Opening to God 2019: A Retreat

The purpose of the retreat is to provide immersion experiences to help lay and clergy explore spiritual disciplines they may have never tried before or that they wish to know more about in a safe to explore environment. Each small group session includes both lecture and practice time to actually try the practice featured in the session. 

0.7 CEU's available for those who attend all sessions.

Title: Opening to God 2019: A Retreat

Date: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, 2019

Place: Little Grassy Camp

Cost: $75, or $50 for commuters (includes Saturday breakfast and lunch); $84 and $59 (includes Saturday breakfast and lunch PLUS Friday sack supper)

CEUs: .CEUs available for those who attend the entire event

Who:  Lay and clergy of the conference

Bring: Bible, note taking items, Bedding, towels, personal hygiene items for people staying all night

Deadline:  Friday, Feb. 1, 2019

Contact: Ann Champion,, 815-692-2543 (OFFICE) 

Download brochure...

Schedule (break out session choices below)

Friday, Feb. 15, 2019

            6 p.m.         Gathering, settling in

            6:30 p.m.    Opening worship

            7 p.m.         Small group “experience” session (Choose one)

            9 p.m.         Evening Prayer 

Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019
            7:30 a.m.   Morning Prayer

            8 p.m.        Breakfast in dining hall

            8:45 a.m.   Small group “experience” session (Choose one)

           10:30 a.m.  Open Forum (Prayer room open, time to ask questions of leaders in another location, etc.)

           11:30 a.m.   Lunch in dining hall

           12:30 p.m.  Small group "experience" session (choose one)

            2:15 p.m.   Break

            2:30 p.m.   Small group "experience" session (choose one)

            4:15 p.m.   Break

            4:30 p.m.   Covenant writing/closing worship with communion

            5:30 p.m.   Leave


*First Name
*Last Name
*Address 1
*Home Church

Please indicate the church where your membership resides (laity) or the church(es) to which you are appointed or assigned (clergy).

*Clergy or laity?
*Please select from the choice below for your registration cost
Staying on Site ($75)
Commuting ($50)
Add: Friday Sack Supper ($9)
Dietary Concerns - please note them so the kitchen staff can plan accordingly
*Friday Night Small Group


"Dayenu" is a song sung at the Jewish holiday of Passover. It means, "it would have been enough" and is about being grateful for all that God has done. Participants will learn a brief history of the "Dayenu" and then use it as a pattern to write their own "Dayenu" or song of gratitude.

Labyrinth Prayer -- SHARON MONROE
A prayer labyrinth allows you to meditate, pray, and connect with God as you take this journey of silence and simplicity. Participants will walk a floor labyrinth, make a finger labyrinth, and receive examples of prayers as well as to learn design structures.

Sweat Lodge Prayers -- DANIRA PARRA
Experience a unique way of entering group prayer based upon Native American tradition. Please note participants will not be entering an inipi (sweat lodge) nor ill they be initiated into traditional ceremony.

Dayenu -- Jeremy Henson
Labyrinth Prayer -- Sharon Monroe
Sweat Lodge Prayers -- Danira Parra

Immersion Experience Session Choices

For each small group session time, pick on eof the three options to attend. It is possible to learn and experience four new ways to prayer before this Lenten season.

Write down the four sessions you selected. The Confirmation page will tell you a bunch of important things but cannot be customized to print out individual retreat itineraries.

*Saturday Morning Small Group Experience


Shaped by the Word -- ANN CHAMPION
How do we do more than just study the Bible, but allow it to shape us? We will discuss how the Bible forms us spiritually to BE the "words" of God in our daily lives.

Intentional Prayer Ministry in the Church -- PAUL DINGES 
This workshop will help leaders begin to plan how to transform the prayer life of your congregation by bringing prayer into all areas of church life. This workshop will offer an introduction into four key topics.

Praying in Color -- SARAH DIERKER
No artistic ability is required to experience God through Praying in Color. Based on the book by Sybil MacBeth, this workshop will draw us closer to the Holy One as we color our prayers.

Shaped by the Word -- ANN CHAMPION
Intentional Prayer Ministry in the Church -- PAUL DINGES
Praying in Color -- SARAH DIERKER
*Saturday Early Afternoon Presentation Session


Taize Prayer -- MIRANDA DINGES
The Taize community is widely known for its unique style of worship and prayer centered in silence and repetitive singing. In this session, we will learn about the history of the Taize, discuss how you can implement their style of prayer in your own community and practice it ourselves.

The Prayer Tool -- DAVID KUEKER
Praying through your neighborhoods. Learn the "Prayer Tool," an effective systematic discipline for making disciples by building community and relationships that are based on what works in organic/missional movements.

Praying with Prayer Beads -- KIM STUBY
Prayer beads have been used for centuries by people from different religions and all walks of life. In this interactive workshop, we will learn a brief history of prayer beads and make and use our own prayer beads.

Taize Prayer -- MIRANDA DINGES
The Prayer Tool -- DAVID KUEKER
Praying with Prayer Beads -- KIM STUBY
*Final Saturday Afternoon Small Group

Ignatian Meditation -- KATHY CROZIER
Prayerfully enter into a biblical passage using the imagination. The purpose will be to engage ourselves in a biblical pasage to seek healing and deeper relationship with God.

Prayer Walking -- KIM KUEKER
Prayer walking is an intentional way to focus prayers on your community and those outside the church building. Regardless of the weather, group size or physical limitations, we can spend time with god "In the Garden" of our neighborhoods. "He walks with me and He talks with me..."

Breath Prayer -- DEB POLLEX
Breath prayer is an ancient Christian prayer practice dating back to the sixth century. The purpose is to pray a simple, intimate prayer over and over with each breath you take. Breath prayer is a good example of "praying without ceasing" and has the potential to become as natural as breathing.

Ignation Meditation -- KATHY CROZIER
Prayer Walking -- KIM KUEKER
Breath Prayer -- DEB POLLEX
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