PCC Pastor Retreat

PCC Pastor RetreatA total of 45 pastors gathered at Queen of Apostles
Renewal Centre in Mississauga Nov. 7-9, 2022
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Forty five pastors gathered over three days and two nights for Come to Me, a Retreat for PCC Pastors on Nov. 7-9, 2022. Organized by The Renewal Fellowship and co-sponsored by Vaughan Community Church, it was an opportunity for many to gather face-to-face after more than two years of pandemic separation and online gatherings.

Liz HoneyfordLiz Honeyford

Liz Honeyford, of Healing Care Canada, was our spiritual guide, with additional talks from Chris Little and Sean Howard. Christine O’Reilly and Peter Bush led worship. It was more about cultivating peace and rest than about teaching.

The gathering, held at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, was completely free of charge. Vaughan Community Church covered more than half of the cost, with RF and several donors providing the balance. Because of this generosity, we ended with a significant surplus – all of which will be applied to a future pastor retreat.

Our hope and prayer was that the retreat be an opportunity for pastors to share burdens with kindred souls, to grieve and lament what’s been lost (relationally and theologically in the PCC), to talk face to face with colleagues and to be in touch with God’s holy love. We told pastors to “expect worship, prayer, words of encouragement, discussion, times of silence and listening ears. All with a solid scriptural foundation. The goal is to open the door for renewal, peace and shalom.”

How did we do? We asked participants and here is a sampling of their responses.

“Before I attended the retreat sponsored by Renewal Fellowship I thought it would be just a nice time to get away and talk to other ministers in the denomination. It wasn’t until I listened to Chris Little, Sean Howard and others how much I needed to let go of things that I didn’t realize had built up in me over the last while. I felt emotions taking over and I had a difficult time expressing what was happening within me. The music was particularly  meaningful and uplifting. I found the sessions very intense and yet revealing. I left, at the end of the retreat, feeling empty but I knew God was working in me and healing me. Since then I have found a sense of relief and now comfort as I have been able to let go and let God take over my life again. I want to thank both Vaughn Community Church and Renewal Fellowship for organizing and funding the retreat. I hope that this can be a regular occurrence as we, who are trying so hard to be true to God’s word, need to support each other.” Barb Sargent, Knox Wallaceburg, Ontario

“It felt like a family gathering – a homecoming where transparency was welcomed and emotions embraced. It was engaging. There was an atmosphere of ease – not heavy or rushed. It was one where personal and corporate worship unite. It was rich. [Did anything about this retreat inspire you or spark a thought or feeling?] The importance for the people of God to come together to share and encourage each other and to worship God without discussing ‘heavy business’ – just pure worship. We need to do more gathering like this to worship God. It really felt like homecoming. To God be the glory!” Sybil Mosley, Livingstone Montreal

“I want to say thank you for the retreat.  I was greatly encouraged and challenged to continue to seek the presence of the Lord Jesus first before I consider how to serve in ministry.  I am so appreciative of the intentional gathering to practice and rest in the presence of the Lord with fellow Pastors.  The retreat was better than a conference as I really needed to have a place to commune with fellow minded and safe leaders whom we can share together as well.  Thank you again!” Allan Brouwer, St. Paul’s Ingersoll, Ontario

Esther Park and Pye ChewEsther Park and Pye Chew

“Accommodations and food were very good. The speakers were also good and seemed to connect well to the need for rest, and helping to process a lot of what we’ve been through with our options.” Matthew Ruttan, Westminster Barrie, Ontario

“Worship services were meaningful – Free time was welcomed – Venue was excellent – Spiritual guide and guest speakers were relatable and helpful – group engaged well in the group conversation time.” Glynis Faith, Gravenhurst, Ontario

“The retreat exceeded my expectations. The Scriptures chosen for worship were wonderful. I was still humming some of the worship songs when I returned home. The conversations with other ministers were very helpful.  I left the retreat feeling recharged and at peace by the power of the Holy Spirit. This retreat made me realize that I needed this time of relaxation with God more than I thought!” Candice Bahadoor, Heart Lake Community Presbyterian Church, Brampton, Ontario 

“Spiritually renewing, genuine sharing and support, welcoming, attentive to soul-keeping! I was greatly encouraged to ‘carry-on’!” Ronda Bosch, Norman Kennedy Presbyterian Church, Regina, Sask.

“Honestly speaking, I did not expect something special from this retreat. I was wrong. It was one of the best retreats that I had ever attended. I felt refreshed and helped in the last three days. The talk really touched the heart of many of us. One of the things stood out to me was the closeness and support from the participants. We were like a big family with different characters and talents yet we were one. I had many heart to heart conversation with my brothers and sisters. Thank you for creating the space for us. If I have to promote the retreat to others, I will encourage come and see. There is something that God has prepared for you. Come to taste the goodness of God and to share the sweetness of fellowship.” Jonah Ho, Montreal Chinese Presbyterian Church

“I don’t know how to thank you for this divine appointment, definitely the retreat met my expectations and more. I really experienced His presence, full of peace and comfort.” Moheb Nasr, Lighthouse evangelical Arabic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Liz HoneyfordLiz Honeyford

Liz Honeyford is the Executive Director of a ministry called Healing Care Canada. Healing Care Ministries began in Ohio, USA, under Dr. Terry Wardle who, as a pastor, author, seminary principal and church planter, found himself on a personal journey from profound brokenness to wounded healer, a journey that he would describe as “a journey not of his own choosing.” In 2008, Liz was pastoring in a church north of Toronto, Ontario, when she was invited to participate in a program under Terry Wardle called Pastors of Excellence. The program, Liz discovered, had nothing to do with being excellent and everything to do with being authentic as a pastor, a human, and a lover of Jesus. This began Liz on her own journey into understanding her own personal brokenness as well, discovering that Jesus longed to meet her in it and bring true healing and wholeness — life changing and ministry altering! In 2018, Liz founded Healing Care Canada to provide a safe space for others to go on their own journey into discovering a deeper intimacy and authenticity with Jesus, self, and others. Through Healing Care Canada, many people (and churches) have been transformed through small groups, spiritual direction, and/or seminars. Liz has been described by others as a “safe place to work out hard things”.

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