Montreat, North Carolina

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Lodging Details:

Lodging is available at Assembly Inn, which has hotel-like accommodations, as well as a dining room and group meeting space. We don’t want cost to be a barrier to participation; scholarships are available to help offset the cost. If financial assistance would allow you to participate in the retreat, please email a staff member. All scholarship requests are kept confidential.

Lodging And Retreat Cost (for two nights):

Single Room: ($210 before 2/4/24, $260 after)

Shared Room ($135 before 2/4/24, $185 after)

Couple Room ($260 before 2/4/24, $310 after)

Family Room Family ($345 before 2/4/24, $390 after- children under 3 are free)   

Keynote Speaker and Preacher: Anna Carter Florence

Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and holds degrees from Yale University (BA) and Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv and PhD). Before joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Anna served as an associate pastor for youth and young adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis.

Anna’s books include Preaching as Testimony, Inscribing the Word, and Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community, based on her 2012 Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale Divinity School. Her newest book will be out this spring: A is for Alabaster: 52 Reflections on Stories in Scripture (we’re going to read an excerpt, during this course). She has also published articles and chapters in numerous books and journals, including a year’s worth of lectionary text commentaries for

Anna’s research focuses on testimony, preaching pedagogies, and creative strategies for communities to engage and encounter the biblical text for our present context. She is a frequent preacher and teacher in the U.S. and abroad, which gives her plenty of opportunity to do what makes her happiest: sitting around a table with a group of people, a big passage of Scripture, and a big block of time to dive into it. She and her husband, the Rev. David Carter Florence, have two grown sons, Caleb and Jonah. They also have two dogs, two cats, and way too much knitting yarn.

Saturday Afternoon Free Time Options

Hiking Lookout– Hike up Montreat’s famous Lookout Mountain. It’s a moderate hike, about 45 minutes up and 30 minutes down with great views of the valley.  The first part of the trail is a gentle uphill slope through an area rich with wildflowers. For those who wish to continue to the top, be prepared for challenging steep slopes and some scrambling up boulders for the 700 ft. elevation gain. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view. Bring water and be prepared for the weather. Many additional trails are available. Find a trail map at check-in!

Robert Lake Park-Spend Time at possibly one of the best parks in NC, walking distance from Assembly Inn. This is a great place to get some wiggles out or play in the creek. 

Black Mountain Trip – Would you like to go with a group to explore Black Mountain? Grab an Ice Cream or do a bit of shopping. A group will gather and drive together. 

Sabbath – Take a holy nap in your room or have some good conversation with friends on a Montreat porch. Take extra time to recharge your batteries.

Retreat FAQ

Q: Is this retreat for families only?

A: No! SAPC members of all ages and stages of life attend the congregational retreat. This event is a chance for all in our church to spend time in community together. We have options that everyone can enjoy no matter your age, and we’ve found that unique bonds are created across many generations during this weekend.

Q: How are the accommodations?

A: We sleep in the Assembly Inn hotel, which was recently renovated. It’s a beautiful stone building at Montreat Conference Center, where they cater to all ages and have all the creature comforts, we’re used to having.

Q: How’s the food?

A: Montreat’s Galax Dining Room offers a variety of options at meals. There’s always a bountiful salad bar. If you have concerns about allergies, please note it in your registration, and we’ll make sure you have specific allergen information.

Q: I’m not sure we can afford to attend. Is there financial assistance?

We have a retreat scholarship fund to help with costs. We will work with you to determine how we can best meet your family’s needs when covering lodging and retreat costs; there’s no special formula. Please email a church staff member. We will communicate with each family on an individual, confidential basis.