Last year marked Laity Lodge’s first full year of retreats since its two-year renovation, hosting 110 people at the Quiet House and 1,774 guests through 41 retreats.
The Lodge’s lineup was at once traditional and new—old favorites like Creativity Week came back, along with retreat weekends focused on prayer and Bible study. At the same time, the Lodge experimented with an array of new concepts, including an arts event unveiling a series of interrelated works by painter Bruce Hermann, poet Malcolm Guite, and composer JAC Redford.
“The Lodge is stretching its legs,” says director Steven Purcell. “The renovation opened up possibilities to reimagine how we gather and host.” One growing edge is micro-retreats, with groups ranging from a handful to 20 people coming together around a shared purpose, sometimes for a midweek stay. “The range of small groups we hosted last year ran the gamut,” says Steven, “from board meetings for national organizations to leaders from Haiti and the U.S. to work on spiritual formation to our own Capacity-Building cohorts.”
Another growth opportunity: artists in residency. “One of the highlights of the year was the late fall, when four or five distinct entities were here at once, working on their own projects in music, writing, or theology, but sharing meals and worshipping together,” says Steven.
Meanwhile, Quiet House continues to be booked a year in advance as individuals come to the Canyon to find a few days of solitude and quiet. Steven says all these experiences are teaching the Lodge about what it is and what it will be. “Howard Butt, Jr. always had a vision for Laity Lodge being not just a weekend retreat center, but a place that existed at the intersection of experience and ideas,” says Purcell. “We’re discovering an elevated sense of what the Lodge can mean, and how it creates a context for transformation.”