Family Retreat 2021

First PLR Retreat for Pastors and Their Families 

 Pastors from Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri, along with their families, gathered at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, Kansas, June 4-7, 2021, for a retreat focusing the “The Serious Work of Play: The Gifts of Improv.”  The Rev. Marthame Sanders ( led workshops using both improv exercises and play to foster communication among family members.  One exercise taught participants how much the words “but” and “and” influence conversation.   The participants got in pairs, and conversed by repeatedly saying, “No, but…”  The next exercise was the same, except the response was “Yes, however …”  And the third conversation used the response, “Yes, and …”  That phrase opened up vast possibilities and was far more fun and engaging than “no, but.” 

One pastor said, “What a gift Marthame and his family were, as well as his workshops. The improv games combined with the processing was just the right thing for this kind of a family retreat.  I couldn’t think of a better way to do workshops in this kind of a setting with families and multiple generations.”  Another participant discovered that “play is spiritually valuable!” 

Families were given ample free time during this retreat.  Many families relished playing in the water park.  Others enjoyed leaving the Lodge and venturing out to the local shops and restaurants.  PLR staff also encouraged the families to visit local churches (preferably PCUSA) on Sunday morning.  The pastors rediscovered the joy of worshiping in the pew with their spouses and children. 

Kili Wenburg offered spiritual direction to all those who were interested.  Several pastors shared that they were going to explore continuing spiritual direction when they returned home.  (OPSF offers scholarships for spiritual direction.  Please see  Kili also led the Friday evening worship service, which appealed to all generations.   

PLR was grateful to Ann Bouchard and her husband for providing a near vacation bible school experience to the smaller children who attended.  They heard bible stories, made crafts, colored, watched videos and played games while the older children and adults were learning improv exercise with Marthame. 

We were delighted to be together with more than 50 people, especially as this retreat had been postponed a full year due to the pandemic.  PLR will host the next family retreat in June 2022 at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska.