Prayer, worship, learning, and reflection are the hallmarks of the five-day Academy for Spiritual Formation, a retreat experience for clergy and laity that is scheduled April 29 through May 4, 2018, at Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island.
A time for intentional spiritual growth in a disciplined community of prayer, study, worship, and fellowship, the Academy for Spiritual Growth, a program of Upper Room Ministries, provides an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship with God.
The retreat is unique, however, in that its schedule and rhythm provide opportunities for introspection. One hour of silence is allotted after each of the day’s two speakers.
“Most retreats are about packing one thing after another after another and you get home and feel like you’ve drunk from a fire hose,” said retreat leader Ann Smith. “You jump back into the rhythm of home with no time to process, but the beauty of Academy is that you have time to process and reflect every day. You get to savor and digest what you’re learning and hearing and experiencing rather than it being about cramming things in.”
Designed to help attendees know God more fully and cultivate their relationship with Him, the Academy for Spiritual Formation is about transformational knowing, said Smith, who also serves as Vineville United Methodist Church’s spiritual director.
Retreat speaker Marjorie Thompson, author of “Soul Feast,” will focus on the non-dominant divine. Speaker Dr. Don Saliers, currently Theologian-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and Wm. R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship, Emeritus, will center his teaching on the retreat theme of “Drawing from the Inner Well.”
Attendees from around the country attend this ecumenical retreat, Smith says, which has been offered for more than 30 years. And while there’s plenty of time scheduled for silence and reflection, there will also be time for recreation, fellowship, sharing, and relationship building.
“It’s a place for laity and clergy to both drink from the well,” Smith said. “We’re all there on the same journey together.”
The Academy for Spiritual Formation is a program of Upper Room Ministries. Scholarships are available. Contact Ann Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or click here for details. Click here to register.