Forward this e-newsletter to others, keeping them informed about issues and ideas relevant to church ministry along with what's happening across the VMC network. To get this each month, please reply and say "subscribe" and we'll add you.
Early Bird Pricing ends March 20
Our churches differ in size, style, strategy, demographics and context. We span across time zones. Polarizing issues threaten gospel mission.

But we are together in Jesus!

So we are gathering again as a national network of leaders this April! Learn more here
Soul Care & Retreat Centres - February 2024
Retreat Centre: Kingfisher Crossing
Near Parry Sound, ON

"Kingfisher Crossing is a quiet place away from hectic traffic and busyness, nestled beside a small lake in pristine nature. Beautifully secluded, it's the only cottage on this lake, set on 55 forested acres. Sit on the dock and read a book, go for walks on miles of trails, roast marshmallows at the camp fire, canoe on the lake, fish, swim, or just lie in a hammock and have a snooze."

Stefan and Heidi Konig welcome guests to their little piece of paradise in Canadian Shield country.
Near Parry Sound, ON, Kingfisher Crossing is a place to get away from the tyranny of the urgent, relax, and tend to the soul.
Kingfisher Crossing is designed as a physical place to tend to the interior life.
There’s no light or sound pollution.
No wifi.
The beautifully secluded 55 acres of granite rock, pine forests, and a private lake invite you to stop and breathe.
This is a place that makes it easier to connect with God and others in a meaningful way.
Their tagline is: Rest. Reconnect. Refresh.

God gave Stefan and Heidi the dream of such a place, born out of their own experiences in ministry.
They understand the demands of pastoring and the challenges of church life.
Hurt, wounding, disappointment, and even burn out - these are common experiences among those in ministry.

Heidi’s training in spiritual direction enables her to offer spiritual direction, soul care, and guided contemplative retreats.
It’s more ways to take care of our whole selves while on retreat.

Those in ministry can experience the rest of Kingfisher Crossing at reduced rates, while those looking for a relaxing getaway can help support the ministry by booking their holiday cottage rental or a guided retreat here for a reasonable cost.

Soul care isn’t selfish. Or a luxury.
It’s not even really optional.
It’s being human and it’s a way we honour God.
Soul care is crucial for health, resilience, and endurance in ministry.
It’s part of taking the mission of God seriously.
Resource List for Christian Retreat Centres & Spiritual Directors
Honeymoon Bay Retreat Centre Honeymoon Bay, BC
Rivendell Bowen Island, BC
Loyola House Guelph, ON

For a list of spiritual directors, please contact Elizabeth Millar.
Photo creds: April Barber (Unsplash)
Recommended by
Heidi Konig, Kingfisher Crossing, Parry Sound, ON

American pastors, says Eugene Peterson, are abandoning their posts at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Instead, they have become "a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches." Pastors and the communities they serve have become preoccupied with image and standing, with administration, measurable success, sociological impact, and economic viability.

In Working the Angles, Peterson calls the attention of his fellow pastors to three basic acts--which he sees as the three angles of a triangle--that are so critical to the pastoral ministry that they determine the shape of everything else. The acts--prayer, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction--are acts of attention to God in three different contexts: oneself, the community of faith, and another person. Only by being attentive to these three critical acts, says Peterson, can pastors fulfill their prime responsibility of keeping the religious community attentive to God.

Written out of the author's own experience as pastor of a "single pastor church," this well-written, provocative book will be stimulating reading for lay Christians and pastors alike.
Recommended by
Tim Pippus, Hope for Life Christian Fellowship, Calgary, AB

"Come away and rest awhile."
Jesus invites us to be with him, offering our full and undivided attention to him. When we choose retreat, we make a generous investment in our friendship with Christ. We are not always generous with ourselves where God is concerned. Many of us have tried to incorporate regular times of solitude and silence into the rhythm of our ordinary lives, which may mean that we give God twenty minutes here and half an hour there. And there’s no question we are better for it! But we need more. Indeed, we long for more.
In these pages Transforming Center founder and seasoned spiritual director Ruth Haley Barton gently leads us into retreat as a key practice that opens us to God. Based on her own practice and her experience leading hundreds of retreats for others, she will guide you in a very personal exploration of seven specific invitations contained within the general invitation to retreat. You will discover how to say yes to God's winsome invitation to greater freedom and surrender.
There has never been a time when the invitation to retreat is so radical and so relevant, so needed and so welcome. It is not a luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual life.
Silence as a Spiritual Practice
Rinus Janson, Varsity Bible Church, Calgary, AB
As part of his sabbatical, Rinus Janson of Varsity Bible Church in Calgary, Alberta chose to participate in a silent retreat.
Being a pastor, Rinus knows the importance of tending to the soul but the pressures and busyness of ministry only add to the noisiness of regular life.
Prompted by a desire to pay attention to God and recognizing the need for time away (but not a vacation!), he spent eight days in silence at a Jesuit retreat centre @Loyola House.

Although Rinus knew this was important, I think even he was surprised at the impact of the retreat.
Sometimes we experience the absence of God, but during this time of silence, Rinus met a God who is present.
It took a while to quiet the inner chatter that hinders our ability to “be” and to “be still” and to “be still and know that I am God.”
But it happened - the extended time of silence quieted his heart and mind.
Then, as Rinus said, there are things that God only seems to speak in silence and that can be heard in silence.
He was grateful that God spoke to him in his deepest places - just as the Psalmist says - “deep calls to deep” (Ps 42:7).

Those eight days have affected the way Rinus pastors.
He’s more deliberate in carving out time for silence as a daily practice.
Those times of silence are giving him a greater awareness of the presence of God and increasing his confidence that God is involved and working.
It’s transforming the way he thinks about the hard things in ministry - not that it is a guarantee of a happy ending but there’s hope and peace because God is present.
This practice of silence is relieving some of the despair and loneliness that Rinus has experienced in the past - and that many other church leaders can attest to.

Silence is reminding him that, just as Julian of Norwich said centuries ago, all shall be well.
Discernment as a Congregational Practice: Word for the Year
Charleswood Community Church, Winnipeg, MB
About 25 people from Charleswood Community Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba gathered together in January for a contemplative night of prayer and discernment.
For each person, the question was: what would be their word for the upcoming year?

The evening was a time to slow down.
It was a prayerful way to begin the new year and to be mindful of the presence of God in their own lives.
Prayer and Scripture shaped the evening as people were invited to consider what God might be calling them to for 2024.
As people chose their word, they wrote them on a rock to keep as a physical reminder.

Hope. Peace. Perseverance. Discernment, Fullness.

These were some of the words that will anchor some of these people for the year ahead.
The evening concluded with a concert of prayer as people shared and prayed for each other.

Becky Hall, the Director of Worship Ministries, was encouraged by the turnout and the participation.
It was a new practice for many - yet they were willing to try something new and to pray in a new way.
As someone interested in congregational spiritual formation, she saw this evening as a way to grow in the love and truth of Jesus.
God is at work and drawing people to Himself in a deeper way.
This is the generosity of God.
VMC Webinar with CREST Leadership:
6 Keys to Flourishing in the Second Half of Your Life
March 14, 2024 at 12 noon EST
The majority of pastors are 40+ in age.
75% of all leaders flatline in the second half of their life.
We need to talk about this! 

The transition that happens in the mid years of 40s and 50s affect the rest of your life. 
That’s why after decades of faithful service you need to pay increased attention to your life and leadership. 

In this webinar Dr. Dan Reinhardt will reveal 6 keys to flourishing that we all must intentionally engage if we are to flourish in the second half.

To register or obtain more information contact Mike at

Meet Dr. Dan Reinhardt, CREST Leadership:
He was 43, leader of a large and growing organization … and tired. 
The research says that if you are 40+ there is a good chance you have reached your apex and will flatline in the second half of your life. He was determined not to join that statistic. 
A doctorate later, Dan Reinhardt launched The CREST Leadership Centre, passionate to help midlife adults make the necessary deep shifts to make their second half their best half. 
With hundreds of graduates, CREST has emerged as a premier life and leadership program for men and women in the mid years who want their life to matter and to flourish.
VMC Storytelling
Every week, we share stories from across our network of churches that show how God is at work in and through His people.

Click to read these recent stories:

Watch for more stories by following us on Facebook, or Instagram or visit
Pray with Us
Please join us as we gather and pray together online each month for our VMC churches and leaders.
To sign up or request further information contact Henrietta at

The VMC prayer team gathers on the first Thursday of the month at the following times across the country:  1:00-2:00pm (Atlantic), Noon-1:00pm (Eastern), 11:00-Noon (Central), 10:00-11:00am (Mountain) and 9:00-10:00am (Pacific).