North Central Region Spring Retreat: “Let Us Arise From Sleep: The Rule of St. Benedict for Everyday Folk”

May 13-15, 2019

Retreat Presenter

Rev. David E. MacDonald is a husband, father, son, spiritual director, writer, knitter and pilgrim, who currently serves at the University Chaplain at Ohio Northern University. He is a graduate of Mount Union College (B.A. Communication Studies, 1999), Methodist Theological School in Ohio (M.Div., 2002), and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (D.Min. Spiritual Direction/Spiritual Formation, 2014). He is author of the recently-published book, Benedict on Campus: Eight Spiritual Disciplines for Collegiate Ministry, as well the chapter, “Discovering Call at the Center and the Edge” in The Prophetic Voice and Making Peace.

David also has had an article published by the journal Presence, and has another article for the same journal currently undergoing peer review. In his spare time, David knits, goes on hikes, and spends time with his wife and two children, and their two dogs (Mack and Cheese) and two cats (Luna and Jupiter). David has always secretly wanted to be a monk, but is happy to live out his monastic calling as a member of his family and campus community. He occasionally blogs at

Theme for the retreat: The Rule of St. Benedict for Everyday Folk

St. Benedict wrote his rule for monastic communities at a critical time in history—just as the Roman Empire was collapsing and the Church was beginning to enter into what would come to be known as “The Dark Ages.” Benedict intuited that the Church would need communities of men (and later also women) who were dedicated to providing a haven for pilgrims and a training ground for religious life in a post-Rome world. His Rule has withstood the test of time, as countless communities continue to use it today as the basis of how they are governed.

The Rule can also offer insights for those of us who feel drawn to its themes but are not called to the monastic life, “everyday folk,” in other words. This retreat will explore four main themes in St. Benedict’s Rule that can help us in our daily living and spiritual life. These are: Prayer, Work, Discipline, and Community. Each of these themes will be explored both in theory and in practice throughout our time together. Prior familiarity with the Rule of St. Benedict is not required, but those who wish may want to purchase RB1980, The Rule of St. Benedict in English by Timothy Fry, as this will be the text of the Rule that will be referenced throughout the retreat.

Online versions of the Rule and copies in PDF form are also available, and might be helpful for those who do not have a copy of RB1980.


The Spiritual Center of Maria Stein, Maria Stein, Ohio


Download Complete Retreat Details (.pdf file, 226 kb)

SE Region Summer Retreat: “Listening to the Voice of God”

Join Us On a Journey of Listening, Renewal, and Encouragement

July 10-14, 2019


Catholic Conference Center, Hickory, NC

Retreat Leaders


Rick Reiter has been the pastor of Church of the Free since its inception. He is passionate about people having their own relationship with God. He loves teaching people how to hear God’s voice in their own life, how to study the Bible, and seeing people become all God originally created them to be. He loves helping people find their place in the Kingdom of God. He is a graduate of Multnomah Biblical Seminary where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 2002.

When Rick graduated from Multnomah in 2002, he went on staff with Grace Chapel in Wilsonville, OR, serving as their Young Adult and Discipleship pastor. He resigned those positions in the fall of 2003 to pursue a new calling in his life – to go back home to Fairfax, VA. It was on his heart to go back to business in order to be in the middle of people’s lives to bring Jesus to them. He felt the best way was to get a normal 9‐5 job and to start a discipleship ministry on the side. He felt that God would start a church out of that but was unsure how it would all unfold.

For a year and a half Rick worked as a manager for a small business in Herndon and started ministering to those the Lord brought across his path. After that time he felt the Lord tell him to quit his job and jump full time into the many lives he was pastoring. This led him to found A Little Bit of Yeast Ministries in 2005. It was through his time ministering to many through A Little Bit of Yeast Ministries that the Church of the Free was born.

Rick married the love of his life, Melissa, in October of 2011. They love to be active, kayaking, biking, hiking, and working out. For better or for worse Rick is a lifelong Redskins fan. His favorite book is Ragamuffin Gospel.

Worship Leader

Melissa Reiter has served on worship teams for over 10 years and she’s passionate for people to encounter God’s presence and power in worship. One of her greatest desires is to see God’s kingdom manifest so that people can know Christ, be set free, to live out their true identity, be healed, and transformed as they experience the love of God. After graduating from Liberty University in 1997, she discovered another passion of hers – overseas missions. A life changing experience in India ignited her love for other cultures and to see every tribe, tongue, and nation know the one true God. This propelled her forward as she’s served or led overseas missions teams to over 25 countries since 1998. She’s married to her best friend, Rick Reiter, and believes God saved his very best for last with this one!

Rick and Melissa have recently been blessed with the adoption of Jaxon Oak Reiter, who was born December 10, 2018.

Daily Flow

Beginning Wednesday evening, participants are welcomed into session, then gathered together with worship through music followed by our guest speaker.

Small groups provide a forum for reflecting on the messages offered by the music worship leaders and speaker as well as an environment to lift up prayer concerns.

Our day begins with a Morning Watch at 7 a.m., followed by breakfast, then announcements and our worship service beginning at 9 a.m. followed by our speaker.

Afternoons are set aside for prayer, devotions, fellowship, workshops and special sessions.

On Saturday evening following our speaker, a special worship service of communion and healing is held.

The retreat concludes Sunday morning with sharing of joys and breakfast and departure by 10 a.m.



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Western Region 2019 Retreats

March 26, 2019: “A. E. Day’s Captivating Presence As Our Future”

A Day Apart for the Board of the Western Region at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, California. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

June 2019: A Day Apart with Rev. Flora Wuellner

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

September 28, 2019: ” ‘Wise As Serpents, Harmless As Doves’: Christian Wisdom For Polarized People”

Bishop Will Willimon from Duke University at First United Methodist Church of San Diego. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Co-Sponsored by the Disciplined Order of Christ West, the Compassionate Christ Network and the San Diego Center For Christian Studies 

October 21-23, 2019: Fall Retreat

At the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, California. Monday evening to Wednesday noon.


Contact Rev. Gwen Jones-Lurvey at or 619-448-8741.