Eastern Mennonite University

This article is from the EMU News Archive. The approximate date of publication was in November 2005. Current EMU news is available at www.emu.edu/news

Wendy J. Miller Wendy J. Miller draws from years of work in spiritual disciplines and caregiving in providing resources for a web site on "soul care."

'Soul Space' Offers Online Guidance

Now just a click of the mouse can get you closer to the space you've been seeking to create in your life and your soul.

Wendy J. Miller, associate professor of spiritual formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, is the guiding force behind "Soul Space," a new section of the Eastern Mennonite University web site that provides guidance to those seeking care for the soul. Although the content is geared toward caregivers like pastors and relief workers, the lessons apply to all.

The launch of the new web pages coincides with the start of Advent and the church calendar year: www.emu.edu/soulspace.

Content is based in part on the Revised Common Lectionary, a guide used by ministers in many Christian denominations. "I decided that rather than inventing the wheel, I would use a wheel that had been working very well through the centuries," Miller says.

She adds that content derives its form from "the rhythm that Jesus set up with his followers." In accordance with that dialogue pattern, readings for each lesson will be posted under the headings, "Coming," "Being With" and "Responding."

Miller points out that "Jesus also models this rhythm of prayerful retreat and outward engagement in his own life. It can be very helpful for people to slow down and move away from an overloaded schedule and life and open up to God, the world of the spirit, their own soul."

EMS is working to provide more spiritual guidance for those headed for, and returning from, cross-cultural service. Noting that Internet access is common in many Third World nations, Miller hopes the site can help in that work.

"Care for the caregivers has been my calling," says Miller, who for over 12 years has written articles on spiritual formation for the ecumenical, Virginia-based journal, Lectionary Homiletics, while providing spiritual guidance to many pastors.

She had thought about attempting to offer such guidance online, and discussed the idea with fellow-faculty and EMS academic dean Ervin R. Stutzman. This year, the time seemed right. Miller had retired from her position as seminary campus pastor, while continuing her teaching duties. Meanwhile, the technology (which Miller says is not her forte) had advanced to make the concept workable.

At EMS, she points out, "Students work at developing their own rhythm and role of life and prayer, practicing spiritual disciplines - personal, outward and communal. Spiritual formation is both internally and externally focused." Soul Space will be a new tool to promote that focusing.

Users are encouraged to email questions and concerns Wendy Miller at .

-by Chris Edwards, a free-lance writer living in Harrisonburg, Va.