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Responding to a World in Crisis

October 13, 2020 by Stephen D. Bryant

May this message find you and your loved ones safe and healthy. The Upper Room staff continues to hold you close during this unsettling time of global pandemic, racial injustice, and political unrest. Like the children of Israel, laboring through mud and wilderness, together we will make a way forward with God’s help. I’m certain that better, more promising days lie ahead.

Since the onset of COVID, we have helped thousands of pastors provide access to the devotional guide when churches were unable to gather. We’ve ramped up our online resources, including Morning Prayer on Facebook and free eCourses to keep people connected during social isolation. Our prayer center volunteers offered comfort, responding to every concern posted on The Upper Room prayer wall. When the printer shut down before the Braille edition was completed, we offered a call-in phone meditation for visually-impaired readers. And our flagship programs, Emmaus Ministries and The Academy for Spiritual Formation, provided opportunities for their communities and groups to connect online.

In addition, we are offering needed spiritual resources for overcoming racism. The Upper Room’s very name is an inspired response to the story of Pentecost—God’s vision of a new kind of community that is international, interracial, and interdenominational. We are committed to the formational work that is necessary to create a kind, just world. We will use our website and publishing ministry to amplify the voices and stories of those most impacted by racial injustice.

The challenge, or rather the invitation, is to make The Upper Room more flexible, as the situation requires, for offering daily prayer practices and formational experiences, and more adaptable so that we remain relevant and accessible to our global family. It’s a challenge that involves critical thinking, continuing innovation, and significant investment.

Our plans include developing more spiritual formation content for online access, creating a robust eLearning platform, expanding print and digital distribution options for the daily devotional, designing virtual and/or hybrid expressions of Emmaus Ministries and The Academy, improving our website for a better customer experience, and listening and engaging with church leaders and donors, who always provide sound feedback and needed encouragement.

This is why I’m turning to you today. We need your help so that we can be on the right footing to respond to future needs and crises. Please consider making a gift to our crisis impact fund, which allows this important work to continue.

There’s more to do, and we are prepared for the task. Thank you for your support as we navigate this journey ahead as spiritual companions.

Rev. Stephen D. Bryant serves as the publisher of The Upper Room.

Your gift to the crisis impact fund will allow The Upper Room to respond quickly and faithfully to spiritual needs in uncertain times.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.