Resilience for Activists

March 7, 2019 by Emily Snell

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 7, 2019, The Upper Room Resilience for Activists, a retreat for deepening spiritual practices that cultivate compassion and resilience, will take place at The Upper Room April 12-13, 2019.

The event, which is co-sponsored by The Upper Room and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, is designed for activists, non-profit leaders, clergy and laity, spiritual directors, and anyone interested in contemplative spirituality.

Stephen Bryant, publisher of The Upper Room, said he hopes the retreat will provide “refreshment” for “all who pour out their lives daily in service to others.”

“I hope everyone will gain insights for living in the balance between the inner and the outer journeys, discover new practices for rooting a life of outward expenditure near the stream of living water, and enjoy connection with a community of people who are seeking to live out God’s care for the world in a sustainable way,” Bryant said.   

Resilience for Activists will feature three sessions, focusing on the interwoven themes of compassion, identity, vocation, and resilience. The retreat’s thoughtful rhythm will provide participants with space for reflection and practical tools for contemplative action.

“The retreat is an effort to allow for individuals to open to spaciousness, to that direct experience of God’s presence,” said Robbie Clifton Pinter, retreat workshop leader and Shalem regional alumni coordinator.  

Sharon Conley Cottingham, director of formational learning for The Upper Room, will lead a session on Practicing Compassion, an Upper Room book by Frank Rogers, Jr.

“Imagining and helping to shape a new vision of our world is both energizing and deeply draining,” Conley Cottingham said. “It’s essential that our spirits be regularly nourished and renewed if we are to remain enthusiastically engaged over time in efforts for deep change. It’s my hope that this retreat offers both real rest and practical tools that nourish our spirits as we work for change.”

Margaret Benefiel, executive director of Shalem, will serve as the retreat’s featured presenter, with a 3-hour session to guide participants in cultivating the inner life and leading from “a core of contemplative grounding and compassion.”  

“My hope is that they will experience renewal and be re-energized for activism,” Benefiel said of her goals for those who attend. “I hope that they will experience God's undergirding support and presence and love. I hope that they will receive help in discernment about their calling.”

Conley Cottingham said The Upper Room’s partnership with Shalem brings together both entities’ historical roles as guides in spiritual practice.

“Practices of silence, mindful reading, spiritual listening, active engagement for the good of all, and the integration of doing and being name a few of the practices common to both The Upper Room and to Shalem,” she said.

Resilience for Activists is the first event the two organizations have sponsored together.

Retreat sessions include:

  • “Resilience for Activists” facilitated by Margaret Benefiel, executive director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • “Growing Compassion” facilitated by Sharon Conley Cottingham, director of formational learning for The Upper Room
  • “Remembering and Reclaiming” facilitated by Robbie Clifton Pinter, spiritual director, Belmont University professor and Shalem regional alumni coordinator

To learn more or to register, visit:

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.

For more information, contact Emily Snell, Publisher’s Assistant and Church Relations Specialist, [email protected] by calling 615-340-7250.

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