Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Southern Pines NC
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Spiritual Direction
What is spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction is an ancient art in the ministry of the Christian church.  It is not so much about being told what to do as it is about being in a confidential, trustworthy relationship of holy listening and spiritual companionship which focuses on, identifies, and empowers a directee to live into the movement of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God in his or her life.  


Spiritual direction may take place both in individual sessions and in group settings.  

Spiritual direction is an adjunct to, and not a replacement for, the pastoral and liturgical ministries of parish clergy. 


How is it different from counseling and psychotherapy?

Spiritual direction is not and cannot be a substitute for mental health care.  In counseling and psychotherapy a person will usually meet weekly or bi-weekly to focus on interpersonal and intrapsychic conflicts and behaviors that cause difficulties.  In spiritual direction a directee may bring similar issues to the conversation, but the focus will be on discerning God’s presence and beckoning in these issues.  Usually these meetings will take place every four to six weeks. Sometimes a person will be seeing both a counselor and a spiritual director, and it is often helpful for the person to sign permission for these two professionals to confer on his or her behalf.   


Is spiritual direction only for clergy?

No.  Spiritual direction is beneficial for both lay persons and members of the clergy.


How would I know if I would benefit from spiritual direction? 

 Some questions you can ask yourself include: 

  • Am I seeking a deeper relationship with God?
  • Do I experience some kind of block in my relationship with God?
  • Do I need help to discover where God has been in my suffering?
  • Is my prayer life stale?
  • Does it seem like God doesn’t answer my prayers.
  • Do I desire to deepen my discipleship with Jesus? Do I need help to find the living God in my life?
  • Do I need help to develop more stillness, serenity, and wonder?
  • Might I benefit from being in a spiritual direction group with other pilgrims?
  • Might a spiritual retreat help my soul to realign with God’s purposes for my life?

Will insurance cover spiritual direction?  Do I have to pay a fee?  

Insurance does not cover spiritual direction.  It is normative to make a financial offering for spiritual direction. In the Diocese of North Carolina, the average fee is $75 per session.  Sarah, who is not on salary at Emmanuel, sees people on the honor system, in which a directee makes a payment to Emmanuel Episcopal Church by check or through the Emmanuel app in an amount that is fair both to your own circumstances and to her.  No one will be turned away for the size of offering he or she can make. 


Please feel free to reach out to The Rev. Dr. Sarah M. Rieth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment or to discuss if you might benefit from receiving spiritual direction. Please put the words "Spiritual Direction" in the subject line and please include your phone number in your message.



350 E. Massachusetts Ave, Southern Pines, NC     eec@emmanuel-parish.org      (910) 692-3171            

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