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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Deepen your relationship with God through spiritual formation and direction

    April 10, 2018 / By UNY Communications

    Whether you are a lay person or clergy member, how is your spiritual walk? What can you do to improve it? How can you recognize God in all the complexities of life, not just those “holy” moments, but in the questions and struggles as well? 

    Upper New York (UNY) has spiritual directors who can help you in spiritual formation and spiritual direction.

    Spiritual formation is the work of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The Rev. Nancy Dibelius, UNY’s Conference’s Associate Director of Spiritual Life for Vital Congregations, thinks of it as “casting the net deeper…reaching out to our community and inviting others into a life lived out of the Gospel.”

    Spiritual formation enables people to live more Christ-like lives; it goes beyond attending Sunday church services. It means reading the Scripture regularly, studying together often, and covenanting with one another to help with accountability. You practice spiritual disciplines including meeting with a spiritual director; you observe Sabbath in your life; you witness to one another, and you reach out in mission to a needy world.

    Spiritual direction is a relationship primarily between two people where one person seeks to walk alongside and companion another on their faith journey. The Spiritual Director’s desire is to deepen your relationship with God so that you might: learn to identify and trust your own spiritual experiences, become more aware of God’s presence in your life and respond to that presence, learn to discern God’s voice and God’s invitation for your life, and grow in intimacy with God.

    The Spiritual Director helps you to trust God’s guiding hand in the process. Both the director and directed desire to discern where God is calling, speaking, challenging, and leading.  Both are pilgrims on the road to a more Christ-like life under the loving direction of the Holy Spirit.

    UNY Spiritual Directors will be available to meet with one-on-one at the 2018 Annual Conference, held May 30-June 2 at the Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena in Syracuse. You can seek their guidance on your own faith journey or inquire about the steps needed to become a Spiritual Director for your congregation. Stay tuned for specific details as we get closer to Annual Conference. For more information on spiritual formation and direction, contact Rev. Dibelius at

    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 86 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."