Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is a program of Upper Room Ministries, providing an opportunity for clergy and laity to tune their hearts toward God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning and reflection. Each day includes teachings by gifted spiritual leaders to deepen our walk with God, periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist and an opportunity to share with and encourage one another.

When will the Academy be held? The next Academy to be held in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will be April 23 to April 28, 2017 at the Lake Williamson Christian Center in Carlinville, IL.

What does it cost? if you register by March 6, 2017, the cost is $675 and if you register after March 7, 2017, the cost is $700.00. The cost includes tuition, room and board and all meals for the week. Rooms are single occupancy with private baths. The cost does not include the books which  will need to be purchased and read before the Five Day Academy. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of registration. Registration deadline is April 3, 2017.


Luther E. Smith, Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Church & Community at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. He writes and speaks extensively on issues of church and society, congregational renewal, interfaith cooperation, Christian spirituality, and the thought of Howard Thurman. Dr. Smith if the author of Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet (Friends United Press), Intimacy and Mission: Intentional Community as Crucible for Radical Discipleship (Herald Press), and editor of Howard Thurman: Essential Writings (Orbis Books), and The Pan-Methodist Social Witness Resource Book  (A.M.E. Publishing House). He is Senior Consulting Editor for the forthcoming five-volume publication of the Howard Thurman Papers Project. Dr. Smith is Coordinator for the "Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty). He is an ordained minister of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and has taught for over 20 years in both the two-year and five-day Academies for Spiritual Formation.

Kathryn Damiano is a Quaker and lifelong contemplative. As a teacher of in-depth spiritual life studies and retreat leader, she sees her ministry as working for peace and justice through spiritual formation. Kathryn has been a spiritual director for 33 years and has served in this capacity at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation. She co-founded The School of the Spirit, a two-year offering, similar to the Academy for Spiritual Formation in which she has taught for several years. Her formal training consists of a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary (United Methodist), a Masters in counseling psychology, an internship in spiritual direction at the Jesuit Renewal Center, and a Ph.D. in spiritual theology. Kathryn moved from Philadelphia to Wichita, Kansas, 15 years ago to join the Friends of Jesus Community. Their ministry was living in a low-income area of the city to be a presence to promote interracial reconciliation. Presently, she and her husband live in a solar home for which they did most of the construction and Xeriscaping (using drought resistant native plants). Kathryn also seeks deeper solitude and prayer in her new off-the grid tiny house, located on a wind and bison ranch.

Does the Five-Day Academy qualify for continuing education? Yes. If you choose to seek credit, you will be provided with the necessary form to be signed by the faculty. A commitment to full-time participation by all participants is expected.

For more information: 2017 Five Day Academy Brochure