Meet the speakers for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

Meet the speakers for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

Meet the speakers for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

Submitted by Brenda Anderson-Baker

The power of the Holy Spirit is alive and at work in preparation for the first Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation in Yellowstone Conference, to be held Sept. 6 to 11 at Flathead Lake United Methodist Camp. The Academy has a long history of transforming people of faith and renewing their ministry. The theme for the Yellowstone Five-Day Academy is Sacred Stories: Listening and Sharing, with faculty members Roberta Bondi (pictured below) and Ray Buckley (pictured above).

In a recent letter to Academy friends, Roberta said: “Christianity is really quite simple when you get right down to it. Jesus only asks two things of us: to love God with our whole selves and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The trouble comes when we try to act on it. How, then, do we learn to do our lifetime’s work of loving God and neighbor?”

She goes on to say, “The Academy for Spiritual Formation is one rare place in our world where we seekers can allow ourselves to be both vulnerable and safe to begin to answer this question, not only in our heads, but also with our entire selves. At The Academy, we can truly enter into communion with the God who loves us so very much.”

Roberta is an author, speaker, teacher, retreat leader, storyteller, weaver, spinner, and beloved Academy faculty presenter. She shares the story of a loving, compassionate God in her presentations and her writing. Her recommended readings to prepare for the Five-Day include her books, Memories of God and Wild Things. In keeping with the theme of sacred stories, Memories of God shares Roberta’s personal stories in the broader context of God’s grace and love. Wild Things is a collection of poetry and reflections that tell the specific story of her grief at losing her mother.

Roberta is joined by another gifted storyteller, Ray Buckley. Ray is also an author, speaker, illustrator, and teacher who has shared Native American spirituality around the world, and is a beloved Academy presenter as well. Ray’s focus in the Five-Day will be helping people articulate their stories, discovering what can and should be shared. Ray believes that story in any culture or religion is an inviting into a connection of spirit. He notes that it’s important for “each of us to understand that our life stories need not be traumatic in order to be remarkably meaningful.”

The Academy for Spiritual Formation is a program of The Upper Room, which is a ministry of the UMC’s Discipleship Ministries (formerly GBOD). For more than 30 years, the Academy has created opportunities for clergy and laity from all denominations to find spiritual nourishment.

For more information about the Yellowstone Five-Day Academy and to download the brochure and registration form, visit The Upper Room online.

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