Retreat ministry has looked very different for us for the past few seasons for us at Covenant Pines Ministries. This winter, our calendars were full with retreats and guest groups – which felt great….and even a little normal! Retreat ministry is special to us as we provide different opportunities and space for churches, individual and groups to experience Christ.
Covenant Pines Bible Camp Winter Highlights
We had a busy winter at Covenant Pines Bible Camp – in a good way! We ran two programmed retreats – our Trailblazer Retreat for elementary age students and our OneLife Retreat for high school youth groups. Both retreats were a success – it felt great to have these students back at camp for winter fun! We also hosted 13 guest groups which included church groups, school groups and even a couple of friends groups who planned a retreat together. After many churches took a year off from their retreats, it was great to witness the fellowship and fun of a camp weekend for these groups! Below are some highlights of our winter from some of our guests:
“Our students just feel loved there! And that’s so wonderful! And always – seeing and playing outside in nature. They just don’t get that opportunity here in the city that much. Their families are busy, not “outdoorsy” and TIRED! So it’s great to get outside in God’s beautiful creation and drink it all in!” – Brenda Johnson, Childrens Ministry Director at Brookdale Covenant Church
“The biggest way I experienced Christ was simply in the moments to be with God that are often hard to find in our normal routine” – Maple Grove Covenant Church student
Bloomington Covenant All Church Retreat:
“I feel like we experienced the love of Christ through one another this year more than ever, which is interesting considering our chapel times were much less – or almost non-existent. Instead we got outside and supported each other in our activities – everyone showed so much care for one another. Having scheduled meeting times for activities allowed a single person like me the opportunity to join others without the awkward “do you mind if I join you” middle school moments. It also brought about the opportunity to spend time with others I might not have otherwise walked across the lake in snow shoes and tackled a big hill I never would have otherwise even attempted. The weekend honestly brought me some renewed hope in humanity after a long pandemic.” – Angie Hennig, Retreat organizer.
We are so thankful for these groups and our wonderful winter of ministry.
Winter Highlights from Adventurous Christians:
Winter retreats were in full swing this year at Adventurous Christians, kicking off with the Minnehaha Academy Nordic Ski Team. We were so pleased to welcome back youth, church and family groups – many of whom took last winter off. The winter was full of broomball, cross country skiing and snowshoeing with our new equipment (thanks to our Portage Partners!) as well as cozy conversation around the lodge.
One particular family retreat sticks out to us as a highlight from this winter. This family spent the weekend encouraging their children to step outside of their comfort zone by trying snowshoeing or climbing the indoor rock wall. During one of our first word’s, it was amazing to see the way God has worked in this family through the generations – with parents and grandparents setting examples of what a faithful life looks like. These moments are sweet reminders of why we do what we do – encouraging campers to take their next step in Christian faith.
We received a thank you note in the mail earlier this month that read, “Thank you for all the energy and work you put in to make this such a wonderful retreat. It is such a treasure to be able to retreat at AC, commune with God and His creation and enjoy the winter activities.”
We are blessed to serve these groups and are feeling thankful after this winter season.