Faculty for Certification in Spiritual Direction

Nancy Kate Dunkerley, D.Min.

Nancy K. Dunkerley, a native Dallasite, is married to Michael Dunkerley, whom she describes as "the world's most patient spiritual companion." For a time, they lived on a ranch in Ellis county where they raised cattle and chickens and three children; the children are now married and parents themselves. She delights in amateur art-making, and reading mystery novels, especially those set in the Southwest. Professionally, she is experienced as a spiritual director and retreat leader as well as speaker, workshop presenter and Christian educator. Particular interests are the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and Ignatian spirituality, contemplative prayer in many forms, spiritual formation through the Scriptures, ministry for the Christian journey, and the spirituality of ministers, both lay and ordained. Her recent programs about art and spiritual journaling have a wide following. She holds a Doctor of Ministry from Perkins School of Theology and is an experienced trainer of spiritual directors.


Ruben Habito

Ruben L. F. Habito, a native of the Philippines, is Professor of World Religions and Spirituality, and Director of Spiritual Formation at Perkins School of Theology. He has also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2005-2008). Before coming to Perkins in 1989, he was a member of the Society of Jesus for twenty-five years, and taught at the Jesuit-administered Sophia University in Japan. 

Habito completed his Master of Arts and doctoral studies in Buddhism at Tokyo University and Licentiate in Sacred Theology at Sophia University in Tokyo. He is the author of numerous books in Japanese and English, including Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible (Orbis 2017), and Zen and the Spiritual Exercises (Orbis 2013). He also serves as Guiding Teacher of the Maria Kannon Zen Center, and resides in Dallas with his wife and two sons.

Joe McHugh, B.A., M.A., M.Div.

Joe McHugh is a seasoned retreat and spiritual director with a unique blend of experience in religious, educational, consulting and corporate environments. A former Jesuit priest and Trappist monk, Joe held senior positions with two global consulting organizations. He graduated from the University of Detroit and earned an M.A. from Columbia University and an M.Div. from Woodstock College. After work at Chicago’s Jung Institute, Joe trained as an executive coach at the Center for Character Based Leadership. A certified personal trainer, Joe writes frequently for the National Catholic Reporter, America, and the Business Journal. Joe is the author of the book Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places (Franciscan Media 2013).

Jana Rentzel, PhD.

Dr. Jana Rentzel is a psychologist, teacher, and spiritual director. With a Master’s degree in PsychoSpiritual Counseling and a PhD in Spiritual Psychology, she earned a Certification in Spiritual Direction from the SMU Perkins School of Theology. Jana has served as a chaplain resident for Baylor University Medical Center and as a hospice counselor for Vitas Healthcare in Dallas, Texas. In private practice for the past 25 years, Jana specializes in spiritually-based counseling and spiritual direction that provides her clients and directees with the opportunity to develop psychologically and spiritually, to flourish and be enriched in their outer and inner lives, and to be healed in the broadest, deepest sense.

An avid meditator for nearly 40 years, Jana has trained extensively in Tibetan Buddhist practices and Christian contemplative prayer. She leads online meditation sessions every week and teaches online classes in centering prayer.

Jana is married with three stepdaughters, six grandchildren, and two highly entertaining golden-doodles.

You can learn more about her at www.JanaRentzel.com.

Rev. Lillian Smith, M.Div., D.Min.

A second career pastor, the Reverend Lillian Smith was ordained in the Presbyterian Church, USA in 2011. She earned a Master of Divinity with a Certificate in Pastoral Care at Perkins School of Theology, a Degree in the Art of Spiritual Direction (DASD) at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and studied supervision with Together in the Mystery. She is continuing her studies at Perkins in the Doctor of Ministry program with an emphasis in spiritual formation. Lil spent three years in pastoral ministry at Highland Springs Senior Living in North Dallas.  In 2015 she became a part-time Parish Associate of Spiritual Life at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church in Richardson. As a retreat leader, spiritual director and supervisor Lil shares with others her passion for the Christian spiritual life. She is active on the Board of Directors for Spiritual Ministries Institute, in the Richardson Interfaith Alliance (RIA) and on the board of Compassionate DFW. Lil has been married to her husband, Greg, 25 years. They have three children, Will (21), Ali (18), and Dean (16). She loves to play tennis, cook, swim, create new things, and take walks with her family.

James Woods, MTS, D.Min.

James Woods is a bi-vocational pastor within the United Methodist Church, appointed to First UMC McKinney, Texas since 2013. He simultaneously maintains a position as a business leader within a multinational conglomerate. James is a four-time graduate of Southern Methodist University, holding two degrees from the Lyle School of Engineering, as well as a Master of Theological Studies and the Doctor of Ministry from Perkins School of Theology. Spiritual formation and the life of the mystics are James’ central areas of interest and pursuit, and his primary charge as an associate pastor is direction of the Center for Transformative Prayer—an institute whose mission is to expose parishioners to the contemplative aspects of prayer and the faith walk, facilitating a deeper experience of life in the Spirit.

James has been an avid martial artist for over 40 years, currently teaching and practicing aikido. He also enjoys visiting churches and bookstores in his travels with his wife Mia, talking Star Wars with his three children, James, Daniel, and Phoebe, and running trails with his black labs, Shadow and Pepper.