Spiritual Direction + Accompaniment, in conjunction with Metagem Institute
Sewanee, TN 37375
This conference is for all—clergy and laity alike—who are interested in the practice of spiritual direction or spiritual accompaniment.
For those new to the practice, the conference includes an element of “taste and see” with topics such as: “What is Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment?” and “How do I discern a call to spiritual direction?” For those who are experienced spiritual directors, the conference offers refreshers and advanced topics for continuing formation. This gathering will be an excellent opportunity to connect with others who are interested in spiritual growth and transformation through relationships.
We are all called to be spiritual companions—whether formal or informal—as we walk in the way of love as Christ loved us. Join us at New Hope Bluff to further explore the resurgence of this ancient practice.
This workshop is co-sponsored by St. Mary’s Sewanee and the Metagem Institute is a nonprofit formed with the mission “to teach integrative and spiritual practices that all may be transformed in our risen life in Christ.” Metagem Institute offers a Two-year Spiritual Direction Certification Program.
Faculty members for the workshop are (from left: Monica Carlson, Beth Cook, Jeff Akamatsu, and Mary Catherine Akamatsu)
The Rev. Mary Catherine Akamatsu, AOJN is the Executive Director and a core faculty member of Metagem Institute. She received an M.Div. from Sewanee: The School of Theology and a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of North Alabama. Prior to seminary, Mary Catherine was responsible for a corporate division that delivered large scale software systems. She brings an interest in technology integration, science & religion coherence, and leadership development to her role in the church. Mary Catherine is an instructor at the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS), which prepares postulants for ordained ministry. She practices Centering Prayer, engages in dreamwork, and enjoys regular exercise. She is a Spiritual Director, trained in Jungian practices at the Haden Institute in NC. Mary Catherine is frequently invited to lead prayer retreats and workshops on integrative and spiritual practices. She recently completed a two year program under spiritual master teachers—Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley—at the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Mary Catherine is a life-long learner and gifted teacher. She is married to Jeff Akamatsu and is the mother of two young adults, Dillon and Martin.
The Rev. Monica A. Carlson is the Rector of The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Leeds, AL and a core faculty member of Metagem Institute. She is a former chair of the Diocese of Alabama’s Commission on Spirituality. Monica received an M.Div. from Sewanee: The School of Theology, where she earned the honors prize for Practical Theology. She received a B.A. from Duke University with a double-major in History and English. Prior to attending seminary, Monica lived in Nashville, TN where she worked for many years as a real estate paralegal. For several months after seminary, Monica lived with the nuns of the Community of St. Mary, where she deepened her experiential knowledge of Benedictine Spirituality. She continues to live by a Rule of Life, to pray the Daily Office, and to practice Centering Prayer. Monica is the chair of Pastoral Theology at the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS), which prepares postulants for ordained ministry. Monica has led several workshops on spirituality. She enjoys long walks and cheering for the Duke basketball team, the New Orleans Saints, and the Tennessee Titans.
Mr. Jeff Akamatsu, AOJN is an active lay minister with an interest in integrative health. He is a core faculty member at Metagem Institute. Jeff trained in The Living Compass wellness program as a Congregational Wellness Advocate. Jeff is also a Stephen Minister, an associate member of the Order of St. Luke (healing ministry), a teacher of integrative and spiritual practices, a former Education for Ministry (EfM) mentor, a vowed associate member of the Order of Julian of Norwich, and a Haden Institute certified Spiritual Director. Jeff is also an instructor at the Alabama Integrative Ministry School (AIMS). Jeff retired from a career with the federal government in human resources and from the Army as a Colonel. He is a former paratrooper, Army Ranger, Green Beret, and scuba diver. He received an undergraduate degree from West Point and a master’s in business from Boston University. Jeff is a former competitive runner who now practices yoga, bikes, hikes, and roller skates. His morning ritual includes a workout at the gym and praying the Daily Office (Morning Prayer). He and his wife, the Rev. Mary Catherine Akamatsu conclude their day with the Daily Office (Evening Prayer) and Centering Prayer.
Ms. Beth Cook is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice who has over 20 years of experience in psychotherapy. She is a member of Metagem Institute’s core faculty with an interest in the interweaving of spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of health. In 1987 after reading John Sanford’s Healing and Wholeness, Beth began what would become a life-long study of Jungian psychology, creation spirituality, mythology, feminist theology, and Christian mysticism. In 2010, Beth became a certified Spiritual Director after completing the two-year Haden Institute training program. Beth has a particular interest in working with members of the LGBTQ community and others who have experienced marginalization from traditional religious groups. A member of the Episcopal Church, Beth is drawn to practices ancient and modern from many faith and spiritual traditions including dreamwork, mindfulness, meditation, the Enneagram, Celtic spirituality, poetry, fairy tales, and the labyrinth. Beth leads Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training programs and is a co-founder of the Alabama Institute for Mindfulness (AIM). She maintains a daily meditation practice. Beth is married to Tim Cook and they have one daughter, Bailey, who attends Rhodes College.