Fantastic Retreats at PC(USA) Camp and Retreat Centers
Going on retreat, a practice modeled by Jesus himself (Mark 6:45–46), has long been a cornerstone of Christian faith formation. A retreat provides an intentional time apart to experience a new awareness of the presence of God. It encourages an unhurried pace conducive to rest and relaxation, which allows one to return to daily life renewed for the high call of discipleship. Retreats are great for youth, families, and adult groups, as well as for organizations and sessions.
A good retreat is well organized. A retreat planner guide is available on this page resource section or by clicking below. This guide, from Menucha Conference Center near Portland, Oregon, can be adapted for use at any retreat center. Work with your retreat center staff to make sure your retreat is as successful as you dream.
Retreat Planning Guide
Partnering to Share the Gospel: Day Camps at Churches
Rev. Betty Angelini, Crestfield Camp and Conference Center, Pittsburgh Presbytery
Building on the deep faith and leadership impact overnight camp has on children and youth, camps, like Pittsburgh Presbytery’s outdoor ministry site Crestfield, located in southwest Pennsylvania are finding transformative success in partnering with congregations for day camp at their churches and in their community. “Collaborations such as this have an immediate impact on furthering Christian witness in communities of need”, reports Rev. Dr. Doug Portz, Senior Associate Minister for Pittsburgh Presbytery. “We are excited in Pittsburgh Presbytery to see how such partnerships directly touch the lives of countless children with the love of Jesus Christ, equip and re-energize disciples in local congregations, as well as, teach and build missional skills and capacity for continuing Ministries of outreach in our twenty first century context.”
Find out how Crestfield and Pittsburgh Presbytery do it and how you can do it too!
Summer Camp: Community, Faith, Transformation
Rev. Theresa MacDonald-Lee. Camp Kintail, Ontario
At summer camp it is impossible to not experience the transformative love of God. From first thing in the morning as we raise our voices in praise to the quiet devotion conversations in the cabin as the sun goes down, each day is filled and overflowing with the joy of the Lord. The growth at camp happens at every level. One child will grow emotionally, learning to navigate new friendships. Another will grow physically, being challenged by a ropes course. Another child will grow spiritually, learning that they are loved and forgiven for the first time. Campers, staff, parents, volunteers, and congregations are all part of this process, allowing children to have a genuine experience of God, which is one of the key factors that will lead to future involvement in a local community of faith.
Learn more about summer camping
The Office of Camp and Conference Ministries exists to Strengthen Viability and Seed Innovative Ministries.
We do this through exploring and sharing national trends in church, camp and society; coaching and supporting leaders; consulting with Presbyteries and camp boards; and speaking about the future shape of camp and conference ministries at gatherings nationally.
It is our firm belief that Camp and Conference Ministries that evolve into Centers for Mission and Ministry will serve as catalysts for the strengthening of congregations and disciples. Strong and consistent leadership will lead to viable ministries.
Presbyterian camping offers faith-filled encounters with Christ in a spiritually safe environment. True to our denominational Reformed tradition, campers get to experience the saving grace of God in a spirit-filled Christian community. By living their faith with other young Christians, campers get an opportunity to more fully integrate their faith into their daily lives.
Conference and Retreat Ministry
Presbyterian Conference Centers offer hospitality and welcome to all God’s children in locations surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. Time away from our busy lives to reflect on our faith, to formulate new mission and vision and to build trusting relationships with others reminds us to keep our faith central to all we do. Presbyterian Conference Centers are also great places to bring meetings, schools and family reunions.
Centers for Mission and Ministry
Increasingly our camp and conference center are expanding beyond their traditional camp and retreat ministries. They are reaching out to support other ministry partners, doing mission outside their physical centers, supporting the ministries of the mid-councils and congregations.
The web site for the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association has a handy map that shows where Presbyterian camps and conference centers are located. You can find that here.
Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association
Since 1964, staff and volunteers from Presbyterian camps and conference centers have gathered for fellowship, education and the mutual support of their ministries. This organization is called the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association. This close-knit group brings together people who support and represent the 156 Presbyterian camps and conference centers in the United States and Canada. The programs and fellowship of PCCCA (pronounced “P – triple C – A”) allow these individuals to hone their skills and to bring knowledge and resources back to their ministries. The PCCCA “family” serves as an incredible source of professional and personal support.
The mission of PCCCA is to equip leaders for vibrant and sustainable ministries. It seeks to provide a common voice and shared vision for Presbyterian camp and conference ministry. The association offers many educational and connectional events. PCCCA also provides a quarterly enewsletter, a directory of camp and conference centers, representation on national committees, consulting services, an online repository of resources, job listings, special discounts on products/services and a network of collegial support.
The organization is open to all persons who value this important ministry. You may be a full-time camp and conference professional, a board/committee member, a summer staff person, a retired camp and conference professional, a volunteer, a student or just an interested person. You are invited to join PCCCA!
Coaching for Excellence
A Ministry of the Office of Camp and Conference Ministries, PC(USA)
Goal: Provide support for new leadership successes, growth of established leadership and successful transitions for our denominational Centers for Mission and Ministry (Camps and Conference Centers)
Basic Structure of Coaching
Monthly (2x monthly as needed) coaching calls to last approximately 45 minutes. Topical and focused in a flexible way to adapt to specific needs and changes in trajectory of ministry.
Coaching enables leaders to improve outcomes through having an experienced guide (coach) with a different and broader perspective helping them focus and implement plans. Executive coaching has shown a 3-6x ROI in the for-profit world and though it has not been studied, a similar impact can be expected in ministry realm.
Work with directors in their first 3 years of ministry or first 3 years at a new site.
Why? The hallmark of a successful ministry is in consistency of quality leadership. A quality and successful leader will be growing and learning, adaptable, and resilient. Ministry center leadership can be daunting and isolating. A skilled coach who is not also your supervisor, offers opportunities to sort through the vast list of demands and priorities. High turn-over is one of the biggest challenges facing ministry centers as they move towards sustainability. Coaching can provide support to increase successful ministry implementation and retention of leadership.
Work with established leaders to transition to new and innovative ministry.
Established leaders benefit from coaching by having a sounding board and broader perspective to help implement new and evolving plans. A coach is also an excellent way to increase successful implementation of a consulting plan.
Work with leaders and board leadership as they move from one ministry stage to another.
No ministry center is successful and stagnant. Ministries must adapt to new forms and take advantage of new opportunities to be able to maintain viability. Whether it is a structural transition (change of governance structure, change of staffing hierarchy, etc.), staffing transition, or a programmatic transition (adding a focus on programming offsite, adding leadership components to user group offerings, etc.) a coach will help increase success in transitions.
$2,000/year. Includes monthly coaching sessions.
A Ministry of the Office of Camp and Conference Ministries, PC(USA)
Goal: Provide support for Mid-Councils, camp committees/boards, and camp leaders to assess current ministry realities, develop clear purpose and direction, and provide perspective for next steps.
Basic Structure of Consulting
Calls and general support are always provided and always free. It is free for you to access your national staff for questions, advice, and perspective. We will always be available to assist you and direct you to help if we cannot provide it ourselves. Once this moves from advice and conversation and into a formal plan, we move into consulting.
The national offices provide short-term consultation services based on an overall assessment, development of purpose, mission and direction, and basic training in structure and priorities of camp and conference ministries. This is done in person or on the phone, or even through video chat.
The biggest challenges we encounter are how to set up a governance structure that supports the ministry and maintains connection to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and how to set a new vision that will carry us into a viable and successful future without throwing out the traditional ministries that have nurtured faith of participants for decades.
Once basic direction and support has been established, recommendations have been made, and mid-council partners and boards have been informed and trained, it is often appropriate to hand off support to a professional consultant for deeper long range and financial plan development.
No one mid-council or camp leadership team can do this alone. A broad perspective is needed from trained outsiders to help us see the path ahead. The church and the world have changed rapidly and our centers need to keep pace and adapt to continue to be relevant. The national offices of the PMA are trained to help you meet these needs.
Call us for any need you have and we will either assist you directly or connect you with those who can.
Brian Frick – 502-403-9363
Intentional Communities of Practice
Join us for a season at one of our Communities of Practice. We are looking for young adults who are committed to community living, working for the good of others, participating in consistent spiritual practices, and discerning God’s call on their life. We offer several communities with unique differences but a common commitment to shared practices. Find out more about each community and our shared practices below.
All participating members of Communities of Practice share essential practices, including regular spiritual practices, communal living, participation in a worshiping community, discernment/reflection, communal work experiences, and skill building.
Find a Community
Visit our ministry partners at the Center for Faith and Service to find a PC(USA) Intentional Community.
National Conference Centers of the PC(USA)
Our mission is to enrich lives. Our vision is that all might experience God through discovery and transformation.
Located in northwest New Mexico, come and emerse yourselve in the community of vast, safe space where you can nourish your body, mind and soul.
Stony Point Center
Welcoming across boundaries by providing overnight and day-use accommodations and meeting spaces for individuals and groups. We offer delicious, locally-sourced food; simple, comfortable guestrooms; and a caring touch that honors the distinctive needs of each guest.
Nestled in the rolling hills north of New York City, Stony Point offers a unique and comfortable space for all. Uniquely, they host a community and young adult experiences that encourage us to reach across religious divisions to be the active hands and feet of God in the world.
Montreat offers meeting space, housing and recreational facilities for individuals, groups and families. We also host non-profit and business groupos looking for retreat opportunities in a peaceful, gracious setting.
The Montreat Conference Center is one of the largest conference centers affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The conference center is under the management of the Mountain Retreat Association which was formed in 1905 and is a church-related institute. For over 100 years, we have been a place set apart for those who journey here seeking a closer relationship with their Creator.
Our Mission Statement
Encountering God through relationships, renewal, recreation, and rest.