By Cynthia Insko
During the first week of May I had the joy of participating in a community of a Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation co-sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and The Upper Room of the United Methodist Church. As part of the planning team, I had spent months anticipating the experience in hopes of creating a space for participants to find retreat, renewal and rest.
By the time I crammed my schedule full in April at home and work to arrange for my absence, I most certainly needed time to tend to my own soul as well!
As I greeted folks at check-in on Sunday, I began to hear pieces of their stories. Many had rushed from their home congregations and responsibilities to receive nourishment for their own spiritual health. Some had recently recovered from confining health issues and yearned for the beauty of the gorgeous setting of the Epworth Retreat Center at St. Simon’s Island. Still others had not been a part of a local church in a long while, but were hopeful to find connection and support in community there.
Some of us were clergy, some lay people. Some were Baptist and some Methodist. Some were 80 years old and others 30. We were diverse, but united by a deep yearning to know and love God more and to be with others who shared our longing.
Because I had been a part of a Five Day Academy before, I trusted that once we entered into the rhythm of the week together, strangers would become friends. Daily we shared in the praying of the Psalms, the partaking of the Lord’s Supper, the wisdom of faculty, the keeping of silence, the laughter at mealtimes, the beauty of nature and the joy of God’s presence among us.
By now we have each returned home to our work, encouraged that when we take time to be alone with God and together with God in community, the Spirit breathes new life into us.
If you are interested in participating in a Five Day Academy, check out http://academy.upperroom.org/about/five-day/.
Rev. Cynthia Insko is minister of Children and Spiritual Formation at FBC Frankfort, Ky.