The Guild for Spiritual Guidance


Morton T. Kelsey (1917 - 2001)
Founding Member

What is a Guild?

A Guild from medieval times to the present day is an organization with a unique purpose and outreach.  Traditionally, the goal was to learn a trade such as masonry or carpentry, to become skilled in this work and, eventually, to pass on the knowledge and proficiency learned to others interested in following a similar vocation.

The apprentice was under the tutelage of a Master, who mentored the individual for as long as it took to become skilled. Finally, the apprentices became, over time, Masters for others. To become a member of a Guild with others of the same persuasion brought with it responsibility, respect, and privilege in the community

"So, as we chose to become a Guild, it seems appropriate to tell our story often, lest it be forgotten.  The first gathering was based on a spiritual format on a program that Morton Kelsey tried to introduce as a part of the curriculum to several seminaries to no avail. Not one seminary at that time was willing to even consider adding a spiritual dimension to their program.  So, Morton came to Wainwright House in Rye, NY, where he found enthusiastic support.  In 1977, about thirty individuals of varying religious persuasions –John Yungblut, Douglas Steere, John Oliver Nelson,  Madeleine L’Engle, Cora Brady, Henri Nouwen, and Walter Wink, to name but a few – met to discuss the feasibility of a spiritual program at Wainwright House. Once it was decided  to create a two-year program, John Yungblut was chosen as its first Director.  I was invited to become the Coordinator. Colman Ives, Polly Wiley, Alfred Sunderwirth, and John Hewitt held various positions and part of the first Steering Committee/Advisory Board. Gradually the major strands began to emerge and in time John Oliver Nelson suggested we call the program, The Guild for Spiritual Guidance."