Penelope Swithinbank


I am  an  Anglican priest and an Ignatian- trained Spiritual Director; an author, blogger and Pilgrim; and a wife, mother and grandmother. All in no particular order!

I have been married to my husband, Kim, for 40 years; for most of those years we have been in parish ministry, both in the UK and the USA. In the 1980’s I founded a franchise company, Bumpsadaisy Maternity Wear, and had over 70 franchisees working around the UK. Being a business woman taught me much about being in the world outside church circles.

I've had  the huge privileges of opening the US Senate in prayer, being a Spiritual Director to a wide variety of people, and speaking on very large Christian conferences.

Ordination was in 2002, just before my husband and I went to minister in a large church in northern Virginia for several years. Then I loved being an interim Rector near Charleston, South Carolina, at the Church of Our Saviour. I was Chaplain at St Mellitus in London for a few years, and enjoyed being back in an academic setting.

Latterly I was running The Vine at Mays Farm, a Christian retreat house. Now we live near Bath, where we are enjoying re-tyre-ment! (re-fire-ment?!)


  Cardboard replicas ….. having fun backstage at Wimbledon!

Cardboard replicas ….. having fun backstage at Wimbledon!

 I  have  own ministry,  Ministries by Design, and it includes leading Pilgrimages, often with Kim (see headings above for details of the latest Pilgrimages);  writing; speaking; mentoring; and I am a volunteer chaplain at Bath Abbey.          

 We have 3  married children and 6 grandchildren. A third of the family live in Virginia, USA, which means there's always a foot on each side of the Atlantic.  I love hiking and walking; reading; the theatre;  and looking after my grandchildren on both sides of the The Pond. 

Spiritual Direction



Spiritual Direction  is the traditional term for walking along side others to help them discern more of what God may be doing in their lives, to respond to him, and to help them grow in their relationship with God. It is not counselling, therapy or advice! But it is a safe place, with total confidentiality, and many clergy in particular value the opportunity to talk about and pray through either specific situations or their Christian journey in general.  

But it's not limited to clergy and pastors!  Anyone can find it helpful to meet with a Spiritual Director and have  the opportunity and space to reflect on His presence in your life. A typical spiritual direction session lasts about an hour, is totally confidential, and takes place usually once every 6 – 8 weeks, although some people prefer termly and sometimes people need once a week. Your choice!


I’m in the fortunate position of dividing my time between the UK and USA, so I'm available to meet for spiritual direction either in person in Norton St Philip, Bath in the UK;  or in Sterling Virginia USA; or over distance through Skype™ or Facetime.  I have been offering spiritual direction since I trained as an Ignatian Director 10 years ago; but prior to that I often mentored younger Christians one-on-one , and I have a life time of experience as a Clergy child, a Clergy spouse and now Clergy myself! And I've also briefly been a teacher;  and was a business woman for several years, starting and running a franchise company.  So I have a wide experience of Life! 


Usually, there is a suggested honorarium of £40/$60 a session (UK/US) as I am now self-supporting. However, I don’t want money to be an issue, so if you have a need, I simply request that you ask God what amount you should pay me per session.

If you have questions about spiritual direction, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to have a conversation with you. (see contact page above)


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I know firsthand that God can and does do amazing things in our lives. He has led me and walked with me both through valleys and on mountaintops.  I have experienced His love and goodness even in times of great difficulty, great grief and great pain. And enormous blessings too.     

Other areas of ministry


SPEAKING: I have spoken on many retreats, conferences, Quiet Days and church events and am available for preaching and teaching, for Women's groups, quiet days, and retreats, both in the UK and also in the USA, where we spend a few weeks several times a year. 

BLOGGING: I try to blog regularly on this site with a new post coming out about once every couple of months. Sign up on the blog page so that the next one will quietly slip into your inbox and you won't miss reading it.

WRITING: Following the publication of "Women by Design" I've  written for various publications, including regular Bible reading notes for Scripture Union's Daily Bread,  and magazines such as Woman Alive.

  Walking the Cornish coastal path

Walking the Cornish coastal path


A book of daily devotions for the first months after a major bereavement, which I wrote having had a terrible bereavement ( I saw my mother run over by an out-of-control car). Nothing met my need in those times of spiritual bewilderment and grief; eventually I wrote my own and it  is now available to download here.  (or use page heading at the top of this page). If you, or others you know, would find it helpful in times of need, please do use it and pass it on. 


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Ministries by Design, Lanston House, Norton St Philip, Bath BA2 7PE