Soul Tending

February 1, 2023, by Emily Penfield            From the Pastor

There are times in life when our souls feel full, and other times they feel dry.  When they are full, we can often roll with the punches and manage time in the valleys easier.  When our soul is dry, we may have less capacity to make it through the hard times, or listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit.  I’ve realized in the past couple of years that I need regular soul-tending to stay close to the Divine Life that is God.  There are many ways this can be done.  One thing I do is try to start my mornings in intentional quiet.

Last week I began a larger effort of soul-tending called The Academy of Spiritual Formation.  This is a ministry of the Upper Room.  During 2023-24, I will spend a week 8 times at Camp McDowell (near Jasper) in the Academy.  Last week was my first session.  I read 3 books to prepare for the week.  Each morning we begin with a Morning Prayer Service and each evening we end with Night Prayers.  Throughout the day there is a routine of presentations by teachers, covenant groups, meals, Holy Communion and times of silence.  During the silence, we don’t talk to anyone, but instead listen for God’s still small voice.      

My first week was very enriching, and I’m looking forward to the next week in April.  What I found at the Academy is that cell service and internet are unreliable – and it’s ok because I need to be present with myself, God and the others tending their souls.  I will try to give you a heads up when I’m going to be there since communication is difficult.  I want you to know that the Upper Room ( has many offerings for soul-tending besides this 2-year Academy.  There are shorter offerings, online offerings, and of course the Upper Room daily devotional.  Let me know if you need assistance tending to your own soul.