Rural Clergy Renewal Retreat
I want to make our rural clergy aware of an opportunity for a renewal retreat at the Hinton Center in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. The Hinton Center is an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, and they serve no only their local community but welcome all to their beautiful campus - regardless of faith tradition - seeking to meet, retreat and serve in a spirit of acceptance and mutual respect.
I made a visit to the retreat center two weeks ago to see it for myself and to meet the staff there. I was most impressed with the facility, the scenic beauty of the place, and the friendly and helpful staff I met. I asked how they define “rural” and got an answer that it’s usually a small town with limited resources and a low population density. But, it did seem that if you think you are a pastor in a rural area. . . you probably are!
Check out the retreat information below and please let me know if you have any questions. I hope you can consider this time away!
Rev. Sheri Ferguson
Cost: $300 Includes lodging, 5 meals, resource leaders, and Hinton amenities.
Register by September 1
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” — Jesus (Matthew 11:29, MSG)
This renewal retreat for United Methodist clergy serving rural appointments offers opportunities to breathe deep, exhale, commune with nature, rest, and take in scenic views that will restore your soul. Options for this lightly scheduled retreat include times for morning and evening devotions, conversations with seasoned pros on rural ministry topics (for those who want some content!), delicious meals with your rural ministry colleagues, campus amenities, and area activities. Contact your district and/or conference to explore the availability of clergy renewal funds.
The Retreat Includes:
Your renewal retreat, begins with a Welcome/Orientation at 5:30 p.m. on Monday and concludes Wednesday at noon. The retreat includes:
- Private room with bathroom; linens and towels
- Hinton campus amenities: trails and gardens, porches and rocking chairs, fish/swim/boat dock on Lake Chatuge, kayaks/canoes, Market & Gift Shop, disc golf trail, scenic mountain and lake views, indoor/outdoor worship spaces, executive chef
- Add-ons: therapeutic massage, spiritual direction
- Conversation opportunities on rural ministry topics, with our retreat resource team
- Campus and area activities, including gardening, horseback riding, farm tours, wineries and breweries, John C. Campbell Folk School, historic downtown Hayesville, golf, marina, and more!
- Light retreat schedule, with some rural ministry-specific content, but everything is optional — do what you need to do for You!
- Rev. Telley Gadson-Hartsville (SC) District Superintendent, Chief Missional Strategist;
- Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith- Scholar/Teacher of Rural Ministry & Methodist Studies, Newton, NC;
- Tom Conlon- Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter, Worship Leader, Charlottesville, VA
Leading morning and evening devotions will be singer/songwriter/guitarist and worship leader Tom Conlon. Tom has traveled the country for many years, giving concerts, leading worship, and serving as a worship resource and guide for many congregations. For several years he led worship and a worship workshop for Kentucky’s Residents in Ministry retreats.
The Rev. Telley Gadson, superintendent of the Hartsville (South Carolina) District, has 22 years of pastoral ministry experience and is passionate about rural communities, churches, and clergy.
And, Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith, rural ministry guru, teaches rural ministry certification courses and serves as an adjunct for Garrett and Wesley seminaries; he lives in Western North Carolina and starts serving a 2-point charge in July 2022.