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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Perspectives: Retreat Reflections

    Retreat Reflections: Tending the Soul at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center

    November 21, 2018 / By Nancy Dibelius

    In 2011, as the Director of Tending the Soul, the Conference training program in spiritual direction, I was exploring new retreat center locations for the next session which was scheduled to begin in October 2012.  As I was standing in line at Annual Conference that year, I found myself standing next to Mike Huber (The Upper New York Conference Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries), someone I did not know at that time.  As we conversed in the line, I was invited to consider offering the training program at Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center (a place I was not familiar with at the time) and was soon arranging to visit the facility.

    Since that time, I have (like many others throughout the Conference) come to think of Casowasco as home away from home. We have run two sessions of the two-year program at Casowasco since then, as well as annual continuing education opportunities for those who have completed the training.  All of those folks think of Casowasco as home as well.

    From the beginning, I was amazed by what I consider truly authentic hospitality—all the staff are always available to support whatever is needed.  And the facility itself is welcoming and comfortable, particularly for a program that focuses heavily on the need for and value of retreating. The training program requires space for large group presentations, for multiple small group gatherings, for reflection and discernment, and for informal social gatherings. Casowaso graciously meets all those needs.  And, as you might imagine, with a large group, there are multiple dietary restrictions that need to be accommodated.  The kitchen staff always meets the needs of unique dietary requirements while always offering the group wonderful meals.

    And since worship is also a key element of the training program, we all fell in love with the chapel.  It became our go-to place for reflection and solitude and it would not be uncommon to find someone standing by the big window in the front of the chapel watching the sunrise (if you have never watched the sun rise over the lake, consider it a must-do the next time you are at Casowasco).

    If you have never been to the Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center, you must!

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    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."