***This retreat has been postponed until Fall of 2022.***
***More information coming soon!***
The purpose of ‘retreat’ is not to hide from the world, but to come back to ourselves,
so that we might reenter the world more connected to what matters.
We’re inviting you to our gathering to do just that: step outside calendars and inside connection with what matters most, in a simple and creative experience of rest, rejuvenation, and imagination.
The pandemic has been tough on so many people, but we have particularly been aware of the cost of this time for church professionals and their families, having to navigate difficult community decisions with tensions high, and often ending up as the target for people’s anger and frustration, while becoming instant broadcast producers and trying to love people while protecting their safety with masks and distance.
This gathering was conceived as a time to nourish faith leaders, and we are also keenly aware of the costs for spouses/partners. Priority will be given to church professionals, with an understanding that there are many forms of church leadership. We will gather on the Monday afternoon after Easter, and will depart on Thursday after brunch. Three nights of lodging and all meals are included in the registration.
Our hosts David LaMotte, Gareth Higgins, and Micky ScottBey Jones are thoughtful and caring guides, who bring a wealth of experience in storytelling, activism, initiation, and care for the soul. They also know what makes a good retreat from having led and attended more than a few!
David, Gareth, and Micky have planned a few days which promise to be life-giving, and a schedule that won’t tire you out.
We’ll gather in the agreeable surroundings of a lodge from which hiking trails are immediately accessible, five minutes from the delightful town of Black Mountain, with space to stretch out, sit on a rocking chair, and nap in between sessions and meals.
Options will include:
- Morning meditation
- A session on nurturing our three Centers of Wisdom* (Head, Heart & Body) with Micky
- An exploration of the ideas in Gareth’s book How Not to be Afraid
- David sharing about sustaining the whole person in the midst of challenging times
- An evening storytelling session with some of Asheville’s finest storytellers
- A screening and discussion of one of the most life-giving (and least-seen) films of the past thirty-five years. We can (almost) guarantee you haven’t seen it.
- A dedicated space and time for grief acknowledgment and processing
- Free time to do nothing or whatever you want
- hiking, guided or on your own
- conversation with other folks who have been on a similar journey
- A concert with David
*based on ancient & modern Enneagram teachings – No special experience or knowledge required.
All sessions will be optional, food will be good, and the time memorable.
***This retreat has been postponed until Fall of 2022.***
***More information coming soon!***
To register to join us, please call William Black Lodge at 828.669.6314,
Monday through Thursday, 9AM to 2PM Eastern.
Hosts and Facilitators
Gareth Higgins was born in Belfast in 1975, grew up during the northern Ireland Troubles, and now lives in the US. He writes and speaks about the power of storytelling to shape our lives and world, peace and making justice, and how to take life seriously without believing your own propaganda. He has been involved in peace-building and violence reduction in northern Ireland and helping address the legacy of conflict, received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Queen’s University Belfast, and helped teach the world’s first graduate course in Reconciliation Studies at Trinity College Dublin. He also helped found the Wild Goose, New Story and Movies & Meaning festivals. Gareth leads retreats in North America and Ireland; and he founded The Porch Magazine. Brian McLaren says Gareth’s new book How Not to be Afraid is “a beautiful book”, Kathleen Norris says it’s “a necessary book”, and Pádraig Ó Tuama says “Gareth Higgins is a friend. This book is too.” www.garethhiggins.net
Micky ScottBey Jones (she), the Justice Doula, accompanies people as they birth more love, justice & belonging into our world. As a womanist, contemplative activist, multi-faith movement chaplain, innovative enneagram teacher & coach, compassionate facilitator and nonviolence practitioner, Micky supports changemakers in their desire for sustainable leadership strategies, healing and resilience practices and embodied liberation through inner and outer change through tools like the Enneagram, healing circles, resilience building skills and somatic practices. Micky’s writing has been featured on many platforms including Christians For Social Action, The Porch Magazine, Sojourners, Our Bible App, and Red Letter Christians, and she’s a sought after guest on many podcasts including CTZNWELL, The Liturgists, Lord Have Mercy and Love Period. Micky is a regular co-host on the podcast, Bruce Reyes-Chow and Friends. You can find out more about Micky at her soon to be relaunched website: mickyscottbeyjones.com.
David LaMotte is a writer of books and songs, and a gatherer of groups for music and conversations that matter. His thirteenth album, Still, will be released in May of 2022 (but just might be ready in time for this gathering!), and the new edition of his book Worldchanging 101, retitled Everyday Change, is scheduled for publication with Chalice Press in November of this year. He has performed, lectured and led workshops in all fifty states and on five continents. The Boston Globe writes that his music “pushes the envelope with challenging lyrics and unusual tunings, but he also pays homage to folk tradition,” while BBC Radio Belfast lauds his “charm, stories, humour, insightful songs, sweet voice and dazzling guitar ability.” With his wife Deanna, he founded PEG Partners in 2004, and continues to be engaged in supporting that non-profit. He holds a Master’s degree in International Studies, Peace, and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where he studied as a Rotary Peace Fellow. www.davidlamotte.com
Food & Lodging
Retreat attendees will be housed at the William Black Lodge in Montreat, a charming old stone lodge that is being gradually modernized under the good leadership of our friend Tommy Brown. In an effort to build community, we ask that folks who are attending the retreat stay at William Black rather than commuting or finding their own lodging.
Yummy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will be provided by the William Black Lodge. Vegetarian options will be provided at each meal, and other dietary requirements will be joyfully attended to.
Though the Lodge is an older building, we will make every effort to address accessibility issues. Please let us know what your needs may be.
If folks need transportation from the Asheville airport, we are happy to pick you up, and will follow up on those details after you register.
Cost & Community Care
All food, lodging, and programming is included. With a private room, the retreat program fee, food and lodging total $875. With a shared room, they come to $675 per person, tax included. We believe this time will enrich your life, and are warmly excited about the quality of the gathering to which we are inviting you.
We also want this gift to be accessible, and know that the distribution of money in our society has little to do with our value to a community. So if the registration fee is beyond your reach, you are invited to contribute from the heart. Please consider the resources you hold, the value you believe the retreat will bring to your life and work, and your desire to support this community and the weekend’s leaders, then contact us to discuss your needs (before calling to register). We will work with you to look for a way to make the retreat possible, either via partial scholarship, payment plans, or other creative solutions.
And if you are able to pay more to enable us to share the work with anyone regardless of ability to pay, we welcome and are grateful for your extra contribution.
To register for the retreat, please call William Black Lodge at 828.669.6314, Monday through Thursday, 9AM to 2PM Eastern. They will have several questions for you, and will offer you the option of a private room or a shared room. You may choose to pay the full registration cost when you register, or half at registration and half by April 1. If you are coming to the retreat with a friend or partner, please provide their name when you register. If you would prefer a shared room but are not planning to attend with someone you know, we will try to pair you with a compatible roomie and you can make a new friend. There is also a small cabin just behind the lodge that can accommodate several people, if some friends want to come together (please ask folks at William Black for more details when you call).
The trend lines look good at the moment in the United States, with cases decreasing each week. We are hopeful that they will be even better by May. We are watching closely for news, and will prioritize safety, and follow federal and state guidelines for the sake of everyone’s health. If there is a significant spike in cases, we will of course cancel the retreat, with full refunds. With everyone’s safety in mind, we are only making the retreat available to people who are fully vaccinated, and will keep the retreat attendance to thirty-five people, at the most. All leaders, lodge staff and participants will be vaccinated. When you call to register, you will be asked the date of your final vaccination shot. This is part of our commitment to community care.
Spring in the Mountains
Needless to say, spring in the mountains is a pretty special time, and we are excited to have found a place on the calendar that we can offer to you. If you would like to come and join us, please do! And if you have friends who you think might like to attend, please feel free to send them this link: www.davidlamotte.com/renewingourspirits/.
If you have any questions, we will be happy to hear from you, and will do what we can to provide answers.
Hope to see you in the mountains in April!
David, Gareth, and Micky