Dr. Cynthia Bailey Manns
— Dean Kyle Roberts
(St Paul, MN) — January 12, 2023 — Starting this fall, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (United) is proud to announce that it will be offering a new Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in spiritual direction and will be reconfiguring the existing Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) degrees in spiritual direction. Spiritual direction expertise is an increasingly vital requirement within ministry and theological education that prepares spiritual directors or leaders to practice in churches, with congregations, or within other public or private helping professions in which theological knowledge and contemplative skills are valued.
Through a partnership with St. Catherine University in St. Paul, which has a long and storied history of spiritual direction programs, United has been able to offer the two masters’ level degrees. This fall, United will assume responsibility for the MAL and MDiv and the new DMin in spiritual direction with the support of St. Catherine’s Theology Department Program Director.
Fortunately, we are also pleased to be welcoming Dr. Cynthia Bailey Manns as an adjunct instructor for United. Dr. Manns is a nationally recognized expert in and practitioner of spiritual direction. Manns, who is also the adult learning director at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community, will be teaching in our new DMin and updated MAL and MDiv spiritual direction program.
The program is a good fit for United. While United has a strong chaplaincy program for students going into careers in professional spiritual care as chaplains, spiritual direction offers a unique vocational possibility, particularly for students who would like to build spiritual direction practices as a bi-vocational option. Spiritual direction coursework is well suited for pastors, ministers, and others who are seeking ways to practice individualized spiritual companionship and to broaden their pastoral careers with spiritual direction work.
As Dean Kyle Roberts asserts, “Spiritual direction and spiritual companionship are growing fields that connect very well with United’s ethos and mission. United is pleased to offer a variety of degrees and a certificate in spiritual direction through which leaders, counselors, and pastors will be trained in the art of spiritual direction and companionship.”
Everyone who completes a DMin, MAL, or MDiv in spiritual direction will receive a Spiritual Direction Certificate. In future, United will make it possible for students to earn a Spiritual Direction Certificate without completing a degree in spiritual direction.
“This area,” Roberts adds, “fills a niche alongside and in addition to our very popular interreligious chaplaincy program and offers students a set of skills and knowledge that can be put to use in practical, entrepreneurial, and transformational ways.”
Interested persons who apply by March 1 for the Fall 2023 term will be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship. To learn more about or enroll in the new DMin in spiritual direction degree programs at United or the MAL and MDiv programs, visit https://www.unitedseminary.edu/academics/d-min/dmin-spiritual-direction/, https://www.unitedseminary.edu/academics/m-div/mdiv-spiritual-direction/, or https://www.unitedseminary.edu/academics/m-a-l/mal-spiritual-direction/.