After running five GS Retreats in Ontario and two in British Columbia, we’re excited to finally bring this event to the East Coast! The GS Retreat is a safe place for LGBTQ+ Christians (along with their straight/cisgender parents, pastors, and friends) to be authentic, to share, to worship, to learn and to grow. Come and encounter Christian community with a generous heart and a listening, humble posture. Come to experience God’s outrageous love and grace. Everyone is welcome to join us, no matter your sexuality, your gender identity, your convictions, interpretations of scripture, or theology.
Who is welcome?
LGBTQ+ people, parents, pastors, allies – everyone is welcome, whether you’ve had prior involvement in our Generous Space community or not. We welcome all ages – we are excited to be providing childcare (up to age 3) during main sessions and workshops. We have had participants join our retreats from as far away as Prince George, Calgary, Saskatoon, Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas and California!
Where is it?
We’re excited to be hosted by our friends at St. Stephen’s University in Saint Stephen, NB, the smallest university in Canada! Several of our Generous Space community members are alumni. This is a historic and beautiful venue, overlooking the St. Croix River close to the Bay of Fundy. The closest airports are in Saint John, Fredericton, and Bangor, Maine. It’s a long day’s drive from several cities in Ontario. Find more information about carpooling and ride-sharing on the FAQ page.
Retreaters will stay in Park Hall campus residence rooms. Our base rate assumes that you will share a room with one other person, but for a slightly higher rate, you can choose to room on your own. We’ll enjoy the delicious campus food and excellent meeting rooms.
Keynote Speaker – Dr. Marvin Ellison
Dr. Marvin Ellison is a Christian Ethics professor whose research and writing has focused around human sexuality, health care, economic justice, same-sex marriage and gender justice in Protestant Christianity. He grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, where his early faith journey was heavily influenced by the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s. His PhD work at Union Theological Seminary brought him in contact with liberation theologians like James Cone, Gustavo Gutierrez, and Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza. From 1981-2013, he was professor of Christian Ethics at Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine, and also served on the Presbyterian Church USA’s Special Committee on Human Sexuality. Ellison founded the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination in Maine in 1994 to support civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people, and also founded the Maine Interfaith Council for Reproductive Choices in 1997. His books include Erotic Justice: A Liberating Ethic of Sexuality (Westminster John Knox Press 1996), Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis (The Pilgrim Press 2004), and Making Love Just: Sexual Ethics for Perplexing Times (Fortress Press 2012). Marvin lives in Portland, Maine with his partner Frank, where he continues to write and guest teach.
Participants from some of our other Generous Space Retreats said…
“Being surrounded by so many LGBTQ+ folks who understand the struggle and the joy was so helpful. As soon as I arrived at the retreat I felt like I could breathe again. I could breathe a sigh of “yes, they get it,” and I didn’t have to explain or justify myself but simply be loved fully by those around me.”
“The retreat is a place to be seen and welcomed as you are. Words can’t describe the space that is given by the leaders, and then–the space that is opened in your heart. Oh, my! I’ll never be the same. It was an honor to be there as a parent, and be surprised at how much it meant to others for me to be there.”
Some of our contributors this year…
Eric Van Giessen
Wendy Vanderwal Gritter
What else can I expect?
Community Groups… a chance to connect, dialogue, and journey with a small group of diverse people in facilitated times throughout the weekend.
Worship… drawing from the traditions of different denominations.
Main Sessions… These will include scriptural reflections, panel discussions, interviews, and times of communal input, as well as guest speakers – stay tuned for announcements about our speakers!
Workshops… we are excited to offer two workshop sessions during which you can learn from your peers on a variety of topics. Some of our facilitator bios and detailed descriptions of their workshops can be found here!
Free time… for rest, processing, conversation, taking walks along the beautiful riverside, or playing games!
How much does it cost?
$200 CAD – Regular ticket price
Registration includes 2 nights in shared rooms & 6 meals. (Private room registration is $220, and if you’re staying offsite, the cost is $150).
Can’t come for the whole time? Contact Becca to arrange partial registration (becca[at]generousspace.ca).
Can’t afford it? We don’t want finances to be a barrier. We have limited scholarships for first-time attendees, as well as financial assistance for anyone who needs it – please fill out this form before Apr. 15th if you would like to apply for additional funding.
Note: If you are from the U.S.A., and the Canadian dollar is still relatively low… consider the bargain you’ll get with the exchange rate!