If there are more beautiful places in the Northeast than the Silver Bay YMCA, they must be a well-kept secret! An energetic group of 49 YMCA Chaplains, Christian mission staff,  church planters and pastors serving churches partnering with a local Y gathered together earlier this month for 3 days of training, sharing their stories, and mutual edification.

Highlights of the week included a compelling historical overview of the YMCA by David Newman, a firsthand greeting from our friends and colleagues in Germany by Tabea Koebel,  the annual in-person meeting of our Ministry Cabinet, an update on the overall work of the US Mission Network, and a moving closing concert of prayer.

Started informally 9 years ago, this annual gathering is underwritten by the generosity of Paul and Jane Ingrey, longtime financial supporters of the Silver Bay YMCA. For many of those in attendance this is simply their favorite week of the year. Motivated by the genuine fellowship and beautiful setting, this week provides a much needed respite for many of those in attendance.

Ministry, whether you are working at it full time or as another “duty as assigned” for your YMCA, can be a draining responsibility. This gathering is an opportunity for church planters and pastors serving churches partnering with a local YMCA the opportunity to share ideas, discuss what does or does not work, best practices, and their own personal journeys. At the same time, a separate track is also focused on the needs of the YMCA Chaplain and Christian mission staff members, who have their own unique challenges.

For everyone involved, this gathering at Silver Bay has become something to look forward to as a time to refresh, revive, and renew. Under the direction of the US Mission Network Ministry Cabinet, it is our intention to maintain this week as a primary tool to help equip and train these key leaders within the larger movement. Silver Bay will also continue to be the location for the annual in-person gathering of the Ministry Cabinet in advance of the larger retreat.

Our thanks to the Ministry Cabinet Integration Team  (Josh Heaston, Janele Nelson, Bjorn Dixon, David Newman, Joel Schutte, and Stephanie Gibson) for planning this year’s event. Their hard work and careful preparation paved the way for a special time of inspiration and encouragement for everyone in attendance.