All are welcome to join us for our SIXTH annual Ontario Generous Space Retreat!
May 16-19, 2019
Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon
Why should you come?
The Generous Space Retreat is a place where LGBTQ+ Christians don’t have to choose between expressing their faith OR expressing their sexuality/gender identity – they can be fully themselves and find others who understand and relate to their journey. It’s a place where straight/cisgender family members, pastors, and friends can join them in listening, worshiping, and learning.
Last year, we had 120 people attend the Ontario retreat from across the province, across Canada, and some from the USA. This year, we’d love for you to join us too! 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. As one of our participants said, “I never expected going somewhere for the first time would feel like coming home after the longest day.“
Where is it?
For the second year in a row, we’re hosted by the fine folks at Trent University in Peterborough, ON, an affordable and beautiful venue, overlooking the Otonabee River. It’s 1.5 hours east of downtown Toronto, located roughly halfway between our most distant ON/QC groups (about 5 hours from both Windsor and Montreal!. (Find more information about carpooling and ride-sharing on the FAQ page.)
Retreaters will stay in rooms in Trent’s newest residence building, Gzowski College. The rooms are accessible by elevator and include one double bed and semi-private bathroom (shared with the adjoining room). We will also enjoy the spacious dining rooms and meeting spaces at Trent.
Your registration fee includes all your meals, which we’ll eat together in the Gzowski dining room. We’ll enjoy worship, keynote speakers and panels in the auditorium space nearby. If the weather permits, there are wonderful hiking trails and outdoor activities on the grounds.
What can I expect?
Generous Space retreats are really a cross between a retreat and a conference… they’re more intimate than a conference, but more scheduled than a retreat. For those who like to keep busy with things to do, we’ll have plenty of activities, opportunities to learn, and chances to get to know people. For those who really need to rest and “retreat,” there is plenty of permission to opt in or opt out of any of the scheduled events according to your own needs, energy levels, and comfort levels with spiritual practices and conversations. Here are some things we are planning that you can choose to participate in…
Community Groups… a chance to connect regularly with the same small, diverse group of people in facilitated conversation times throughout the weekend.
Panels & Interviews… where you can hear from people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, as well as parents and allies, and broaden your knowledge of the community.
Worship… reflecting multiple worship styles and different spiritual practices.
Workshops… for participating in discussions on a variety of topics related to faith, sexuality, gender, creativity, community, and healing. **If you have an idea for a workshop you’d like to lead, email Beth at beth[at]generousspace.ca.
Affinity Meals… where you can meet people with similar journeys, interests, or concerns as you.
Evening hangout Times… for catching up with old friends and meeting new ones… organized activities may include campfires, dance parties and fishbowl conversations.
Free Time… to reconnect with God, take a nap, hang out with new and old friends, process what you’re learning, play games, visit the Peterborough Zoo, or walk along the beautiful river.
New at the Ontario Retreat This Year…
- Bring-a-Friend Discount – If you’re a returning attendee and you bring a first-timer with you (someone who’s never attended a GS retreat), we’ll give you a $20 discount at registration!
- Pay in Installments – This year you’ll have the option to spread your registration cost over three or more payments to avoid any issues with cash flow.
- Retreat Theme – The theme this year is “From Strength to Strength.” We’ll be talking a lot about ways we find resilience, healing, and hope in community.
- Meet the Staff – Our whole staff team will be offering contributions at the retreat this year, including our newest staff member, Jamie Arpin-Ricci.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: The Rev. Elizabeth M. Edman
Liz Edman is an Episcopal priest and political strategist. She is the author of Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity (Beacon Press, 2016). Liz has lived and worked on the front lines of some of the most pressing issues where religion and sexuality meet, serving as an inner city hospital chaplain to people with HIV/AIDS from 1989 to 1995 and helping craft political and communications strategies for marriage equality efforts. In 2017, she partnered with Parity to create Glitter+Ash Wednesday, a project to increase the visibility of progressive, queer-positive Christians and to explore Christian liturgy through a queer lens. Her writing has been featured in Salon.com, The Advocate, LGBT Nation, and Religion News Service. She has been interviewed for feature and news articles in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, and Religion Dispatches. She lives in New York.
Here’s what participants retreats said about previous retreats…
“Most conferences or retreats provide you information. OGSR can change your life. The tangible love the permeates the retreat is mind blowing. It is the safest of safe places and one that will make you wonder where it has been all your life.”
“What’s surprising about a retreat with so many varied opinions and beliefs is that the spirit of relationship that pervades the attitudes of participants celebrates difference without any polarization. I was worried about it being about who was right, but letting go of my own need to prove my choices are holy, I stopped worrying about anyone else’s choices and was free to find unlikely friendships. “
“After years of avoiding Christian spaces, I was nervous entering a Christian space – there’s so much baggage there for me. And although I am not sure what or who I believe in, Generous Space through very intentional wording and actions graciously let me be where I am.”
“It was my first time this year, and I was a little nervous about getting to know people and feeling included. I did not need to be nervous in the slightest! I have never encountered another group of people who were more warm, inviting, supportive and willing to meet people where they were at in all their diversity… This was true “food for my spirit.”
How much does it cost?
The EARLY BIRD cost is $330 per person for three nights in either a private or a shared room, including 9 meals. (After Mar. 15, the cost increases to $360).
If you require financial assistance to enable you to attend, we do have some scholarships available, including a few scholarships set aside for first-time attendees; don’t hesitate – please apply here ASAP.
Do you have any further questions about the retreat – like…
- “What’s all this “generous space” stuff all about?”
- “What about rides?”
- “What if I’m not fully “out” yet?”
- “What if I’m straight/cisgender – am I welcome?”
- “Is it okay to come if I’m not sure how I feel about church or faith?”
If so, check our FAQ page! If your question isn’t covered there, feel free to email Becca at becca[at]generousspace.ca.