While we talk a lot about Kaleidoscope Camp and our other events, retreat groups coming in to host their own family reunions, staff trainings, school trips or church retreats are really what’s happening day to day here. Our staff tries hard to make sure that groups have clean facilities, good food and a peaceful environment for their time here. Here are a few notes shared with us by recent retreat leaders:
It seems like the devil had tried everything he could to keep this retreat from happening. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did. On Thursday morning, after I had already loaded everything into my van and was out picking up stuff, the van broke down and I could hear the devil say "See, there is no need to go to this retreat. It's going to be raining and people are not showing up. You might as well cancel." I called our speaker for Friday night and asked her to please pray.
Everything was perfect, as usual. The facility was clean and well maintained. June was especially helpful when it became clear that one day of our retreat was going to be a full day of rain and storms. She made sure we had adequate facilities to get our activities under cover. After all these years I feel like June and Stacey are my personal friends! Josh was especially helpful this year too, as we had a small crisis with a bathroom door... it's a long story :) ~Nancy
Jared Teeter completed an Eagle Project here over the winter installing benches to create a prayer trail along some of our existing trails. There is a guide booklet in the office which will guide you through some Psalms and prayer prompts at each station on the trail.
We had a new ropes element installed for summer camp using grant money from the Mission Endowment Fund. It’s called “Leap of Faith.” Harnessed participants climb to a platform and jump off attempting to catch hold of a trapeze. We’re excited to have our staff trained and begin using this activity this summer! View pictures of staff trying it out here!
Thank you everyone who came out to a banquet to attend the Annual Meeting!
We hope you enjoyed the time of fellowship together. Members, if you missed the meeting, but would like a copy of the annual report please let us know.
We have two new board members who were approved: Leon Brunk and Bill Eberly. We’re glad to have them.
Our new vision and mission statements were approved as well! The vision statement reads: Every Life changed by Jesus, welcomed into His family, and serving Him. and the new mission statement is: WCRC provides a place for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of kids and adults through camping and retreats. Thank you for your support as we seek to guide our activities with this vision!
Photos from the Newport News banquet. Left to right: Lori Ross (Foodservices Manager) serving dinner, Lavonne Lehman giving the Board President report, and Shawn Manning giving the Treasurer’s report.
Sara Grace Miller shared the following with us:
At the annual WCRC meeting in Harrisonburg, my mind went back a ways to the beginning of WCRC. Merlin and I were there to become charter members. I remember it all with fond memories. At first, the office was in a house trailer and we, as volunteers, would sleep in a trailer in the trailer park. We watched and helped WCRC grow from a grassy field to the lovely place it is today. Merlin and I enjoyed many hours of volunteering while watching each new building arise. Merlin built cabinets in Magnolia and bunk beds for Laurel cottage. We worked in the kitchen and dining room many weekends. It was all joy.
Merlin cut bricks for Sammy Brunk who made the fancy brick work on Oakwood. He came home happy even though covered in red brick dust.
I thank God for giving certain ones the vision for a retreat center. I pray it will continue to grow, prosper and be a blessing to many, helping many more to find Christ as their Savior.
This year we have a new “tag line” to help people understand what we’re all about:
Changing lives that impact a hurting world.
Here’s the reasoning behind it: When people think of giving, they often think of supporting groups that feed the hungry and help those in poverty. This is essential, God’s word commands it, and we need to do it.
But what about the future? Who will give to the poor 10 years from now? Who will feed the hungry in 20 years? Who are tomorrow’s missionaries, and who will support them?
By giving to WCRC, you are helping us raise up the next generation of givers. Our goal is to see young people respond to the gospel, giving their hearts to Him in ever increasing measure, so that they are then willing and able to respond to Him in faithful obedience when He calls them to be a part of His work in the world.
Whether it’s through Kaleidoscope Camp, our programmed retreats, or the church groups we host year-round, WCRC gives people a chance to come away from their busy lives to get re-focused and re-connected so they can return re-charged and ready to reach out to a hurting world.
By giving to WCRC you are helping to forge a new generation who will be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. We are growing tomorrow’s givers, mobilizing tomorrow’s missionaries, and equipping tomorrow’s leaders.
Please join us by making a generous, tax-deductible year-end contribution.
We recently received this story from a lady who spent a day here on a personal retreat. What a blessing to provide a place where people can come and experience the peace of God in their lives!
I ended 2014 feeling weary and on the verge of a measure of burnout. I work for a ministry and have had the blessing, for the past 18 months, of being the caregiver for my parents, 84 and 87, who live with me. They both show their age in different ways, one primarily physically, and the other increasingly with memory loss. I am single, and my only sibling lives in another state, about 1,500 miles away. It really is an honor to be with my parents in this season of their lives, but it is also a responsibility that can be wearying and challenging. A few days before Christmas, a friend strongly encouraged me to take some time to pull away and spend with God. The holidays are such a busy season, it takes a determined effort to walk the path ‘less traveled’ and seek quiet. Yet, I was desperate. My own resources had been expended and I felt I was drained of any reserves of grace that I had stored. I often felt I simply could not keep up with the demands of life. I was functioning and performing duties, but joy was lacking and my spirit and soul felt withered. My words and tone of voice were getting short and little things that should not have irritated me were triggering anger. I was in sin and a pattern that was just wrong.
So, around the 29th of December, I took the step to care for my soul, and made a reservation at the WCRC. A dear friend came and stayed with my parents. I arrived at the center the afternoon of New Year’s Day for an overnight less-than-24-hours-personal retreat! Though I arrived after the front office was closed, an envelope with my name on it welcomed me at the front door.
I arrived in my room and felt relief, peace, and hope begin to fill my heart. The room was simple and free of distractions. There was a sense of the familiar peaceful presence of God in the quiet. I felt His invitation. As I read, thought, prayed for the next stretch of hours, and then again for uninterrupted hours the next morning, fresh vision and faith began to dawn in my soul.
Back in our home and my work, I still feel the grind, but my bearings are more clear and I have hope and greater faith to seek God in the midst of MY circumstances knowing that He will be my Help and Supply. In particular, there has been a shift in my serving’s purpose. I find that I now am serving with a greater freedom and a desire to be a vessel of love to my parents with an eternal perspective. I also experienced a reset in seeking God’s strength and wisdom rather than just jumping on the ‘hamster wheel’ of duty.
God knows what our spirit and soul need and meets us right where we are.
I am so very grateful for the time I had with my God and loving Father. I want to prioritize personal times of retreat. I need it and it was the best investment of time and resources I could have made, not only for me, but also for my family, friends, and colleagues. It has borne good fruit. It refreshed my weary and depleted heart!
Fresh air, sunlight, and activity are some of the physical benefits of spending time outdoors, but there are also emotional and mental benefits from being in a natural, outdoor environment like we have here at camp.
Check out this great post about the color green.
The members of the Peace by Piece Sewing Circle have graciously made this wonderful 30th Anniversary quilt for us to give away this spring.
The proceeds of this drawing will go towards replacing the carpet in the Magnolia dining room. Tickets will be sold starting April 6 at Association Day through WCRA Serve and Play on May 31 when the drawing is held. You do not need to be present to win. Tickets are $100 each.
A note from the designer:
When asked to make a quilt for the 30th anniversary of WCRC, the members of the Peace by Piece Sewing Circle of Williamsburg Mennonite Church readily agreed. I was asked to design the quilt. There are hundreds of quilt blocks and I asked the Lord for direction and it was quite clear that the block would be Jacob’s Ladder. I looked up the story in the Bible and saw that the block referenced a vision Jacob had of angels ascending and descending a ladder from heaven to earth. WCRC began with a vision to build a place for people to retreat and commune with God and be open to Him to speak to people. Using my computer, I designed the quilt using the Jacob’s Ladder block.
Three of us worked to make the blocks and as we joined them together secondary designs appeared. One was a path of light colored squares from the steps in the Jacob Ladder block that formed pathways around and through the quilt reminding us of the many hiking trails at WCRC. Because they are all light colored squares they remind us to seek the “Light” on our journeys. When the blocks came together, a light square set like a diamond appeared and they are filled with many different colored small squares reminding us of the many different groups of people that come to the retreat center to be surrounded by the Light of God.
When gathering fabrics for the quilt, I found a piece with eagles on it and thought about the eagles that are sometimes seen flying over the retreat center and there were 4 that would fit nicely on the triangle pieces in the quilt and one was added near each corner. This led me to look up the story in the Bible about being raised on eagle wings. Isaiah 40:27 begins with a reference to Jacob and continues on to explain how even the young get weary and stumble and fall but those who hope in the Lord shall be renewed and soar on wings like eagles. WCRC is truly a place for young and old alike who are weary to come and be renewed in strength by communing with God. These verses sealed my thoughts on why the Jacob’s Ladder was God’s choice for this quilt.
The colors in the blocks were changed on the border blocks to indicate the green trees surrounding the retreat center and have small light blocks to indicate that no matter how thick and dense things can be, God’s light can still shine through.
I have always been somewhat reluctant to make New Year’s resolutions, but if I did make one this year, I would resolve to be more encouraging to others. You can change someone’s day with a short phrase of affirmation or praise. Encouragement is such a powerful thing.
An encouraging word at the right time can mean the difference between success and failure, hope and despair, perseverance and giving up, and sometimes even life and death.
Encouragement is at the heart of Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center’s ministry. In a broad sense, we provide this peaceful setting to encourage people to come away from their busy lives, focus on the Lord, and worship and grow. But in a deeper and more personal sense, our goal is to walk alongside our guests and campers and encourage them to begin or deepen their relationship with Jesus.
Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center is truly a place of spiritual encouragement.
By supporting WCRC, you give the gift of encouragement. Our fees only cover a portion of our expenses, so donations are essential to our ongoing ministry.
Would you please consider a year-end, tax deductible gift so that we can continue to provide a place where God changes lives through encouragement?
You can give online, or send a check made payable to WCRC with “Annual Fund” in the memo line.
Began working at WCRC in 2006
From Williamsburg, Virginia
What do you like most about your job?
It’s a great opportunity for service. Plus I love meeting new people.
Why do you like working at WCRC?
Godly fellowship & the beautiful setting.
Do you have a favorite moment from your time at WCRC you’d like to share?
We are blessed to have people come to WCRC from Europe, Asia, Africa & all over the world. It’s pretty exciting to see how different churches worship. Also each group has its own unique style of dress, music & language. When I recognize a song, it’s really fun to join in clapping hands even if I don’t know the words.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
I have many, but I think John 11:25-26 is powerful.
What has God been teaching you lately?
Keep the main thing the main thing. God has given us so much but still people say they are too busy to pray or go to church & some say they can’t believe there is a God & all of that kind of stuff. In my own heart, I feel that God is teaching me to keep Him first.
Why should people come to stay at WCRC or participate in one of our events?
At my desk I keep a sign that says “WCRC offers Christ centered programs, services & retreat facilities in a peaceful setting to encourage fellowship, growth & renewal.” For me, this sums it up.