Frequently asked questions

I have questions about...


Registration and finances

  • How far ahead do I need to register?
    • Retreats fill up at different rates, depending on the specific dates you are looking at. It’s best to register and reserve your spot as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.  Please note that registration is not confirmed until a $500 registration deposit has been received.

  • How much does a retreat cost?
    • The total cost to run a retreat is approximately $3000 per couple, but Focus on the Family Canada’s donors generously cover more than half of your attendance fees. Each couples pays only $1500, while individuals pay just $1050 to attend.

  • Is there a fee to register?
    • Yes, we ask that guests pay a $500 registration deposit to reserve their room for the retreat. The deposit is non-refundable, but can be applied to another date, should the need arise.

  • Is there assistance available to guests who cannot afford the fee?
    • As our own funds allow, we may be able to provide some assistance through the Registration Assistance Fund. Please contact the Kerith registrar ([email protected]) to discuss this option further. We also encourage churches and denominations to financially support the members of their ministry teams desiring to attend a retreat. Our goal is that no one would be turned away for financial reasons.

  • Can others contribute to the cost of a retreat?
    • Yes! If you would like to help us make it possible for someone in need to attend a Kerith Retreat, donations are gratefully accepted for our Registration Assistance Fund (RAF). If you are sending in a cheque, please make it payable to "Focus on the Family Canada", but be sure to include a note or memo that the donation is for “Kerith - RAF”.  It would be very helpful if you could also let us know via email ([email protected]) know so we can watch for the funds.

      Please note
      : CRA regulations require that any donation toward registration fees must be freely given and cannot be tied to a specific retreat guest in order to qualify for a tax receipt. If you wish to pay for the registration of a specific person, we will happily apply funds toward their account, but the funds cannot be considered a “charitable donation” for income tax purposes.  

      General donations to the Registration Assistance Fund are tax deductible.  A committee will determine how and to whom funding is allotted.

  • Can I pay the fee in installments?
    • Yes. We want to work with you to make this possible. Please contact the Kerith registrar ([email protected]) to discuss this option further.

  • What if I have to cancel at the last minute due to an unforeseen event, can I be refunded for my deposit?
    • Registration deposits are non-refundable, but can be applied toward a different retreat date, if needed. Please inform us about your situation as soon as possible. The sooner we know about the change, the easier it is for those guests on the waiting list to rearrange their schedules.

Back to top

Affiliation

  • Is Kerith Retreats affiliated with a specific church denomination?
    • At Kerith, our desire is to minister to the body of Christ, regardless of denomination. Our teachings are in accordance with the Focus on the Family Canada statement of faith (http://www.focusonthefamily.ca/about-us) and in agreement with most Christian/evangelical denominations.

  • Is Kerith Retreats associated with Focus on the Family Canada?
    • Yes, Kerith Retreats is a ministry of Focus on the Family Canada and grew out of our desire to care for clergy members and their families. Our teachings are in accordance with the Focus on the Family Canada statement of faith (http://www.focusonthefamily.ca/about-us) and in agreement with many Christian/evangelical denominations.

  • What connection do you have with SonScape Retreats?
    • We have a formal partnership with SonScape Retreats. The retreat programming used at Kerith was developed and refined by SonScape Retreats during the tenure of their ministry. With over 30 years of experience, SonScape’s willingness to share their knowledge with us has been an invaluable asset.

Back to top

Program directors

  • What type of qualifications do the program directors have?
    • All of our program directors are certified to administer the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, a versatile tool that can assess an individual’s preferences in gathering and evaluating information, interacting with others, and organizing their personal life. This information can be used to help the individual understand their own personality and develop their skills in areas such as conflict management, boundary setting, approach to change and ambiguity, leadership, and communication style.

      Each program director is also certified in the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis. This instrument is widely used by counselors throughout North America to gain insight into 18 traits that influence an individual’s ability to function socially, personally, academically, and vocationally. It is also able to be viewed in synthesis with another person’s profile to assist in identifying similarities and differences between individuals. This ability to highlight potential areas of misunderstanding makes this assessment ideal for marriage, family, and group counselling.

      Our program directors also have Biblical training and ministry experience. Each of our program directors brings both ministry and “real life” experience to the table. What we offer is support and understanding from people who have experienced real losses that may be similar to those you have encountered. Our program directors understand what it is like to experience difficult things in life, and teaching sessions are done within an atmosphere of grace. They have had their own faith stretched by facing personal and ministerial losses, and found hope and healing despite life’s challenges.   

  • Are the program directors trained as counsellors?
    • Our program directors are not certified counselors, but approach the retreats as coaches and mentors in personal, spiritual, and professional development based on their own extensive experience. All of our program directors are certified to administer, interpret, and discuss the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator®. They are also trained to do the same for the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis®.

Back to top

Type of retreat

  • What takes place at a ministry leaders renewal retreat?
    • There are three main parts to a retreat. First, rest and refreshment. Many people in ministry have no idea how exhausted they are. We provide a coming away experience which allows them to have ample free time to pray, reflect, play, sleep, connect with their spouse and to let their mind slow down. The second part is the group teachings. We meet as a group most days to give our guests tools to work through things common to all of us in ministry. Third, each individual/couple meets privately with our program directors three times during the week. This allows guests to talk about personal issues with a couple who has experience in ministry.
  • Is this a prayer ministry retreat?
    • We recognize the value of prayer ministry, and we do pray with our guests as they wrestle with personal issues. We do very much try to approach our personal issues with the Lord directing us to understand the impact of our experiences upon our outlook.
  • Is there time to plan some personal appointments to meet with friends in the area?
    • While there is lots of unstructured time, we encourage people to plan the whole time for replenishing. Engaging in other responsibilities during the week hampers our ability to “turn off” and leave expectations behind. Please plan to meet friends or attend other appointments before or after the retreat.
  • We are facing some major marriage issues, will Kerith Retreats assist us with that?
    • While we are not a marriage retreat, we do spend a lot of time with couples discussing the issues which they face in their marriages. Often this type of coaching is quite helpful for many marriages. We also keep a list of registered counsellors across Canada and can recommend one to you if you feel like you would like further support.
  • I’m experiencing depression and/or burnout in ministry. I find many people don’t understand this and judge me because of it. Do the program directors at Kerith Retreats understand this syndrome?
    • Our program directors look at ministry and life with a Biblical and practical outlook. They have experienced their own family and ministry crises along the way and have researched a lot about depression and burnout. While they are not registered counsellors, the program directors have worked through the complications of these in their own lives and can share their own story with you. Kerith Retreats is a safe place to process many of these complicated and perplexing issues.
  • What makes this retreat different from other retreats?
    • There are many good retreat centres for clergy in the U.S., but not very many in Canada. Our goal is to minister to both women and men in ministry and to provide a week of rest and replenishment. Our program directors are experienced in ministry and know first-hand many of the challenges and joys in ministry. We also provide further support after your retreat is finished so that you can keep growing afterwards.
  • I don’t want to share my problems with the whole group, is this what we do here?
    • We do meet as a group on a daily basis to do a teaching time, but the real personal stuff is discussed in private. We focus on the week being restful and restorative for you, and encourage you to do what you need to do for your well-being. You can connect and share with others as much or as little as you desire.
  • What type of follow-up is provided?
    • We make special effort to stay in touch with our guests during the first year after your retreat. We use mainly email, but also phone at times. Some guests look for more support than others, and we try to be sensitive to that. Our goal is to support you as you seek to grow in the Lord. We promise not to flood the inbox of your email. You may opt out at any time. We also value your feedback after your retreat. Many of our guests tell us about happenings and prayer requests in their lives. We really love the contact we have with guests after they have been to Kerith Retreats.
  • If my supervisor or board wants to know how I’m doing at the retreat, will you send them a report?
    • We do not issue reports on our guests. We desire to protect your privacy as much as possible. If you wish us to have a discussion with someone else about your retreat, we would need to have your authorization in writing. If someone approaches us about how things are going for you, we ask them to approach you directly.
Back to top

Ministry Leaders Renewal Retreat attendees

  • Can I attend alone since my spouse is unavailable?
    • We ask that you choose a time when both of you can attend a retreat since many issues clergy face affect a couple as a whole. We choose to work with clergy in a setting that will provide support for both men and women, so we require both husband and wife to attend.
  • I can’t attend the whole retreat; can I come for part of it?
    • We ask that you choose a time where you can attend the full retreat. Part of the blessing of this retreat is that guests have a full seven days of rest and reflection. We don’t want to skimp on the time we allow the Lord to bring healing and replenishing to our lives. There are times when a guest needs to leave the final night (Monday) which is acceptable since we have finished all our teaching and personal times at that point.
  • Can I bring my newborn child with me?
    • We understand that it is difficult to leave home for a week when you have children, especially a newborn. If you are not able to leave children with relatives or friends at this time, we ask you to find a time where you may be able to. We don’t allow children at our retreats since it is a time of coming away and we don’t want anyone to have extra responsibilities while they are here.
  • I am single. Is this a retreat for couples only?
    • No, this is a ministry retreat and we recognize that many single people in ministry also need support. Many of our guests are married, but we are also sensitive to the needs of single people. We work hard not to make anyone (single or married) feel uncomfortable about their personal situation.
  • Is this retreat for clergy only?
    • Yes, these retreats are for clergy only. “Clergy” is a term which has a fairly loose application in present days. It includes full-time, part-time and self-supporting pastors, missionaries and those in vocational ministries – especially those who are carrying a spiritual responsibility. Camp directors, church staff, music directors, youth pastors, church administrators and mission directors all may fit into this definition. We usually allow guests to sort this part out for themselves. We also accept those in transition in ministry, which includes those who are between churches, just finished a church but uncertain about future, or those who are trying to recover from experiences in the ministry.
  • Do we hold retreats for lay leaders or other individuals?
    • At this time we don’t.
  • I’m a woman in ministry, is Kerith Retreats for me?
    • The program directors do all of their work as a couple since the goal is to meet the needs of both men and women in ministry. Many women have found that their week at Kerith Retreats was very significant in their spiritual and ministry growth.
  • I’m divorced/separated from my spouse and I don’t think they will attend, can I still come?
    • We do make exceptions to the “both must attend” rule. We understand that there are times when it is not practical for some couples to come together and we wish to support people as they work through difficult situations. It is best to discuss this with the program director so they can get an understanding of your situation and decide if they can be of assistance to you.
  • Do we accept people who are not Canadian?
    • While we target clergy in Canada, we do accept people from other countries. We cannot provide much assistance with helping guests obtain a visa to enter Canada, but we do accept them as guests should they be able to attend. We do all of our retreats in English, so guests should be fluent in this language. Unfortunately, we cannot provide scholarships to people outside of Canada.
  • I’m not looking for a conference but looking for help in dealing with my personal life, is that what Kerith Retreats is?
    • It is our goal to provide personal attention to all our guests, which is why we limit the number to four individuals or couples at a time. While we do some teaching in group style, all the really personal stuff is dealt with in private. We are a true retreat with lots of time for reflection and rest, and not just sharing of information.
  • Can guests come to stay at the lodge and have time with their family for a vacation or a time of rest?
    • Unfortunately, we are not set up for this type of use. We focus all of our attention on our clergy retreats. There are some other places which do this type of ministry (such as Fairhaven Ministries near Vernon or Kingsfold near Calgary) and we encourage people to contact them for availability.
Back to top

Pre-retreat requirements

  • Are there any forms for me to fill out before a retreat?
    • Yes, there are some surveys for you to fill out before you come to your retreat. We will email you an information packet approximately one month before your retreat. In it there will be some surveys to fill out and send back to us. These help us prepare for your arrival and will be used with you during your retreat.
  • Anything else I need to do before a retreat?
    • Between registering and the start of your retreat, you will be contacted by the registrar to settle your cost. You will also be contacted prior to the retreat to fill out surveys. If you have any concerns or questions along the way, we encourage you to contact us.
Back to top

Accommodations

  • Do I need to bring bedding, towels or other items?
    • Guests stay in a beautiful private suite which has all bedding and towels. You need only bring your personal items. You may wish to bring swimwear since we have a hot tub.
  • Will we have our own suite?
    • Yes, we have beautiful and private suites with a fireplace and sitting area. You will have lots of privacy and personal space during your week.
  • Will we have to share bathrooms?
    • No, each suite in our beautiful lodge has its own bathroom. We provide the towels and other amenities you would usually find in a nice hotel. Your suite is set up in a way that we hope will give you privacy and make you feel at home.
  • I have some health problems where I might need a suite on the main floor. Do you have that?
    • Yes, we do have a suite on the main floor for people who have difficulty with stairs. Our lodge is a multi-level structure so some stairs may be necessary if you wish to take advantage of all we offer. You can discuss your needs with our program directors who will accommodate you as much as possible.
  • Can I leave the property after I arrive?
    • Certainly. We are close to many things which may interest guests, and there is plenty of time to do things which bring you together as a couple.
Back to top

Location

  • Where is Kerith Retreats located?
    • We have two locations, one in Alberta and one in Manitoba. Our Alberta location is situated about 15 minutes southwest of Calgary, Alta., or about an hour away from Calgary International Airport, depending on traffic. The Manitoba location is about an hour and 15 minutes east of Winnipeg, Man., or about an hour and 40 minutes away from Winnipeg International Airport, depending on traffic.
  • Is there a GPS location I can enter into my device in order to find Kerith Retreats?
    • Since Kerith Retreats is located in a rural and remote area, there is no precise address to enter into your device. In Alberta, locating the town of Priddis and Priddis Valley Road will bring you to within a few kilometers of our site. In Manitoba, our retreat is located on the MB-308 just south of the Trans-Canada Highway.
  • What airports would I fly into?
    • For the Alberta location, you would fly into Calgary International Airport and for Manitoba, you would fly into Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.
  • Can I get picked up at the airport?
    • Unfortunately, we are over an hour drive from the airports and cannot pick up guests.
  • Is it recommended that I rent a car?
    • Yes, we do recommend guests to have their own transportation so they can feel free to visit some of the local sights while on their retreat.
  • Can I get a taxi to Kerith Retreats?
    • Taxi service is available to Kerith Retreats, but you may want to check with cab companies regarding the fee.
  • I can’t find Kerith Retreats directions on your website, can you send them to me?
    • Yes, we can send you a link to a Google map. For the privacy of our guests, we do not post our exact location on our website.
  • Are there car rentals at Calgary International Airport and Winnipeg International Airport?
    • Yes, all the major car rental agencies are available at these airports.
  • Are there other things to do in the area?
    • There are lots of things to see and do in the area. We do encourage you not to fill up your time being busy, but there are some great places for coffee and dining out in the area, as well as horseback riding, hiking and sightseeing nearby both our locations. Our Alberta location is less than an hour and a half away from Banff National Park and our Manitoba location is half an hour from Falcon Lake and Whiteshell Provincial Park. Our staff will be able to give directions to local sights.
Back to top

Details for the week

Back to top

Food

Back to top

Follow-up

  • What type of follow-up can I expect?
    • Your program directors will be in contact with you over the year following your retreat. They will not flood your inbox with unnecessary emails, but will try to make contact with you. Depending on your needs, they will be there for you to also contact and ask for support as you make personal changes in your life and ministry.
  • Will I be able to opt out of follow-up if I feel I don’t need it?
    • Yes, by letting your program directors know, they will respect your wishes.
  • What if I need more assistance?
    • Your program directors can recommend a professional counsellor in your area who may be able to assist you. Our program directors can provide encouragement from a distance, but for more intensive support a person may need a counsellor who they can communicate with face-to-face. Focus on the Family Canada maintains a list of certified counsellors across Canada who may be of assistance to you. By calling our Clergy Care line (1.888.5.CLERGY), you can have a discussion with them.
  • What if I live in a rural area and don’t have access to a counsellor?
    • Focus on the Family Canada may be able to support you if you live in a remote area. Counsellors at Focus may be able to enter into a “for fee” relationship with you in order to help you work through a difficult issue or period in your life.
Back to top