2017’s St. Catherine’s Parish Family Retreat
Each year the people of St. Catherine’s come together for a time of fellowship and renewal at Camp Allen, an 1100-acre Episcopal retreat in the piney woods of Navasota, Texas. We call it a Family Retreat because St. Catherine’s considers the entire church community family and ALL are welcome.
We come together early on a Friday evening and begin to settle in to the bunk-houses and dormitories of the camp site. Camp chairs that we bring from home are brought to the clearing nearest the meeting hall and, almost as if divinely inspired, the community circle begins to form. Small at first but widening throughout the camp to enfold newcomers and bring them in to the circle of sharing.
There are games, food, a healthy dose of “whatever we feel like” and Sunday services. Sometimes our feeling of adventure might even stretch to an impromptu snack of “fried baloney sammiches” at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night. We like to think Spirit had a hand in that! But, in truth, with the exception of our meal times and worship hours, the camp is very unstructured, leaving room for people to find the peace for which they came.
Among the activities we enjoy are group games, skeet shooting, horseback riding on trails for older campers and in the arena for the youngest campers, canoeing, trail walks and “do-nothing” time. Bill Pownall, one of the leading proponents of the value of “do nothing” time, demonstrates the finer points in this photo: