A Place Set Apart: Shrine Mont
Perhaps one of the quirks of my personality is that when people ask where I am from, I frequently respond that I am "from" the mountains of Virginia. My mailing address was only ever listed as Orkney Springs, Virginia during the summer months, but the impact of those days on the mountain far exceeded the volume of time. There are many details about my time at Shrine Mont as a camper, counselor, retreat leader, and parishioner that I will happily recount for anyone who is actually interested! But my intent in sharing my personal connection is to offer a much broader invitation.
is the retreat center and Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. As Bishop Lee frequently boasted, "OUR cathedral has the tallest ceilings in the world," (because it is outdoors!) It is literally at the end of the road, and hugs the border of West Virginia. The original hotel was built as a retreat for those who traveled to the natural hot springs for their healing powers. It is intentionally rustic in nature, and stunningly beautiful in simplicity. One of the benefits of our status as a parish in the Diocese of Virginia is the opportunity to be on retreat together at Shrine Mont on an annual basis.
As a place that is physically apart from our daily lives, Shrine Mont provides the opportunity to connect in whatever way our souls might need most. If you are in need of connecting with nature -- the beauty of the mountains and the breath-taking (literally!) incline of the hills cannot be avoided. If it is God with whom you seek to connect, perhaps a hike to the cross, time spent in the shrine, or an opportunity to walk the labyrinth would nourish you. If you are still wondering whether St. Michael's is your parish home, come share meals with fellow parishioners, spend time in conversation that goes deeper than coffee hour allows, and lean into the possibility of making meaningful connections. If it is your playful, child-like nature that you are seeking, be prepared to relish in the joy of our children, or find an Adirondack chair and simply watch the world pass by in delight! If you are looking for peers and partners in the parenting vocation, seek out those who share this role and know that the children will be exhausted by delight at the weekend's end! Shrine Mont is a place intentionally set apart so that we might make room for all that our souls need, but often do not receive in daily life.
Shrine Mont is many things for many people. Whether this is the first you've heard of our Cathedral Shrine, or you've been going for years, this is YOUR retreat! While I expect most of you will not adopt Shrine Mont as your home away from home, it has always been a place of meaningful spiritual growth and connection for me. What I have experienced over the years is that we are continually invited to return so that we might be nourished anew by meaningful connections, in whatever form we are seeking them.
My sincere hope is that everyone in our parish family will consider joining us on retreat, September 14-16, 2018. As a commitment to our parish families, the Vestry generously pays the cost for all children to attend the weekend.
Your planning committee has already begun working in earnest and early registration has begun! For questions or more information, please seek out Tom Sheldon, Caroline Haynes, or Linda Kelleher.
Details on how to register
can be found on our parish website. Please use the
online registration form
to reserve your spot today!