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Spring 2019


News and Updates for Friends of The Upper Room

Fellowship Focus When you


to The Upper Room, you practice “active helpfulness,” being Christ’s presence to people around the world, enabling and encouraging them to grow in their faith. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and for your partnership in ministry. In 2018,

7,168 of you gave


to support the ministries of The Upper Room.

To Be Christ’s Presence Stephen D. Bryant, Publisher, The Upper Room

During Holy Week several years ago, my family and I were in a car accident far from home. Strangers came to our aid, letting our need interrupt their plans, caring for us and sharing our burden. Looking back, we give thanks to God for how fortunate we were. One woman who stopped offered to take care of our little dog, returning him to us at the end of the day at the hospital several miles away. It was a little thing. And yet her availability to our need, even in a little thing, despite her having other plans, makes her stand out in our memory as a kind of saint. In Life Together: The Classic Explorations of Faith in Community, the late Dietrich Bonhoeffer explores the mystery of Christ’s being present to us through one another, commending a ministry of “active helpfulness. . . . We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God . . . [It] is part of the discipline of humility.” Have you noticed that the Resurrection stories are all about interruptions? Luke tells how the risen Jesus “came near and went with” two despondent disciples as they walked to Emmaus, “but their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16, NRSV). John reports that the risen

Steve and Pepper

Jesus comforted a grieving Mary and reawakened her faith, though “she did not know that it was Jesus . . . Supposing him to be the gardener” (John 20:14-15). This year I pray for the grace and humility to be Christ’s presence to others. Easter promises not only the gift of Christ’s presence to us but the privilege of being Christ’s presence for those in need of a helping hand.

The Birth of a New Edition We welcome El Cenacle, the Catalan edition of The Upper Room daily devotional guide. El Cenacle began with the January/February 2019 issue and is available in five formats—print, mobile app, email, web, and audio/MP3. It is the daily devotional’s 35th language edition. Because of generous donors like you, its publication is made possible. Now people in Catalonia can read The Upper Room in their native tongue. You made this happen. Thank you!



PO Box 305150 • Nashville, TN 37230-9891

Donors Make a Difference The Academy for Spiritual Formation Participating in The Academy for Spiritual Formation changed everything for burnt-out church planter, Ben Yosua-Davis. Leaving Session One of Academy #39 in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Ben found himself saying again and again, “If only I had discovered space like this when I started church planting!” In an email to Academy Director, Johnny Sears, Ben writes: “The Academy teaches a special attentiveness to the presence of God, gently brings people out of their roles and into themselves, and gives them a moment to breathe in Spirit through a rhythm of silence, learning, and prayer in ways that help set life-giving patterns for the rest of their lives.”

Name: Joy Love Johnston Hometown: Fithian, IL Year of First Gift: 1991 Giving Fund: Fellowship Ministry General Fund, Chaplains’ Ministry, International Editions, Living Prayer Center, and Braille edition Ms. Johnston turned 97 in January and has been teaching first- and secondgrade Sunday school for 66 years. The children in her church love to sit beside her because she gives them “wiggle pills”—M&M’s or other candies. It helps to keep the children quiet during the service; but most important, it fosters a beautiful relationship between the little ones and this remarkable lady. When asked why she gives to The Upper Room, Ms. Johnston said: “I love the Lord, and I love to give. The Upper Room daily devotional is very inspiring, and I read it each day.”

Ben, who also serves as the worship leader for Academy #39, prays that all who hunger for this kind of deep, spiritual experience will find their way to The Academy, rooting people everywhere, as deeply in the joy of the Spirit as it has done for him. Generous donors like you help people like Ben find at The Academy for Spiritual Formation the space they need to listen to the life-changing voice of God. Thank you!

The Academy for Spiritual Formation®

Her niece, Judy Corbin, adds, “My aunt faithfully supports Christian ministries. She truly lives up to her name, ‘Joy Love.’”

Name: Nanci Lamar Hometown: Mt. Juliet, TN Year of First Gift: 2017 Giving Fund: Braille edition Nanci is the Director of Production at The Upper Room, but what is little known about her is that she is the principal donor to the organization’s Braille ministry. This is why she gives: “The Braille edition holds a special place in my heart because of a relationship I had through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I was matched with “Kelly” for four years, and her mother was blind. Later, through Girls Scouts, I worked with the Tennessee School for the Blind. Just being exposed to their experiences has led me to support our ministry of providing The Upper Room in Braille. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to talk to our Braille subscribers and they are eager to tell me how much they enjoy reading the daily devotional. Giving is a small way I can be a part of keeping this ministry alive.”

The Upper Room prints


Braille editions per issue. Each issue costs The Braille edtion


to print. Your gifts are needed to keep this valuable ministry going.

Will you consider giving today?

2 | Your gift helps people find hope and encouragement in God’s love. Give today at

From Brazil with Love In less than 45 days, the dedicated team of Brazil’s Angular Communications translated, produced, and printed Companions in Christ in Portuguese. And YOU made this happen. Companions in Christ, commonly known as Companions, has been a highly-successful Upper Room resource for small groups. It has transformed thousands of lives. Because you care about the global family in Christ, your Portuguese-speaking brothers and sisters in Brazil can experience this life-changing discipleship program. And the effects of your generosity will extend beyond Brazil—to the other side of the world.

Become a Fellowship Circle Member Have you made a one-time gift or regular gifts to The Upper Room? Consider joining the Fellowship Circle, a giving circle of friends who support the ministries of The Upper Room by donating monthly. Designate your gift to your favorite Upper Room ministry.

Angular has offered to help The Upper Room make Companions available to people living in other Portuguese-speaking countries, many of them located in Africa. “We will deliver the product ready to be printed there. The greatest investments are financial and human ones. . . . We will go beyond borders together,” explained Pastor Emilio Fernandes, the editor of Angular Books. “Together” includes you. Thank you for helping Pastor Emilio and his team meet the spiritual needs of Portuguese-speaking people around the world.

To help celebrate Emmaus Ministries’ 40th anniversary, we are launching the 40 for Emmaus giving campaign, inviting donors to give $40 a year for five years. The money will go towards the Emmaus Ministries’ operating fund, the financial backbone of the ministry. Your gift will ensure that the day-to-day operations will remain fully functional, including the updating and upgrading of program materials and the ongoing development of the new community management system, Ministry Manager.

Will you join the “40 for Emmaus” team?

The Living Prayer Center

Top Donor Award The 2018 “Top Donor Award” for the United Methodist Men went to the Western North Carolina Conference. The UMM play an integral role in the ministry of The Living Prayer Center by raising funds and by providing prayer advocates. The Western North Carolina Conference raised $2,200. Featured L-R are Henry (Hank) Dozier, SEJ President; William O. Waddell, Western NC Conference President; Richard (Dick) Strachan, Men’s Ministry Specialist; Migidel Peréz, Manager of The Living Prayer Center; and Sherry Elliott, Executive Director of Development. Not pictured, Don Miles Hyler, Western NC Conference Prayer Advocate.

Return your donation in the enclosed envelope or give online at | 3

Discovery Weekend Makes Waves Discovery Weekend, a spiritual formation retreat for middle schoolers that is led by high schoolers, is making waves. Because of your generous support of the Upper Room’s Youth Ministries Fund, countless young people are growing in their walk with Christ. Tatum Keel Discovery Weekend high school leader

“Discovery Weekend was an incredible opportunity and a great learning experience. I got to see the kingdom of God work within all the kids, which showed me how present Christ is throughout our lives and the amount of love and forgiveness that can be found in others.” Connor Edwards Discovery Weekend attendee

“Discovery Weekend helped me get to know students in other grades, and it encouraged us to share diverse thoughts in our groups.”


What the Bible Can Teach You About Yourself Angela D. Schaffner

Comprised of compelling, relatable stories, Revealed takes an in-depth look at well-known biblical characters and explores ways readers can relate to these cherished stories in their own spiritual lives. To find out more or to purchase the book, visit

We are grateful for you! As a part of our donor family, you make possible the many ministries of The Upper Room: the Chaplains’ Ministry, the international and Braille editions of The Upper Room, The Academy for Spiritual Formation, the Emmaus Gift Fund, Discovery Weekend, The Living Prayer Center, and various other ministries of The Upper Room. We thank you!

In 2018

7,168 of you donated, giving a total gift of $718,644.

For 2019

our goal is to have

7,500 $855,650

donors and to raise a total of

to ensure that these life-changing ministries continue. Will you help us by giving again or giving for the first time? The Upper Room covers all its ministry expenses from product sales, participants’ fees, interest income, and the generous support of donors. We do not receive any apportionment funds from The United Methodist Church or any other denomination. Donations are needed to help sustain and expand the reach of our ministries so others may experience God more fully.

4 | Your gift matters. Give today at or call 1-877-899-2781, x7212.

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The Upper Room Fellowship Focus • Spring 2019  

News and updates for the friends and supporters of The Upper Room.

The Upper Room Fellowship Focus • Spring 2019  

News and updates for the friends and supporters of The Upper Room.

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