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Adult Discipleship

Adult Discipleship Blog: What Spiritual Direction Is Not

9/7/2017

In my last blog posting I wrote concerning the question: What is spiritual direction? I quoted William Barry’s and William Connolly’s book, The Practice of Spiritual Direction: “Help given by one Christian to another, which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” I expanded on that definition, and I shared some of ...


Benedictine Silent Retreat scheduled for September 7-9

7/26/2017

In 1988, the late Claude Whitehead, UMC pastor, counselor and spiritual director, began the Silent Retreats at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman. Since then, Silent Retreats have been offered twice a year as a means of spiritual formation. This year, the Fall Retreat is scheduled Thursday-Saturday, September 7-9, so that clergy who are interested can attend without missing a Sunday in church.  The Benedictine Silent Retreats continue to follow the format Rev. Whitehead created. The theme of the...


New retreat format offers "Taste of Silence"

7/7/2017

If you've ever wondered if a silent retreat is right for you, there's an opportunity to find out at Sumatanga's new retreat, A Taste of Silence. "It's for those who are fearful of silence but would like to try," says Rev. Judy Shepherd, retreat leader. "It's for those who want to experience a silent retreat but don't have time, or for extroverts who hate silence but crave time with the Lord." A 24-hour experience, A Taste of Silence offers the same amenities as the full silent retreats offered...


What Is Spiritual Direction?

5/16/2017

What Is Spiritual Direction? [Jesus says,] “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 NIV) Shortly after I first began to long for spiritual direction, an imaginary picture temporarily dampened my soul’s deep longing. It was the image of a symphony orchestra. In my imagination I saw many musicians together with their instruments arrayed in sections—strings, brass, ...


40 Days of Lent: Find your own spiritual path

3/1/2017

A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino* During Ash Wednesday services on the first day of Lent, many United Methodist pastors will invite their congregations “to observe a holy Lent: by self–examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self–denial; and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word” (from the United Methodist Book of Worship). While you may be aware of this season leading up to Easter, you may wonder how you might “observe a holy Lent.” There is no one prescribed way. Instead, we...


Second Spiritual Direction Certification course scheduled

2/7/2017

Through the efforts of Rev. Mike Densmore and Rev. Denise Mullaney, the Perkins School of Theology at SMU offered a Spiritual Direction Certification course at Camp Sumatanga beginning in October of 2015. The two-year program trains clergy and laity called to this specialized ministry. As the course to draws to a close, two participants in the program were asked to share their thoughts. I graduated from Perkins with an M.Div. in 2002, so I knew first-hand how excellent the school was. A few ...


Alabama Emmaus Board sponsoring Emmaus Walk Spiritual Director training for clergy on Jan. 27

1/21/2017

The Alabama Emmaus Board is sponsoring a clergy training session led by the Upper Room on January 27, 2017.  This critical training is designed for clergy who would like to serve as an Alabama Emmaus Walk Spiritual Director. It will also be an informative session for clergy who have already served in this capacity and will provide a time of fellowship with other Emmaus Clergy members. The training will be held at Sumatanga and will start at 9 a.m. and finish by 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided by ...


Conference on Baby Boomer Spirituality will be Feb. 25, 2017

1/17/2017

On Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, Vestavia Hills UMC will host a Conference entitled Baby Boomer Spirituality — From John Wesley to John Lennon. The day will feature keynote speaker Craig Kennet Miller, Director of Congregational Development at Discipleship Ministries, a general agency of The United Methodist Church.  A specialist in generational studies, Miller has written numerous books including Baby Boomer Spirituality; NextChurch.Now; iKids: Parenting in the Digital Age; and is co-editor of ...


Adult Discipleship Team produces Advent study

10/27/2016

The North Alabama Conference's Adult Discipleship Team has created an Advent study for churches to use this year. The study is called advent[ure]: A Journey through the Christmas Story. The four-week study is based on four journeys found in the familiar story we hear, read and sing about each year at Advent. To stress the Wesleyan beliefs espoused by the United Methodist Church, the studies utilize the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, which is a method of Bible study based on John Wesley's belief that ...


Workshop offering techniques for teaching and facilitating Bible-Based groups to be August 6

7/20/2016

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. —Proverbs 27:17 Those who lead an adult small group or Sunday School class often face common scenarios such as: the participant who dominates every conversation the participant who never speaks up although others in the group know s/he has much to offer to the discussion a group/class who meets regularly but doesn’t seem to truly connect with each other a group/class who meets for years but never participates in the overall mission and ...


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