Celebrations of Ministry Retreat 2016 (temp)

Finishing Well in Grace — 25 Year Retreat – Class of 1991

Renewed in Grace — 10 Year Retreat – Class of 2006

Begun in Grace — 3 Year Retreat – Class of 2013

This year Grow in Grace will be hosting three Celebration of Ministry retreats simultaneously (with joint opening and closing worship but otherwise unique agendas) from Wednesday, March 30 – Friday, April 1, 2016. The retreats include:

  • Finishing Well in Grace for pastors & spouses marking 25 years of pastoral ministry;
  • Renewed in Grace for pastors & spouses marking 10 years of pastoral ministry; and
  • Begun in Grace for pastors & spouses marking three years of pastoral ministry.

Those invited to attend this year’s 25 year retreat are the WLS graduating class of 1991 (and their spouses). Those invited to the 10 year retreat are the 2006 graduating class (and their spouses) and those invited to this year’s inaugural three year retreat are the graduating class of 2013 (and their spouses). Pastors who were originally part of the anniversary classes but who graduated a year or two later because of a year spent elsewhere in school or emergency calls are also welcome to attend with their original class.

Agendas, Worship, Workshops, Bible Study & Other Presentations

We worked hard to craft three unique agendas that we pray will be beneficial to each pastor and his spouse. It is our hope that if you attend you will:

  • have the opportunity to take advantage of presentations aimed at your specific season in the called ministry (as couples and individually);
  • have the opportunity to consider challenges and opportunities you may face in the future; and,
  • celebrate God’s grace on your ministry and the ministry of your classmates.

The centerpiece of the retreats are the joint opening and closing worship services and the four session Bible studies on 1 Peter for the 25 year retreat (led by President Mark Zarling), Philippians for the 10 year retreat (led by Professor Rich Gurgel), and for the three year retreat, a study with reference to 1 & 2 Timothy On Being Christ’s Ambassador (led by Professor Mark Paustian).

For those attending the 10 and 25 year retreats, there are multiple workshops from which to choose. Both retreats offer at least one workshop focused on pastors, one on spouses and one intended for couples. The workshops and plenary presentations for each group are geared toward their specific stages in their ministries and lives.

This year we will be hosting a mixer on opening day beginning at 2pm. This gives ALL groups a chance to meet, get reacquainted with one another, and enjoy fellowship time together.

Specific agendas for each of the three retreats can be found on their respective web pages – Finishing Well in Grace (25 years), Renewed in Grace (10 years), or Begun in Grace (three years).

Lodging, Parking, Meals, Attire, and Children


Retreat attendees are responsible for making and paying for their own lodging arrangements. Hotel reservations should be made directly with the hotel. You can book your rooms online at Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk. Under the registration tab click on group registration and then enter group number of 2237768, or you may call 1-800-325-0720 and also refer to the group number. Reservations need to be made by February 26 to secure the reduced group rate. Reservations made after that are subject to the prevailing rate and availability. The reduced rates are also available before and after the retreat should you choose to enjoy beautiful San Antonio on your own time.


Hotel parking is available at a cost of $21.00 per car, per night for overnight guests only.


Your registration includes the following meals and fellowship:

  • Wednesday, March 30 – Dinner & fellowship at our evening banquet (menu below).
  • Thursday, March 31 – Breakfast (lunch & dinner on your own)
  • Friday, April 1 – Breakfast (lunch on your own)

Wednesday evening’s banquet, brief program, and fellowship (before and after the banquet) will take place this year at Casa Rio. The 25 year group will be using Casa Rio’s Texas banquet room, the 10 year group will be using Casa Rio’s Veranda banquet room and the three year group will be using the Casa Rio’s Rio banquet room.

Each registered retreat attendee will also receive two drink coupons that can be used in our banquet areas during the fellowship time at Casa Rio that will precede and follow the banquet. A cash bar will be available for any additional beverages attendees might wish to order.

Casa Rio is able to modify the menu for those with dietary restrictions. Since such arrangements must be made in advance, please list any such dietary restrictions in the box provided on the registration form.

Wednesday’s dinner menu will include: Guacamole salad, crisp beef taco, tamale, cheese enchilada, chili con carne, Mexican rice, and refried beans, all of which will be served plated. Flour tortillas as well as ice tea, chips & salsa will also be available at each table. An assortment of mini deserts will also be made available at each table as the meal comes to a close.

Conference Attire

Business casual will be the attire for all conference sessions, including Wednesday evening’s worship and banquet.


Grow in Grace has received consistent feedback on what a blessing this retreat has been for husband and wife to attend together alone. Since the retreat remains focused on strengthening pastors and their wives, we strongly encourage making arrangements for childcare for the duration of the retreat. However, we do welcome infants under the age of one year to attend with parents if necessary. We will be making qualified onsite childcare available for those who do not have the option of leaving an infant at home.

Registration, Transportation, Travel Cost, & Reimbursement

Registration (Deadline: Friday, February 26, 2016)

There is a registration fee discount for those registering on or before February 16, 2016. The discounted registration fee is $350 per couple ($175 for single pastors). For those who register between February 17, 2016 and the final deadline (February 26, 2016), the registration fee will be $399 per couple ($199 for a single pastor).

For those registering for the 10 and 25 year retreats, please be prepared to choose workshops for both pastor and wife at the time of registration.

Room reservations need to be made directly with the Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk. Your online retreat registration does NOT include your hotel reservations. The cost for pastors who are single would be one half of the registration cost for couples.

Flight Arrival Time and Transportation to/from Airport

In the past we have had attendees miss the opening session and even the entire first day due to weather and flight delays. Please allow yourself enough time for travel and possible delays in order to make the most out of this celebration opportunity.

For those flying into San Antonio, the most economical transportation to the Drury Riverfront Plaza is to use a taxi. We have found this option both cheaper and quicker than the shuttle service we have used previously. Those who happen to arrive with others attending the retreat and are looking for a taxi to the hotel can often find mini-van size taxis that allow up to six riders for the same cost, thus considerably lowering the per-person cost. It may be even easier to coordinate such joint taxi rides as the retreat ends. Those wishing to include the cost of the taxi in their travel reimbursement request are encouraged to request a receipt.

Estimated cost of taxi ride: approximately $30 each way with some variation depending on traffic.

Please note: There is another Drury on the Riverwalk within two blocks of our hotel. Be sure to tell the taxi driver that you are staying at the Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk.

Transportation Cost Reimbursement

Transportation costs will vary depending on distance from San Antonio. However, in order to equalize travel costs to some degree, the seminary has set up a transportation equalization fund. Transportation costs in excess of $600 per couple ($300 if traveling alone) will be reimbursed by the seminary at 50%.

We have provided an explanation sheet that provides a few more details on how this transportation reimbursement will work.