The Academy Endowment Renamed to Honor John Mogabgab

Friday, June 26, 2015


The Upper Room has renamed The Academy for Spiritual Formation Leadership Endowment in honor of the late John Mogabgab, who served on the initial Advisory Board for The Academy and was the primary architect of the Two-Year Academy curriculum.


The endowment’s new name is the John Mogabgab Academy Leadership Endowment, said Sarah Wilke, Publisher of The Upper Room.
Mogabgab died in August 2014 of cancer while on staff at The Upper Room, working as special projects editor for Upper Room Books. 
“The re-naming of this endowment is in recognition of John’s contributions and dedication to The Academy over the years. His commitment to helping The Academy offer an experience of spiritual renewal and disciplined community for both clergy and laity was considerable and significant,” Wilke said.
The endowment was established in 2004 to serve as a permanent fund to attract and retain the best faculty for The Academy and to generate annual returns to sustain the ministry. Endowment returns help underwrite the expense of faculty recruitment, leadership team development, international expansion and new ministry offerings such as the “From the Well” podcast.
“This is a meaningful way to honor John’s legacy with The Upper Room and The Academy,” said Johnny Sears, Director of The Academy. “While John wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of The Academy, he was a consistent presence of guidance and influence for the ministry since its beginning.”
Mogabgab was the resident theologian on the first Two-Year Academy leadership team in 1983, and continued to serve on The Academy Advisory Board until his death – the longest continuous tenure of anyone on the Advisory Board.
“John held a special fondness for The Academy he helped to form,” said Rev. Marjorie Thompson, John’s wife. “John was delighted by the growth and impact of The Academy on church leadership. He would be humbly grateful to be remembered through an endowment to help ensure the vigor and enduring success of this life-transforming ministry.”
In addition to his involvement with The Academy, Mogabgab was instrumental in shaping the ministry of The Upper Room as a whole over the past three decades. He joined the staff in 1985 to become the founding editor of Weavings journal, and participated in the editorial committee for The Upper Room daily devotional guide throughout his tenure. In recent years, he collaborated in developing webinars and teleconferences around the Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series, which he edited. He was a mentor, advisor and encourager to staff and a leading voice in spiritual formation.
Contributions can be made to the John Mogabgab Academy Leadership Endowment by contacting The Upper Room’s development office at 615-340-7212 or online at


For additional information, contact Sherry Elliott, Executive Director of Interpretation and Development, The Upper Room, at or 615-340-7520.