Contemplative Gathering Retreats

The MN Conference Outdoor Ministry will present a three-part Contemplative Gathering to bring us into a place of mindfulness and peace as we enter a change of seasons, a time of thanksgiving, and a time of reflection and anticipation.

With the facilitation of three talented singer-song writers/theological artists, each Zoom gathering will involve story, song, and inspiration – open to all ages, congregations, and leaders. Participate in one, two, or all three; it’s your choice!

Register here for each gathering ($15/event) or register for all three for $30. If you register anyone who is a young adult or youth, use promo code “GROUP50” to receive 50% off your entire group’s registration fee. 

Changes – October 17, 10:00 am–noon

A contemplative retreat led by psalmist and musician Richard Bruxvoort Colligan. Autumn is on the horizon, and change is front and center. Right now, what if we gave our attention to the wisdom of trees, rivers and soil and to the resilience of birds, bears and bees? In this juicy retreat for families, we’ll experience delicious music, art, and conversation about appreciating life in all its wonder.

Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is a musician, composer, teacher of the psalms, and lover of puns. He serves the Olive Branch community in Rochester, MN, and lives with his family in Strawberry Point, Iowa. Learn more about Richard.

Thanksgiving Amidst Struggle – November 14, 10:00 am–noon

A soulful exploration of thanksgiving during challenging times led by Minnesota musician Hans Peterson. Every November people in the United States collectively pause for thanksgiving. How does one remain grateful amidst struggles or loss of any kind whether it be related to a relationship, a job, racial injustice, one’s health, or the health of the planet? In this retreat for people of all ages we will tap into the experiences of the group to explore gratitude using story, music, a game, and conversation. 


A professional musician for 25 years, Hans lives near Jordan, MN, where he is an intern pastor. He is grateful to be a spouse to Heidi and dad to two boys, Nelson (21) and Simon (16). He enjoys are eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, playing ultimate frisbee, cooking with vegetables from his family’s huge garden, and hiking just about anywhere. Learn more about Hans.

Deep in the Darkness, Hidden Seeds – December 13, 6:30–8:30pm

A contemplative reflection for the Advent season led by singer-songwriter Sara Thomsen. Beyond the busy bustle and the wrapping hustle, we are left with a search for deeper meaning, a longing for home, for loved ones here, loved ones lost, for peace, for comfort, for wars to end, for hearts to mend. We light candles, sing songs, celebrate, mourn, dance, and somehow—deep in the dark and the cold—we wander inward, find a spark, a seed. We kindle hope, and come home. Learn more about Sara.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023