Matching Grants from The Upper Room for The Academy for Spiritual Formation


published 1/8/2018

Since 1983 The Upper Room has offered The Academy for Spiritual Formation® as an in-depth experience in Christian spiritual formation for clergy and laity.  This letter is to announce that two Two-Year Academies will begin in 2018:  Academy #40 will be starting July 2018 in Danville, California and Academy #41 will be starting August 2018 in Gallant, Alabama.   

As a way to help your Conference benefit from this unique offering, following this note you will find information about the matching grant program which will provide up to $5000 to help individuals from your Conference participate. 

The Academy is an intense two-year program which brings participants together for 40 days (5 days each quarter) for worship, silence, covenant groups and study.  Sixteen courses form the backbone of the Academy; worship and small groups shape its heart and soul.  Once called “the best kept secret in the United Methodist Church,” an independent research study funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment confirms the Academy’s effectiveness.*  Participants emerge with a deeper relationship with God, a better sense of self- and soul-care and more creativity and freedom for the practice of ministry.

While ecumenical in outreach, the Academy is Wesleyan in spirit, balancing an emphasis upon personal and social holiness. During the first year, emphasis is placed on deepening one’s life in Christ; during the second year participants are encouraged to focus on engaging the needs of the world. Disciplines of body (health and wellness) as well as mind and spirit (lectures and worship) provide renewed vitality on many levels.  

This is an expensive and time-demanding program.  That’s why we developed the matching grant program which we call Encouraging Spiritual Leaders (ESL). Here’s how it works.

We invite you to identify up to five persons in your Conference (clergy or lay) whom you feel could benefit from this program and who would be a benefit to others. After they’ve applied and been accepted into the Academy (usually routine), The Upper Room will match the Conference support up to $1000 per participant and up to $5000 total per Conference.

Academy #40 begins July 29, 2018. All sessions will be at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA.

Academy #41 begins August 27, 2018. All sessions will be at Sumatanga Camp & Conference in Gallant, AL.

More information about the Academy, including the dates for all eight sessions, is available on our website.  Copies of our brochure and prospectus are available online or upon request by emailing academy@upperroom.org
 

*Copies of the Lilly-funded research study are available from the Academy Office or from the Academy website.

 

ENCOURAGING SPIRITUAL LEADERS (ESL)

Matching grant program

Conference/The Upper Room

 

How it works:  

1.     A designated Conference leader or staff person (Dave Nuckols in the Minnesota Conference. Email dave.nuckols@gmail.com ) recruits five persons (clergy or laity) to participate in the Academy.  Conference leaders contact them and encourage them to apply for the Academy and an ESL grant.    

2.     Those interested, apply online at http://academy.upperroom.org/apply. Once admitted (usually routine), applicant notifies the Conference office to confirm their acceptance and request an ESL grant.  

3.     The Conference office conveys to the Academy office (email at jsears@upperroom.org or phone 1-877-899-2780, ext. 7226) those selected. Once Conference funds are received, The Upper Room matches the amount received from the Conference (up to $1000 per individual and $5000 total per Conference).    

 

Example:

1.     The John Wesley Conference selected five people they thought would benefit from participation in the Academy.  Those selected include:   

a.      A young, eager new pastor attracted to the “emerging church” paradigm.

b.     A lay person with years of Conference leadership, facing burn-out and needing a time of renewal.  

c.      A newly retired clergywoman who wants to offer spiritual guidance as her retirement ministry. 

d.     A pastor in mid-life, seeking to renew his call for the second half of his career. 

e.      A lay person thinking about seminary, but wanting a place to test their call. 

2.     All five apply and are accepted into the Academy.

3.     All five notify the Conference office and the Academy office in Nashville.  The Conference sends a check for $5,000 ($1000 per person), designating the five selected leaders for whom the funds are intended.  The Upper Room matches this amount ($1000 per participant) and notifies the participant.  

 

QUESTIONS         

Q.:  What if we have fewer than five?  Will The Upper Room still designate $5000 for our Conference?
A.:  No.  The maximum amount per person is $1000, so if only three are recruited, $3000 is the total match that will be dispersed.  

 

Q.: What if we have more than five?  What happens then?  
A.: Five thousand dollars is the upper limit for each Conference, however, those funds may be dispersed in amounts smaller than $1000. So if ten applied from a single conference, the match would be $500 per person.    

 

Q.:  What does the individual need to do?
A.:  The individual is ultimately responsible for their participation in the Academy.  Support from the Conference and from the Academy office represents only a portion of the total costs. It’s important for individuals to invest personally in this experience.  

 

Q.: Why is the Academy so expensive?
A.: While the Academy may seem expensive, remember what you’re getting! Retreat center costs (including room and board for 40 days) are the major portion; tuition is only $2500 (for sixteen courses) and the administrative costs of running the Academy (approximately $1300 per person) have historically been paid by The Upper Room. Every effort is made to contain costs; compared to other offerings, the Academy is a real bargain.  

 

Q.:  What does God do?
A.:  There are many stories from the Academy of surprising generosity. Returning to her local church after a session at the Academy, Susan gives a short presentation to the UMW and they respond by paying for the rest of her tuition. During the Academy, Fred’s financial needs become apparent. Participants in his covenant group chip in and pay off the balance of his account.     

 

Sample Budget   -- Academy #40

TYPICAL EXPENSES

Single

Room, board, tuition

$7995

Books

$500

Transportation

$2000

 

 

TOTAL COST

$10495

 

 

FUNDING PLAN FOR PARTICIPANT (one scenario)

 

Encouraging Spiritual Leadership grant from The Upper Room

$1000

Matching grant from Conference

$1000

Additional support***

$1500

Payment by individual (payments are spread out over 3 years)

$6995

TOTAL

$10495

 

 

Sample Budget   -- Academy #41

TYPICAL EXPENSES

Single

Room, board, tuition

$6800

Books

$500

Transportation

$2000

 

 

TOTAL COST

$9300

 

 

FUNDING PLAN FOR PARTICIPANT (one scenario)

 

Encouraging Spiritual Leadership grant from The Upper Room

$1000

Matching grant from Conference

$1000

Additional support***

$1500

Payment by individual (payments are spread out over 3 years)

$5800

TOTAL

$9300

 

***Local church continuing education funds, United Methodist Women, foundations, individuals, additional conference or district support.  Additional scholarship assistance from The Upper Room may be available, based on need. Click this link for help in finding additional financial resources.

Contact: Dave Nuckols, Minnesota Conference Lay Leader

Email: dave.nuckols@gmail.com


Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

info@minnesotaumc.org

(612) 870-0058