2025 Discovering Renewal

April 22–25, 2025Adult
A Montreat Conference Center Event

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Our culture values hard work over rest. Burnout is rampant. Our jobs, obligations, churches often expect us to work relentlessly. Hard work is good, but it is not the goal. We often preach about the importance of Sabbath, but how often do we take our own advice? What we need is to take time to breathe, to engage our senses, to use neglected literal and figurative muscles so that we might discover the renewal Sabbath offers.

Join us as we seek to discover renewal through activities as a way to be reminded that we can find this renewal in the most common of places.


Activity Tracks

Sign up for an activity track. Each day will begin with a devotion led by Brian McLaren and a challenge to use your chosen activity to find peace and renewal and to reflect on how to bring this back to your daily life. Fill in your free time in whatever way you feel led. Come to be renewed and enjoy free time to think, pray, read, sleep, or just relax.

Art Track (Limited to 15)

Find renewal through creation with this track designed for those who love art and the outdoors. Participants will be sketching en plein air for three hours each of the two days. Creating art en plein air (in the open air) awakens the senses and creates a special connection to nature. En plein air, the artist captures the essence of nature's design. This class will be beginner-friendly. Participants will be given a supply list at a later date which they will be responsible for purchasing. This track will finish by 12:30 pm each day, which leaves plenty of time for exploring Montreat's trails, reading by Lake Susan, shopping in Black Mountain, and finding other ways of renewal. Led by Sue Dolamore.

Yoga (Limited to 20)

Come renew your mind and spirit through the practice of yoga. Enjoy two different hour-long sessions each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We will explore breathwork, movement, strengthening, and stretching as we seek to find rest for our bodies and souls. Learn what your body and mind need to feel at peace. Then, take these tools home with you to incorporate moments of Sabbath into your daily life and achieve more balance. Please bring a yoga mat. Led by Mary Carroll Dodd.

Fly Fishing (Limited to 15)

"People fish because they are searching for something. Often it is not for a fish."   Fennel Hudson, Fly Fishing - Fennel's Journal - No. 5  

Join us as we approach fly fishing as a contemplative practice and a way to experience renewal beyond just "getting on the water." Western North Carolina has some of the best fly fishing on the east coast. Participants will have opportunities to fish on sections of up to four rivers (primarily Davidson River, Mills River, Catawba River, and Curtis Creek) over the course of this experience. All rivers are within an hour and a half drive of Montreat. All levels of skill are welcome, but guides, gear, and instruction are not provided. You MUST bring your own gear (rod, reel, North Carolina fishing license, flies, etc.). Participants must know how to fly fish. Led by Tanner Pickett.

Intentional Hiking (Limited to 20)

Walking as a spiritual practice is less about using your path for the sake of transportation and more about engaging the trail for ongoing transformation. Each day of this track we will spend time immersed among the elements of wild nature that make themselves known on forest trails. With the wisdom of select poets and naturalists to guide us, we will trek and converse, exploring how to engage as participants in a community of wildness. With our senses in tune with the elements, we will saunter and reflect, exploring what it means to pray with our feet. Led by Aram Mitchell.

Tabletop Games (Limited to 12)

Unleash your inner adventurer and delve into the captivating realm of tabletop gaming, guided by our passionate track leaders, Rev. Thomas Wesley (T. Wes) Moore, IV, and Dora Rowe. Prepare for an odyssey filled with magic, camaraderie, and boundless creativity as you explore a diverse spectrum of tabletop role-playing games, board games, and more.

As you embark on epic quests, confront mythical creatures, and immerse yourself in immersive storytelling, you'll uncover the remarkable power of imagination. Roll the dice and let your ingenuity soar, creating unforgettable moments that will resonate long after the game board is cleared.

In the mornings, there will be opportunities to be introduced to Star Trek Adventures: The Roleplaying Game and Dungeons and Dragons (5e). In the afternoons, Dora and T. Wes will introduce various competitive and cooperative board games. Then, during the evenings, participants will have the option to confront the monsters of the dungeons in hopes for loot and fame in D&D, led by Dora Rowe, or explore the mysteries of the final frontier of space in STA, led by T. Wes Moore.

And for those who believe in the sacred combination of games and snacks, fear not—there will be a delightful assortment of treats to fuel your adventures. Whether you're a seasoned campaigner or a newcomer to the world of tabletop gaming, this track promises not only fun and adventure but also a tight-knit community where friendships are forged through shared experiences. Get ready to journey alongside T. Wes and Dora, your trusty guides, into the enchanting world of tabletop gaming, where every roll of the dice holds the promise of a new and unforgettable adventure.

Contemplative Track (Limited to 20)

In recent years, interest in contemplative practice has skyrocketed as people seek to reduce stress, grow healthy relationships and revitalize their spirituality. Ancient traditions are being rediscovered even as exciting new modalities join the landscape. On this track, we’ll explore both old and new. Expect to participate in time-honored practices like Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina and sacred journaling, alongside an illuminating dive into the Enneagram Type structures. The combination of these activities, enjoyed in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, will leave you feeling refreshed, with a greater self-awareness and spiritual vitality. No experience is necessary for this track. However, we request that you take the official Enneagram RHETI test prior to the retreat and bring your results with you (a $20 cost). Led by Greg Durham and Kelley Weber

Sabbath Track (No limit)*

Montreat offers a peaceful and beautiful setting for guests to commune with their Creator, rest their souls, and shed the burdens of everyday life. This track will give participants the opportunity to attend the morning devotions with Brian and join for evening events, but will not have programmed activities during the day. It can provide time and space for prayer, study, or rest, as well as opportunities outside the gate to take part in all that Western North Carolina has to offer.

*Because there is no programming, this track is offered at a reduced cost.

Rates & Registration

Comprehensive Rate

This rate is an all-inclusive and includes the conference fee, Assembly Inn housing, and meals. Check-in time will be after 3:00 pm Tuesday (3:00 pm on Monday for early arrivals). Check-out time will be no later than 11:00am Friday. Meals include Tuesday dinner through Friday breakfast.

Early Arrival Option: You now have the opportunity to arrive a day early. If you choose to arrive on Monday your price will increase by $146 for single occupancy private bath and $187 for double occupancy private bath. All early arrivals will have Monday dinner and Tuesday breakfast and Lunch added to their reservation.

Our sabbath Monday offering is your invitation to embrace Monday as a day for unstructured sabbath and rest, following the bustling Easter season. Activities presented for Monday are entirely optional, with the first structured conference activities beginning Tuesday evening.

A price increase of $25 will happen after February 20.

Occupancy Bathroom Cost Cost after Feb. 20
Single Private $625 $650
Double Private $467.50/person | $935 total $492.50/person | $985 total

Rates for the Sabbath Track Only*

Occupancy Bathroom Cost Cost after Feb. 20
Single Private $525 $550
Double Private $367.50/person | $735 total
(If both participate in the Sabbath Track)
$392.50/person | $785 total
(If both participate in the Sabbath Track)

*A Note About Discovering Renewal Sabbath Track Pricing:

  • When you select the Sabbath track and complete your registration, our dedicated registrars will manually adjust your fee to the correct amount of $100 before processing your payment, ensuring that you receive the discount as intended.

Commuter Rate

The commuter rate below includes the Discovering Renewal conference fee plus lunches on Wednesday and Thursday. This rate does NOT include housing accommodations.

$289 per person ($189 for the Sabbath Track)

All registrations include a $3 community services fee per adult for public services provided by the Town of Montreat and the fire district.

Cost will increase by $25 after February 20.

Need Financial Assistance?

We may be able to help! Please visit our scholarship page for more information about the scholarships we offer and to apply. Please send completed applications to our Director for Programs, Sarah Skinner, at sarahs@montreat.org.

Refund Policy

Cancellations must be received by March 11 in order to receive a full refund less a $25 service charge. Cancellations received after March 11, but on or before April 8 will receive a 50% refund of the conference fee and payments made toward room and meals charges (if applicable), less $40. No refunds will be issued after April 8.  All requests must be made in writing and received via email, fax, or U.S. mail.

Tentative Schedule

Please note this is a tentative schedule and is subject to change.

Monday, April 21 - OPTIONAL Sabbath Day*
3:00 pm – Hotel Room Check-In
5:30 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Optional Casual Gathering for Fellowship in the Main Lobby

*Our sabbath Monday offering is your invitation to embrace Monday as a day for unstructured sabbath and rest, following the bustling Easter season. Activities presented for Monday are entirely optional, with the first structured conference activities beginning Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, April 22
3:00 pm-5:00 pm – Registration
5:30-6:30 pm – Dinner
7:00-8:00 pm - Welcome

Wednesday, April 23
7:30-8:30 am – Breakfast
8:30-9:00 am – Morning Reflection
9:00am – Activity Tracks

  • Art Track will run from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • 9:15 am - Shuttles for Fly Fishing and Hiking Depart (Meet in Lower Lobby of Assembly Inn)

12:00-1:30 pm – Lunch
1:00 pm – Activity Tracks (Free Afternoon for Art Track)
5:30-6:30 pm – Dinner
6:30 pm – Book Signing by Brian McLaren

Thursday, April 24
7:30-8:30 am – Breakfast
8:30-9:00 am – Morning Reflection
9:00 am –Activity Tracks

  • Art Track will run from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • 9:15 am - Shuttles for Fly Fishing and Hiking Depart (Meet in Lower Lobby of Assembly Inn)

12:00-1:30 pm  – Lunch
1:00pm – Activity Tracks (Free Afternoon for Art Track)
5:30-6:30 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Fire Pit

Friday, April 25
7:30-8:30 pm – Breakfast
11:00 am – Checkout

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