Celebration of Ministry Retreats 2015

Finishing Well in Grace25 Year Retreat

Renewed in Grace10 Year Retreat

Grow in Grace has launched an initiative—Pastor Partners—to encourage ministry-long spiritual and professional health through a coordinated system for growth, support, and development. It is our goal to strengthen and support pastors from seminary to sunset.

Part of our work through Pastor Partners includes planning and hosting ministry celebrations/retreats for pastors and their wives as they move through their public ministry years. The planned events will be held at key milestones throughout a pastor’s ministry to build on relationships with ministry peers, strengthen marriages, and offer encouragement through worship, Bible study, and other workshops and presentations.

This year we will be hosting two retreats simultaneously (with joint opening and closing worship but otherwise unique agendas). The two retreats are:

Finishing Well in Grace for pastors & spouses marking 25 years of pastoral ministry; and

Renewed in Grace for pastors & spouses marking 10 years of pastoral ministry.

The agendas for both the 25 year retreat and the 10 year retreat have been set. Other than joint worship, program content and presenters will be specific to each group.

Both Finishing Well in Grace and Renewed in Grace are scheduled for Tuesday, April 7 through Thursday, April 9, 2015. We will be returning to the same place that has hosted our previous retreats: the Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk. Those invited to attend this year’s 25 year retreat are the WLS graduating classes of 1990 (and their spouses). Those invited to the 10 year retreat are the 2005 graduating class (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.

We have worked hard to craft two 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.

Two more Celebrations of Ministry will eventually be held for pastors who are: three years out of the seminary (Begun in Grace), and at retirement (Completed in Grace).
Worship, Workshops, Bible Study & Other Presentations

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 Paul Wendland) and Philippians for the 10 year retreat (led by Professor Rich Gurgel).

On the agenda for each retreat group are five workshops. Each retreat will offer two workshops focused on pastors, two on spouses and two intended for couples. The workshops and plenary presentations for each group are geared toward their specific stages in their ministries and lives. Specific agendas and workshop information for each retreat are available on their respective web pages – Finishing Well in Grace (25 years) or Renewed in Grace (10 years).


Your registration includes the following meals and fellowship:

Tuesday, April 7 – Dinner & fellowship at our evening banquet (menu below).

Wednesday, April 8 – Breakfast (lunch & dinner on your own)

Thursday, April 9 – Breakfast (lunch on your own)

Tuesday 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 and Rio banquet rooms. The 10 year group will be using Casa Rio’s Veranda banquet room.

Tuesday’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.

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.


Retreat attendees are responsible for making and paying for their own lodging arrangements. Hotel reservations should be made directly with the hotel. You can use the dedicated booking link, book your rooms online at www.druryhotels.com then enter group number of 2213193, or you may call 1-800-325-0720 and also refer to the group number. Reservations need to be made at least three weeks in advance 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.

Conference Attire

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


While the retreat remains focused on strengthening pastors and their wives, we welcome infants under the age of one year to attend as necessary. Please note, however, that we will be unable to offer on-site childcare.


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

Transportation to/from Airport

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.

When you register for the retreat online please be prepared to choose workshops for both pastor and wife at that time as well.

Some costs associated with the retreat will be the same per couple. Those costs include:

Hotel rooms – two nights, $300 including tax

Retreat registration – $350, which covers three meals and all conference costs

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.

Travel Costs and Reimbursement

Travel costs will vary depending on distance from San Antonio. However, to equalize travel costs to some degree, the seminary has set up a travel equalization fund. Travel costs in excess of $500 per couple ($250 if traveling alone) will be reimbursed by the seminary at 50%.