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Personal & Spiritual Formation

Course Descriptions

SEFS601 Intro to Spiritual Formation

This course is a combination of lecture, discussion, and experiential exercises and includes a weekly small group experience in which group members are participant observers of the group process. Students will sample contemplative/centering prayer, meditation, pilgrimage, retreat, journaling, holy listening, creativity, the labyrinth, and other practices and will choose one spiritual practice to explore and experience over the length of the course. Course content includes a survey of the history and development of spiritual practices in religious tradition and offers them as a primary means of shaping and living out one’s spirituality. Emphasis is placed on application of learnings to one’s life and ministry/counseling practice.
3 credits

SEFS640 Christian Ethics

This course provides a basic background in the history and theory of Christian ethics, including its biblical, theological, and philosophical foundations; presents a framework for moral deliberation in Christian, multifaith, and secular settings; invites students to consider the ethical implications of numerous “hot button” issues; and, through case studies, encourages students to think through a range of ethical concerns in concrete pastoral and professional situations.
3 credits

SEFS700 Individual Spiritual Direction

Students meet individually with a trained spiritual director for one hour a week and have full class meetings several times throughout the semester to reflect critically about their experience and their learning.
1 credit

SEFS710 Prayer

Students will examine prayer as an “integral part of the human adventure” (William Johnston). Through a study of the spirituality, psychology, and praxis of prayer, students will explore the realities of prayer in the spiritual quest. Students will also be invited to experience what it means to be a “praying community” while cultivating the skills to facilitate that experience with others.
2 credits

SEFS712 Discernment

Students will examine discernment as both a process and a grace for deepening our capacity to move with God’s action in our world in order to effect individual transformation and social change. Students will explore the history, theology, psychology, spirituality and praxis of Christian discernment as it applies to both individual and communal discernment.
2 credits

SEFS713 Retreat

This course seeks to provide an experience and understanding of the value of Retreat and Sabbath time in leading a contemplative life. It is designed to cultivate the student’s inner capacity for listening and waiting on God while also developing the skills necessary to facilitate a contemplative retreat in their parish and/or community setting. This course is experiential in nature. It includes two separate class times; one to precede and one to follow a 2-day/1 over-night retreat at a local retreat center (St Francis Center for Renewal, 395 Bridle Path Rd, Bethlehem, PA 18017).
1 credit

  • Additional $80 fee charged to cover retreat center accommodations.

SEFS714 Contemplative Communication & Relationship

This course draws from the Christian Wisdom tradition, scripture, and psychology to develop the understanding, practices, and skills of loving presence and communication necessary to transform individuals and social systems into the radical witnesses of Christian love that God invites.

In Jan Term 2017, the course will be taught in Wisdom School retreat format. Class will be held from 6:00 - 8:00 on 1/5 at MTS. On 1/10 class will be held as a ‘commuter retreat’ day from 10am–5pm at MTS. The class will move into a wisdom school retreat format on 1/11 from 10am through 1/12 at 4pm (including an overnight at St. Francis Center for Renewal, Bridle Path Road, Bethlehem) Class will reconvene at MTS on 1/19 from 5-8pm.
2 credits

  • Additional $100 fee for retreat center accommodations.

SEFS715 Formative Spirituality for Parish & Community

In this class, students learn creative ways to incorporate formative spirituality practices within both parish and community settings while developing a resource base for these practices.
1 credit

  • Prereq: completion of a course in the Formative Spirituality area or instructor approval.

SEFS721 Group Spiritual Direction 1

Students learn the process of group spiritual direction. Students experience receiving group spiritual direction from the instructor and peers as they further cultivate sensitivities both in offering their journey for the consideration of others and in convening group spiritual direction with peers.
2 credits

SEFS722 Group Spiritual Direction 2

Students will continue to deepen their experience of receiving group spiritual direction from the instructor and peers as they further cultivate sensitivities and skills for becoming facilitators of group spiritual direction. Students in this course will also expand their range of skills and sensitivities for offering a wide variety of contemplative practices with others, develop resources for these practices, and gain practical experience in implementing these disciplines in their parish/community setting.
2 credits

  • Prereq: SEFS700 and SEFS721 or equivalents, completion of one other formative spirituality course.
  • Background check.

SEFS730 Incarnational Spirituality

Students will be exposed to a variety of aspects of living incarnationally through health, well-being, and balance. The course will focus on different themes (nutrition, exercise/movement, art, music, and sensitivity to the earth through eco-spirituality) and will highlight how each component weaves together into a holistic approach honoring God’s image within.
1 credit

SEFS731 Spirituality Within Diversity

Spirituality within Diversity is a two credit Formative Spirituality course designed to expand the students exposure to the range of diverse expressions of healthy spirituality across populations and social issues. This course is experiential in nature and is offered every other year in different formats.
2 credits

  • Prereq: completion of a course in the Formative Spirituality area or instructor approval. 
  • Background check required.

SEFS732 Spiritual Classics for the Contemplative in Action

This course is designed to engage the student’s dialogue with the larger faith community of contemplatives in order to deepen the student’s personal experience of God and to begin moving them out into the world with the personal spirituality that flows out of that experience and dialogue. By studying a selection of the spiritual classics, students will explore the stories of these masters, including their experiences of God, conversion, and prayer, as well as the spirituality with which they moved out into action in the world.
2 credits

SEFS733 Ignation Exercises: Theology & Practice

Students will pray through the Four Weeks of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as a group experience. Engaging the genius of this spiritual classic will provide students with a rich tool for personal and communal transformation and an invaluable resource for facilitating contemplative practices in our places of ministry. Special attention will be given to the student’s personal and communal experience of God, the underlying theology of the Spiritual Exercises, and ideas for the practical application of the Exercises in their personal prayer life and in their places of ministry.
2 credits

  • Prereq: completion of a course in the Formative Spirituality area or instructor approval.

SEFS740 Liturgical Dance as Spiritual Practice & Worship

Students explore dance as a sacred art that invites relationship with the Divine through the lens of the body. Basic body mechanics and movement structures will be introduced along with somatic awareness, improvisation and body prayer with an emphasis on student creativity. Students unacquainted with dynamics of creative process in relationship to spiritual formation (art as meditation) and unfamiliar with non-verbal demonstrations of spiritual expression are encouraged to participate.
2 credits

SEFS800 Intro to Spiritual Direction

An introduction to the culture and language specific to the field of contemplative spiritual direction. Students will examine the core competencies needed for the unique work of spiritual direction and begin to practice their application. The course will include a study of the theory and ethics of spiritual direction. Particular attention will be given to the role of prayer and group work in spiritual direction. It is designed to prepare students to enroll in SEFS822.
1 credit

  • Prereq: acceptance into the Spiritual Direction program

SEFS810 Theory & Ethics of Spiritual Direction

This class provides an examination of the fundamental theory, theology, and ethics that undergird the ministry of spiritual direction. Students complete a thorough study of the Spiritual Directors International [SDI] Guidelines for Ethical Conduct and explore ways to apply them in their spiritual direction ministries. The course includes experiential components designed to engage the students’ capacity for working with the movement of God in themselves and others.
2 credits

  • Prereq: acceptance into the Spiritual Direction program

SEFS821 Spiritual Direction: Art, Practice, & Supervision 1

This is the first course of the three-semester practicum in the Spiritual Direction Graduate Certificate program. During this course students will begin to meet individually with 1 or 2 people for spiritual direction while receiving both group and individual supervision. The course includes experiential components designed to engage the students’ capacity for working with the movement of God in themselves and others.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEPC710 and/or appropriate courses, acceptance into spiritual direction certificate program, practicum.
  • Background check.

SEFS822 Spiritual Direction: Art, Practice, & Supervision 2

This course is second of the three-semester practicum in the Spiritual Direction Graduate Certificate program. During this course students will meet individually with 2-4 people for spiritual direction while receiving both group and individual supervision. The course includes a study of advanced issues in spiritual direction and develops the skill set necessary to work with these dynamics in a spiritual direction session. It will have experiential components designed to deepen students’ capacity for working with the movement of God in themselves and others. 
In Fall 2017 the course will include a 4 day/3 night retreat learning residency beginning Monday, September 25 at 6pm through Thursday September 28 at 4pm. The retreat will be conducted in a Wisdom School format, with times of Centering Prayer and Body Movement morning and evening, interspersed with teaching and practice work, creating a Benedictine Rhythm of “ora et labora”, prayer and work. The Wisdom School retreat will be held at St Francis Center for Renewal Retreat Center in Bethlehem, PA. The additional cost for room and board  ($300) will be billed separately.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEFS821 and/or appropriate courses, acceptance into spiritual direction certificate program, practicum.
  • Background check

SEFS823 Spiritual Direction: Art, Practice, & Supervision 3

This is the third and final course of the three-semester practicum in the Spiritual Direction Graduate Certificate program. During this course students will meet individually with 4 - 6 people for spiritual direction while receiving both group and individual supervision. The course will explore advanced issues in spiritual direction and develop the skill set necessary to work with these dynamics in a spiritual direction session. It will have experiential components designed to further cultivate the students’ capacity for working with the movement of God in themselves and others, while also learning how to sustain one’s own spiritual direction practice over time.
In Spring 2018 the course will include a 4 day/3 night retreat learning residency beginning Monday, February 12 at 6pm through Thursday, February 15 at 4pm. The retreat will be conducted in a Wisdom School format, with times of Centering Prayer and Body Movement morning and evening, interspersed with teaching and practice work, creating a Benedictine Rhythm of “ora et labora”, prayer and work. The Wisdom School retreat will be held at St Francis Center for Renewal Retreat Center in Bethlehem, PA. The additional cost for room and board  ($300) will be billed separately.
2 credits

  • Prereq: SEFS822 and/or appropriate courses, acceptance into spiritual direction certificate program, practicum.
  • Background check.

SEFS910 Clinical Pastoral Education

CPE includes a three-fold process of self-awareness, learning pastoral skills, and theological reflection on human experience. It is provided through an off-campus experience in supervised ministry at centers accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) or the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP), which include general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, churches, prisons, and other agencies. Application must be made at least six months in advance of the start of the unit of training. An opportunity to complete this process is given each fall on CPE Interview day.  MTS will pay the agency CPE tuition fee, invoice must be forwarded to the MTS Registrar.

CPE is normally taken after at least one year of Seminary studies (including the prerequisite course) and should be taken prior to the final year. Any exceptions must be approved by faculty. CPE may be taken during the summer or as an extended unit during the academic year. An extended unit requires a reduction in Seminary course work to 6-9 credits, depending on the number of hours required in the unit. Some full-time work in January is often required in extended units. Summer units are full-time (with weekend and overnight on-call duties) for approximately 10 weeks. Other studies or work during this time are not advisable. Upon completion of the CPE unit, an exit interview is required with the MTS CPE Advisor. This course is graded Pass/No Credit.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEPL620
  • Background check required.

SEFS920 Clinical Pastoral Education 2

This course offers an additional term of CPE, preferably in a setting different from the first. This course may also constitute a term of CPE Residency for MDiv students who are seeking certification as a BCCI certified Chaplain, and not seeking ordination. Approval by the CPE Advisor and faculty is required. MTS will pay the agency CPE tuition fee, invoice must be forwarded to the MTS Registrar.  Upon completion of the CPE unit an exit interview is required with the MTS CPE Advisor. This course is graded Pass/No Credit.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEFS910
  • Background check required.

SEFS930 Clinical Pastoral Education 3

This course constitutes a term of CPE Residency. Approval by the CPE Advisor and faculty is required. MTS will pay the agency CPE tuition fee, invoice must be forwarded to the MTS Registrar.  Upon completion of the CPE residency an exit interview is required with the MTS CPE Advisor. This course is graded Pass/No Credit.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEFS920
  • Prereq: MDiv seeking certification as a BCCI certified Chaplain, and not seeking ordination
  • Background check required.

SEFS940 Clinical Pastoral Education 4

This course constitutes the final term of CPE Residency.  Approval by the CPE Advisor and faculty is required. MTS will pay the agency CPE tuition fee, invoice must be forwarded to the MTS Registrar.  Upon completion of the CPE residency an exit interview is required with the MTS CPE Advisor. This course is graded Pass/No Credit.
3 credits

  • Prereq: SEFS930
  • Prereq: MDiv seeking certification as a BCCI certified Chaplain, and not seeking ordination
  • Background check required.