October 20, 2016
Bishop Julius C. Trimple Indiana Episcopal Area
301 Pennsylvania Parkway #300
Indianapolis, IN 46280 Dear Bishop Trimple,
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 a two-year Academy (#39) will be starting July 2017 in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
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. You are free to select the individuals using whatever process you wish. For more information about how this process works , see the enclosed letter.

Academy #39 begins July 23, 2017. All sessions will be at the Malvern Retreat Center in Malvern, PA. More information about the Academy, including the dates for all eight sessions, is available on our website at http://academy.upperroom.org/events/25. Additional copies of the enclosed brochure and prospectus are available online or upon request by calling 877-899 2780 ext. 7233 or emailing academy@upperroom.org


Johnny Sears
Director, The Academy for Spiritual Formation and Emerging Ministries

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