Winter 2017 News


What’s happening around the Foundation…


Retreats at the newly renovated Laity Lodge began September 15 following a 22-month hiatus. At the time, director of program operations Gate Davis remarked, “The reopening represents a transitional time in the Lodge’s history: new buildings, new staff, new retreat possibilities. All of which have prompted much consideration about how to best mark such a significant moment. Our big idea is a modest one: we simply want to keep doing what we’ve always done. So, we’ll gather, and listen, and share. Eat and create. Learn, sing, imagine, and pray.”

The Lodge staff envisioned the fall retreat cycle as “one long dedication ceremony in which we collectively re-consecrate this place together.” Retreat guests were handed a collection of simple prayers to dedicate specific spaces: a guest room, the Great Hall, and the Dining Room.

Davis continued, “As the Lodge reopens, we are keenly aware of Howard Butt, Jr. and his shaping influence on the Lodge. His commitments and concerns surfaced throughout the renovation work and informed countless decisions. While we are venturing into new territory without his presence, we find some assurance in his own reminiscences about the original opening of Laity Lodge.”

In an essay for the Foundation newsletter, Howard Butt, Jr., wrote, “The year 1961 proved to be a pivotal one for me. That year, we completed the basic construction of Laity Lodge. The time rolled around for our first retreat, which also served as a time to dedicate it all to God…. Our limited vision at the time centered on the idea of wanting to inspire everyday working people that all life is sacred—including the workplace. That we are all called by Christ to be his wherever we are. We wanted Laity Lodge to be an intersection of ideas and life experiences. But we were on a journey into the unknown.”


The next issue of ECHOES Newsletter will be a special 2017 Annual Report, arriving in mailboxes in early 2018. We’ll offer a glimpse into the Foundation’s newly articulated Mission Statement—and what it means for our staff, our guests and campers, and our daily work both inside and outside the Frio River Canyon.

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