Methodist Church

The Upper Room turns 70

Devotional guide celebrates 70 years of connecting people with God

FOR 70 years, The Upper Room has been bringing people together to experience Christ.

The daily devotional guide is a spiritual companion for more than 2.5 million Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully.

This year, it is celebrating 70 years of helping people make space for God in their daily lives and of teaching ways to respond faithfully to God’s calling, said the Rev Stephen Bryant, Editor and Publisher of Upper Room Ministries, a division of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church.

The Upper Room helps people focus on what is central to faith — their relationship with God. It “keeps people in touch with the here-and-now reality of God’s presence in their lives,” the Rev Bryant said.

It is unique because it is written by its own readers, including lay and clergy from around the world and representing many denominations. Thus, the devotions provide a glimpse into God’s work in the lives of ordinary people.

“The devotions come out of the real experience, needs and surprises of grace in people’s lives,” said the Rev Bryant.

The devotional guide was launched during the Great Depression of the 1930s when a group of women in San Antonio discerned, through prayer, that families needed daily worship and Bible study to sustain them. They asked their church for a devotional guide. That request inspired the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to publish a quarterly devotional booklet to be sold in the local church. It was born in 1935.

Today, The Upper Room is published worldwide in 73 editions and 44 languages. It is used by individuals and families and in meetings and other ministry settings in vastly different cultures in 100 countries. A free e-mail edition devotion is available, and it also can be read on the Internet at

The guide has lasted because it continues “being true to the intention of the prayer group”, said Ms Sherry Elliott, Director of Administrative Services of Upper Room Ministries. “Those women knew exactly what Christians needed, and we have stayed on the path and keep that at the heart of the ministry.”

On its 70th anniversary, The Upper Room is at a critical juncture in its efforts to support people’s spiritual lives. A redesign is under way to include a new cover, photos of the writers and small group discussion questions.

The guide provides a brief devotional for each day of the month, including a Scripture passage, prayer and “Thought for the Day”.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Upper Room Ministries publishes books, online resources and five other magazines: Weavings, Devo’Zine, Pockets, Alive Now and El Aposento Alto. It provides discussion space and other interactive features on web sites for each magazine.

Upper Room Ministries has developed seven events that bring people together in face-to-face communities for spiritual nurture. Among those are the Walk to Emmaus and the Academy for Spiritual Formation. All provide spiritual renewal and a nurturing of the mind, body and spirit.

Upper Room Ministries is more about building community than individual meditation. — United Methodist News Service. Linda Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tennessee.


Get your copy from CAC

THE English and Bilingual editions of The Upper Room are being distributed throughout South-east Asia and the Pacific by the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) of The Methodist Church in Singapore.

The CAC took over the distribution rights for the devotional guide in January 2003 following the closure of the Methodist Book Room.

Those who wish to subscribe to the devotional guide can contact Ms Tan Siew Khim at:

Tel: (65) 6478-4815, or fax to: (65) 6478-4816, or email: