Last week I went away to Holy Cross Abbey. I didn’t do much. I napped (twice), walked, read, and let my mind wander. I watched birds and fireflies and a thunderstorm. I received a much-needed word of reassurance from God. I spent a long time in an empty chapel praying for each of you by name. As I did, I was moved by an overwhelming sense of God’s love for each of you.
It wasn’t a lot of time, but God met me in it and made it enough. I always find that to be the case whenever I intentionally set aside time for retreat. Whatever time I have, no matter how meager and insufficient it feels, God uses and makes abundant. That’s my prayer for us as we retreat this fall: that God would meet each one of us and make our time abundant.
Which brings me to exciting news . . . registration for the fall retreat is now open! Click here to register. **Please note, payment is due at the time of registration.** We want the retreat to be accessible to everyone, regardless of cost, so please email Emily (email@example.com) to request financial assistance. If your plans change and you need a refund, just email Emily.
Below are some Q&A about the retreat:
Why are we doing a fall retreat?
Jesus invites us to come to him, weary and heavy laden, and trust him to give us rest. He even showed us how, modeling a pattern of retreating from the demands of everyday life to rest, pray, and commune with the Father. Retreating in this way invites us to entrust our lives to the God who holds all things together (and who sometimes puts us back together when we are coming apart). It also allows opportunities to build relationships with one another and to simply enjoy being together. We can’t wait!
What will we do?
Our retreat will center around Jesus’ invitation not to worry in Matthew 6:25-34. We will engage this scripture through discussion and contemplation, and we will experience the reality of this scripture through the simple act of retreat — setting aside time to rest and receive what we need from our good Father.
We’ll also sing, pray, play, cook, create, and rest. A lot of free time has been built into the schedule to allow for naps, walks, long conversations, soccer games, prayer appointments, or whatever else you might need in this time. A rough schedule is at the bottom of this letter.
What about meals?
Because Incarnation loves a good eclectic potluck, we are making several of our meals communally and everyone is invited to participate.
Saturday breakfast and lunch will be simple grab-and-go meals.
Saturday dinner will be a homemade feast, with many opportunities to participate in the preparation: grilling/smoking meats over the course of the day, preparing Chinese dumplings together that evening, prepping other dishes.
Sunday breakfast will be pancakes and eggs prepared together on the griddle (we did this at our Alpha retreat in Feb 2019 and loved it!).
Sunday lunch is optional, and we’ll follow up with you about that after you register.
We will have gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options for all meals, and you can indicate your dietary needs on the registration form.
What are the accommodations like?
Camp Highroad has two options: camping or lodge. Camping takes place in a large open field surrounded by trees near the lodge; you’ll have access to fire rings, picnic tables, and all the indoor spaces of the lodge for restrooms, kitchen, etc.
The lodge provides simple bunkhouse-style lodgings indoors (think summer camp). Lodge rooms have multiple bunk beds and a sink in each room. Communal men’s and women’s restrooms with multiple toilets/sinks/showers are down the hall. Families will have private rooms; singles will bunk together (separated by gender).
What does it cost?
That depends on how many nights (1, 2, or 0 — Saturday only) and whether you camp or stay in the lodge. Camping is $20/night per adult and $15/night per child over 5. The lodge is $40/night per person (same price for adults and children over 5). Children ages 5 and younger are free.
For those who wish to come just for the day Saturday, the cost is $20/adult and $15/child. Meals are included in the cost, except an optional Sunday lunch; if you indicate you wish to stay through Sunday, we will follow up with you separately about lunch.
Please note, payment is due at the time of registration. We want the retreat to be accessible to everyone, regardless of cost, so please email Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request financial assistance. If your plans change and you need a refund, just email Emily (email@example.com).
What about children?
Children will remain with us throughout the retreat; there is no separate kids’ program. However, this is a very kid-friendly retreat, and will include opportunities for kids to engage the same scripture and activities as the adults. There is ample free time for kids to play, create, nap, and explore. Parents are responsible for their own children throughout the weekend, but there will be plenty of adults who will relish the opportunity to hold babies, keep an eye on baby monitors, and kick a soccer ball with kids. We will provide a child safety overview to all participants before the retreat, and most members of our church are child-safety trained and background-checked.
Is there a speaker?
No, this isn’t that kind of retreat (what Ruth Haley Barton calls a “conference in the woods”). We will learn from scripture, from each other, from nature, from the Eucharist, and from the Holy Spirit — but this isn’t a learning-heavy retreat. The focus is on rest and joy.
What about music?
Jamie Floyd (former Incarnation member and music leader) will be joining us for the weekend to lead worship. Saturday night will include a Retro Worship Night and Hymn Sing — you’ll have an opportunity to request your favorite throwback songs from the 70s/80s/90s or a favorite hymn when you register.
What do I bring?
We will provide a packing list before the retreat. It will include the usual things (bedding, toiletries, bible, etc) as well as some fun suggestions: an instrument if you want to join in the Saturday night music; indoor or outdoor games to play during free time; a grill or smoker; lawn chairs; snacks to share.
What about Sunday church?
Sunday morning of the retreat will serve as our church service (i.e., NO Sunday Service at Randolph). We’ll be doing what’s called an “Instructed Eucharist” — our usual liturgy, but explained with some hands-on opportunities to participate, so that we all come away with a deeper understanding of why we do what we do every week.
We won’t be able to Zoom this service, but we’ll try to record it. We would LOVE for everyone to stay through Sunday, but if you can’t, we recommend checking out Corpus Christi Anglican, the church planted by one of our former pastors, Father Morgan. Their worship is more elevated than ours; enjoy noticing the differences and feel free to ask Morgan “why do you do that?” after the service!
What about COVID precautions?
We will follow Camp Highroad’s guidance: masks optional in all indoor spaces. The lodge opens to the outside on two sides with good air ventilation, and many of our activities can take place outdoors. There are picnic tables for eating meals outside.
Below is a draft retreat schedule. If you have questions about anything related to the retreat, just reach out to me and/or Emily and we'd be happy to answer!
Draft Retreat Schedule (times subject to change!)
Arrive anytime after 3pm
Dinner on your own
8:30pm Compline and singing (optional)
7:30am Morning prayer (optional)
7:30-9am Breakfast (grab and go)
9am Check-in begins
10am-12pm Morning Session (singing, reflection, scripture discussion)
12-12:30pm Midday Prayer and Lunch (grab and go)
12:30-2pm Contemplation exercises and debrief
2-6:30pm Free time
5pm Prepare evening meal (optional)
7:30pm Evening Session (Retro Worship Night and Hymn Sing, prayer)
8:45pm Free time for night owls (fire pit, quiet games, etc)
7:30am Morning prayer
7:30-9am Breakfast (made by volunteer pancake crew)
10am-12pm Reflection and Instructed Eucharist
12:30pm Optional lunch; depart by 3pm