Meet our Spiritual Director

Reverend Howard Kempsell

The Reverend Howard Kempsell

Spiritual direction provides a ‘sacred space’ in which to become more aware of God’s presence and activity in one’s life; and that same awareness can be fostered and developed in small groups that are in the midst of discernment about everyday concerns and more momentous decisions. I believe in a comprehensive approach, like that of Thomas Merton who wrote in Spiritual Direction and Meditation.

There is a temptation to think spiritual direction is the guidance of one’s spiritual activities, considered as a small part or department of one’s life. You go to the Spiritual Director to have him take care of your spirit, the way you go to the dentist to have him take care of your teeth, or to the barber to get a haircut. This is completely false. The spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or the affections, or of the “summit of the soul” -- it is the life of the whole person.

A spiritual director is one who offers “kindly support and wise advice,” one who “enables us to accept more perfectly what we already know and see in an obscure way” and may help us see “things which we have hitherto been unable to see, though they were staring us in the face.” (Adapted from pages 6, 7 & 21)

An Episcopal priest with a doctorate in spiritual direction, I have made pilgrimages to ‘high’ and ‘thin’ places, including Lhasa, Tibet, Machu Picchu, Peru, the American Southwest, the Galapagos Islands, and Isle of Iona, Scotland. I am married and have two adult children. I like to fly fish, garden, read, cook, travel and spend time with my family and friends.