“To ‘listen’ to another’s soul…may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.”

~Douglas Steere, Quaker

Do you desire to open yourself to know God more fully? Do you want a more vibrant faith?

Then consider spiritual direction.

Spiritual direction is an ancient Christian practice of spiritual companionship. A spiritual director is a trusted companion and guide as you journey deeper into your faith.

The Gathering Place is pleased to partner with two credentialed spiritual directors who also happen to be lifelong youth ministry workers, Marlene Frankenfield and Merv Stoltzfus. These gifted directors are not only deeply compassionate and discerning listeners, they wholeheartedly love Jesus and are committed to walking with you on your journey.

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction stems from a desire to know yourself and God more fully. Much like a midwife or guide, a spiritual director accompanies you as you seek to journey with God.

Images in our daily life have much to say about our spiritual and emotional longing, if we take time to listen.  Spiritual direction is about making the time to listen to your life, your heart, and spirit.  In spiritual direction, you will discover or re-discover ways to refresh your soul, pray, and live into your heart’s deepest desires as a follower of Jesus.

Why Choose Spiritual Direction?

Just as routine physicals are important for the body to keep healthy and strong, spiritual direction are much like check-ups for your spirit.  Spiritual direction can also undergird important junctions in life such as:

  • In times of transition, discernment or loss
  • When God seems distant
  • When life feels overwhelming
  • When sensing the Spirit’s nudge

It is important to note that spiritual direction is not therapy, but rather a spiritual companion who listens deeply and helps you discern God’s leading.

Who Should Consider Spiritual Direction?

Everyone who seeks to become more into the likeness of Christ. Wherever you are on the faith journey, you are welcome. Curious seekers, doubters, questioners, followers, skeptics or lifelong believers…all are welcome.

How Meetings Work

If you happen to live near the Souderton, PA or Lancaster, PA area, you have the option to meet face-to-face with Marlene or Merv.  However, spiritual direction can happen wherever you live, via a virtual connection. A webcam and internet connection is all that is needed for distant meetings.

A spiritual direction session generally lasts about one hour.  The first session is free, allowing you to connect with Marlene or Merv to see if it is a good fit.  Payment is on a sliding scale per session. Each director will give you details for their scale as well as the particularities on how they structure the gathering.

If you are interested in discovering more about spiritual direction, click on a profile below to connect with the spiritual director of your choice. Both Marlene and Merv are members of Spiritual Directors International, and abide by the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct outlined by Spiritual Directors International.  They treat all conversations respectfully and confidentially, to the extent of the law. Marlene and Merv are also in regular spiritual direction themselves, and are committed to deepen their own spiritual journey.

Meet our Spiritual Directors:

Marlene Frankenfield

Marlene has more than 20 years of youth ministry and spiritual formation experience.  She was licensed in 2002 and ordained in 2007 in the Mennonite Church USA.  She is passionate about working with church leaders, pastors, and young people.  She understands the joys and challenges of church leadership and how difficult it can be to stay balanced and tend to one’s own soul. Marlene lives in Souderton, PA with her husband. She has three grown children and three grandchildren.  Marlene enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golfing, biking, yoga, kayaking, and she never gets enough beach time.

Merv Stoltzfus

Merv lives in Smoketown, PA with his wife Jan.  They have one married daughter and a grandson. His responsibilities at Atlantic Coast Mennonite Conference include congregational and youth ministries…equipping, encouraging, and mentoring!  He desires to see pastors and lay leaders be successful in their ministry responsibilities, and encourages healthy practices for leaders.  Merv is energized by the joy he has experienced through the last 38 years of youth ministry.  He is passionate about passing on faith to youth and is a gifted listener. In his spare time, Merv enjoys woodworking, classic vehicles, the beach, but time with his elementary aged grandson is a priority!