Spiritual Direction

Spiritual directors are listeners. Theirs is a ministry of hospitality – holding space for each individual – listening in a spirit of compassion and love. They are contemplative and compassionate sojourners exploring the questions and stories we bring to God through caring questions, scriptures, silence and prayer.  During meetings with a spiritual director, careful attention is paid to the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Spiritual directors are companions who support the unique spiritual journey of every individual. They help us identify and respond to the presence of God’s grace in our lives. They are welcoming and present with those they companion, listening and responding without being judgmental.

 

Spiritual direction is an ancient practice rooted in Holy Scripture and contemplation. Beginning in the fourth century, people sought spiritual guidance with the early Christian monastics in the deserts of Palestine and Egypt.  This practice has continued until today.  Although there are some similarities to counseling and coaching, the primary difference is that the focus of spiritual direction in on a person’s relationship with God.

 

Spiritually, we cannot make it through the desert or across the frontier alone, but must depend on the kindness of strangers. Yet those strangers upon whom we depend are not really strangers, but our sisters and brothers in Christ. They are the hosts, the givers of hospitality, who sustain us on the journey, our spiritual friends and directors …         

 Margaret Guenther in her book Holy Listening

Deacon Kelly Jensen

For the past 25 years I’ve enjoyed ministry leadership in a variety of settings.  Throughout this time, the listening skills I honed through spiritual direction training have enriched my relationships with congregation members, young people, spiritual friends, co-workers and volunteers.  As an intuitive listener, I often assist people through processes of discernment. One of my greatest joys in ministry is accompanying people through moments of spiritual revelation and growth.  I am passionate about helping people live life to the fullest possible measure.

I live in Wisconsin with my husband Travis and son Jonah.  Our oldest son lives in Fort Worth, Texas working for the United States Air Force.  We live on a family farm with three dogs and three horses.  I enjoy hiking, kayaking, writing, riding horse and traveling.  I’m a passionate Green Bay Packer Fan.  I’ve visited the Holy Land (Israel and Palestine,) walked part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and swam with dolphins in Mexico.

 

Credentials

  • Ordained Deacon in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Spiritual Director trained at Center for Spiritual Direction Training Program, St. Paul, MN
  • Master of Arts in Religion and Theology, United Theological Seminary, New Brighton, MN
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI

Ministry Experience

  • 17 years of experience in Youth and Family Ministry
  • 4 years working as a Church Programs Specialist with Lutheran Social Services
  • 4 years of experience as a Campus Minister
  • Retreat Leadership, Public Speaking, Writing, Mission Trip planning and implementation

Karna Marks

For the past 19 years, it has been my joy to partner with the people of Immanuel in Pepin, WI, a beautiful little village in Mississippi bluff country, a congregation in the Lutheran tradition with the gifts of individuals from many different faith backgrounds.

I come to spiritual direction and coaching out of a spirit of gratitude. I was not a pastor at Immanuel very long, when I realized that, in the midst of a busy life in parish ministry, I needed space to reflect and think, create and clarify goals, and find ways to be a creative, responsive partner in ministry and leadership.

I am forever thankful for a team of faithful people who challenged and supported me, asked hard questions, prayed with me, and encouraged me to be authentic, and have fun along the way too — a spiritual director, Sister Monica Mai, a mentor, Pastor Marshall Hall, and a coach, Dr. Larry Foster. They introduced me to a life giving way to live, lead, and learn! Always thankful for the grace that lights the way, I continue to explore balance, mindfulness, and living with good courage. I am thankful for the work of Dr. Brené Brown, family systems theory as a lens for understanding, contemplative prayer practices – and my treadmill!

I’m married to Steve and we have two grown children, Dylan and Karolina. We love spending time with family and friends, riding our tandem bike, reading good books, and chasing after our dogs, Scout and Jem.

Credentials & Ministry Experience

Credentials

  • Mayo Certified Wellness Coach
  • Spiritual Director, Christos Center for Spiritual Formation, Lino Lakes, MN
  • Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown
  • MDiv, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • BS, Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN

Ministry Experience

  • Parish Pastor for 19 years
  • Retreat Leadership, Holden Village, Chelan, WA
  • Retreat Leadership, Koinonia, Highland Lake, NY
  • Luther Seminary, Alumni Council
  • Writer, Daily Text, Mount Carmel Ministries, Alexandria, MN
  • Coach, Healthy Leaders Serving Healthy Congregations, NW Synod of Wisconsin