Sharon Conley Cottingham of the Upper Room Ministries, discusses the organization’s history and why it’s dedicated to helping spiritual health…
Jesuit priest and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) claimed, “There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter.” If you have any inclination to agree with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, you’ll recognize yourself as a spiritual being. We may not consider this very often—the idea that we are spiritual as well as physical. We’re encouraged to spend considerable amounts of time and money on our physical well-being—diets and workouts and beauty techniques. But caring for our spiritual well-being may feel more foreign. To tend to our spirits, we cultivate a deeper connection to the spirit-matter of who we are.
You may already have a practice of meditation or centering prayer or yoga that fosters your spiritual health. But if you are looking for more, The Upper Room is here for you. At The Upper Room, we believe our spiritual health is sustained and supported by deep connection with the Spirit, and we believe that connection happens best as we, with intention, create time and space for it.
The Upper Room was founded over 80 years ago by a small group of women in San Antonio, TX. Times were difficult; the Great Depression and two World Wars created instability and stress for many. In these tough times, this group of women wanted to encourage families to come together, to create space for quiet and connection with each other and with Spirit. They launched the idea of a daily prayer journal—one where everyday people shared personal experiences of Spirit. It was a great success, and those of you with roots in the Christian tradition may be familiar with the little magazine that grew out of that simple idea: The Upper Room daily devotional guide.
In our online bookstore, you’ll meet authors like Whitney R. Simpson who writes about how yoga, aromatherapy, and breath prayer helped heal her spirit as her body healed from a stroke and brain surgery at age 31. You’ll meet Kristen Vincent, whose spiritual connection through prayer beads grounded her in goodness and love while recovering from abuse. Sharon Seyfarth Garner will guide you in using coloring mandalas as more than just a technique for relaxation, but also as a means of deep spiritual connection. J. Dana Trent offers meditation techniques designed to weave sacred text and breath work to sustain our spirits in daily life. These and many other Upper Room authors invite you to join with them in nourishing your spiritual health.
We welcome you to stop by and meet us at Booth #2 at the Nashville Health and Wellness Fest. And we invite you to find out more about who we are and what we offer at www.UpperRoom.org.
For the past 80+ years, The Upper Room has invited people of all ages and and at all stages of the spiritual journey to do what those women from San Antonio invited people to do: create space for quiet and connection with each other and with the Spirit. Over the years, The Upper Room has become much more than a little magazine. We publish books, offer retreat experiences, and partner with a variety of authors to bring you nourishment for your spiritual health. Each book, retreat, or digital resource offers an invitation for you to create space for your spiritual health. Our roots are in the United Methodist Church, and we are particularly Christian and ecumenical (for all Christian denominations). Our purpose is to create space for you to tend to your spiritual health on your terms and in your time.