Two weekends ago I flew out to Phoenix and was picked-up by a nice lady named Katy. She drove us out past Wickenburg, to the Standing Stones Retreat Center operated by Shepherd’s Canyon. More than 100 donors and staff met for the 10th anniversary of Standing Stones.
Shepherd’s Canyon is for clergy couples and individual church workers who are stress out, burned out, dealing with marital pain, anxiety and depression, loneliness, disillusionment in ministry, conflict in the congregation, looking for support and encouragement, spiritual renewal, and marital help.
I was honored along with others for our support of Shepherd’s Canyon. Many years ago I was contacted by Dave Anderson who called me to say he had a dream. He said, over the years when he was on musical tour, he often met pastors in distress. He often thought about a retreat center for Lutheran pastors, where they could meet with Lutheran counselors, where they could speak honestly and openly about their hurts and pains in the ministry and share the struggles in their home life impacted by ministry.
In his conversation with me he asked, “Ron, do you think there is a need for this?” I answered “YES!” Dave replied, “I don’t Know the program and I don’t know how we could fund it, but will you come over and help me with this dream?’ I said, “Yes of course” and I did. We met several months and with the assistance of Marble Retreat Center in Colorado, we created the outlines of the program.
Now, after renting space around the country for the initial Shepard’s Canyon retreats, ten years later, the physical structure called Standing Stones is hosting pastors, couples and individuals dealing with hurts, pains, and struggles of ministry and marriage. The facility has eight bedrooms, dining hall, recreational area, gathering place, swimming pool, a large prayer garden. There are plans for a chapel.
The donors came from around the country. Many of them not only have given money, but many of them have built the Standing Stones Retreat Center with their own hands. To date, Dave has engaged 19 Christian therapists and numerous chaplains for these retreats (Rev. Art Puls from the San Diego area was honored as the first Chaplain at the first retreat)
There have been 83 retreats to date. Along with Grace Place, Shepherd’s Canyon forms another approach to worker care. Shepherd’s Canyon is the therapeutic approach to worker care and it endorsed by Synod and is promoted by many District Presidents.
There are many testimonials of retreat attendees who tell what a difference these retreats have made in their lives. People have been healed. Marriage has improved. Reconciliations have been made. God has been doing a good thing defeating the Evil One who wants to break pastors in their spirit and spiritual health.
If you wish to pray for Shepherd’s Canyon or wish to donate to this ministry, just Google “Shepherd’s Canyon” to learn more about what God is doing in this ministry.
(This One Minute is written by Pastor Ron Rehrer, Counselor for Church Workers in the PSD. For help, contact Ron at 949-433-5182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)