- I’ve got better things to do on a summer weekend
- It’s too far
- It’s too expensive
- Retreats are boring
- I don’t know many people
- I have little kids
- I hate “roughing it”
Well, that’s pretty convincing. Stay home or go down the Shore. Which would involve sitting in miles of traffic across 5 lanes of the Parkway, for 2.5-3 hours, so that you can finally enjoy your 2 sq. feet of privacy next to NJ’s most polite residents… as long as the weather is just perfect. On second thought…
- We so easily succumb to the busy-ness of life, which means friendships stay superficial, conversations happen in passing, if at all. Facebook and Instagram friendships are the closest we get to sharing life. But on the all-church retreat, which is currently held every-other-year, you get a great mix of down-time and structured gatherings. You can read a book on the deck of your beach-front unit OR talk and play to your heart’s content. Come invest in friendship within the community of faith. And sit under the very gifted teaching (only a 4 session-weekend) of Pastor Sandy Willson, a man who has had more influence on my pastoral ministry than any other. He and his wife Allison will be traveling from Memphis to share the weekend with us.
- Yes, it’s a long drive, but everyone who has attended in the past has marveled at the “escape” that Camp- of-the-Woods (COTW) provides! Spend 2 full days in a totally different world than North Jersey! Woods, trails, lake, beach. There are car-pooling options if you don’t like to drive that far. Indicate that on the registration form. And my best tip is to take as much of Friday OFF as possible and head up early to avoid the traffic on a summer weekend. You can enjoy the amenities of the retreat center all afternoon.
- Yes, paying for a two-night stay, five meals, tremendous amenities (listed on COTW website), and the retreat organizing costs are not cheap. But that’s a lot of bang for your buck! And scholarships are available – please don’t be shy about indicating on the registration form that you could use some help with costs.
- Kayaking, mini-golf course, rock-climbing, indoor gym/pool/game room, gorgeous beach, zip-lining, bonfires with smores and hot dogs to roast. Yeah, boring. Stay home and watch TV.
- If you don’t know many people at GRC, the retreat is one of the BEST ways to connect! I promise you! You can join a group for a hike, play some casual tennis, hang out on the beach. Saturday afternoon is completely free, and someone else may want to join you! Saturday night is my highlight: to give everyone a circle of connection, you’re assigned to a campfire outside your cabin). Meal times intentionally mix up our GRC family so that you get to know each other. You’ll definitely come home with many new names to connect with faces, and some stories to share!
- Camp-of-the-Woods is AWESOME for families! There’s a kids’ program for our youngest (we still need volunteers please!), there are youth activities organized for the free time on Saturday afternoon, and kids absolutely love the bonfires and the lake-front beach.
- Trust me, the rooms are FAR from roughing it! They’re more like hotel rooms. Our family typically stays in a two bedroom unit: Cedar and I get a queen bed in a private room, and the three kids share another room with bunk beds. Private bathroom for our unit, sometimes with an extra toilet/sink. Most units with a mini-fridge, although the designated meal times have enough options to satisfy.
Time to register. Deadline is approaching this Sunday! Click here to register. Questions? Email the Retreat Committee.
I can’t wait! Hope to see you there in three weeks…
Grace to you,
Peter Wang, Senior Pastor of GRC for 13 years