First Love Silent Women’s Retreat

Friday, October 20 – Sunday, October 22, 2023
The Hermitage Retreat Center, 11321 Dutch Settlement Rd., Three Rivers, MI

“God with Us”

“Is there any place I can go where you are not there? Anywhere that I will be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky; you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I fly on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, or dwelt in the deepest part of the sea, You’d find me in a minute – you’re already there waiting!”   Ps 139:7 



Our Abba Father loves us beyond what we could ever know. Even though we can’t see Him, He’s always with us, closer than our very breath. He longs to spend time with us, speak to us, answer every question, and heal every hurt. 

Come away with a small group of like-hearted women for plentiful time for you and God alone as well as shared times of community. 

Beautiful setting with private rooms, lunches, and dinners provided.

An opportunity to deepen your relationship with God through:

  • New practices of prayer
  • Time in His word
  • Time to follow the Spirit’s leading to read, rest, pray, walk, journal.. worship.
  • Time to savor Him through His gift of nature

About the Facilitators

Lori Melton is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader with a life-long passion for walking with God and fostering opportunities for others to grow in their relationship with Him. She and her husband, Bryan, are the founders and directors of The Sanctuary at Bear Creek Retreat Center in Allegan, MI, the proud parents of 5 sons and one daughter and Nana and Papa to two adorable grands.  

Brooke DeBoer is a wife, mother, life coach, and retreat co-leader. Brooke’s passion is to walk with women as God encourages their hearts. A seasoned retreater journeying with First Love for the past 7 years, Brooke now serves facilitating and leading on retreat. She and Ryan reside in a cozy Zeeland neighborhood with their 3 favorite little ones Owen, Luke, and Izzy.

Stacy Holmes: Pastor, Spiritual Director, wife to Jon, mother, homeschooler to two kids, and retreat co-leader. Stacy is from Hershey, PA and got married on Chocolate Ave. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and traveling to National Parks. Her favorite thing to do is listen to others’ stories over coffee. She now resides just outside of Grand Rapids, MI.


Registration and Accommodations

Our time together will begin with dinner on Friday night and continue until heading back home Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Participants are welcome to check into their rooms on Friday between 3:00-6:00 p.m.

We have 13 private rooms available in the main retreat centers as well as three rustic cabins in the woods. On the registration form, please indicate which style of accommodation you prefer. We will do our best to place people where they desire. Please note, the cabins are charming and wonderful for solitude but there is a short hike to them and they do not have running water or electricity. There are outhouse style bathrooms available for the cabins.

Guests should bring their own food for breakfasts. Lunches and dinners are provided (see The Hermitage website for more information).

For more information or to register:

Contact Brooke at or 517-896-1848.
The cost for the weekend is $213.

Cancellation Policy:

We understand that sometimes things come up. Registrations may be cancelled up to 1 month before the start of the retreat (9/20/22) to receive a full refund. A $10 administration fee is non-refundable. Any cancellations after 9/20 are non-refundable.

To register:

To sign up, please complete your registration at

We look forward to retreating with you!

Women’s Experiential Prayer Retreat

Encounter Prayer in a new way! Come and unleash the imagination and creativity of prayer through unexpected mediums.  Using art, nature, movement, silence, and listening, we connect with God using all of our senses and honor the Lord who created our whole selves- and engages us wholly.

There will be guided workshops and space for personal reflection and group processing. Presenters: Faith Bierma, Patty Hogan, Mary Knapp, and more!

Come for the total experience: Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, meals included: $250, or come for the day on Saturday 9-4:30, lunch included : $75

Please RSVP at, space is limited!

‘God’s love made edible’ fundraising retreat: Cultivating/Inoculating Mushrooms

28 April 2023 from 10am-3pm

·       Professor Emeritus MSU, Dr. Richard Leep, will lead a class on inoculating gourmet mushrooms on logs. Rich has several years of experience cultivating and marketing mushrooms. Rich will instruct on basic inoculation methods for backyard logs and for more extensive production. 

Included with registration: 

  • A Hermitage prayer of thanksgiving for mushrooms.
  • Instruction on types of mushrooms, log selection for species, etc.
  • Participants will practice inoculating with the dowel and sawdust methods.
  • Hermitage Lunch! 
  • 2 logs for each participant to bring home—your choice of two mushroom strains from the class—one shiitake and one oyster (60+USD value based on Field & Forest prices for inoculated logs). 
  • Additional logs available for 20USD each, various species, and strains.

Suggested donation 200 USD

Limit of 10 participants

Register by 20 April. Contact Troy at

Invite anyone you know who may like to come for this event.

Spaces open for Women’s Retreat this weekend – April 14-16

Come and encounter God and His unprecedented dreams for your life surrounded by nature and intentional time away in solitude. 
This is a 3-day experience that provides a Holy Spirit tailored setting for a small but powerful group of like-minded women to encounter the presence of God. This will be a beautiful time of building genuine relationship and greater intimacy with God, self, and others. 
Identity & Purpose Coach | Writer | Storyteller
“May the heavens split, earth tremble, & sea roar
to welcome the truest parts of you that ever lived.”

Lent Retreat 2023

Facilitated by Joel and Patty Hogan

March 4, 9:30am-3:30pm $75 Lunch included

On Saturday, March 4, 2023, the Hermitage invites you to participate in a Lenten retreat of Lament.  We will work in small groups to write communal laments, and we will write individual, personal laments as well.  Time will be given to bear witness to both small group and individual lament as participants are willing.

Lamentation, or Lament, is a God-given and biblical way to respond to and process grief and loss. When we lament, we give voice to the sacred stories of our lives and our world as they are disrupted, and as we strive to find meaning and resolve.

Psalm 102: 1-2

“A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.
Hear my prayer, O Lord!
And let my cry for help come to You.
Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day when I call answer me quickly.”

Join us by emailing to reserve your seat

Advent Quiet Day 2022 – Presenter Naomi Wenger

Would you like to meet with someone for spiritual direction during your retreat? (Requested amount of $50-75 per session.) Fees for sessions with David or Naomi Wenger should be paid directly to them.
We serve vegetarian meals and strive to accommodate guests' needs. With at least one week's notice, we are able to accommodate for gluten, corn, dairy, soy, and peanut free meals. If allergies are much more complicated than this, please bring food to supplement what we provide.
Massages are available through appointment with David Wenger (and paid to David directly). If you request a massage here we will reach out to David and he will get in touch with you regarding schedule availability during your stay.
Please enter your email address here if you would like to receive our e-newsletter (usually sent once per month).

Advent Quiet Day 2022



“As Kingfishers Catch Fire”-

An Exploration of the Incarnation With Gerard Manley Hopkins

Date: December 3, 2022
Time: 9 am – 3 pm
Place: The Hermitage Community, Three Rivers, MI
Presenter: Naomi Wenger
Suggested Donation: $75 (lunch included)

“…Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.”

These words from the closing of Gerard Manley Hopkin’s untitled sonnet, form a framework for an Advent Quiet Day reflection on Being, Doing, Incarnation and Divinization. Join with Naomi in a day-long meditation on one of Hopkin’s most beloved poems. As we prepare for the darkening days of Advent and the remembrance of the incarnate birth of the son of God, we take a few hours to remember that we participate in this great movement of God earthward by approaching the fullness of “our life … hidden in Christ with God” (Colossians 3:3).

To register, email or call 269-244-8696 before November 26.

Women’s Silent Retreat

A silent retreat for women at the Hermitage will be hosted by the Sanctuary at Bear Creek on 14-16 October 2022 . 

There are a few openings still available! Please use the link below to see if this opportunity is for you.

Women’s’ Retreat Offering

Feast of the Transfiguration – Celebration and Stories

Come Celebrate Transitions and Transformations

This year’s Feast of the Transition will focus on celebrating the work of Kevin and June these past four years, the arrival of the Bierma family assuming leadership for the Hermitage,  the work of the Wengers on the new staff residence, and the work of staff and volunteer Ursula and Casey.

Come hear stories of how the Hermitage has shaped these people.

There will also be a blessing of the land, an outdoor lunch, and lots of opportunity for conversation and fellowship.

Support the Hermitage through transitions

Dear Hermitage Friend,

In late August 1999 June and I moved into Nazareth, the double-wide mobile home on Hermitage property. This began a 3-month season of transition for us, and a 23-year loving relationship with The Hermitage. For most of those years we continued our relationship by coming on retreats, lots of volunteering, and my serving on the board for several years. In August 2018 we moved here again to join the staff. These past 23 years have been incredibly rich and rewarding. And June and I once again have entered time of transition as we’ve heard the call to move closer to my folks in Southern Manitoba.

Kevin and June in the fall of 1999

In conversation with my spiritual direction trainer, a few months before starting here, the image of the inn-keeper in the parable of the Good Samaritan emerged as an identity shaping image for me. I saw him as offering hospitality to all who Christ brough to his door. A copy of the Rembrandt painting of the Samaritan dropping off the injured man at the inn has hung on the wall above my office phone during my time here. I am so grateful for a place to continually discover what this image and identity means for me. Bearing witness to the presence of Christ through our guests whether that be in silence or heartfelt conversation has been the greatest gift the Hermitage has offered me. These encounters have only strengthened my desire to share God’s hospitality and God’s rest. I look forward to discovering how this identity will find expression in our new home.

These years as director have been very rich, and very challenging. Attempting to lead the Hermitage through the season of Covid was a challenge I never could have imagined. The endless needs of our aging facilities included replacing one geothermal unit in the cold of winter, and then the other geothermal wasn’t heating properly and took many months to fully repair. Earlier this year a range, dryer, and microwave stopped working and needed to be replaced within two months. And I continue to keep an eye on the Hanby Center roof which we’ve put off replacing for a couple years. The list could go on.

Throughout my 23 years with The Hermitage, I’ve been overwhelmed by the support shown to the Hermitage. I’ve learned that it is the very presence of guests that most sustains this place. The presence of guests and staff turn this lovely spot in the woods into a place of encounter with God. I am deeply grateful for those who help share in the day-to-day work of the Hermitage, whether that be for an afternoon, or for many years. I am also continually grateful for those who have financially supported the Hermitage over its 37 years. For many years I was one of you and was always grateful to hear about the work happening here and showing my support through time, treasure and talent.

Transitions can be hard on people, and on an organization. There will be rough spots and times of uncertainty for the Biermas as they assume leadership. I can say with complete confidence, however, that the support of the broader Hermitage community will continue and will sustain them and this place for many years to come. I invite you to support the Hermitage through this transition to continue providing a way and a place to pray for 37 more years. No gift is too small.

You can donate online via our PayPal page.

Kevin Driedger

June and Kevin as we prepare to depart.