Celebrating 3 years on Lancaster Ave

It was three years ago this month of May that the Spiritual Renewal Center moved from its long-term location on Court St. to our present site on Lancaster Ave. The move has proved providential in so many ways as staff and participants at the Center have enjoyed the beautiful and easily accessible new space. The ministry has grown considerably in this short time, and God continues to richly bless our work and render it fruitful.

I am well aware that nothing at all could happen without the generous support of all of you, who have believed in this ministry and helped us grow over now 38 years and counting. In this season of renewed life, I pray that you might enjoy the Presence of the Risen One who is our joy!

Please, continue your kind partnership with the Spiritual Renewal Center by sending your gifts online.  I am deeply grateful to all of you!

Do you love books?   

student-849825_1920The Center is engaged in two new exciting projects: digitizing our entire library’s catalog and developing audio and video content for the Internet.  But we need YOUR help – here’s how:

The Library Project:

We are barcoding and scanning all of our titles. Among other benefits, this will enable anyone to search our catalog 24/7 via the Internet.  But it’s a time-consuming process!  We’re looking for volunteers (we’ll train you!) who can offer to help on one of the following weekly time slots:  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday mornings, 9 a.m.–12 noon, or Tuesday afternoons, 1–4 p.m.



If you can assist us with the project — or want to learn more — contact Jim Krisher at mail@spiritualrenewalcenter.com  or 315.472.6546.

38 years + 10,000 books: Transforming Our Library

Dear friends,

glasses-850195_1280The lending library of the Spiritual Renewal Center began quite spontaneously.  Bob Reschke, an early supporter and friend of the Center, came by with a small box of spiritual books from his bookshelf at home. “I thought maybe some visitor might like to borrow one of these to read – I’m glad to share.” That was September of 1978, soon after we’d first opened.

Now 38 years later we have over 10,000 books, a magnificent resource for anyone seeking to grow in their relationship with God. And currently we are engaged in a massive upgrade to our library system that I want to make sure that you know about.

We have begun a process of barcoding every volume in the library, converting from Dewey Decimal System to Library of Congress cataloging, computerizing the procedure for borrowing and tracking books, and uploading our entire database of books to cloud storage. When this project is complete – which will take a number of months – you will be able to access our library online through our website using any computer or mobile device, search for titles or authors or subjects, and reserve books for pickup. The new system will make library work a lot easier for our staff and dedicated helpers, and hopefully introduce lots of new people to this remarkable collection!

I’m so grateful to master librarians Aaron Neslin and Molly Wilber, who are generously donating their knowledge and experience and time to oversee the transition and help make it happen. My thanks also to the many volunteers who are working with them!

A first-class lending library is just one facet of what the Spiritual Renewal Center provides to the People of God in central New York and far beyond. This newsletter is filled with descriptions of other fine offerings available to anyone who’s hungry for God. Your financial support is essential – please partner with us in this work by giving generously!

In Christ,

Jim Krisher


Help Your Spiritual Renewal Center this summer!

girl-1434561_1920“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” – so begins the well-known jazz standard by Gershwin and Heyward.  And even though for many folks the summer doesn’t bring much of a slow-down, the warm weather and beauty of the outdoors still make these words resonate in our hearts.

Here at the Spiritual Renewal Center, summertime livin’ usually tends to get more difficult, as every year our contribution income plummets during July and August while expenses remain the same. So when September rolls around, our finances are deeply in the red. Your generosity can prevent this from happening – we’d be so grateful if you would remember our need during these glorious weeks of summer and send your gifts of support for this good work in Christ. Thank you for your help!

And have you considered making a gift to the Center through your will or revocable living trust? This is a sure and simple way to support our mission and pass on your spiritual values to future generations.  If you wish to include this ministry in your estate planning, our legal name is: Spiritual Renewal Center of Syracuse, Inc.

Help Your Spiritual Renewal Center

These past few years have seen a tremendous increase of people availing themselves of our services, and we are grateful for the continued blessing of God upon our efforts. Yet our financial health continues to be a concern.  The members of our Board of Trustees, in collaboration with Center director Jim Krisher, are working hard to shore up the Center’s finances and get in place a long-term plan to ensure the survival of this ministry into the future. We now have nearly 38 great years to look back upon, and we certainly hope for at least that many to look forward to! But as in the past, so in the future: we depend entirely on you, on your regular gifts of support and your participation in the life of the Center. In the months ahead, we’ll be suggesting a variety of ways that you might help your Spiritual Renewal Center.

We’d be so grateful if you would send a contribution in the enclosed envelope, or electronically through our website. Did you know you can also arrange to have regular donations automatically sent to the Center from your bank account? You can also set up bill pay to donate a set amount to this ministry on a monthly basis. Contact the Center, or your bank, for more details.   Thank you for caring!

What Does Grace Look Like?

stockvault-candle-in-church128080The woman had been struggling with God for a long time in the face of the suffering of many she loved and her own suffering as well. She’d just returned from a retreat at a monastery in New England, and she told of how while there she had engaged in some honest but difficult prayer.

I asked her, “And did you sense that God was with you as you prayed?”  She paused briefly, then spoke a simple but heartfelt “Yes.”  I asked her, “What was God like in that moment, as you prayed?” After a much longer pause in which I could see her reconnecting with that experience and tasting more fully its significance for her, she said slowly, “Kind. God was very kind.”

In the years that have passed since that conversation, as she faced other hard times in her life, I’ve witnessed how she has trusted in that kind God of her retreat-time prayer. Like all authentic God-moments, it has continued to sustain her and bring her peace and joy.

New faces in new places

Jim Krisher

Jim Krisher

May 15 marked one year since this ministry moved from our Court St. home to our new location on Lancaster Ave. We seem to be well settled here now, and very happy that God has brought us to this place.

Over the year we’ve seen many new faces who have come to participate in events, and seek spiritual direction. In fact, we have more folks coming for direction now than at any point in our previous history, and we are grateful to be able to provide this service in Christ to so many people! If you are at all interested in beginning spiritual direction with one of our staff, I’d be happy to discuss it with you and help you connect with one of our gifted directors. Spiritual direction is usually long-term, but it can also be helpful on a short-term basis if you are looking for a spiritual perspective on some life issue, or important decision, or problem you may be facing.

We are busy lining up a stellar schedule of renewal events and programs for the autumn months and beyond – be sure to get full details in our September issue of this newsletter.

The Spiritual Renewal Center is a place where the beauty and dignity of every person is respected and celebrated! Your contributions are what make this ministry possible, and I beg your continued support especially in these summer months when our income tends to plummet. Thank you in advance for all your goodness to this shared work of God!

In Christ,

Jim Krisher

What Does Grace Look Like?

Wild FowlThe pastor was on a silent directed retreat. In our 1st conversation, she told of the various life struggles she was dealing with in both her personal and ministerial life. She was feeling stuck, unsure of what to do next, confused, discouraged, in dark. Her face was downcast and the worried lines showed the turmoil in her soul. The conversation was much the same in subsequent meetings, as she continued to seek God’s guidance in her times of prayer. When she came in for the retreat’s final session, it was clear something happened. “I was sitting at supper last night just enjoying the silence and looking out the window at the lake,” she said. “The light was just beginning to fade and a flock of geese was coming in for a landing on the water. I found myself tracking one particular bird, following it’s descent – and I don’t know,” she said. “As I saw it touch down on the surface, it’s like something happened inside me and everything became clear – my way forward became clear. It’s like I was suddenly unburdened, at peace in my soul.” There was a smile on her lips. Her upturned face seemed younger and her widened eyes shining as if with an inner light.

Lenten Greetings from the Center’s Director Jim Krisher

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Spiritual Renewal Center,

May this season of Lent be for you a time of more abundant Life and rich grace from our God!

I had a great experience a few weeks ago when I was leading a group of twenty inmates at a state prison not far from here.  We were talking about the parable of the vineyard laborers from Mt. 20:1-15.

I always love working with this parable in spiritual groups as it so often leads to breakthrough insights and intense conversation – and this evening gathering was no different. About half-way through the study, a young guy sitting to my right suddenly got this startled look on his face and exclaimed “How’d you do that?”  I had no idea what he meant at first, but he continued. “How’d you make that happen? One minute we’re talking about the men in the parable and the next minute you turn it all upside down and I see it’s really about my life! That’s awesome!”

And it’s always awesome to me too when I witness God’s grace at work like that in a brother or sister’s life! It never ceases to make me immensely grateful for the privilege of serving in this ministry that I know touches people’s lives on such a deep level.

Our prison work is a small, hidden, yet important service that we offer through the Spiritual Renewal Center, and it’s your financial support that helps to make it possible.

All that we do – the courses and workshops, the days, evenings and weekends of renewal, the extensive library and opportunities for individual spiritual direction – ALL that we do through this Center is only possible because of the contributions of good people like you.

We need your help and support, and I beg your Lenten alms as this holy season begins. Thank you for all you give to the Spiritual Renewal Center, and to all the various ministries that serve God’s beloved sons and daughters around the world.

Make a donation online.

Peace in Christ,

Jim Krisher

What Does Grace Look Like?

Franz Jaggerstatter

Franz Jaggerstatter

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter was an uneducated Austrian peasant who in the name of Jesus refused to fight in Hitler’s army and was martyred.  He left behind a beloved wife and four beloved little daughters.

The cost of his fidelity to Christ was so very great in terms of the emotional suffering he endured, and the abuse and hardships of his time in a Nazi prison. Yet the night before his execution, when the chaplain came and offered to read and pray with him, Franz politely declined. “I am completely bound in inner union with the Lord and any reading would only interrupt my communication with my God,” he said.

The chaplain later testified that Franz’ eyes shone with such joy and confidence that he would never lose the memory of that glance. The next day Franz walked calmly to the guillotine, where he was beheaded.