How is it with your soul? This question resounds throughout the Wesleyan tradition of spiritual formation. John Wesley once even equated spiritual formation with vitality and productivity in ministry when he said in an address to his earliest societies in Ireland, “…wherever [true religion] is really fixed in the soul, it will be shown by its fruits.” In keeping with this Wesleyan spirit, the recently reorganized Rio Texas Conference Spiritual Academy Council has established the definition for spiritual formation for the Rio Texas Conference to be as follows: “Spiritual Formation is the life-long process of being constantly transformed by God’s love into the image of Christ for the sake of others/the world.”  This page will feature upcoming events being planned by the Academy Council, as well as other spiritual formation events around the Conference, that will offer resources to help leaders of the Rio Texas Conference remain spiritually grounded to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The Academy Council

Offering Spiritual Formation Opportunities for the
Rio Texas Conference & South Texas Area
Chair: Rev. Donna Strieb

The Academy Council seeks to serve as a resource to support and enhance spiritual formation for both laity and clergy in our Rio Texas Conference and South Texas area through Academy Events.  The Council meets four times a year, and sponsors Five Day Academies, shorter events known as A Taste of the Academy, and partners with the Upper Room in support of Two Year Academies.  All events are ecumenical.

For more information, contact Rev. Donna Strieb at

Meet Your Academy Council 2019-2020 Members

Donna Strieb, Chair

Nancy Sherman Carter, Vice-Chair

Nancy McDougall, Secretary

Cheri Heldstab, Publicity

Judy Baumann

Taylor Boone

Dave Collett

Sandra Cranford      

Mary Faithfull, Leader 2020 Academy

Paul Harris

David Hensley

Patricia Jentsch

Paula Long

Yolanda Rivera

Fritzi Simon

Carolyn Stapleton

Janet Weatherston 

What is the Five-Day Academy®?
The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation is a program of Upper Room® Ministries, providing an opportunity for clergy and laity to draw close to a loving God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning, and reflection. Each day includes teachings by gifted spiritual leaders to deepen our walk with God, periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist, and an opportunity to share with and encourage one another. We will experience a “taste” of this spiritual program.

2020 Five-Day Academy
Leader: Mary Faithfull
February 3-8, 2020

Information about "Book list"
Contact for additional information regarding the Academy Council:
Rev. Donna Strieb
Academy Council Chair    

Help Support Laity Scholarships for Academy Events! 

The Academy Council helps provide $150 laity scholarships to interested persons desiring to attend either a Five-Day or Three-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation in the Rio Texas Conference.  In order to continue making such scholarships available, YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!

How? By making a tax-deductible donation to the Advance Special #2016 of the Rio Texas Conference. Your contribution of any amount will enable The Academy Council to offer laity scholarships to future Academy events in our Rio Texas Conference. Checks may be sent to Treasurer, Rio Texas Conference and marked Advance Special #2016 – Academy.

The Advance Special began in 1948 as an official program of the United Methodist Church, through which voluntary, designated financial support may be given by individuals or local churches for approved projects.  One hundred percent of each gift is used for its intended mission or ministry. 

Won’t you help? A gift of $10, $25, or more will enable others to experience the beauty and grace of an Academy experience!