The Upper Room honors recently retired publisher Rev. Stephen Bryant with online global celebration, January 21.

January 6, 2021 by Sherry Elliott

NASHVILLE, Tenn. January 7, 2021 / The Upper Room / The Upper Room will honor Rev. Stephen Bryant’s retirement with an online global gathering on January 21, 2021, at 8:00 AM CST. Rev. Bryant retired on December 31 after serving 34 years with The Upper Room and Discipleship Ministries, most recently in his second term as publisher of The Upper Room.

The online global gathering is open to all via registration at no cost. This time of worship, celebration, and gratitude will be hosted by Rev. Junius Dotson, Discipleship Ministries CEO, and Rev. Beth Richardson, dean of The Upper Room Chapel, and will include staff, publishing partners from around the world, along with special guests, South African pastor Rev. Trevor Hudson and The Upper Room’s newly named publisher Rev. Kimberly Orr.

Persons interested in attending the online global gathering can register here.

Stephen D. Bryant was the world editor and publisher of The Upper Room from 1997 to 2009 and again from 2016 to 2020. He also held the position of associate general secretary for Discipleship Ministries and served on the agency’s leadership team. Bryant was hired in 1986 as the international director of The Walk to Emmaus movement and later became director of spiritual formation and team leader for all program ministries of The Upper Room before being elected as publisher.

Stephen’s vision of small groups as an essential setting for spiritual formation and his experience with both the contemplative life and working with local church leaders provided the inspiration for the highly successful Companions in Christ series.

Over the last 34 years, Stephen’s influence has shaped and re-shaped all of The Upper Room’s legacy programs including The Walk to Emmaus, The Academy for Spiritual Formation, and the Companions in Christ study series. He was responsible for launching SOULfeast, an annual event held each July at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, establishing The Upper Room’s regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa, and creating several indigenous publishing teams throughout Africa and in the Philippines as part of the agency’s resourcing plan for United Methodist central conferences. 

Stephen is an ordained clergy member of the Rio Texas Conference, where he pastored two congregations prior to coming to The Upper Room. He currently leads the Friendship Class at Belmont UMC in Nashville.

In appreciation for Stephen’s effective leadership and in honor of his retirement, The Upper Room staff and board of directors established a new fund called the Stephen Bryant Prayer and Spiritual Formation Fund. This fund will provide financial support in creating virtual and in-person events designed for pastors and spiritual leaders to support their life with God as leaders in faith communities and will create eventually a library of digital content that can support the lifelong journey of spiritual formation. This new fund will serve as an ongoing reminder of Stephen’s deep passion for teaching spiritual practices and exploring their role in the restoration and renewal of disciples and congregations. Click here to give in honor of Stephen.

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The Upper Room is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. From its beginnings as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service. The Upper Room is a part of Discipleship Ministries. Visit to learn more.

Sherry Elliott

Executive Director of Administration, Interpretation, and Development

The Upper Room

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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.” 

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