ARC Retreat Community: A Case for Support June 2019

“I came to quiet my mind. To heal from a job loss, and to plot a plan away from the panic that was setting in. ... I bless this place. It helped to quiet my mind, to be open to my essence. I feel the warmth ofunconditional love, no more needing to prove my worth.” – Jim 2012

“I wanted to run away from life. Instead I ran awayto ARC. I found peace and enough insight to get me through.” - J 2014

“Words cannot really describe my gratitude for this sacred space and loving ARC staff. I came in desperate need for love and nourishment and silence.” - Andrea 2015

“I am in desperate need of retreat. There aren’t manyretreat center options available anymore. I am grateful ARC is still open.” – David 2019

 Stress, how the brain and body respond to any demand, affects everyone. All types of demands can be stressful, be they work deadlines, exercise routines, school, life changes or traumatic events. A 2019 study shows American stress levels are rising for many demographics with millennials reporting the highest average stress levels. Although we cannot eliminate stress entirely from our lives, we can minimize it by experiencing less toxic environments.

Now more than ever Jim, J, Andrea, David and others need a consistent and sacred place of welcome, hospitality, community and renewal.

In 2018, the Board of Directors for ARC Retreat Community began a journey of transition, sabbatical and discernment for the organization by asking the powerful question:

What can ARC do to continue to be a sacred place of welcome, hospitality, community and renewal?

Various gatherings and listening sessions were held surfacing other questions and prompting a 90-day sabbatical for the ARC lodge and kitchen including the suspension of ARC’s onsite intentional community beginning May 2019.

During this time the Board, friends of ARC, and interested others are gathering to consider possibilities for a stable funding model; a staffing model that is healthy, life-giving and sustainable; and to offer other ideas and support for the future of ARC.

ARC Retreat Community is a quiet place offering a reflective atmosphere for individuals and small groups who seek to slow down the pace of life, restore balance, and grow on their spiritual journey. From its inception over 40 years ago, ARC envisioned a world in which all beings co-exist in a healthy loving relationship with themselves, each other, with that which they hold as sacred and with the earth. ARC understands its role in carrying forth that vision is to provide radical hospitality and a retreat experience that nurtures spiritual renewal in a sacred setting. ARC must be available to continue as an invitation to life, a calling to be and become.

ARC’S Calling

Come and rest with me a while.
Let me care for your weary soul. I will cradle it with towering trees.
Let me empty your cluttered cup as you rest in the gentleness of the stream. Let me engulf you with awe and wonder as you drink in nature’s new life.Let me calm your stresses as my birds lull you into peace
Come and rest with me a while
Experience this sacred space. Simplicity and spender carved into this wildernessLove yourself. Become your own “new best friend.”
Listen to the needs of your body. Slumber and awaken in your own time Listen to the calling of your Spirit.
Come and rest with me awhile.

- Marlys 2004


ARC is a non-profit retreat center committed to the ministry of hospitality, contemplative prayer, and earth-friendly simple living. ARC stands for Action, Reflection and Celebration, the means by which we seek wholeness and social justice. Solitude and silent reflection, balanced with active work in the community and the world help us live healthy spiritual lives.

ARC is the result of a persistent dream, a gift of beautiful land, and the efforts of many dedicated, generous people. For many years ARC was the dream of Ruth and Loren Halvorson. It became a real possibility in December of 1976 when Kenneth and Corrine Skogen gifted 56 acres of wooded land to ARC. A three story, 21 bed-room lodge was constructed in June 1977. Much of the initial labor was derived from two month-long summer work study camps and was continued by numerous volunteer and professional workers. ARC opened its doors to guests in January 1978.

For 40 years ARC has sustained its operations through generous individual and group gifts and dedicated leadership and collaboration provided by a resident community, employees and volunteers. ARC has provided a warm welcome, nutritious health-conscious food, and space for contemplation and connection with self, nature and the divine.

Note: Action, Reflection, Celebration: The ARC Story was published in the summer of 1988 to documentARC’s history and is available for purchase in the ARC Booknook.


The mission of ARC is simple - to provide radical hospitality and a retreat experience that nurtures spiritual renewal in a sacred setting. Carrying out the mission is done joyfully, simply and mercifully through the service of hospitality. ARC sponsors retreats, provides space for individual and small group retreats, plus offers opportunity for rich volunteer experiences.

Retreat Program

In a homelike atmosphere, ARC offers ARC sponsored, private, and group retreats year-round on eighty- seven acres of pristine wetlands and woodlands within a majestic white pine forest. Trails are available for walking, skiing, snowshoeing as is a labyrinth for walking meditation.

ARC Sponsored

Sponsored retreats are planned by ARC around a certain theme and are open for public registration. Day or overnight, these retreats are typically held in the Lodge which accommodates a maximum of 18 guests in 12 single rooms and 3 double rooms. Guest rooms are private with shared bathrooms. The lodge also has a meditation room, library, bookshop, large and small meeting areas, two fireplaces, a screened-in porch, and other spaces conducive to rest and reflection. Linens and towels are provided.

Private Retreats

Private retreats are for individuals, families, or friends who wish to structure their own time at ARC and can be for any length of stay, as space is available. Guests enjoy resting, reading, walking, canoeing, or simply sitting by the fireplace and looking out the huge living room window. In addition to the lodge, mentioned above, private retreats may also occur in the cottage or hermitage.

In the cottage there is a large living room with an A-frame window looking out over the woods, a deck, a gas fireplace, a fully-equipped kitchen, and one bathroom. Sleeping arrangements include a bedroom with queen bed, and a walk-up loft with one double bed next to a double size, convertible futon. The cottage also has a washer and dryer.

The hermitage, a single-person dwelling in the woods, lends itself to a more solitary retreat. The hermitage is a bright, lofty room with a kitchenette and screened-in porch. The setting is ideal for those desiring more solitude. It is a place where one may enter into the emptiness of isolation and silence to be encountered by Spirit.

Group Retreats

Group retreats hosted at ARC are facilitated and planned with leadership from the group. Many groups come to ARC year after year to lead their own retreats. Groups bring their own participants and agenda, while we provide the hospitality, nurturing space and homemade vegetarian meals. Groups typically stay in the lodge, with overflow (as needed) to the cottage and the hermitage. Smaller groups may choose to stay in and/or meet in the cottage.

Volunteer Program

ARC welcomes volunteers for a few hours, a day, a weekend, or a week at a time. We offer several opportunities to serve in the kitchen, the buildings, the land and the community at large. In the kitchen volunteers joyfully help with table setting, clearing and washing dishes, especially when we have large groups on weekends. Housekeeping and seasonal project volunteers keep the building in tip top condition using cleaning products that are as merciful to the planet as possible. Outdoor volunteers tend to the gardens, woodshed and trails simply supporting a space in which all beings co-exist in a healthy loving relationship with themselves, each other, with that which they hold as sacred and with the earth. Finally, volunteers that serve in the community at large do so as an extension of ARC, as ambassadors to engage new groups, partners and donors.


As the opening testimonials demonstrate, ARC provides the space for individuals to find rest andrenewal. Journal entry upon journal entry speaks to ARC’s role in assisting individuals to reconnect withthemselves, others, nature and the Divine. Records show ARC has provided this opportunity to 26,422 overnight guests since 1991.

In addition to impacting individuals, ARC has also collaborated with others to provide retreat opportunities for groups that are not otherwise able to experience the rest and renewal that others can afford. While such groups as those experiencing homelessness, US Military Vets and adults with developmental disabilities, who have retreated at ARC have reported their experience to be life changing. The ARC team serving these groups also experienced deeper awareness of the sacredness of everyone.

Financial Needs

The ARC Board of Directors has deliberately entered into a transition phase of discernment including a summer sabbatical after recognizing that (a) retreat reservations and accompanying revenues were in decline, (b) the quality of retreat experience had become inconsistent, and (c) maintaining an intentional on-site community that is life-giving and supportive of a healthy spiritual life had become difficult to sustain. Labor Day Weekend is set as the target for a decision to be made about either the shutdown of ARC as a retreat community or the re-emergence of ARC or ARC 2.0. In order for the decision to be made in the affirmative, the Board is looking at four indicators: (1) people stepping forward, (2 strategic planning, (3) show of funding support and (4) staffing/leadership.

The time has come to focus on developing a financing strategy to stabilize ARC as a scared and inclusive space for retreat and renewal. This renewed foundation will support the emergence of new leaders, staff, community, volunteers, and Board participation.

As the ARC Board develops and implements a new model for stable and sustainable financing, it needssupport of friends, family and the community at large to demonstrate its commitment to ARC’s futureby or before October 1, 2019 with cash contributions and pledges totaling $300,000. This is an ambitious goal and one we believe we are collectively ready to undertake. We have broken this down into two categories of need.


Immediate capital needs

Lodge Roof /Chimney
Additional Hermitage
Bay Room/Kitchenette
Shop/Tool Upgrade
Kitchen/Equipment Upgrade
This helps cover deferred maintenance and prepare for expanded programing.

Operational support for the ARC 2.0 Relaunch $175.000

$117,500 $32,500 $15,000 $5,000 $3,000 $1,000 $1,000


$75,000 $30,000 $10,000 $5,000 $5,000

General Admin
This provides 12 to 18 months of transitional support while groups are scheduled and program revenue is increased to a sustainable level.

Your Support

ARC remains deeply grateful for the support received from generous contributors through the years. We would not be able to continue with our mission in the world without these generous gifts. Please see our website for more on our mission, programs and current activities.

At this point, retreat fees along with donations are insufficient to cover the actual costs of sustaining ARC Retreat Community. Keeping retreat fees affordable while increasing charitable donations is the strategy to maintain a healthy, life-giving and sustainable organization.

Today, ARC Retreat Community faces the reality of closing its doors without your help. Please consider a commitment to ARC’s future today!

Annual Giving

Gifts of any size, at any time are always welcome and appreciated. ARC has also created two annual giving clubs to provide a means for donors to give into a group intention that will support future guests and assist in establishing the sustainability of ARC.

Bed and Beyond Giving Club

The Bed and Beyond Club is a way for individuals, families or groups to take an active role in sustaining ARC’s future. By providing an annual renewable gift of $250, $500, $1,000 or $1,500, club members show an active commitment ARC’s radical hospitality and sacred lodge space.Funds will be used for general operations and enhancement of ARC’s retreat and volunteerprograms. Donors (who wish) will be recognized for their generosity in the ARC newsletter, on the ARC website, and on an ARC donor wall being created in the Hospitality room.


$1,500 supports a bed for one year.
$1,000 supports a dining room chair for one year.
$500 supports a chapel chair for one year.
$250 supports the trails, library, art corner, gardens, or yoga corner for one year.

Major Giving

While major gifts may also be directed to general operations, ARC has immediate and future capital needs that start at $3,000. Recognition of donors contributing a major gift will vary based on the donor wishes.

Lodge Roof$75,000 (Priority for Summer 2019)
Additional Hermitage$30,000
Bayroom/Kitchenette$10,000 (Priority for Summer 2019)
Shop/Tool Upgrade$5,000
Kitchen/Equipment Upgrade$5,000 (Priority for summer 2019)

In addition, future plans include establishing designated funds and eventually endowments to ensureARC’s long-term sustainability. A $3,000 or more designated gift to a specific fund is another way for donors to support areas of ARC aligned with their interest. Suggested funds include Land/Building Stewardship Fund, Contemplative Program Fund, Hospitality Ministry Fund, Leadership Fund and Guest Scholarship Fund.

Special Events

Individuals and groups are always encouraged to host events, Go-Fund-Me pages and other activities toexpand ARC’s reach and raise additional funds to support the mission of ARC, specific areas of interest, or other special projects. Please coordinate such efforts or direct questions to Suzanne Begin our interim leader

Give Today

MailARC Retreat Community 373rd Ave NE Stanchfield, MN 55080
PhoneARC Office 763.689.3540
For more information:
ContactSuzanne M. Begin, Interim Leader
ARC Office763.689.3540