Spiritual Renewal for WNC Clergy and Lay Ministry Professionals

August 13, 2015

“A wheel that spins forever; a bird that never quenches its thirst; a clock that never stops ticking, an endless source of free energy. These are but the dreams of inventors striving to make perpetual motion machines, machines that can work forever without any energy input. Are these machines possible without violating the laws of physics? No.” (PhysicsGirl.com; December 15, 2015) 

Perpetual motion machines may be deemed impossible by physicists but that doesn’t stop many of us from trying to be such machines in ministry.  Jesus knew the impossibility of sustaining energy and passion for leadership in ministry without ceasing, as there are at least 14 examples in the Gospels where Jesus went away to a secluded place (sometimes taking a few of his disciples with him) to rest and pray and to seek the power that only God can give.
With this in mind, your Western North Carolina Conference Leadership Development Team (LDT) invites you to “Come Away” from the perpetual motion in 2018 and 2019 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!  Listed below are some of the best places, spaces, and opportunities to be apart with Jesus. 
We invite you to receive a grant from the LDT for the opportunity that best fits you and your needs.  We are asking for your personal investment of $50.00 to any of these offerings, and the LDT will provide the rest of the funds up to $500.00!  WNC clergy under appointment and lay ministry professionals can receive one grant per calendar year. (Please do not apply if you already received Spiritual Renewal funding in 2018.)  We encourage you, and/or your covenant group to intentionally seek God and the abundant life that only God can give and be expectant of what God will do, in and through you!  

Rest assured, life with Jesus is anything but ordinary…..and we haven’t seen anything yet!

Please submit your request by September 15, 2018, through the online request system: 

Request Funding Now 

STEP 1:  Register for your chosen Spiritual Renewal opportunity
STEP 2:  Please download and complete the grant application
STEP 3:  Upload your completed Spiritual Renewal funding application
STEP 4:  Provide proof of registration and cost
      (An invoice and/or registration confirmation will be required to process your request.)
The preference is for WNC to pay the provider directly.  If online registration is required and registration is more than $50, the Leadership Development Team will reimburse you the difference.  Please indicate this need on the application form.  If you wish to request mileage reimbursement, please include the estimated calculation.  Payments will be processed by the end of September.

Leadership Development Funds are provided through WNC local church apportionments. Funds are limited and will be made available on a first-come basis.

Spiritual Renewal Offerings for Fall 2018

Keep scrolling to view all offerings.

Upper Room Five Day Spiritual Academies 2018-19

Worship shapes the heart and soul of the Academy.  Throughout the week you will meet in a small group called a 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 Five Day Academy. A basic knowledge of the Christian faith is assumed, and so is a willingness to struggle.  Some participants may be skeptical in their faith and others may be deeply trusting; the key is a desire to grow in one's relationship to God.  Along with a mix of clergy and laity, several denominations may be represented.  All are welcome to Five Day Academies.
Additional details can be found on our 5-day academies page.
Register for the academy of your choice: http://academy.upperroom.org/events/five-day-academies

Columbia Theological Seminary

Register online in the “United Methodist” category at:
"Living Prayer: The Spirituality of Everyday Liturgy"
September 10 - October 6, 2018  (online course)
Do you seek to restore a healthy and life-giving structure of regular prayer, habitual spiritual practices, and other disciplines to nurture and grow your faith and spirituality?  If so, this online course may be what you desire!  This class will explore how and why ritual is an ordinary part of being human, and then take a look at ways we can grow spiritually, and also help congregations to grow spiritually as well. 
The textbook is You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith, which is an accessible and user-friendly guide to the relationship between ritual, worship, and love — and how Christians can use these elements to foster healthy habits of ongoing spiritual growth.
Participants will need to plan time for weekly reading and responding in discussion forums.
Come and explore this ancient understanding of desire—its metaphors, objects, promises and perils—and consider how the sages’ insistence on the value and vitality of desire may inform our own searches for personal and communal well-being.
Program Fee: $195 
"Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life"
October 4 - 7, 2018

How do I, as a Christian, enter a more intentional spiritual journey? What are the elements that contribute to a more fulfilling and enriching spiritual life? How do I find God’s call in my life?
Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life is the Spirituality Program’s foundational retreat, introducing participants to classic Christian spiritual practices. The class is open to anyone seeking a closer relationship with God, or is discerning new directions.
The journey begins with advance readings and two brief online discussions to get to know one another before arrival on the Columbia campus. The class will utilize an online course site in our Moodle learning management system. About one month before the retreat, you will be provided log-in information and an invitation to introduce yourself and engage in the discussions (one per week - on your own time.)
Program Fee: $350
Housing: Housing is available at the Harrington Center. Options include double occupancy $49.68 per person/night, tax included; single rooms $76.68 per night, tax included and Queen suites $86.40 per night.
"A Dwelling Place for God: Renewing an Earthly Spirituality”
October 18 - 21, 2018

This course is especially for those who wish to rediscover a Christian spirituality that is rooted in and integrates creation, worship, justice, and hope. Early Judaism and Christianity both understood the temple as a symbol of the whole creation, an image of heaven and earth as they were meant to be, and as the place where God’s presence was to be found. The early Christians shaped their corporate practices and self-understanding as the “body of Christ” in light of the story of Christ, which depicted Jesus’ body as a living temple (e.g., John 2:23). Images of temple and creation are found throughout the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation. How might reclaiming this material, now largely forgotten or misunderstood, provide us with models of spiritual practice and imagination for people living at the edge of history?
The schedule includes community prayers, plenary sessions, small groups, as well as free time to enjoy the beauty of Montreat. The final schedule will be posted on the course site about one month ahead of the class.  Credit towards the Certificate in Spiritual Formation will be given to those who complete the pre-and post-course assignments. You will receive the reading list in the registration confirmation email.
Program Fee: $390
Housing & Meals: At Montreat Conference Center.  The housing rate includes meals and tax/fees for Thursday supper through Sunday lunch: double occupancy $244.50 per person; single rooms $394.50.

Life Around the Table

Sabbath Life 2019 Cohort
Once Monthly, February - November, 2019
2nd, 3rd, or 4th Monday; held at Efland, NC or Snow Camp, NC
Clergypersons are invited to embody a way of life grounded in the practice of Sabbath, setting aside a time and space for renewal and rejuvenation.  Contemplative space can be hard to come by, for those in ministry. The demands of an ‘always on’ ministry are daunting and exhausting. Many clergy suffer from burnout and caregiving fatigue during their ministries.
Sabbath Life works to counter that exhaustion by offering space to ministry professionals for delight, rest, community connection, and worship. We meet together monthly in small cohorts of 10-12, to renew our rootedness in creation and in community around the table, through the spiritual practice of: work in the garden; worship, Holy Communion, and eating together faithfully; shared silence and rest; and reflection together and prayer.
More information may be found at http://lifearoundthetable.org/what-we-do-2/sabbath-life/ or by reaching out to Tracy@lifearoundthetable.org.
Program Fee: $775
A Taste of Sabbath Life
Monday, December 3, 2018
Efland, NC
A Taste of Sabbath Life is an opportunity to experience and learn more about Sabbath Life cohorts. The day is open to all clergy and will follow the pattern of a Sabbath Life clergy cohort day, beginning at 9 and concluding at 4. Our goal is to give you a taste of our year-long program, space and time for questions, and a chance to learn more about the work of Life Around the Table. 
More information and registration can be found at http://lifearoundthetable.org/what-we-do-2/sabbath-life/a-taste-of-sabbath-life/.
Program Fee: $20

Quiet Space Fridays

Second Friday of each month, 9am – 5pm
Starrette Farm Retreat Center, Statesville, NC
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
On the second Friday of each month, we offer a Quiet Day at Starrette Farm as a haven of silence where you can rest, based on the pattern of Jesus, who frequently withdrew to a quiet place to nourish his spirit.  Encounter God in community, yet alone, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the healing rhythm of sacred quiet.
Many people like to bring a notebook for journaling. We do not provide a program on this quiet day, but reading material is available.  Our goal is to provide a gentle, refreshing day so you can rest and enter silence… and hear from God.     
More information may be found at https://thelydiagroup.com/quiet-space-Fridays/, or by contacting host and registration Audrey Brendel, QuietSpaceFridays@gmail.com, 828-551-5935.
Program Fee: $25 per session.  (Multiple dates may be reserved)
Registration Details: Please request your chosen dates by email to Audrey, mentioning the WNCCUMC Spiritual Renewal grant.     

Personal Retreats

Unstructured, no program, personal retreat center.  A few of these facilities also have structured retreats which may be chosen.
Well of Mercy, Hamptonville, NC
St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, Stoneville, NC
Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner, SC
Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY

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
Spiritual directors are often found through recommendations of friends and others who have experienced that gift.  But if you have difficulty finding one, a listing of Spiritual Directors throughout the world may be found at http://www.sdiworld.org/find-a-spiritual-director/seek-and-find-guide, the web site for Spiritual Directors International.
Registration 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; the spiritual director will need to send invoices after sessions take place.

Spiritual Direction from The Mystic Soul Project

The Mystic Soul Project's Mission is to engage the wisdom, teaching, resources, and voices of People of Color (POC) at the intersections of spirituality, activism, and healing. We believe that these three components, especially in communities of color, are inextricably interconnected and each one can function in its fullness only with the full engagement and embodiment of the other two parts. POC Spirit Care Providers hold various trainings and methodologies, as well as coming from various spiritual backgrounds and disciplines. This space is offered as a way to connect those in need with those who might provide spiritual care and companionship.

Questions or ideas for a future opportunity? Contact Kim Ingram at kingram@wnccumc.org or Marsha Patton at mpatton@wnccumc.org (704-535-2260).
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.