“Sometimes we need a guide, a director…who helps us to distinguish between the voice of God and all other voices coming from our own confusion or from dark powers far beyond our control.” – Henri Nouwen
A companion on the journey offering a listening, prayerful presence to another while they walk together with God
How Spiritual Direction can help us in the ongoing process of being formed more fully in the image of Christ
How do I get a Spiritual Director?
The most important thing in finding a spiritual director is to pray, and ask God to provide who you need in the right time, and trust that God will do that. That said, there are ways to take the initiative.
We are very blessed to have Margot Eyring serving Coracle as our Spiritual Direction Coordinator, in addition to providing spiritual direction herself. If you have questions about how to find a spiritual director, Margot will be happy to help you. You can email Margot with questions or for assistance in being matched.
Also, if any of the spiritual directors with Coracle seem as though they could be helpful to you, feel free to contact them directly with the email provided. Or, if you have more questions about this or would like to talk through it, email Margot and we’ll be happy to talk with you and discern together.
Another organization with a list of spiritual directors that they’ve worked with and trust is The Transforming Center.
Kayla is passionate about creating space for people to experience love, connection, and belonging in Jesus' presence. Shaped by her own seasons of loneliness and grief, she has a heart for working with hurting people. As a spiritual director, she is an attentive listener to the story unfolding in your life, and is committed to helping you identify where God is working to make his love known.
Kayla has a MA in Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary and is a certified spiritual director. She is an experienced discipleship pastor, having served in Northern Virginia for over 15 years. While Kayla is now based in Charlottesville, she also offers direction over video and phone with appointments in Northern Virginia available upon request.
Since becoming a mother, she has transitioned her focus to nurturing her two very active children. Kayla devotes her days to seeing beauty in the mess and enjoying the simple routines of outdoor play and afternoon naps. She loves meeting new people and gathering around the table, usually for tacos.
Falls Church, VAwade@inthecoracle.org
Wade Ballou seeks God’s will in the midst of everyday life. He is Anglican and has studied the spirituality of various religious orders. As a spiritual director he seeks to be a companion on life’s journey in the presence of the Holy Spirit. He has a heart for the marginalized person, including the sick and the mentally or physically challenged. He has a Certificate in Spiritual Direction Studies from Washington Theological Union and a Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Avila Institute. He is an active participant in the prayer ministry of The Falls Church Anglican. Wade has been in public service as a legislative attorney on Capitol Hill since 1983. He was a Boy Scout leader and is still an avid Crossfitter (scaled down to his level, of course.)
Falls Church, VA
Desiree has been actively involved in ministry for over 25 years, primarily in education and discipleship. In her most recent position, she served as Adult Discipleship Director on the staff at All Saints Church, Woodbridge. She is an experienced teacher, spiritual director and retreat leader, and has completed a training course in spiritual direction through the Anglican Diocese of New England. As a spiritual director, Desiree’s ministry approach is is warm and caring while being firmly grounded in Biblical truth and the spiritual disciplines. She delights to walk with others as they grow in the faith and in their passion to love and serve the Lord. She has experience offering spiritual direction with a variety of people, both men and women, and has been particularly led to serve women in leadership and those interested in exploring spiritual direction for the first time. Desiree appreciates God’s infinite creativity and sees His hand in her experience and enjoyment of the creative process. Her background in design includes professional experience in space planning and design, and amateur dabbling in painting, costume design and her current passion, knitwear design. This translates into her direction style as an expectancy of the variety of ways God is at work in His people and as a willingness to walk with others as they discover how God leads and guides them. Along with her husband, Steve, Desiree lives in Woodbridge, Virginia and they have a grown daughter, a son-in- law and two grandsons.
Wanda grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Liberty University. After college, she began working in the marketplace and was a volunteer leader with Young Life. She was offered a job with Young Life in the Mid-Atlantic region, packed up and moved to Baltimore which has been her home for the last 25+ years. She has worked at Grace Fellowship Church since 2001 in a variety of roles, currently as the Pastor of Connections. She loves seeing people finding their place in the family and the life of the church. She also serves in Baltimore City as a volunteer with Young Lives, Young Life’s ministry that serves teen moms and their babies. Ask her about it! Over the years Wanda’s faith as deepened by some very intentional Bible study groups and being a part of the Transforming Center’s 2 year program ~ the Transforming Community. This propelled her journey deeper into the spiritual disciplines and spiritual direction. Wanda began receiving spiritual direction at Kavanna House in York, PA. Much to her surprise the Lord began stirring her heart about becoming a Spiritual Director. He continued to open the doors and she has loved the experience. Wanda cherishes the opportunity to meet with people and create a safe place for them to explore the presence for the Lord in their daily lives. She has a particular heart for mentoring women, ministry staff and volunteer leaders.
Are you in the midst of decision-making and wish for someone to prayerfully listen as you seek to discern your way? Do you ever wish for someone who will compassionately hear and carefully hold the stories that you hesitate to tell others, while bringing them before God? Are you longing to know and grow in God more deeply, and to more often recognize His presence in your day to day life, no matter what the circumstances? I offer the ministry of contemplative spiritual direction to accompany you on your journey, contemplative in the sense that, while knowing that words are important, so is the silence that allows us the space and time to harken to the Spirit’s voice. My faith journey began as a high schooler in Young Life and Inter- Varsity in college and grew through a three year assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in Botswana, raising my three children in the Brethren in Christ (an evangelical Anabaptist) denomination in Pennsylvania and now as member of a small, Biblically conservative Episcopal church in southern MD. My life with God, while grounded in Scripture and the fellowship of His people, comes most effortlessly in the midst of the natural world. As a result, I am a contemplative, a naturalist and a gardener, making a place for His creatures to thrive and for people to find Him in the peace and quiet that surrounds our home in the woodlands of southern Maryland. I have known enough grief and struggle in my life to know that none of us gets to heaven unscathed, and whether you come for particular, immediate needs, or are looking for a long term spiritual direction relationship, you are welcome. May God guide you on your journey.
Reina has spent most of her childhood and adult life in Minnesota but has also lived in Japan, Florida, Illinois and Alexandria, VA. She came to faith in Jesus Christ during her early college years and was solidly grounded in her faith within the evangelical church. Her journey into spiritual direction began in her early 50’s and was generated from a sense of missing something in her faith, accompanied by a longing to experience a deeper connection with God. This path has opened her perspective concerning who God is to her, and who she is to Him. It has been a journey of discovering how to be with God, and not just what to do for Him. She has walked slowly, with intention, through the Ignatian exercises, experiencing transformation through imaginative prayer. She has embraced new spiritual practices and forms of prayer that were not part of her evangelical upbringing. The contemplative life with the Trinity has been a re-awakening and a deepening of the faith that God invited her to in her young adulthood.
Reina is willing to meet with any person eager to walk deeper in their faith, but she has a passion towards encounters with young adults, companioning with them as they explore who God is and how He reveals Himself to them. She is open to pondering life’s tough questions and to listen for God’s voice amid the competing voices of our culture and time.
She completed her training in spiritual direction through Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, GA, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation at RGU. She is also in the midst of studies with the Renovaré Institute for Spiritual Formation. She currently resides predominantly in Minnesota, but makes frequent trips to the DC area for family and ministry. She offers direction via Skype, FaceTime and Zoom to those who are willing to meet remotely. When in DC she and her husband have attended National Community Church, Potomac Yard. When in Minnesota, she attends Calvary Church in White Bear Township.
Reina and her husband enjoy biking, running, and cross country skiing, especially when they can return to northwest Wisconsin and the Chequamegon National Forest. She is the mother of two grown sons who are married. Her newest family role is being the grandmother of three precious grandchildren.
She completed her training in spiritual direction through Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, GA, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation at RGU. She and her husband have attended National Community Church, Potomac Yard.
Reina and her husband enjoy biking, running, and cross country skiing, especially when they can return to northwest Wisconsin and the Chequamegon National Forest. She is the mother of two grown sons who are married. Her newest family role is being the grandmother of three precious grandchildren.
Scott’s journey with spiritual direction began with the discovery of the deep impact C.S. Lewis’s relationship with his spiritual director had on his formation. After a number of years benefitting deeply from spiritual direction he was delightfully surprised to sense the invitation to pursue training in direction with Sustainable Faith and Kavanna House in York, PA. Scott delights in walking with men and women as they create space to recognize the loving presence of God in their lives. Scott has long had a passion for the wedding of social justice and mission across the globe. These interlocking passions led to degrees in Asian Studies and Missions, a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Virginia, the founding of Cambridge School which partners with Cuirim House in Mexico to connect students from Baltimore with families on the border, field work among rural communities in Indonesia, and over twenty years of walking with students at Towson University as they discover their God-given destinies in the world. Scott is the proud father of three adult daughters and a member of the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in Baltimore. He is also Coracle’s Community Minister in Baltimore.
Eastern Shore, MD and Vienna, VAdebra@inthecoracle.org
Debra Donnelly-Barton is the Executive Director of the Center for Spiritual Development and is a seminary trained Spiritual Director with 20 years of experience. She has studied at Stillpoint, Sewanee, University of the South and General Theological Seminary in New York. Her MA in Theology is from St. Mary’s Seminary and University. She has recently expanded her Spiritual Direction offering to include the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area in addition to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Born and raised in Alaska, Debra spent her early formative years in an Ahtna Village on the Copper River. These early impressions of the wideness of God and the beauty of God’s people has informed her own walk with God. It is the journey toward spiritual freedom in each soul, including her own, that draws her to the art of spiritual direction. Debra writes, “Within each moment is a call to conversion, but it sometimes it takes another listener to hear that call. I think of the director as a guide along a journey that director and directee are taking together. It is sacred time and sacred space dedicated to God’s perspective on our living. In direction we tune our hearts to the song that God is continually singing within us.” She has particular skill and interest in offering spiritual direction with clergy and those moving towards ordination, and those experiencing suffering or painful transitions.
Eastern Shore, MD and Vienna, VA
Daniele Evans is a woman on a journey towards intentional living — seeking to enjoy and experience God in life’s everyday (and even ordinary) moments. A daughter of Haitian immigrants, Daniele’s spiritual journey grew as her parents’ new-found faith was established in her childhood home. She spent much of life in different Christian environments, which offered her appreciation for the variety of ways people connect to God. Daniele pursued a Biblical Studies degree and later completed her spiritual direction training through Sustainable Faith. Her pastoral work for 15+ years included writing and teaching Bible studies, speaking, and mentoring others in their faith journey. As a blogger, Daniele has written widely for online and print publications. Her writing offers both inspirational and practical encouragement for women in various life stages. Spiritual direction holds sacred space for conversation and connection with God. Daniele feels particularly drawn to this practice and to those who may find themselves in places of transition or struggle. Her own personal experiences with loss, trauma, and grief support Daniele’s desire to be a safe space for others. She hopes to expand her own formation to include Enneagram and trauma resiliency training. The roles Daniele most cherishes are the ones centered around home. A homeschool mother of five and a passionate defender of children who need an advocate, Daniele and her children live out their days in Central Pennsylvania where she enjoys cooking, writing, reading, photography and tea. Always tea! While Daniele is based in Lancaster, PA, she also offers direction over video and phone.
Margot’s journey of faith is an ecumenical one rooted in a deep love for Jesus and his ways. She has been committed to a multi-denominational community of faith in DC, Washington Community Fellowship, for almost 23 years. For the last 9 years, she has been sent to Capitol Hill United Methodist Church and volunteers there most weekday mornings at Our Daily Bread breakfast for housed and unhoused neighbors. Her therapy dog, Prudence, joins her to provide comfort and “lovies” to all who come. Growing up in a family who moved multiple times and invited many wanderers into their home has given Margot a heart for people seeking a place to belong, hospitality, and the beauty of all of God’s creation. She finds joy in hosting friends, celebrations and personal retreats in her home and also meets Spiritual Direction and Supervision clients there (and online). Her Ph.D. in “preventive mental health,” M.A. in the area of Christian formation, B.F.A. in studio art, and post-graduate work in contemplative group practice, personal and professional coaching, and yoga provide a broad education and experience that shapes her approach to Spiritual Direction, Direction Supervision and retreat leadership. The overwhelming responsibilities and trauma incurred from the death of her parents in an overseas car accident over 17 years ago resulted in a shift in the focus of her calling from teaching college students to walking with people in everyday life—particularly those who are asking questions, are marginalized, or are just searching for something more. In her own contemplative practice, Margot is currently exploring Ignatian Spirituality and the use of the creative imagination to connect with God in the everyday. She is also becoming a fan of professional Rugby in DC! Because Margot believes we are all called to be active participants in God’s Shalom in the world, she helps people pay attention to God’s presence in the present moment, in order to become more fully the person they are created to be, to connect more deeply with God and others, and to be more thoughtful and intentional about their doings.
Elizabeth grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Her first careers were in law and business management. For the last twenty years, her primary focus has been inviting people to explore new vistas in emotional, relational, and spiritual growth. (In addition to her spiritual direction practice, Elizabeth offers seminars and retreats.) She received her formal training in spiritual direction through the Selah program. For Elizabeth, spiritual direction is grounded in a deep confidence that God is always working for good in the ordinary day-to-dayness of our lives and that, if we ask and listen attentively together, God will gently and gladly direct. She and her husband Wray live in McLean, Virginia, and attend Restoration Anglican Church. They have three adult children and six grandchildren. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys writing, photography, exploring the enneagram, and participating in a 12-step program. For more information, please visit Elizabeth’s website.
*At present, Elizabeth's Spiritual Direction practice is full*
Mary delights in helping people grow in their Christian faith and discernment. Contemplative spirituality, which incorporates listening, silence and prayer, best describes her approach to spiritual direction. Spiritual direction is primarily a work of the Holy Spirit in which we are invited to participate in together. Mary, an ordained Anglican priest, is currently receiving practical training as a Spiritual Director through the Selah Program. Her theological training in Ignatian Spirituality at the University of London provided the foundation for her work in spiritual formation. She earned her MA in Christian Spirituality from Heythrop College, University of London, with a focus on the visual arts and spiritual transformation. She trained for ministry at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford, England and the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Before her ordination Mary worked professionally in radio, advertising, and government. In her free time Mary enjoys international travel, reading spy novels, introducing people to the visual arts in museums and relaxing on the beach. She makes and appreciates art, loves the outdoors and all things Italian.
Lynnette first heard of spiritual direction many years ago through a series of novels but coming from an evangelical background, didn’t know how or where such a thing existed. Finding a director a few years ago was such a gift in learning how to be more aware of God’s presence in the ordinary and developing a rule of life involving more contemplative practices. Receiving direction has been such a catalyst in deepening her walk with God and along the way, she discovered that she was being drawn to providing that for others. She is currently in formal spiritual direction training in York, PA with Sustainable Faith. She is particularly drawn to coming alongside women who are wanting to explore contemplative ways of being with God and women moving from day-to-day mothering to the empty nest. She also has experience walking alongside people dealing with end-of-life issues or people who are dealing closely with the realities of death. Lynnette and her husband, Steve, live in Arlington, VA. She is a mother to 4 mostly adult children and grandmother to an adorable grandson who delights in helping his grandmother get back in touch with child-like wonder.
Hailing from Switzerland and raised in South Africa, Claire has lived for many years in the US, both in the East and on the West coast. Her spiritual journey has been an ecumenical one, beginning in the Swiss protestant church, meandering through American evangelicalism, and lingering with the Exercises of Saint Ignatius and contemplative spirituality. A personal journey through loss and grief has yielded a compassionate heart and deep resonance with the joys and pains of others as well as an abiding confidence that God’s loving intimate presence is with us, and will sustain us, through all the experiences of life. As a spiritual director she delights in offering “soul hospitality” to any who desire to become more aware and intentional in their relationship with God, listening with them to their life, and seeking God in the “all things” of everyday living. Other areas of interest and ongoing formation include the Enneagram, Centering Prayer and other contemplative prayer practices, silent retreats, and finding God in nature and ordinary life. Claire is a mother and grandmother of seven wonderful grandchildren. She received her formal training in spiritual direction from Christian Formation and Direction Ministries (CFDM) in Southern California.
Rick and his wife, Laura, are graduates of the 2017 Coracle Spiritual Formation Fellowship. In 1986, they helped plant Bethany Community Church in Laurel, Md. Rick has served as a worship leader, elder, small group leader and preacher at Bethany. In addition to completing the Coracle fellowship, he has a certificate in Spiritual Direction from NewWay Ministries and has attended Ransomed Heart’s Wild at Heart Boot Camps, Lay Counseling Institute seminars and Living Waters training with Regeneration Ministries in Baltimore. Rick’s journey into spiritual direction was informed in part by experiencing God's grace amid grief over the unexpected death of his 24-year-old son, Jason, in 2014. Rick especially enjoys accompanying those who long for a deeper, more intimate connection to God and who want to foster a sustainable ministry as Christ’s presence to a broken world. Rick and Laura are passionate about offering hospitality and deep spiritual nourishment to those they encounter on their journey. They enjoy gathering with friends and spending time with their son, Andrew, and his wife, Amy.
Fran's zeal for the ministry of spiritual direction is founded and fueled by her personal experience of transformation mediated through the discipline of having a spiritual director. As that discipline was wholly unknown within her faith community, it was in the chance reading of the fictional work of Susan Howatch that she was first made aware of this powerful method of deepening one's awareness of God's Presence "as a repeatedly realized fact" Fully embracing the truth that along with "our personal transformation we are part of a larger work of the reconciliation of all things", she completed a two year program in spiritual direction offered by the Institute of Christian Spiritual Formation, Lipscomb University in Nashville TN. She had previously studied at Pepperdine University and earned a BBA from Abilene Christian University in Texas. After working for twenty years in business and rearing three children she began her second career as a teacher. She and her husband make their home at the foot of Big Cobbler Mt. in Marshall, VA.and serve in the Warrenton congregation of the Church of Christ. Fran writes "My approach to spiritual direction is immersed in prayerful listening, and sensitive companionship on, in the words of Gerald May, 'the journey towards more freely and deeply choosing to surrender to God.' I offer this companionship with an open heart to the community that includes all genders and orientation, all faiths-all persons who are seeking to experience a God who is continually seeking us."
I grew up in Alabama, where one of God’s special graces in my life was my mom. It was not uncommon to hear her say, “I need to go listen a little,” and close her bedroom door. Years later, as I began my own walk with Jesus, she and I would sit together on her blue sofa and “listen a little.” It was a formative time for me, laying a foundation to grow in intimacy in Christ. Over the years, I have been a part of the healing prayer team at our church, and am always amazed to see how God enters the lives of his people. For me, spiritual direction has also been a ministry of healing and discovery, with an emphasis on spiritual formation, that is, being changed into the image of Christ. It has been a joy to sit with others on my sofa, offering a sacred space to listen to the invitations Jesus offers to us to walk in healing, freedom and the discovery of our true selves. My training was with the amazing faculty of Selah, a certificate program offered by Leadership Transformations, Inc. My husband, Howard, and I enjoy the company of our two married children and our wonderful in-law children! I love being outside…whether on a long walk, the golf course, or somewhere else in God’s beautiful creation!
Offering both spiritual direction and counseling, Yonce helps individuals and communities with calling, discernment, and transition. All the ways in which he does so flow from a posture of spiritual direction. Yonce’s calling to help with the inward journey came after a decade focusing on the outward journey via politics, faith-based advocacy, and bridge-building with diverse political and theological stakeholders. He now helps individuals discerning calling in ministry, nonprofit work and more, and has a heart for helping leaders find meaning in professional pursuits – and all of life. In addition, he works with intentional communities to structure life together around values, commitments, and rhythms. Yonce has also provided leadership in two churches, serving one as pastor during a time of transition. He is a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor and a spiritual director having received his training Monastery of the Risen Christ, San Luis Obispo, CA. He holds masters degrees in Theological Studies (social ethics focus) and Pastoral Counseling. Yonce welcomes a range of approaches, questions, and insights that contribute to understanding, doing, and being prayer. He believes the spiritual life is about honoring experiences, gifts, and desires – and being available to new ones.
Heather’s journey with spiritual direction began out of her experiences with spiritual formation & prayer groups throughout college, seminary training, graduate school, and in the context of working with university students during her early career. Heather is thrilled to be pursuing spiritual direction training with Sustainable Faith and Kavanna House in York, PA. Heather knows that along the way, we arrive at various points on our journey with God–a crossroads, a crisis, or a conundrum–in which we need another to come alongside us, to help us pay attention to God’s presence. Heather finds joy in helping others pay attention to how God is working in the ordinary around them so that they can hear His invitation–an invitation welcoming them to live into the reality of how deeply they are loved and known. Heather’s passion is to listen and pray with those who find themselves at these various points on their journey. Because of her diverse background in education (from K-8 to university), life in ministry, and international work with students and refugees, Heather is comfortable walking with both men and women who desire to grow in their faith or who want to explore questions that are hard to ask in church. She feels particularly led to partner with those working around the globe, believing that spiritual direction is a means of grace, providing much needed encouragement, pastoral care & spiritual friendship to those who live and work in hard places. Heather, along with her husband and two children, lives in Baltimore, Maryland, worships at Central Presbyterian where her husband also serves on staff, and partners with families at Cambridge School. Heather loves laughing with her family, finding hidden gems in used bookstores, and drinking coffee around the world.
Christine has spent her entire life in diverse contexts of ministry. Born and raised in Guatemala, she witnessed the power and mercy of Jesus Christ in a context of poverty and civil war. To this day she is most drawn to the frontiers of God’s kingdom where light is pushing back darkness, and where men and women are formed in the crucible of sacrificial service. In the United States she has also been involved in campus ministry, urban mission on the Mexican border, and church planting in Austin, Texas, where she now resides. She also teaches writing at a small liberal arts college. Christine is available for spiritual direction and retreats, with a particular emphasis on working with justice workers and mission/ministry staff. Christine completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Texas, and a master’s in Spiritual Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. Her training in contemplative Spiritual Direction was with Selah, based in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Christine, along with her husband and four children, lives in Austin, Texas, worships at Christ Church Anglican, and spends summers in Guatemala moving back and forth between the suffering and beauty of that land. She loves feasting, things “other,” laughing, fried plantains, Arvo Part, and Ecclesiastes.
I first experienced spiritual direction in a group setting where I discovered the gift of silence and listening to God in intentional spaces with others. God started developing an awakening that led me towards a deep journey of transformation. After several years of both group and individual direction, I followed the strong call and invitation to be trained as a spiritual director with Leadership Transformations’ Selah Program. I am passionate about the spiritual journey in the life of the believer and the ways God forms all of us into the image of Christ. As I’ve walked through many hardships and transitions in life, God has been revealing the ways He is present to me – sometimes in the most unlikely places. Taking time apart with others to seek and find God in discernment is where I feel most alive, and it is a humbling gift and a joy to walk with others in their own transformative journeys with God. My approach to spiritual direction is a contemplative one, seeking God’s movements in silence, listening, and prayer. I often refer to myself as an urban, contemplative mom, with three spunky children who fill our home with a lot of life. Living with children in the heart of a city has led me on a vigorous search for quiet places in everyday life. Some of my joys include beholding God’s creation through music, nature, and the arts. I also enjoy rich conversation, exercise, and opening the doors of my home to the many people who come into our lives.
Shenandoah Valley, VAinthecoracle@me.com
Because of his extensive work in America’s inner-cities and in some of the hardest places in the developing world, Bill has a particular passion for walking alongside those whose work brings them into regular contact with the brokenness of the world, and whose souls feel the weight of it. He also enjoys spiritual direction with those whose faith no longer seems to ‘work’, or who are very tired after many years of following Jesus, or whose lives are turning out very different than they had hoped or expected. Also, as a priest, he can offer helpful perspective with clergy or those considering a call to ordination. More information about Bill can be found here.
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Combining many years of experience in both the corporate world and the church world, Bill Deiss is an expert at helping churches and other organizations run smoothly on the business, organization, and staff side of a ministry or company, as well as how non-clergy church staff and administrative or finance personnel can minister effectively as pastors within a church staff setting. He is available to speak to these topics in day and half-day sessions or longer retreats, or offer shorter presentations.
“Flat-lined follower of Christ.” “Exhausted ministry leader.” “Deep hunger for more of the Spirit filled life.” These words describe Kit’s spiritual journey. She had an awakening that began several years ago through a cancer diagnosis, and suddenly she found herself alone with God for hours upon hours, for days and weeks. There God began to reveal Himself to her and she has never been the same, and that journey has been deep and hard and good. What continues to ground Kit in this journey is that as she comes clean before God, spending intimate time in His Presence, she is transformed. In His loving kindness, He lets her see the wounds and brokenness that keep her from being the true self He created her to be. And as she discovers this true self, she is able to see the unique purpose He has for her in the life He has given to her, for His glory and the sake of his Kingdom.
Jesus has been her tender companion along the way, and he also provided others to encourage her, guide her, pray with her and be with her. David Benner writes “The Christian spiritual journey is a journey we take with others. Each of us must take our own journey and for each of us that journey is unique. But none of us are intended to make the journey alone.”
God has gifted Kit as a spiritual companion to come alongside others who may be living that flatlined Christian life, or who are that exhausted ministry leader, or one who is hungry for a more Spirit-filled life but does not know how to get there.
Kit has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Iowa State University, and has been working in ministry since 2007. She received a certificate in Spiritual Transformation from The Transforming Center. She currently works for a nonprofit ministry as a spiritual coach in Baltimore where she lives with her husband and daughters and spends as much time as possible with her dog hiking the forest trails behind their house.
A native of Southern California, Carla has spent the last 17 years as a teacher, college/career counselor, and finally principal at a public high school in Los Angeles, working primarily with students who were at a high risk of dropping out of high school. In 2010, she moved to Northern Ireland for a year and earned her Masters in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation at Trinity College Dublin, where she focused on education in conflict zones, trauma healing, and restorative justice practices. She returned to her school in LA with a greater passion for educational access and equity and a commitment to empower underserved students to transform their communities. In 2017, she earned her Masters in Educational Leadership from CSU Dominguez Hills.
Carla loves working with teenagers and helping people move toward healing, and she’s thrilled when the two converge. She worked with Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland as a facilitator for HopeBuilders, a cross-community program engaging Catholic and Protestant youth groups in service-learning regarding poverty, social justice, and the ramifications of conflict. In LA, she was a facilitator for True Freedom, an anger management class and mentoring program for incarcerated youth facing life sentences. She completed Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience training through Eastern Mennonite University and Mediation Facilitator training through Dialogue for Peaceful Change, and she has been a repeated guest lecturer on conflict transformation and restorative justice practices. Carla has been a member of her church prayer teams for the last 20 years and is also part of Listening Prayer Ministries, where she teaches workshops on hearing and discerning God’s voice and facilitates inner healing prayer for individuals. She loves using her passport as often as possible, cooking for friends, playing at the beach, and breaking out in spontaneous song.
Barbara Dixon Ryan grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland on the “wrong side” of the Potomac, but she got to Virginia as fast as she could. She earned a B.A. at Bucknell University and a J.D. at UVA. While in law school, with the help of Rich Dean, Coracle Board Chair, she met and married her pastor, Skip Ryan.
Barbara practiced family law in Charlottesville before giving birth to Chris, Carey Beth, and Rebekah. Bekah was born with a seizure disorder that foreshadowed severe, ongoing developmental challenges. Barbara suspended her law practice to work through her grief, finally reaching the land of deep trust, enabling her to become a “wounded healer” for those facing “hard” providences. The Ryan's moved to Dallas, TX for 26 years where Barb fed on and shared the Word, leading retreats and support groups. She took many courses from Westminster Theological Seminary on the Dynamics of Biblical Change. She is an A.B.S. Level One Trauma counselor, a Gottman-certified Marriage and Couples in Recovery associate, and has completed a Certified Life Coach and Advanced Skills Training course. Barbara will earn a certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling in May, 2020. She will soon publish a
booklet, When Someone You Love Is Addicted To Something You Hate.
Barbara’s life verse is Isaiah 50:4: “The Lord God has given her the tongue of one who has been taught, so that she may know how to sustain with a word, him that is weary.”
Barbara feels called by God to use God’s word and her life experience to be a minister of encouragement in the following four areas:
- Individuals with addiction-related concerns;
- Parents/individuals raising or caring for special/adopted children, or facing unexpected life changes;
- Couples facing more extreme marital challenges; and
- Young women seeking mentorship and discipleship.
Barbara’s hobbies include: reading, writing poetry and prose, learning, walking and talking outside in the beauty of God’s creation, biking, kayaking, and exploring!
Feel free to contact her to set up a time to see if she can be of encouragement to you in the particulars of your situation.
Abigail desires to use the gifts and resources God has given her to do her part in bringing about the flourishing of all things. In different seasons, this has looked like directing a non-profit art gallery in Raleigh, coordinating a tutoring program in the Charlottesville city schools and advocating for children in the DC foster care system. Though her work experiences have been diverse, her desire has been constant: to be a beauty-bringer and burden-bearer wherever she is sent.
Abigail interned with Coracle this past summer and received her M.Div program from Duke Divinity School in 2016. When she isn't running the Fellows Program at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, you can find her back in the dirt of Duke Gardens - putting the theology of creation care into practice. In this next season, Abigail looks forward to contributing to Coracle and to growing as an artist, minister and agent of reconciliation, healing and hope.
Offering Spiritual Direction (and other ministries as an Associate) with Coracle
Coracle officially set off on its journey in February, 2012, but it’s formation began quite a while before that, even from the first days Tara and I (Bill) began seriously contemplating a move from the inner-city of Washington DC to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. When it became clear that we could indeed move as a genuine “Yes” to God, to a small retreat farm that would become known as Corhaven, it also became immediately evident that some sort of structure, like a non-profit organization, would emerge as well that would enable us to offer coherently whatever ministry God would use us for. After many prayers and conversations, and much time and reflection, what is now Coracle came clear.
Coracle is a non-profit organization (501c3) that exists to inspire and enable people to be the presence of God in the world by offering spiritual formation and Kingdom action. We do this through spiritual direction and discipleship, retreats for individuals and groups, sacramental ministry and services, pilgrimage, communication, and through ministries of mercy and justice, creation care, and mission trips.
As this was clarifying, what was not expected and yet wonderfully emerged along the way, was that maybe this non-profit could be something that would enable others to offer spiritual direction too, and even more. We became excited that maybe this could be a way for trained spiritual directors to more easily connect with those who are seeking a spiritual director but having a hard time finding one since such a thing might not be part of their Christian tradition. I realized that if Coracle was going to make it possible for me to offer spiritual direction more sustainably, it could probably do the same for others. Others might be able to benefit from the non-profit status in order to receive donations for their ministry, or would be blessed by an organization through which they could raise funds if they needed to. And this would mean also that more people who were seeking it could find a spiritual director, which can be a difficult challenge!
So, in short, Coracle is conscientiously designed to allow a place where trained spiritual directors can offer spiritual direction a way that they can be part of a group and receive unique support, be connected with potential directees, receive donations for spiritual direction or other ministry, raise funds, and use Coracle’s developing communication resources. It also creates a context for easier conversations about that awkward relationship between spiritual direction and money.
Beyond enabling the offer of spiritual direction, however, we realized that inasmuch as Coracle would help Tara and me do what we’re uniquely called and gifted to do, maybe others could take advantage as well of a non-profit structure to do what they’re uniquely called and gifted to do. Maybe other ‘spiritual entrepreneurs’ could use this vehicle to continue on their journey of creative faithfulness, but with others who themselves were familiar with the terrain of stepping more fully into who one is and offering more freely what one has to give. In other words, anyone who God is calling to step more fully into his or her unique self, offering, and visions could benefit from participating with this small group of fellow travelers, and become a associate.
How Does One Join as a Spiritual Director or Associate with Coracle?
For someone interested in being an Associate, who has something they’d like to pursue and feel Coracle is a helpful venue to do that with, it begins with a conversation with the Director. In this capacity, each person’s vision will obviously be unique, so each person’s process will be unique!
For those interested in using Coracle as a potential venue as a Spiritual Director, there’s a couple of clarifications and a bit more of a process. First, those offering spiritual direction through Coracle will have received formal training in spiritual direction or some suitable equivalent. Second, how one practices spiritual direction will take the shape of that unique spiritual director, in style, amount of time, and what, if any, donation amount is suggested. In other words, Coracle does not have a set style of spiritual direction we ascribe to, though we do definitely ascribe to an orthodox Christian faith rooted in the Apostle’s Creed.
As for process, to help us get to know potential spiritual directors a bit better and be better able to refer potential directees, some information is helpful, and we have an informal application/information form. If you would like to discuss this further or get that form, contact Margot Eyring, our Spiritual Director Coordinator.
As Coracle is a 501c3, governed by a board of directors, it should be understood that the board is responsible for establishing and changing polices for the organization as are right and necessary from time to time. Many of those will not directly affect associates or spiritual directors, but when they do, such things will be communicated promptly, and certainly associates and spiritual directors are welcome to speak into the organization.