Kerith Pines: One couple’s story

By Jocelyn Plett

On October 20, Josh and I drove out to East Braintree, MB, (what a fabulous vacation destination!) to spend seven days at a retreat centre.

It was marvellous.

I’m pretty sure our nervousness of seven days apart from our children, at a retreat centre without TV or internet, mirrors most people’s initial thoughts, yet by the end the week, it felt so short. We experienced an immense amount of rest, relaxation, and valuable insight from group times and the couple sessions throughout the week.

What I found unique about this retreat was that it had huge swaths of time set aside to simply rest. No playing games, no singing, and no workbooks that had to be completed. This is an intentionally set schedule meant to allow greater personal and couple reflection and meditation, to encourage resting and receiving the ministrations of the Lord without the distractions of the world, our work and all the “good” things we fill our time with.

The name Kerith comes from the story of Elijah who, after an intense period of ministry, was told by God to retreat and rest:

“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.’” (1 Kings 17:2-4)

Kerith Pines retreat allowed Josh and I a lot of uninterrupted time to talk through some intense issues we have faced in the last few years and where we saw God leading us into the future. We did our processing in the woods on the walking paths, biking on the gravel roads that stretched for miles in every direction, relaxing in the stunningly beautiful lodge, and soaking in the hot tub. We were ministered to by the Lord in the form of our beautiful surroundings – the woods and the lodge itself – which felt much like living at Urban Barn or West Elm, not to mention the fabulous food and care we received from the host couple who are so obviously gifted in hospitality.

The people who envisioned this place to be a restful retreat for couples and singles in ministry have gone about this act of service with excellence. There’s nothing “make-do” about this place as can be seen in the quality of the lodge, and the care that the hosts and director couple take to ensure that the visitors are well taken care of and have ample time to truly rest. “More with more” some might say.

Truly, it was delightful in every way. Not only in the material comforts, but also in the discussions and sessions we took part in on a daily basis. It was fabulous for our marriage, for our ministry, and for our individual soul refreshment.

Josh and I especially found the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® temperament sessions superbly helpful in simply showing us how our unique temperaments react under stress, how to show greater grace to specific temperaments, and what the resources and remedies are for our unique temperaments to get out of the grip of chronic stress. Not to mention the amount of book resources we were recommended on a daily basis. My biggest frustration was realizing that my book budget is so small compared to the great books I’d like to buy!

All in all, we found Kerith Pines to be a balm for the soul.

I got the impression that many people in ministry never acknowledge their needs for rest and rejuvenation, nor permit themselves to retreat away from the demands of ministry in order to be ministered to. This often leads to burnout and serving on empty.

We were so very thankful for the offer of our church family to send us away on this very luxurious retreat to renew our souls and minds and bodies and afford us the opportunity to process through some significant life-changing issues that face us currently. Thank you!!

We would both highly (indeed, strongly!) recommend people in ministry to take advantage of this very rewarding experience! (Anyone, really, would benefit from such a retreat and the learning that is available there!)


Edited for length and clarity.


© 2015 Jocelyn Plett Originally published under the title “Kerith Pines Retreat” with photos on WriteWhatYouSee.Wordpress.com. All rights reserved. Used by permission.