Spiritual Renewal Grant for Clergy and Lay Ministry Professionals, Winter/Spring 2021

January 28, 2021

And [Jesus] said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 
And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
Mark 6:31-32 

The WNCC Leadership Development Team (LDT) invites you to intentionally seek the presence of God in a space, and in a posture before God, that you can receive what God has to offer you, away from the myriad of needs in your community! 

COVID has been hard on leaders and many are exhausted, discouraged, and in need of time away. The LDT wants to help nurture your spirit in order to be renewed and restored in life and in ministry.  Recognizing the need to spiritually feed our spiritual leaders, the Council on Finance & Administration has approved funding for two specific spiritual renewal opportunities!  This can be done through a private, renewal retreat or by engaging with a spiritual director.  

WNCC clergy under appointment and lay ministry professionals can receive one grant per calendar year.  We are asking for your personal investment of $50 to one of these offerings, and the LDT will provide the rest of the funds up to $400!   

Funds are limited, so please apply early!

To obtain Spiritual Renewal funding, please follow these steps, submitting your request by March 1, 2021, through the online request system: 

-> STEP 1:  Register for your chosen renewal opportunity and obtain confirmation
-> STEP 2:  Complete the online request form (the "Request Funding Now" link below)
-> STEP 3:  Provide proof of registration and cost


Request Funding Now 


Please read these details about funding:

  1. An invoice or registration confirmation/email will be required to process your request.  
  2. If you wish to request mileage reimbursement, please include the estimated calculation.  (The 2021 mileage rate is $0.56 per mile.)  
  3. The preference is for WNC to pay the provider directly; travel will be paid by reimbursement to your church or to you after your program.
  4. If online registration is required and registration is more than $50, the Leadership Development Team will reimburse you the difference.  Please be sure to note this on your application..  
  5. Please be aware, the Conference Council on Finance and Administration has adopted a policy, endorsed by Bishop Leeland and the WNCC Cabinet, that a church requesting a grant from the Conference, District and even General Church agency, must be progressing toward 100% payment of all 2021 apportionments.  This applies toward churches and clergy.  If your church doesn’t meet this qualification, a grant application should not be submitted.  We are endeavoring to work with churches that are striving to meet apportionment payment goals and will consider on a case by case basis.

~ Re-Investing Local Church Apportionment Dollars into Leadership in Western North Carolina ~ 

Spiritual Renewal Offerings for Winter/Spring 2021

**  Keep scrolling to view all offerings. **

Personal and/or Renewal Retreats

An unstructured, program-free, personal retreat may be just what you need right now.  Renew your soul by journeying from your current environment into nature or a spiritual retreat center to encounter God. 

Some of our local retreat centers also offer structured programs, such as the Catholic Conference Center and St. Francis Springs Prayer Center.

Browse the Retreats for Sabbath Rest & Renewal page for options offered at multiple local retreat centers, including overnight renewal retreats, specials and programs, and virtual retreats!
We kindly request you take your retreat at a Christian retreat center to support our partnering ministries, as we will be unable to fund individually-created retreats this cycle.  

Day Retreats at Starrette Farms

Sanctuary Days and Quiet Space Fridays are both opportunities for renewing your soul away from the hubbub of life.  This might be the option for you, if you long for a retreat, but can't leave home overnight.  If you feel drawn to one of these choices, we encourage you to schedule multiple day retreats through the year.

School of the Spirit 

A one-year experience of spiritual formation in community: Five 2-day retreats in the ancient spiritual disciplines of Jesus and the early church. The focus of this structure is not on the latest fad but on centuries-old practices that will renew our encounter with Christ, grounded in the vitality of a committed community to hold each participant’s journey.  Cohort #12 is now accepting applications, and sessions run from July 2021 to May 2022.

Spiritual Direction

Thomas Merton described Spiritual Direction as, “…in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director—hidden in the depths of our soul.”
The Leadership Development Team invites you to participate in a program of spiritual direction to deepen your faith as you engage with a specialized spiritual director.  The Spiritual Director engages with the individual, not as a counselor, but as one who helps the directee hear, with a greater sense of clarity, the voice of God speaking into his or her life.  Usually the directee meets with their Spiritual Director no more than once a month.
There are a number of spiritual directors in North Carolina who give this service for free, but there are also many who have a nominal fee for accompanying individuals in their spiritual life.  WNC Spiritual Directors by Districts
Application Details: Please contact your chosen director and request an agreement indicating an anticipated number of sessions at the set rate.  This agreement will be needed to process your funding request; then the spiritual director will need to send invoices after sessions take place. 

Note: All payments must be issued by year's end, from the 2021 budget. Please plan accordingly as you schedule sessions.  

Upper Room Five-Day Spiritual Academies

A “taste” of the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation, Shorter Academies (formerly the 5-Day Academy) invite participants to spend time apart in a Christian retreat setting with worship shaping the heart and soul of the retreat.  Throughout the week you will meet in a small, covenant group, reflecting on your spiritual journey and sharing how God is working in you during the Academy.  Faculty presenters, chosen for knowledge of a certain topic and integrity as faith practitioners, will provide the primary content of your Shorter Academy. 
Find details on our Upper Room academies page, including a sample agenda, and links to register for upcoming academies.  Full information can be found at: http://academy.upperroom.org/


Questions or ideas for a future opportunity? Contact Kim Ingram at kingram@wnccumc.org or Marsha Patton at mpatton@wnccumc.org (704-535-2260).
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