PRESS RELEASE | By Jerry P. Haas

When the pandemic crisis hit, many of us were stunned into silence with the loss of social freedom, the threat of infection, as well as concerns about friends and neighbors. The killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed heightened our need to “find our voice” as we listen more deeply to God’s call on our lives. In response, the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church and The Upper Room are offering an online guided retreat for lay and clergy to move us from silence to prayer and to witness.

Organized by members of the Academy for Spiritual Formation Council, the retreat will be led by Robin Pippin, a highly-regarded editor, and consultant in religious publishing recently retired from The Upper Room. Ms. Pippin has led writing workshops and retreats all over the world, including numerous visits to Africa. She has encouraged the writing of lay and clergy of all ages and cultures, working with beginning writers as well as published authors. A trained spiritual director and graduate of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, Robin sees her work as a ministry to help others develop their ministry through writing. Her last assignment before retiring in December 2019 was to work with Bishop Bob Hoshibata to develop a prayer resource for the now-delayed General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The retreat begins via Zoom on Friday, November 13 at 7:00 pm with worship, presentation, and break-out groups, concluding that evening with night prayer at 8:30. Saturday’s morning session is from 9:00 to 10:30 am, followed by a long break for writing and for lunch. The afternoon session is from 1:30 to 3:00, concluding with worship. 

All are welcome to attend. Registration is $30. You can register by using this link. If you are interested in receiving one-half CEU, the fee is an additional $2.50. The registration deadline is November 3rd at midnight.  Because this event is being promoted through The Upper Room as well as the Conference, we anticipate we will have participants from across the country as well as overseas. In fact, we already have people New York, California, Minnesota, and Illinois joining us! There should be room for everybody, however; our Zoom capacity is 500!

To help you prepare for this retreat, a short video will be sent to you about a week before the retreat starts. We will also have a Zoom check-in on November 12 for those of you who want a little more training as to how to use this technology.

Leadership for this retreat includes Jerry Haas, Retreat Leader; Judy Boroto, Logistics Coordinator; Beth Rambikur, Worship; Gail Parson, Hospitality; Cynthia Holly, Registrar. Our thanks to Susan Brims and Christina Dillabough for their guidance and support.

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