The first Men’s Retreat at Cragun’s Resort in 1995 had 90 in attendance. The year before that, St Paul First Church, under Pastor Wayne Miller, had their own retreat which they then chose to open up to all the men of Minnesota. Subsequent retreats ran in the mid-seventies for attendance. When Elder Carlson was conference president, all the Twin Cities pastors that made up the Men’s Retreat committee had left and I was concerned as to what would happen to Men’s Retreat. So I gave Elder Carlson a call and voiced my concern that “someone should do something to make sure that Men’s Retreat didn’t die.” He replied, “I guess that would be you.” So with the help of Mark Smith, the new pastor of St. Paul First Church, Men’s retreat continued.
Pastor Ken Mayberry (right) leading in a song service at a Mens Retreat
Photo: Ken Mayberry
Because of the increasing costs at Cragun’s, Pastor Smith and I decided to move the retreat over to the Covenant Church camp located on Minnesota 27 between Little Falls and Long Prairie. Karen [Pastor Ken’s wife] had found that location when she needed to find a place to hold a Shepherdess retreat. She and Mark’s wife, Vicky, thought it would be an excellent place to hold the men’s retreat. So Mark and I went out to take a look at the place and made the decision to move the retreat there. We continued to meet there until 2013.
A couple of years before 2013, our Minnesota Conference youth director, Jeff Wines, asked me what it would take to move the retreat over to North Star Camp. They were working on upgrading the cabins, which was a basic requirement. Another factor was the seating. All North Star Camp had were the hard metal folding chairs. I told him that if we could provide some cushioned seating, that would make a big difference. So in 2013 we moved to North Star Camp and used the proceeds of that men’s retreat to purchase the new seating that is now in Polaris Hall.
Following the move to NSC, the attendance shot up to 115 and grew to 150. Polaris Hall could not hold much more that 115 so we moved to the lodge, which was soon replaced by the new lodge. We continue to move the cushioned seating over from Polaris Hall each year. The cushioned seating is reserved for Polaris Hall and Men’s Retreat.
It is a wonder to see how the Lord works each year to bring things together for each retreat.
Submitted by: Pastor Ken Mayberry, October 2019