Spiritual Direction: Tools, Styles, and Practices
ESDA 2021 Virtual Event Series

We Invite You to Join Us...Online!

(ESDA Members: see this registration page for special members-only pricing)

In place of our annual, in-person ESDA Gathering, we are excited to invite you to a series of four virtual events in 2021 covering the theme: Spiritual Direction: Tools, Styles and Practices. We have invited outstanding speakers to present on several practical and relevant topics.

Each event is scheduled for 10am - 2pm Central Time, and will feature teaching by a guest speaker(s), personal time to process and practice the tool, small group discussion and learning, and a Q&A period with our guests.

Event Overviews

February 20, 2021
Styles of Direction

  • How do we find our own style of spiritual direction without losing the essence of what spiritual direction is all about? This is one of the questions we will explore with Father Ryan Bradley in our opening session. Ryan will discuss direction styles from a historical perspective, in relation to other contemporary forms of one-another ministries, and how our personal giftedness can play a role when we meet with directees.
  • Presenter: Fr. Ryan Bradley
  • Fr. Ryan Bradley has taught courses in the areas of Christian Spirituality, Historical Theology, Ethics, Spiritual Formation, and Religious Studies. He has taught seminars in the classic texts of literature, philosophy, and theology. Fr. Ryan has worked as a spiritual director for over a dozen years. He has degrees in literature, religious studies, philosophy, and spiritual formation. He and his wife, Juliet, live in Merced, CA.

March 20, 2021
Guiding Directees from Head to Heart

  • Asking evocative questions in a direction session is a sensitive art. How do we grow in our ability to ask questions that help our directees connect with the deeper issues of their hearts? In this session, we welcome Dr. Betsy Barber as our guest. In our time together, Betsy will discuss tools that encourage directees to explore the meaning and emotional context of their lives.
  • Presenter: Dr. Betsy Barber
  • Betsy Barber is a professor and associate director of Talbot School of Theology’s Institute for Spiritual Formation. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with a practice that specializes in the soul care and mental health of Christian workers. She teaches courses in spiritual formation, soul care, psychology and retreat, has a background and training in spiritual formation and supervises students in spiritual direction and mentoring.

April 24, 2021
Tools of Discernment

  • Part of our work as spiritual directors is helping our directees discern life choices and how God is present and leading them in everyday life. Our speaker for this event, Father Mark Thibodeaux, has written on discernment and Ignatian spirituality, and will be sharing tools that can help us and our directees in the discernment process.
  • Presenter: Fr. Mark Thibodeaux
  • Jesuit Father Mark E. Thibodeaux is originally from Church Point, Louisiana. He holds degrees in psychology and theology from Loyola University New Orleans and Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the author of four books on prayer: Reimagining the Ignatian Examen; God’s Voice Within; God, I have Issues, and Armchair Mystic. For ten years, he served as Director of Novices for the Jesuits of the UCS Province. He is currently the pastor of Holy Name Church, a Jesuit parish in New Orleans, Louisiana.

May 22, 2021
Spiritual Direction and Diversity: Tools for Greater Sensitivity

  • How can we expand the diversity of our spiritual direction ministry? Without awareness, understanding, and training in intercultural encounters we can easily close the doors that we desire to open. Join us with ESDA’s own Ellen Kuo and Brenda Darby, who will help us grow in developing tools for greater sensitivity. We recommend Brenda’s book, Can We Have The Conversation?: A Spiritual Multicultural Approach to Racial Reconciliation.
  • Presenter: Ellen Kuo
  • Ellen is a second generation Asian-American who has worked in professional church ministry. She enjoys art and museums, being an auntie, and walks in the park. Her training took place in the greater Los Angeles area, first at the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology, and also at the Spirituality Center on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s University.
  • Presenter: Brenda Darby
  • Brenda has served as a Deaconess for over ten years at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California. She has an MA in Spiritual Formation and completed her training in Soul Care/Spiritual Direction at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology. She provides Spiritual Direction for individuals and groups and designs retreats. Brenda has a passion to bring Spiritual Formation and provide Spiritual Direction to the Christian church universal. She continues to assist men and women of all ages and ethnicities in their spiritual journey. In her spare time she enjoys reading, pocket billiards, and bowling.

Event participation is limited. We anticipate these virtual events will fill quickly, so register as soon as possible. 

NOTE: Should an event date be sold out, you can be placed on a waiting list using the link below.



2021 Event Series Registration

Prices are per person. Registered participants will be sent a Zoom virtual conference link in advance of each event.

2021 ESDA Virtual Event (Feb)

Name/Email of Partipant Besides Yourself
Out of Stock


2021 ESDA Virtual Event (Mar)

Name/Email of Partipant Besides Yourself
Out of Stock


2021 ESDA Virtual Event (Apr)

Name/Email of Partipant Besides Yourself


2021 ESDA Virtual Event (May)

Name/Email of Partipant Besides Yourself