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Embracing the Next Normal: Forging a New Path

Overnight Retreat for Ministry Personnel

of Canadian Shield and Shining Waters Regional Councils



Quick links to sections on this page
INM Conference  |  Guest Speaker  |  About the Book  |  Location  |  Agenda  |  Facilitators  |  Registration

entrance of Fern Resort

Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 2 p.m. to Thursday, November 8, 2023 4:30 p.m.

at Fern Resort 4432 Fern Resort Road

Ramara, Ontario  (10 minutes from Orillia)


Join Us!

Ministry personnel from Shining Waters and Canadian Shield Regional Councils are invited to gather in-person for our overnight retreat at Fern Resort, located 10 minutes from Orillia. It is an opportunity to come together and build a collegial relationship with peers from both regions. We will share the impacts of the pandemic on us both personally and professionally and discuss the new path forward. There will also be down time, with opportunities to socialize with each other.

We will be joining the Intentional Ministry Network Annual Connference online for their guest speaker, Rebekah Simon-Peter, who will discuss her recent book, Embracing the Next Normal: Forging a New Path – Moving the church forward in a post-pandemic world (which will be pre-recorded and available prior to the retreat). We will participate in a live Q/A with the speaker and other conference participants online.

This event is subsidized by Canadian Shield Regional Council through our Minister Wellness program and by Shining Waters Regional Council through their Flourish program so this overnight retreat will only cost you $150 to attend.

Space is limited so see below and register early. Deadline for registration is October 23, 2023 by 12 Noon. We hope you can join us!



Intentional Ministry Network Annual Conference

We will be joining the Intentional Ministry Network Annual Connference online for their guest speaker, Rebekah Simon-Peter, who will discuss her recent book, Embracing the Next Normal: Forging a New Path – Moving the church forward in a post-pandemic world (which will be pre-recorded and available prior to the retreat). We will participate in a live Q/A with the speaker and other conference participants online.

The IMN Annual Conference showcases the best new thinking in transitional ministry. Not just for Interim Clergy. Transition is all around us and it happens everyday in all faith communities. IMN provides directly applicable information and best practices for all clergy and lay leaders who are leading faith communities during all types of transition.

Practitioners lead workshops; keynote/plenary speakers offer wisdom, expertise and passion; participants share their experiences; new friendships are formed; and all participants leave with nourishment and enhanced courage for their next transition. The IMN Annual Conference continues for a fourth year in a virtual format.

For more information about the IMN Annual Conference, please see their website: https://imnedu.org/annual-conference/



headshot of Rebekah Simon-Peter

Guest Speaker: Rebekah Simon-Peter

Rebekah Simon-Peter is passionate about reconnecting spiritual leaders with their God-given powers to co-create miracles with the divine. Her award-winning group coaching program, Creating a Culture of Renewal® has energized church leaders across the country to reclaim their calling and to grow their ministries. Known for teaching leaders how to bring out the best in the people who frustrate them the most, her work transforms church leaders and the congregations they serve.

Rebekah is the author of Forging a New Path: Moving the Church Forward in a Post-Pandemic World, Dream Like Jesus®, The Jew Named Jesus, Green Church, Green Church Leader Guide, and 7 Simple Steps to Green Your Church.

A dynamic speaker, Rebekah has engaged and challenged audiences around the country.

Rebekah is an avid hiker, dog mom, wife to Jerry, lover of coffee, and a gratitude junkie.


Rebekah’s Book – Embracing the Next Normal: Forging a New Path

Forging a New Path book cover

Rebekah Simon-Peter’s Forging a New Path is a groundbreaking guidebook for the post-pandemic church. The prophet Ezekiel surveyed a valley of dry bones and asked, “Can these bones rise again?” His prophetic vision hinted at the lifelessness of a people in exile hundreds of years ago.

In the twenty-first century, his question echoes through time in a new way: Can this church grow again? For people who care about faith-based communities, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God, this question is critical. When the pandemic broke out, it badly disrupted church life, already hindered by declining membership, forcing pastors and church members alike to ask once more, “Can this church live?”

Rebekah Simon-Peter wrote Forging a New Path in response to conversations and questions that people in churches across the country are having. The author focuses on three persistent questions:

When do things go back to normal?
How do we get people (back) to church?
How do we do more with less?

Simon-Peter leaves no stone unturned, looking at pandemics past to see how medieval Christians dealt with these same issues. Their answers were surprising. The author writes this is the perfect time for Christians to envision and forge a new path forward with God. In this book, the author shares what we can learn from our past to help reshape our future. She writes that our future won’t come from superficial or technical changes but from profound changes in the way we live out being the church.


Location: Fern Resort

Fern Resort is located on the eastern shores of picturesque Lake Couchiching, about a 10 minute drive from Orillia. Hidden amongst the willow trees is a relaxed lakeside retreat with everything you need enjoy this overnight retreat.

For more information on Fern Resort please see their website: https://fernresort.com/

Fern Resort (MAP)
4432 Fern Resort Road
Ramara, Ontario

We are a short drive from the GTA, and only 30 minutes from Barrie, ON. From Orillia, take Hwy 12 east and turn north on Rama Road (County Rd. 44). Turn West on Fern Resort Road.

We are a 20 minute drive from Lake Simcoe Regional Airport which is serviced by FlyGTA Airlines. The short-hop flight from downtown Toronto takes less than 20 minutes. Domestic and international charters can also be booked from most major cities at a reasonable price. Canada Customs Agents are onsite for international arrivals and rental cars and taxis are available. For guests flying into Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Simcoe County Airport Service runs a shuttle service directly to Fern Resort. Please contact the resort for more information.

Exterior of Fern Resort from lake
plate of food


Wednesday November 8

2:00 p.m. Welcome and Spiritual Centring (worship)
3:00 Watch a Presentation of the Speaker, Rebekah Simon-Peter
5:00 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m. Plenary Session with Rebekah Simon-Peter – IMN
8:30 p.m. Social



Thursday November 9

8:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Spiritual Centring
9:30 a.m. Transitional Ministry Beyond the Pandemic
10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. Open Conversation
12:300 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Plenary Session with Rebekah Simon-Peter – IMN
4:00 p.m. Break
4:15 p.m. Closing and Farewell


Staff Support and Facilitators for this event:

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

Pastoral Relations Minister

Phone: 1-833-236-0281 Ext. 3
Email: rsmith@united-church.ca

Serves in: Canadian Shield Regional Council

Location: Teleworks and works in the Thunder Bay Office.

Role: Rob encourages and supports ministry personnel toward health, joy, and excellence in ministry practice.

Contact Rob about: Conflict Resolution; Finding A New Minister; Licensed Lay Worship Leaders; Licenses To Administer Sacraments; Pastoral Relationships Policy; Resources for Transition Times; Retirement; Sabbaticals; Sick Leave; Short Term Supply Ministers; Visiting Minister Options.

More about Rob...





Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6147
Email: EPark@united-church.ca

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council

Location: Teleworks from home

Role: Eun-Joo encourages and supports both communities of faith and ministry personnel.

This event is now full and we are no longer taking registrations. Thank you for your interest, we hope you can join us at our next event.