Looking back at Kerith Retreats 2020

By Focus on the Family Canada

As we near the end of the calendar year, we wanted to share a little summary of our year at Kerith Retreats. With great disappointment, along with most of the rest of the country in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we shut down services for several months from March to June. But with careful guidance and advice from provincial health authorities, as well as some adjustments in how we serve people, we reopened our programs both in Alberta and Manitoba in June and have been so delighted to be back serving ministry leaders monthly in our two retreat centres!

We want to thank our guests who were forced to reschedule for their patience. We are very sorry to our guests in Ontario and further east who would like to come and stay with us in Manitoba but have been unable to do so due to travel restrictions still in place. We sure hope we can welcome you sometime in 2021!

But mostly we want to share with you some of the comments we have received from guests these past few months as they have joined us for special times of rest and refreshing. Their remarks are a wonderful affirmation that we are accomplishing exactly what we intend to when we serve our guests!


“A beautiful balance between structured times and free time – especially to have the first morning free when [we were] so exhausted [we] wouldn’t have been able to absorb anything. Peaceful, beautiful surroundings – conducive to relaxing. Felt so cared for by the directors and host couple. The food was exceptional [with] thought and care put into every meal (including COVID restrictions). The special night of private dining felt like a 5-star evening. The Sabbath/communion time was so meaningful.”

“I was very anxious not knowing what I was coming into and just for the current hard things I was dealing with, I wasn’t sure if I was going to open up or close down. Once I realized it’s a place to rest and be renewed [with] no pressure to share if I wasn’t comfortable, it’s such a freeing feeling to have and therefore I was able to relax and learn how to rest, realizing I am allowed to rest in my daily life, with no guilt.”

“Restful, lots of time to sleep, a good time to reset my priorities, time to dream about life, beautiful setting, better than a vacation – no planning required!! To be honest I felt nervous before we came. I didn’t know much about Focus on the Family and I was uncertain about the messages or expectations that would be at the heart of the teachings. Once here, I felt welcomed to be myself. There weren’t any expectations of being a ‘strict’ Christian. The contemplative and diverse expressions of faith were shared in the teachings. The personal stories in the teaching times were well thought of from both Pauline and Sam. I appreciated the equal teaching times from both Pauline and Sam. I thought it was important to not create gender-specific teachings but to have a team approach.”

“A very relaxing, restful week of reflection and a space to make some resolutions.”

“It was a good time of rest and refreshment. Also a good reminder of the importance to keep God number one in life and ministry.”

“My week at Kerith was a great time of rest and recalibration after an extremely trying time in life and ministry. There weren’t many new concepts taught, but rather ample space and opportunity to actually put into practice rest, Sabbath, reconnecting in deeper ways with my spouse and God. The length of the retreat is also very important. Seven full days away allows for ample time to slow down and settle into a different rhythm of being.”

“We were weary, hurting and confused. We are leaving encouraged and strengthened. Everything this week was prepared and done so purposefully to bless and strengthen us: the facility, the teaching, the meals, the private sessions, so full of love and attention to what would bless us. God used all of this to nurture our hearts and help us move forward. Thank you.  My husband said to the host on the very special Saturday dinner date night: ‘You saved our lives.’”

“Real respite in the midst of the pace and challenges of ministry life. The teaching was very well suited to ministry couples and helpful for continued growth.”

“My week was indescribable. It was more than what I could have ever expected. Coming here felt like another thing on our list but so happy we did. The amazing place, exceptional food, amazing hosts, the heart-to-hearts, sitting around the fire, card games, walks, tears, laughs, quiet times, Sabbath – we have been so spoiled and so blessed.”

“Refreshing, restful, hopeful. Having a safe place to share our hurts and open up our hearts has been a cleansing breath of fresh air. This has been a safe haven for me.”


We’re very excited to have a full retreat in November in Alberta; however, we are disappointed to announce that due to rising numbers of COVID cases, we’ve had to cancel our Manitoba retreat in November. Our teams take a break in December, but we are looking forward to our 2021 schedule. Check out the website today at KerithRetreats.ca as dates are already booking up for our 2021 year. Financial assistance is available if that would be helpful to you. Call our registrar at 1.800.550.5655 for more information about that.

Our teams love serving pastors and ministry leaders and as you can see from the comments above, they do an exceptional job of doing so. Do make time to come and let them bless you – single or married, if you are a ministry leader, we’d love to have you join us!


© 2020 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.