Monday, June 24, 2013

For 78 years, The Upper Room daily devotional guide has encouraged Christians worldwide in their personal prayer lives and spiritual walks, but it wouldn’t exist without the writers who share their stories and experiences in the pages of this “little book.” 

To cultivate writers in America and abroad, The Upper Room and its international constituents diligently work to provide writers’ workshops or writers’ days for their communities.

Upper Room writers’ workshops have been held in Bulgaria, Kenya, India and East Malaysia –– just to name a few!

Last July, the United Kingdom-English edition editor of The Upper Room, Susan Hibbins, led the first Writers’ Day sponsored by The Bible Reading Fellowship in Oxfordshire, England.

Participants explored devotional writing and learned more about Upper Room publishing processes.

“I have seen the results of the magazine in people’s lives and the difference it makes to them, and I hope to pass that on to people who write for it,” Hibbins said in an email.

During the Writers’ Day, she explained the mechanics of a meditation, the basis of good devotional writing, how to say a lot in a little and how to appeal to the senses.

“I hope they write in such a way that the power of Scripture will extend beyond their writing and reach out to many people,” Hibbins said.

For her, the highlight of the event was interacting with readers and writers for The Upper Room.

“Writing is a lonely business and it’s helpful to meet and chat with others, to share experiences and spend time with others who enjoy the same activity,” she said. “As editor, I also enjoy putting a ‘face to the name’ and sometimes meeting people who have written to me with meditations for a number of years.”

Nicola Vidamour, Russian edition editor of The Upper Room, also attended the Writers’ Day and talked about writing with an international audience in mind.

“I hope that they got a sense of being part of a community of writers and a global family of people seeking a daily meeting place with God,” she said in an email.

Participants not only reflected on their personal relationship with God during the day, but practiced putting their experiences into writing by discussing, drafting and sharing meditations.

Karen Laister, deputy chief executive of The Bible Reading Fellowship, said in an email that she enjoyed seeing people discover their creativity and be refreshed by their time to meet with God.

Several programs of Upper Room Ministries, like the Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis and the devotional guide, came together and celebrated their ministry partnerships during the event.

For Peter Richardson, regional leader for Emmaus and Chrysalis Europe, it was an opportunity to learn devotional writing techniques, make connections and tell others about the Emmaus and Chrysalis programs.

“I now see my position in the Walk to Emmaus as two fold,” he said in an email. “I'm about raising the profile of the Walk to Emmaus and now feel that I want to also raise the profile of The Upper Room devotional guide –– two parts of the body of Christ, not just the one.”

The Bible Reading Fellowship now supplies editions for every participant attending UK Emmaus walks and Chrysalis flights.

“If we can get more people using the devotional guide, then it surely follows that more people will want to contribute,” Richardson said. “More UK readers equal more UK writers.”

BRF plans to continue hosting more Writers’ Days in the future, Laister said.

To learn more about the UK-English edition of The Upper Room, click here.


Consider a gift to help grow and sustain the publishing of The Upper Room daily devotional guide in 100 countries, in 35 languages. Click here to give online today.   

Upper Room Ministries is a not-for-profit ministry unit of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church and receives no world-service or denominational funding.