A Note from Linda Holland, Director of Connectional Ministries
Years ago, when writing Grand Ole Opry ads for Martha White Foods, I promised cooks light and flaky biscuits if they would use our flour. Those radio spots probably should have included the warning, “Results may vary.”
Similarly, I could try to convince you to attend a Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation by using concepts such as peace, clarity, restoration and breathing room. While you would probably encounter those and more, God has a wonderful way of custom tailoring our experiences to meet our need for spiritual growth, and we can be thankful results do indeed vary.
My academy experience was incredible. The learning, community, worship and routine transported me from the warp drive of conference work to the timeless pace of soul work. While the weight of my burdens was not removed, it was transformed, shifted, shared. Being was again affirmed above doing, and my perspective was renewed.
While academies are open to laity and clergy, the clergy of the North Alabama Conference will be attending the Gathering of Orders and Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members during this academy.
Because the last two Five Day Academies have sold out, and our clergy will be unable to attend, my laity brothers and sisters, please prayerfully consider attending this year’s retreat, to be held be held at Camp McDowell from Sunday, October 16 to Friday, October 21, 2016. The focus of this year's retreat is God’s Welcome: The Spirituality of Hospitality, and will include faculty members Dr. Amy Oden, former Dean of Wesley Theological Seminary and Professor at St. Paul Seminary and the Rt. Rev. John McKee Sloan, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.
A program of Upper Room Ministries, the 5-Day Academy provides an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship with God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning and reflection. Each day includes teachings by gifted spiritual leaders, periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist, covenant groups and community time. Time for rest and recreation are also part of each day.