that he and Sandy have held for several years, begin to take shape. He indicated that what pleased him most was that it was the spiritual direction community who took the initiative to make this happen.

After some further work and due diligence, the Tyndale Association of Spiritual Directors was formed and launched on January 1, 2008.