Frequently asked questions

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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 $5000per couple, but Focus on the Family Canada’s donors generously cover more than half of your attendance fees. As a result, each couple that comes pays only $1700, while individuals pay just $1150 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 and non-transferable. However, in the case of emergency we may be able to reschedule. Please contact the office immediately. 

  • 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]) 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 fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. In the case of an emergency however, our staff can work with you to reschedule your retreat for a later date. Please call the office as soon as possible if something unexpected comes up. Each situation is reviewed on a case by case basis.

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Program directors

  • What type of qualifications do the program directors have?
    • Our program directors are experienced pastoral couples, having served in church ministry for 25+ years. They bring a wealth of experience to the table, and offer is support and understanding from their own journeys in ministry. They know what it's like to go through the ups and downs of ministry life, and teach 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 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. They are also trained to do the same for the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis®.

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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?
    • Each day has a group led morning session, followed by a few personal time with the director couples, but most afternoons are free to allow you to do whatever refreshes you. 

  • We are facing some major marriage issues, will Kerith Retreats assist us with that?
    • This is *not* a marriage retreat. We can spend time with couples discussing the issues which they face in their marriages. However this meant more for coaching, and not designed to be counselling. Our directors can pray with you and refer you to professional counsellors, or point you to our Hope Restored marriage intensives (

  • 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 enjoy 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.
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Ministry Leaders Renewal Retreat attendees

  • Can I attend alone since my spouse is unavailable?
    • We strongly prefer 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 ask that both husband and wife be in attendance. Exceptions can be made however. Please call our office at 1/800/550-5655. 

  • 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 their choice 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?
    • We define "clergy" quite broadly. 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 also fit this definition. 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. If uncertain where you fit, simply call our office at 1/800/550-5655.

  • Do we hold retreats for lay leaders or other individuals?
    • At this time we do not.

  • 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. Feel free to call the office at 1/800/550-5655 to chat with the registrar. 

  • Do we accept people who are not Canadian?
    • While our primary audience is Canada, we do accept people from other countries. We cannot provide 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?
    • Our retreats are designed to be a week of rest and refreshment for those in ministry. If you have need for personal help or counselling, you might want to start by calling our Clergy Care Line at 1-888-525-3749. This network provides counselling, resources and encouragement to families in full-time ministry across Canada. 

  • Can guests come to stay at the lodge and have time with their family for a vacation or a time of rest?
    • We regret to say that we do not provide the opportunity to rent our Kerith Retreat centres for any length of time for any purpose other than for the scheduled retreats/programs that we provide. 

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Pre-retreat requirements

  • Are there any forms for me to fill out before a retreat?
    • A few weeks before your retreat you will be asked to fill out the Myers Briggs and Taylor Johnsons Analysis assessments, along with a little questionnaire we created called the "Getting to Know You." These are simply designed to help facilitate the discussions you will have with our directors during your retreat. 

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  • Will we have our own suite and bathroom?
    • Yes, we have beautiful private suites with a fireplace, sitting area and private bathroom. You will have lots of privacy and personal space during your week. We provide all the bedding, 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. Please ensure you make note of this at registration. 

  • 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.
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  • Where is Kerith Retreats located?
    • We have three locations: Alberta (Kerith Creek), Manitoba (Kerith Pines) and Ontario (Kerith Waters). 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. And the Ontario location is about 1 hour north-east of the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

  • What airports would I fly into?
    • For the Alberta (Kerith Creek), you would fly into Calgary International Airport. In Manitoba (Kerith Pines), you would fly into Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. In Ontario (Kerith Waters), you'd fly into Toronto Pearson 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.
  • 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.
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Details for the week

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  • Do we cook our own food?
    • No, our hosts are delighted to serve you while you are at our facility and will provide you with your meals and snacks. It’s our goal for you to relax and have a good break from your regular schedule.

  • I have food allergies, how will this be accommodated?
    • You will be asked about food allergies and medically required dietary restrictions at the time of registration. Each team at the lodge will do their very best to accommodate your needs, however it is important to point out that they are volunteers, not professional chefs or dieticians. If your allergies or dietary needs are extensive, you might want to consider bringing some of your own snacks, etc. to ensure your needs are met. 

  • What type of food is served at Kerith Retreats?
    • Our team works very hard to plan nutritious food which tastes great and is beautifully presented. There will be good variety of food availalbe with ample servings. The food at Kerith Retreats is often given a five-star rating by our guests.

  • Will we eat all our meals together as a group?
    • Many meals are eaten together as a group, but breakfasts are taken on your own. You will be able to help yourself in our breakfast kitchen to a range of good choices.

  • Are snacks provided?
    • We provide ample opportunity for snacks. Some are typical snacks and many are healthy. You will have lots of choice.
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  • 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. For more intensive support we would invite you to call our Clergy Care line (1.888.5.CLERGY).

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