Joint Program for Interfaith Spiritual Direction

Starr King School for the Ministry and Chaplaincy Institute Joint Program for Interfaith Spiritual Direction

In a time when religious leadership is taking many new forms to respond to needs of the day, it is vital to prepare people for these roles who are able to mindfully respond in a broad variety of religious traditions with respect, preparedness and compassion. Both The Chaplaincy Institute and Starr King School for the Ministry hold this as a core value.

Since 2015, The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) and Starr King School for the Ministry added the Interfaith Spiritual Direction program as part of our formal affiliation. This venture provides pathways and career opportunities for students from all backgrounds who are called to provide spiritual guidance to those who are passionately seeking wholeness. This program can help students interested in becoming Spiritual Directors or students who are seeking to create their own path of spiritual leadership.

In the words of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, a consummate spiritual director, “Come, come whoever you are: wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving; Ours is no caravan of despair. Come, yet again come!”

Watch The Chaplaincy Institute video on the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Program. 

Collaborative Curriculum, Credits Awarded

Through this affiliation, ChI and SKSM agree to admit students jointly, allowing students to pursue both a ChI Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate and a SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree concurrently, with the ChI certificate as an integral component of earning their SKSM degree. A maximum of 8 credits towards meeting the requirements of an SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree will be awarded to students who commit to and complete the full ChI Interfaith Spiritual Direction program as part of their SKSM degree. It is possible that M.Div. students may be able to enroll in both the Interfaith Studies and Spiritual Direction certificates, but not concurrently and they will need to apply separately for each.

Admission and Enrollment

In the preferred and usual circumstances, it is expected and encouraged that a student will apply for joint admission prior to beginning either program. Mutually agreeable procedures have been instituted to cover exceptions:

  • If an SKSM student who has completed part of their SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree wishes to apply for admission to the ChI Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, this is possible by joint agreement of the two institutions. In general terms, this is possible only in cases where the student still needs 18 or more credit hours to complete their SKSM degree and has a clear vocational plan to become an Interfaith Chaplain. Please contact Rev. Christopher Schelin, Director of Contextual Information, for information about applying.
  • Reciprocally, if a ChI student who has completed part or the entire ChI program wishes to apply for admission to an SKSM Master’s program (M.Div. or M.A.S.C.); the student will be welcome to do so. If admitted, SKSM will specify the academic credit and a proportional tuition reduction for the part of the ChI program that the ChI student has completed.

We look forward to continuing to enhance our ability to be of service to and support those who are on the path to religious leadership.

For more information, please contact Mary@chaplaincyinstitute.org / (510) 843-1422 or Jeremiah Kalendae at jkalendae@sksm.edu / (510) 549-4704.