Women’s Discernment Group
This group is currently open for inquiries from to new members. If you’d like to learn more or are interested in joining, please contact the group’s spiritual director Rev. Joellynn Monahan.
About this Spiritual Direction Group
The Women’s Discernment spiritual direction group is for women who come from, who were raised in, and/or who are currently part of Christian traditions and denominations which do not allow the full participation of women in religious leadership.
This spiritual direction group is offered especially for (but not limited to) women who are (or whose lives have been shaped by these traditions): Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Southern Baptist, Lutheran – Missouri Synod, Orthodox Christian, and Swedenborgian – General Church.
Prospective group members may:
-have remained in the Christian traditions and denominations they come from
-be engaged in alternative communities reshaping the Christian traditions and denominations of which they are a part
-may have moved to other religious or spiritual traditions and denominations more supportive of women’s ordination or leadership
-may be without a current religious community or spiritual home
The group is appropriate for women who are:
-living out their call/vocation (already ordained and/or serving in religious leadership)
-currently studying in seminary or other alternative ministry preparation programs
-uncertain how to live into their vocation even if they have already discerned a call and/or graduated from seminary/completed ministerial preparations
-just beginning to discern/wrestle with a call to ordination, priesthood and/or religious leadership
You are invited to spend time in the company and solidarity of your sisters on the journey. Together you’ll share time for discernment, prayer, reflection, and bearing witness to each others stories.
Women of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, and gender expressions are an integral part of this group. Group members are respectful of and open to being part of a group where members have different ways of being faithful to their religious communities and to their vocation. All participants will covenant to respect the confidentiality of other participants in light of the consequences many of our sisters face in their religious communities.
- two hours once a month or quarterly 1/2 or full-day retreat format per preference of the group – spring session resumes in April 2018
- gatherings are held at the Spiral Way office, a fully accessible space, near to public transportation: 3036 Regent Street in South Berkeley
- fee per session/retreat is based upon format of gatherings (scholarships available for those with limited economic resources)
- an inquiry conversation is required for all new members with the group’s spiritual director, Rev. Joellynn Monahan, prior to joining or trying out the group
Herstory of this Group
This spiritual direction group began in Winter 2012 as a gathering for Roman Catholic Women Seminarians studying at the Graduate Theological Union. It originally served young adults (up to age 35) and later expanded to include women of all ages. It has continued since that time to the present day, opening periodically to new members.
In July 2016, current group members were invited to be part of a day-long retreat which was also open to the public. Retreat participants included women from Roman Catholic, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and Southern Baptist roots. Following this retreat, current group members enthusiastically supported expanding the spiritual direction group to include women who come from a variety of Christian traditions and denominations which do not allow the full participation of women in religious leadership (including, but not limited to: Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Southern Baptist, Lutheran – Missouri Synod, Orthodox Christian, and Swedenborgian – General Church).
in 2017, this incarnation was comprised of women who had completed seminary education and who have already begun or are well established in their ministries as religious professionals (lay and ordained). Much of the focus was on how call continues to evolve in the midst of ministry, work, family, etc. A rich conversation and time of spiritual deepening in community.
Alums of this group, some of whom studied at the Graduate Theological Union (at the Jesuit School of Theology, Franciscan School of Theology, Pacific School of Religion), now live throughout the United States and have gone on to:
-lay employment as campus ministers, directors of campus ministries, hospice chaplains, teachers & administrators in parochial schools or colleges, pastoral associates in parishes, directors of spiritual programs, spiritual directors, faith-based community organizers and activists
-ordination as Priests and Deacons (Roman Catholic Womenpriests)
-ordination in inclusive Protestant denominations (such as the United Church of Christ)
-ordained employment as solo Pastors of Protestant congregations, hospice chaplains, founders and Deacons/Priests of inclusive Catholic communities