Announcement: ARC Retreat Community Renewal Plan and Future 

Beloved ARC Community,

Last January, when the Board approved a plan to ask itself and the broader community, what ARC can do to continue to be a sacred place of welcome, hospitality, community and renewal, you showed up!

Just shy of 80 donors, retreatants, former community members, partners, board and staff attended four organized gatherings to share your support, your serious concerns, and your suggestions for a sustainable future. An additional fifty presented similar information via email and/or phone calls with board members and staff.  Bottom line – you love ARC and desire it to be here for the next generation, another 40 years. That said, the Board’s expected outcome was to energize and galvanize people committed to a renewed ARC – the lodge, the cottage, the hermitage and 90 acres of sacred land with its 150-year old Grandy pines.

The ARC Board is now announcing a call to action and invites you to join us by acting on your commitment to ARC and its mission.  Whether by volunteering, financial contributions, participation on working groups or helping to establish new partnerships, all these elements will support ARC’s renewal. There will be additional announcements of opportunities in the coming months.

Three Big Changes into the future

The plan for renewal includes three critical changes on how ARC achieves its mission.

1.       Professional staff are paid hourly for hours worked in the areas of leadership, office operations, food service, land and facilities, and household care. All staff will not be required to live on site but may stay as it makes sense out carry out their responsibilities.

2.       Operating in a strategic and sustainable manner is paramount to the future of ARC.  A separate capital budget to support a Master Land and Facilities Plan is maintained and annual strategic fundraising efforts incorporated in the overall operating budget.

3.       Engaging the community is core to who ARC is and intention is placed on volunteers, partnerships, and networks of support. 

We Have Begun
The following is a summary the results of the six stated Board Accountabilities in shepherding this process:

1.       Interim on-site Manager – Many of you have met and interacted with Minnesota native Suzanne Begin who came onboard March 26, 2019. Called to ensure efficient and effective operations, she also held space while supporting the Board through the transition process including a four -month sabbatical during which time the kitchen and lodge were closed for business and upgrade: 

·         Kitchen manager certified and kitchen relicensed with the State of Minnesota

·         New commercial refrigerator installed

·         Chimney on lodge replaced

·         New roof and commercial gutters installed on the lodge

·         New siding on upper floor of the lodge in process of installation

·         Deep clean of lodge including oiling of all wood walls and ceilings

·         Upgrade of the old “log room” for achieve storage

·         Caretaker couple recruited and hired to tend to the land, facility and hospitality

·         Business practices assessed and in the process of upgrade


2.       The Nature and Nurture of Community in the ARC Experience – Sustaining a spiritual community at ARC is important to many. The Board reaffirmed its commitment to the importance of ARC providing a life-giving experience for all- retreatant, staff, volunteers, partners and donors.

·         Board commissioned a committee to explore the spiritual position and subsequent program alignment to be led by Nancy Victorin-Vangerud

·         The existing 150-member ARC volunteer community welcomed 12 new volunteers during the summer months providing service in five focus areas – kitchen, housekeeping, land, hospitality, and office

·         Social media community topped 1,000 on Facebook this summer capturing consistent likes, comments and small donations totaling $500 to date.


3.       Executive Director – After considering several viable candidates, the Board unanimously chose our interim leader, Dr. Suzanne Begin to serve as ARC’s next Executive Director effective September 1. She is committed to discerning, strategizing and implementing the future of ARC as a viable and sustainable operation. Suzanne brings her authentic commitment to a called life of service backed by a rich academic and business career.

·         Executive director of two major public hospital foundations and CEO of a two-county hospital authority with certifications in fundraising and grant writing

·         Pastor of an inner-city mission and an interfaith church with non-denominational ordination and license

·         Community program manager with certifications in family life education and evidence based coaching

·         PhD in Organizational Development and Change, MA in Human and Organizational Systems, MBA, BA in Occupational Therapy and Pastoral Ministry, and AA in Liberal Arts


4.       Community and Stakeholder Engagement – As stated in the opening, many of ARC’s long-time supporters showed up in a big way during the process.

·         A Frequently Asked Questions document was created to address the rich questions brought forward such as co-housing, partnerships, residential community, shutdown and ways to help

·         Monthly volunteer newsletter initiated in July 2019 to nurture the expansive volunteer community that enables ARC to thrive.  The purpose is to recognize the incredible value of service that volunteers bring, keep them informed of the happenings and share needs at ARC.

·         Website in process of upgrade in response to the stated needs

·         New and renewed partnership developments are in the works with organizations such as Healing of Memories, Cambridge Lutheran, Grade University Lutheran and others


5.       Board Recruitment – Expanding the board in numbers and diversity of background was a major goal and the Board is happy to announce one new member with announcements of three more coming shortly to create a seven-member board

·         Rev. Julie Beck , Pastor of Braham Evangelical Lutheran Church, Braham, MN


6.       Fundraising - Careful evaluation of the funding needs and the historical generosity of you, the beloved ARC community, led the Board to release a Case for Support in June 2019. The response weighed heavily on the decision to move forward.  The campaign gains momentum over the next two months with emails, phone calls, and small events.

·         $300,000 identified as the need;  $125K immediate Capital and $175K operational

·         $5,000 contributed June-September 1, 2019

·         $55,000 pledged over next three years, including $40,500from board 

Where We Are Going

After careful consideration of the input from all that have shared, the historical data, and the energy building around a commitment to move forward, the Board has unanimously decided that ARC will renew service to its mission of providing a ministry of hospitality, a welcoming presence for individuals and groups seeking time apart for rest and spiritual renewal.


The decision is made based on some key assumptions:

1.       The ARC Experience is life-giving for all involved

2.       ARC operates with Transparency and Integrity

3.       Volunteers contribute to the vibrancy and sustainability of the hospitality ministry

4.       Revenue to sustain ARC is raised through individual and group retreat fees, partnership opportunities and best-practice fundraising techniques

5.       Expenses to operate ARC is managed in two budgets: Operations for daily expenses, and Capital for large maintenance, repair and new construction costs

6.       ARC is managed by paid staff earning a livable wage in accordance with the State and Federal labor laws

7.       An intentional community model is not currently part of staffing

8.       ARC land and facilities are maintained in accordance with a Master Facility Plan that is updated at least every three years

9.       ARC is governed by an engaged and informed Board of Directors


Using these key assumptions as a guide, the Board will be closely monitoring the utilization charitable giving rates while keeping an eye on the monthly operation and capital expenses.  The formula for success includes you!  


To volunteer, schedule a retreat or give, visit , email Suzanne at  or call the office phone 763.689.3540.