Nov. 7-10, 2019
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.
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 last year, “Attending the GS retreat was like going to the best family reunion with relatives I didn’t know I had!”
We’ll be returning to Camp Squeah, located in beautiful Hope, BC, 170 km east of Vancouver and within two hours of almost anywhere in the Lower Mainland. We can help connect you with other attendees to try to arrange carpooling from nearby cities, airports and ferry terminals. (The closest airport is in Abbotsford.)
Retreat participants have the option of spending three nights in shared or private lodge rooms (furnished with ensuite bathrooms and either queen or bunk beds) or, for a discounted price, in shared cabins (with bunk beds, and bathrooms in a separate building). **Lodge rooms tend to get filled up faster than cabin spaces, so if you’re hoping for a room, register early!
Your registration fee includes all your meals, which we’ll eat together in the large dining room of the main lodge. We’ll enjoy worship, keynote speakers and panels in the auditorium space adjacent to the dining hall. In your free time, you can explore the gorgeous hiking trails where you’ll find waterfalls, mossy logs, and leaves as long as your arm!
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Jenna Tenn-Yuk
Jenna Tenn-Yuk is a writer, speaker, facilitator and performer who has spoken internationally at Harvard and The Walrus Talks. Her writing has appeared in Broadview, CBC, HuffPost, Ottawa Citizen and Geez, among others. She is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program and has a master’s degree in gender studies from the U of Ottawa, where she lectured on spoken word and activism. Jenna was a Vancouver Biennale artist-in-residence and has given keynote talks on LGBTQ2S+ inclusion at Catholic high schools across Ontario. She believes in the power of storytelling to break silences, connect people and change the world around us. She lives in Toronto where she works as a writing coach at Firefly Creative Writing. Learn more about Jenna at jennatennyuk.com.
SUNDAY PREACHER: Robbie Walker
Robbie Walker is working toward the PhD Theological Studies from the University of Toronto, focusing on embodiment in Queer and Pentecostal theologies. As someone who lives with cerebral palsy, Robbie seeks to apply Christian practices of nonviolence to healing ministry, and wants to be a Holy Spirit flamer – it’s biblical! Robbie’s not-so-inner geek waits eagerly for each new episode of The Voice, The 100, and Star Trek: Discovery.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: Lyzanne Foth
Lyzanne Foth (they/them) is a guitarist and songwriter from Saskatoon who is obsessed with making delicious riffs and soups. They grew up with a plethora of musical opportunities and ultimately settled on teaching them self the guitar at age 13. Lyzanne wrote songs as a teenager and released two solo albums, but stopped writing and performing music because they felt they couldn’t write the songs they wanted to. They released their single “Surprise” in April 2019 with the help of their producer and childhood friend Will Quiring of Close Talker. Lyzanne has found liberation in expressing their queerness through songwriting and has reclaimed music as a vital and life giving force in their life. Listen to “Surprise” on whatever streaming service you use, feel free to purchase on lyzannesloth.bandcamp.com, and follow on Instagram @lyzannefothmusic to keep up to date with music releases, photoshoots and what’s cookin’.
Some of our other Contributors this year... check back as we add more!
Wendy VanderWal Gritter
What can I expect?
Generous Space retreats are really a cross between a retreat and a conference… they’re more intimate than your average conference, but more scheduled than your average 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 facilitate, email Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affinity Meals… where you can meet people with similar journeys, interests, or concerns as you.
Hangout Times… for catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
Free Time… to reconnect with God, hang out with friends, process what you’re learning, play games, and/or enjoy the hiking trails and gym at Camp Squeah!
and don’t forget the Open Mic and Dance Party!
Participants from last year’s West Coast Retreat said…
“At this retreat, you can just release a huge sigh with your whole body, mind and soul. You can belong and know you are beloved without having to justify your existence.”
“Highly recommend this retreat to parents of LGBTQ+ children, even if you aren’t sure where you are in your journey. The insights from queer people into some of the questions I’ve been asking was extremely helpful.”
“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.”
“This was my second GS retreat, and it was honestly amazing. I met so many wonderful people, reconnected with God for the first time in a long time, and got to spend a lot of time in nature. It was exhausting and relaxing all at the same time. It was just what I needed.”
Back by Popular Demand at the Retreat this Year…
- Dance Party – DJ Why So Serious will be back with her turntables!
- The Puzzle Corner – because sometimes you need the sense of accomplishment of completing a puzzle with a bunch of strangers.
- Speed Friending – for the extroverts and those who need an structured way to leave their comfort zones and meet some new people!
- Bowtie Friday – and if Jordan has his way… maybe “Leggings Saturday”? 😉
- Bring-a-Friend Discount – If you bring someone with you who’s never attended a GS retreat, we’ll give you a $20 discount at registration!
- Pastors’ Day – On the Friday of the retreat, a handful of pastors and ministry leaders will join us for their own programming, experience what it’s like to be the “sexual minorities” in the room, and learn how to make their churches more welcoming spaces. (Check our FAQ if you have questions/concerns. More information & registration for Pastors’ Day is here.)
How much does it cost?
Here are our pricing options, including 3 overnights and 9 meals.
$330 for a shared cabin
$365 for a shared lodge room
$430 for a private lodge room
Register soon – there are only a few lodge spaces left!
There are lower rates available for those who can’t come for the full retreat, or who want to stay offsite.
If the cost is a barrier to your attendance, we do have some financial assistance 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?”
“I’m an introvert… will I survive the retreat?”
If so, check our FAQ page!