Spiritual Direction Training Program
Each person has a need to be heard and to share about one’s life because our stories matter. We believe to listen to another is sacred. And so we practice radical hospitality, listening deeply and valuing each person we sit across from. People who desire to deepen their awareness of God’s presence and work in their life can meet with a spiritual director where they will experience this deep hospitable listening through the practice of spiritual direction.
Those who feel called to become spiritual directors and to listen in this deep hospitable way are welcome to apply to our training program. Download our information below.
Because of the unpredictability of the pandemic our program remains online at this time. We will continue to monitor it.
Contact us at [email protected] to learn more.
New cohort begins March 2023. Applications due by Jan 30.
Studying spiritual direction through the Journey Center of Chicago came at just the right time for me. In a time of transition and growth and in the middle of a pandemic, I worried that the coursework might be too much and might cause me too much stress. My classes in spiritual direction with the Journey center did just the opposite. They taught me to listen to my own heart. Through the class time, readings, papers and time with my fellow students, I felt heard and was able to listen better to the Holy Spirit in my own life. I look forward to continuing to grow as a spiritual director as I listen to the Spirit through the guidance of the Journey Center of Chicago.
The readings, the teaching sessions, the reflection papers & the journaling exercises are all taking me deeper in my walk with Christ. Helping to ground me when there is so much uncertainty all around in our world that would seek to overwhelm. As a class or cohort, we’ve moved from strangers just a few months ago to, building stronger & stronger relationships with one another as we share insights together & spend time together. I & we are learning to hone our listening skills, to one another & to God. It is refreshing & at times challenging, as I listen & explore where God is leading & learn anew to slow down & be present w/ God. Learning to be Open & prepare to receive God’s abundant love & grace.
Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff
Coordinator and Teacher
Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff
In addition to being the Executive Director of JCOC, Eva has been adjunct faculty at the C. John Weborg Center for Spiritual Direction since 2011 and at the Transformational Listening Center (TLC) since its inception in 2011, where she helped to create a spiritual direction training program. Eva has been in ministry for 30+ years as pastor, chaplain, spiritual director, teacher, and retreat leader. Eva is a wife and mom. Her greatest desire is to help people deepen their awareness of and intimacy with God, find healing and meaning in their lives, and live their lives in transformed ways. She loves to teach and train others in the art and ministry of spiritual direction.
Kitchie Ranillo Bakken
Kitchie Ranillo Bakken
Kitchie Ranillo Bakken was born and raised in Oakland, CA. She is a child of immigrants from the Philippines and grew up in a bi-cultrual home. She moved to Chicago, IL for college. Surprisingly, the skyline and the lake captivated her Californian heart enough to withstand the harsh winters, and she has been here since. In 2015, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical and Theological Studies and a few years later she received her certificate in spiritual direction and has fallen in love with the work and contemplative lifestyle. Spiritual direction has brought freedom and healing in her journey and hopes to offer a space where others can experience it too. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] and follow her instagram at @livingsacredandholy.
Rev. Juliet Liu Waite
Rev. Juliet Liu Waite
Rev. Juliet Liu Waite has served as a pastor at Life on the Vine since 2014. She is a 2nd generation Vietnamese Chinese American, and married to Sheldon; they have two sons who now exceed Juliet in height. Juliet is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div, 2005) and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (B.A., 2001). Prior to coming to Life on the Vine in 2010, she ministered as a college campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Director of Worship at Northshore Chinese Christian Church (2005-2007), and Director of Chapel at Trinity International University (2007-2009). She also taught periodically at Trinity International University as an adjunct faculty member of the Christian Ministries Department. Juliet currently serves as Chair of the Board for Missio Alliance.
Jennifer Andersson, LMSW, CSD, BVL Pastor
Jennifer Andersson, LMSW, CSD, BVL Pastor, has been walking with people on their personal journeys for over 30 years. She began her vocational life in 1990, trained as a music teacher. As she was increasingly drawn to further address the personal and social needs of her students, their families, and communities, she received her Master’s Degree in clinical social work in 1994. Her focus on the whole person (mind, body, AND spirit) then naturally drew Jennifer to becoming a certified Spiritual Director (2009) as well as a licensed Bi-vocational pastor (2006). It is through these avenues that Jennifer has worked with individuals of all ages, as well as couples and families at all stages of life, from birth to end of life. Whether as a spiritual director, clinical social worker, teacher, or in vocational ministry, Jennifer is dedicated to creating space for the care and support of others, and joining them in that personal quest.
Jean Kim-Snyder has been a practicing mental health professional for over 25 years and is a graduate of the University of Illinois and UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work. Jean has been in private practice since 2017. Prior to that, Jean has been a part of a group trauma therapy practice for 10 years, as well as a school social worker for 12 years. Jean specializes in working with Asian Americans in the areas of racial, intergenerational and religious trauma with both individuals and couples. Jean utilizes an experiential, attachment focused approach to working with clients. Jean has been married for 25 years and has two young adult children. Jean has been a part of Live on the Vine Church for over 15 years and considers herself a progressive Christian and an LGBTQ ally.
Ken Lund is a spiritual director, direction supervisor and teacher who feels fortunate to have had the assistance of spiritual directors throughout most of his adult life. After 30+ years as a lawyer—mostly doing criminal defense work for the Wisconsin State Public Defender—he is privileged to listen to other people’s stories and help them to see the movement of God in their lives. A spouse, two daughters who live nearby with their partners, two growing grandchildren, and active involvement in 12-step recovery provide richness and meaning to Ken’s life.
Ken received a certificate in spiritual direction in 2009 from the C. John Weborg Center for Spiritual Direction at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, where he now teaches in an adjunct role. He completed supervision training from Lucy Abbott Tucker in 2012. He has been trained and commissioned by Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., to lead centering prayer workshops for both 12-step and general groups. He regularly plans and leads retreats of various sorts and has an active direction and supervision practice in Madison, WI; Chicago; and over the internet.
Mary Ellen Ryley, SCMM (Sister of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy). Mary received her training in Spirituality and Dreams from the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago. She has been involved in the training of Spiritual Directors for more than 25 years as staff member of the Institute for Spiritual Leadership, the Institute of Spiritual Companionship, and the Center for Spiritual Direction at North Park Seminary. She continues to be involved as a Spiritual Director, supervisor, retreat and workshop facilitator in the Chicago area.
Mary Ellen (Mel) holds a Masters Degree in Religious Studies from the University of Detroit and a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago.
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson
My life’s passion has been and continues to be a desire to experience and live out Micah 6:8: “This is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.”
I began my professional journey teaching communication and theater in community colleges. While raising three children, I became a parent educator and trained parent leaders to facilitate support groups in churches, schools and community organizations. Midlife, it became apparent that, as a former pastor said to me, “You are a pastor and won’t be at peace until you go to seminary.” So I went. I served a small church as pastor in an immigrant community where honesty reigned, and I was challenged to grow in ways of justice and love beyond myself. I also served a large church as an associate pastor/family pastor where resources flowed freely. I served in middle judicatory leadership as an Associate Superintendent and facilitated new church development.
I was trained as a Spiritual Director during my judicatory leadership and also served as a director during that time. I served as the Executive Director of Ministry Mentors, a national not-for-profit organization that facilitated and trained pastors in peer mentoring and connected mentors with seminary students. I have walked alongside many pastors and their families in my pastoral and leadership roles. I currently serve as a Spiritual Director.
Participating in the mission of the Journey Center of Chicago is my commitment to continue living a life of compassion, contemplation, love and justice.