A program of Upper Room Ministries, the 5-Day Academy provides an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship with God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning and reflection. Each day includes teachings by gifted spiritual leaders, periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist, covenant groups and community time. Time for rest and recreation are also part of each day. The focus of this year's retreat is The Disciples' Way.
Rev. Dr. Luther Smith is Professor Emeritus of Church and Community at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, where he has taught since 1979. In 2010 he was the recipient of the 2010 Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory's highest award for excellence in teaching.
After receiving his BA from Washington University in 1969, the Rev. Dr. Smith attended Eden Seminary and received his MDiv in 1972. He received his PhD in 1979 from Saint Louis University. He has written numerous articles and speaks extensively on issues of church and society, congregational renewal, Christian spirituality, and is an authority on the teaching and witness of Howard Thurman. His current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman, advocacy on behalf of children, and a spirituality of hope.
Rev. Dr. Smith is an ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He is the author of several books, including Howard Thurman: Essential Writings, Intimacy and Mission, and Howard Thurman, The Mystic As Prophet.
Rev. Marjorie Thompson has 30-plus years of experience in retreat work, teaching, and writing in the area of Christian spiritual formation. For 12 years she served as director of Pathways in Congregational Spirituality with Upper Room Ministries. She is the author of Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life and Family, the Forming Center.
She worked closely with all facets of Companions in Christ, an innovative small-group resource series for spiritual formation. Designing the foundational 28-week resource, writing participant books and leader’s guides for various titles in the series, and training Companions trainers, she helped guide and shape this small-group ministry for more than a decade.
Rev. Thompson has served two congregations in pastoral ministry, and as adjunct faculty for six seminaries. Her educational path includes Swarthmore College, McCormick Theological Seminary, and a research fellowship at Yale Divinity School, where she was deeply influenced by her mentor, the late Henri Nouwen.
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