Academy for Spiritual Formation

Save the date!

Save the Date, 2021

Arizona 5 Day Academy 2021 will be held October 22nd-27th, 2021 at theRedemportist Renewal Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Save the date, 2023

The 2023 Arizona 5 Day  Academy will be held October 23rd-28th at the Redemportist Renewal Center.

Sources of Compassion and Strength

Academy for Spiritual Formation

For all who hunger for God…

Our theme for the 2019 Five Day Academy is “Sources of Compassion and Strength.”

We come, eager to re-connect with the roots of our faith. For too long our hearts have been hardened by cynical voices around us and within.

We come, ready to learn new ways to be the people of God. It is so easy to give up on the Church.

We come because Jesus told us to: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-29, The Message)

Arizona Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation
at the 
Redemptortist Renewal Center

The Academy for Spiritual Formation offers the ancient rhythm of rest, renewal, fellowship and prayer described in Acts 2:42. Lay and clergy participants from across the theological spectrum have benefited from its ability to connect head and heart, mind and soul, old and new.

Two faculty presenters bring unique perspectives on scripture and on the mystery of life. This year’s theme is “Sources of Compassion and Strength”; the faculty are Rabbi Helen Cohn and Dr. Frank Rogers.

Rabbi Helen Cohn

Rabbi Helen Cohn is the spiritual leader of Congregation M’kor Hayim (“Source of Life”) in north Tucson. Ordained in 1994 from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (home of the Reform movement and first rabbinic seminary in the US), Rabbi Cohn felt called to the rabbinate after a long career in the computer world, training which helps her navigate the high-tech world even now!

Helen’s first call was to Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, the largest Reform congregation in Northern California. While there she met her husband Dennis, who eventually persuaded her to move to the desert, which they did in 2006.

In addition to her rabbinic studies, Helen completed a three-year training program in spiritual direction at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. She now has a flourishing Spiritual Direction practice in Tucson and works as a Spiritual Direction Supervisor. She is a popular and respected teacher at the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction.

Helen was in the first rabbinic cohort of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, an experience that transformed her approach to teaching, texts, silence, meditation, and interfaith dialogue. She is a member of Zen Desert Sangha. Her education includes a BA degree in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and a MA from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Dr. Frank Rogers

Frank Rogers is the Muriel Bernice Roberts Professor of Spiritual Formation and Narrative Pedagogy and the co-director of the Center for Engaged Compassion at the Claremont School of Theology. His research focuses on how compassion is cultivated—compassion that is contemplatively grounded, personally empowering, and socially restorative. A trained spiritual director, therapeutic practitioner, and retreat leader, he has worked in North America, Zimbabwe, Great Britain, and Israel/Palestine. He is the author of Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus; Practicing Compassion; The Way of Radical Compassion—A Curriculum; The God of Shattered Glass, A Novel, and Finding God in the Graffiti: Empowering Teenagers through Stories. He lives in southern California with his wife, Dr. Alane Daugherty, with whom he shares three young adult sons, Justin, Michael, and Sammy. With his wife, he loves to run, camp, snorkel, and follow baseball.


Please note, faculty presenters are asked to recommend two books for each Five Day Academy, one of which is a bit more accessible for the average reader and the other which may be a bit more academic.  You will find reading some of the material will make your Academy experience more worthwhile.  – Jerry Haas

Rabbi Helen Cohn list of resources:
Required Texts:
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Midrash: Reading the Bible with Question Marks
Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Tikkun Klali: Rebbe Nahman of Bratzlav’s Ten Remedies for the Soul
Also please visit and explore:

Robert Alter, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary

Additional Interpretations – both highly recommended:
Norman Fischer, Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms
Stephen Mitchell, A Book of Psalms: Selections Adapted from the Hebrew

NOT Required but excellent for literary analysis:
Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry


Dr. Frank Rogers list of resources:
Frank Rogers, Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus
Andrew Dreitcer, Living Compassion

Countdown to


Tucson, Arizona

Redemptorist Renewal Center of Picture Rocks

September 15 – September 20, 2019

Theme: “Sources of Compassion and Courage”
Faculty:  Dr. Frank Rogers
Contact:  Jerry Haas, 
Sponsors:  Desert Southwest Conference of the UMC and Upper Room Ministries


Register Here








The Day Of

A gift of the Academy is the rhythm of the day.
Each day includes about two hours of worship, two hours of lecture,
two hours of free time, two hours for meals and two hours for community.
Time for processing what we are learning and experiencing is essential for
integrating head and heart, leading to a more balanced and healthy spiritual life.

Event Details

Date: September 15-20, 2019
Location: Redemptorist Renewal Center of Picture Rocks
7101 W. Picture Rock Rd, Tucson, AZ

Predicted Weather

Temperature: 75°
Rain: 0%
Humidity: 0%
Wind: 2mph

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