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So many of us are broken! The pressures in our lives from work, family, school, and society are immense. Economic stress, worries about health, and concern for others flood our hearts and minds. We are distracted, irritable and out-of-sorts. The pressure carries over to the church, which seems to be failing as well. We long for healing, for respite, for a different rhythm in our lives.

This was my life thirty years ago when I was in full-time pastoral ministry. While I tried to set aside time to pray, most of the time I worried. I could not get myself centered. Physical exercise, psychotherapy, vacation time play – nothing helped. Finally, I realized I needed to build a stronger spiritual life. But how? Who would help me?

It was then that I heard about the Academy for Spiritual Formation. Five days seemed like a long time to be away from my busy parish but I absolutely needed to do something! I asked for help, and my staff-parish relations committee affirmed my need. They knew their pastor needed something!

For me, the Academy was an immersion in five days of healing love. The pace, the spirit, the presenters, the schedule – all spoke to both my head and my heart. I needed to hear the gospel again for me. I needed to sit in worship and not lead worship. I needed to follow those in charge and not be in charge. And I needed to hear people share their faith so that gradually that faith could be reborn in me. It did! The Spirit of God stirred me deeply. I fell in love with God in a way I had never experienced before.                                                       Jerry Haas

NOTE: The Arizona Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is Oct. 24-29, 2021 at Redemptorist Renewal Center. Register online at https://dscumc.org/arizona-five-day-academy/

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