Upper Room Shorter Academies

August 1, 2023

For all who hunger for deep spiritual experience.


What are Shorter Academies?
(Formerly known as the Five-Day Academy.)
A “taste” of the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation, Shorter Academies (retreats lasting between Five-Days and Two-Days) invite participants to spend time apart in a Christian retreat setting with worship at the center. Each Shorter Academy asks faculty to present on a particular theme and offers participants time and space to respond to this theme through silence, written and spoken word, prayer, worship, and community sharing.

Worship shapes the heart and soul of the Academy.  Following ancient practices, the day begins with Morning Prayer and closes with Night Prayer; we begin and end each day with God.  The Sacrament of Holy Communion or Eucharist is celebrated as well, a time to "taste and see the goodness of the Lord."  The Upper Room Worship Book offers a wide variety of musical selections and liturgies that are theologically sound and appropriate for this spiritual formation journey.

Throughout the week you will meet in a small group called a covenant group.  Here you will be invited to reflect on your spiritual journey and share how God is working in you during the Academy.  As the week goes on, the covenant group can be a sacred place for spiritual growth and intimacy.

Faculty presenters are chosen for their knowledge about a certain topic (scripture, church history, prayer, Christian spirituality, etc.) and for their integrity as faith practitioners.  Their knowledge and wisdom encourage deeper faith and an integrity of witness in the lives of the participants.  Besides faculty presenters, one other "teacher" of the Academy is silence.  From the earliest days, Christians have seen the importance of silence for hearing what God is saying to us.  While new for some, many have found this to be one of the most valuable aspects of their first Academy experience.

A Typical Day...
7:30-8:00 Morning Prayer
8:00- Breakfast
9:00-10:00 Curriculum I
10:00-11:00 Silence and solitude for prayer and reflection
11:00-11:30 Plenary discussion with faculty
12:00- Lunch
2:30-3:30 Curriculum II
3:30-4:30 Silence and solitude for prayer and reflection
4:30-5:00 Plenary discussion with faculty
5:15-6:00 Evening Prayer/Eucharist
6:00- Dinner
6:45-7:30 Options or Free Time
7:45-9:15 Covenant Groups
9:30-9:45 Night Prayer
Silence is kept in the rooms and halls during the night until Morning Prayer.
Academy Participants...
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 Shorter Academies.

You are not expected to be an expert on the Bible or on Christian spirituality.  You may be encouraged to read a couple of books in preparation for your Academy.  You will not be asked to assume a major leadership role during the week.  This is your place to retreat, rest and grow!

Handicap Accessibility...
Most retreat facilities strive to be handicap accessible, though not all comply with A.D.A. guidelines.  Contact the registrar or retreat leader of a specific Academy for information about the retreat you wish to join.

Fees vary depending on the cost of the retreat center and the financial support offered by the sponsoring ecclesiastical body (Annual Conference, Presbytery, Synod, etc.).  The cost includes room, board, tuition, and fees, but not books.  Typical costs range from $575 - $875.

Certificate for Continuing Education Units (CEU's)...
CEUs are available for each Shorter Academy for a fee of $15.  A form will be available for you when you arrive at the Academy.

Shorter Academies for Spiritual Formation are sponsored by a judicatory (Annual Conference, District, Presbytery, Area, Synod) under the guidance of The Upper Room.  The Upper Room developed The Academy for Spiritual Formation in 1983 in response to a desire to help people deepen their spiritual life.
Find a complete listing of upcoming events in The Upper Room's Shorter Academies Schedule.  Highlights in the near future are:

Five Day in Pine Knoll Shores, NC and Virtual Hybrid
Fr. Ronald Rolheiser -“Spirituality: Perspective on its Meaning” and Elaine Heath - “The New Monasticism"
September 24 - 29

Four Day in Nauvoo, AL
Jerry Webber - “Engaging the Psalms for Wholeness” and Mary Earle - “In the Company of Myrrh-Bearing Women”
September 25 - 29

Five Day in Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
Rev. Hun-young Choi and Dr. Jin-sook Kwon: "Come to Me"
October 9 - 14

One-Year Online Offering
"Spiritual Formation in Today's World"
Sr. Kathleen Flood, Elaine Heath, Christopher Carter, and Juan Carlos Huertas
February 1 - October 26, 2024

Leadership Development