Ballast Lodge – a place of stability in the midst of life’s storms
Right in the heart of Atlantic Canada, on the shores of Shepody Bay, is a gorgeous little retreat centre designed specifically with you in mind. Pastors have a unique need for spiritual refreshment and peaceful solitude, but their schedules and budgets often prohibit them from travelling to far-away, upscale resorts. The weight of caring for hurting people has been especially heavy for pastors in Atlantic Canada over the past couple of years. Now, more than ever, pastors need to schedule periods of deep rest.
With that need in mind, Pat and Anita Neuman, along with their son Levi, moved to Johnson’s Mills, New Brunswick a year ago to start a retreat centre. Their vision was to create a beautiful retreat location at a price that is affordable (specifically to people in ministry). Their target audience is anyone who is hurting and needs a peaceful place to be still for a few days. That could be pastors facing burnout, missionaries who’ve had a difficult term, exhausted healthcare workers and first responders, families grieving a loss, couples struggling in their marriage, or anyone working on their mental health.
Pat and Anita love Jesus, and they are deeply committed to caring for His Church. They are passionate about using their gifts, experiences, and resources to serve others. Their years of working in a variety of ministries and missions, as well as their own parenting journey and trauma, have grown in them a compassion for tired and hurting people. This was the impetus for opening Ballast Lodge and making it the ideal place to relax, enjoy quiet solitude, spend time in nature, read, sleep, grieve, process, rest in God’s Word, and heal.
In addition to being a place that pastors can get away to themselves, Ballast Lodge offers some great resources to support churches in their marriage ministries. Pat and Anita have partnered with FamilyLife Canada to bring two phenomenal programs to Atlantic Canada.
- The “Together for Good” marriage conferences are a well-known platform for allowing couples to invest in their marriage, regardless of how long they have been together. These conferences are held on specific weekends at large hotels all across Canada. The regular ticket rate is $380 per couple, which doesn’t include accommodations, parking, or meals. Ballast Lodge is able to present the same conference material (via pre-recorded video) in a much more affordable and intimate setting. Couples can book a “Together for Good” marriage retreat on whatever dates work for them, and watch the five one-hour sessions during their stay. Large marriage conferences are great, but if scheduling and finances are prohibitive, Ballast Lodge’s partnership with FamilyLife Canada offers a perfect alternative.
- Marriage counseling is one area of ministry that many churches would like to do more of, but their pastors are over-scheduled (or this isn’t in their wheelhouse) or they don’t have well-equipped lay persons to manage the task. Another way Ballast Lodge has partnered with FamilyLife Canada is with their Marriage Mentor Training. The workshop curriculum can be used to train several mentor couples within your church or to equip your ministry leaders to build and launch a full marriage mentoring ministry. Pat and Anita will facilitate the sessions, scheduled over the course of a Friday evening and Saturday. The workshop includes one night’s accommodation at Ballast Lodge, but attendees have the option of adding a second night at a discounted rate. The next Marriage Mentor Training Weekend is scheduled for February 4-5, 2022, but other dates can be added if your church would like to send 2-4 couples together.
If you’re interested in learning more about this ministry – either for yourself, someone in your church, or someone else you know who could use a few days of rest – visit https://ballastlodge.ca/ . You can also follow Ballast Lodge on Facebook for regular updates and pictures (https://www.facebook.com/BallastLodge ).
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