Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Twenty-two receive certificate in Spiritual Formation

Susanne Hassell: "It transformed my life."

 “God used Columbia Seminary’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation to transform my life,” says Susanne Hassell. “Studying in this program became, in Ben Johnson's words, ‘a safe place on a dangerous journey.’ I discovered others – lay and clergy – who were asking the same hard questions about the church and about our call to faithfulness in the world. They called forth and affirmed new gifts in me that have shaped my ministry.” 

Hassell, who earned the certificate recently, now leads retreats, offers spiritual direction, and encourages intentional communities to embrace spiritual disciplines. 

In September, 22 people (see list below) like Hassell received the Certificate in Spiritual Formation from the Center for Lifelong Learning’s Spirituality Program.

“Graduates of the certificate program can be a wonderful resource to support pastors and congregations in spiritual leadership,” says Program Director Tom Lewis. “They have the skills to lead Bible studies and prayer retreats, teach spiritual formation, lead contemplative retreats, and teach the spiritual classics and spiritual disciplines. And, they are a resource to help in the renewal of the church.”

Each participant travels a long and challenging journey to graduation, Lewis explains.  “They begin with an introductory Immersion Experience, then take six elective courses, a practicum that demonstrates their spiritual leadership, and a two-week pilgrimage.

“By the time one has finished this three- to five-year year program he or she will have, on  average, invested up to $10,000, read about 3,000 pages of the best of the spiritual classics, written 114 pages of reflection, and spent 59 nights away from home and a month of days in the classroom.

“Participants are challenged to grow in their personal spirituality within community and are taught how to assist the church in its spiritual growth.”

The following 22 students received the Certificate in Spiritual Formation from the Center for Lifelong Learning’s Spirituality Program in the Fall 2009:

Jerie E. Artz
Melanie S. Baffes
Amy Lehr Camp
Kendra Jane Edinger
Katherine Farrell
Richard Churchill Cushnie
E. Bruce Harvey, Jr.
Valerie Lyson Humphreys
Ruth Bryan Jones
Amy Arnett Knoespel
Deborah Ann Madden
David Markwalder
Barbara S. McKee
Stewart Eugene Pattison
Richelle Elizabeth Graham Patton
Ellen Ryan Pearson
Jane Caldwell Rose
Pat Saxon
Rebecca Lynn Schacht
Beedee Soskin
Rodney Dale Stilwell
James Tyrrell

 For more information, in column at right, under Areas of Study, click on Spiritual Formation.