Welcome to RENEW!
RENEW is a series of opportunities led by an exceptional group of presenters, musicians, and writers to examine our past and present, and explore ways to move forward with intention and foresight. These retreats and concert will focus on how we as creative and spiritual beings can respond to issues of justice for others as well as calibrate our own spiritual significance and purpose in our journey. We begin with a focus on justice, then continue with a concert featuring Endless Field and friends, and end our journey by experiencing introspective spiritual discipline through writing. You are welcome to join us for any one event or all three! From shuttle to lodging, conference and meals, these all-inclusive events make registration a few clicks away so sign up now as we have limited space.
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Rev. Dr. Debbie Bronkema | Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors | Rev. Dr. Michael Woolf
FEATURED ARTISTS Ike Sturm | Jesse Lewis | Tabreeca Woodside | Barney Waterbury
Presented in partnership between:
Friday 2.3.23 to Sunday 2.5.23
All faiths urge humanity to seek justice, and this retreat will unpack ways we can respond to our past and present treatment of black and indigenous POC through the exploration of reparations in theoretical and practical ways. We will learn about doing justice through the lens of the community of Evanston, Illinois, from two wonderful speakers and leaders on that journey. They will speak about how they got started, the faith basis for their journey, and how they’ve been able to connect across faiths. Then, we’ll consider what it means to seek justice in our own environments, and reflect on how we, too, can find ways to be agents of restorative justice in our world.
CONCERT AMONG THE CEDARS
Sunday 2.5.23 4:30 pm
We can’t think of a better venue for a concert than a wood-lined lawn on a pleasant Florida winter day. Nor can we think of a better musical duo to fill the trees and our ears than Endless Field. Come early and enjoy nature, and following the concert, stay for a home-cooked dinner to end the day. If you are new to Endless Field, you can learn more at endlessfieldband.com.
WRITING TOWARD WHOLENESS RETREAT
Sunday 2.5.23 to Tuesday 2.7.23
In this portion of our series, Rev. Dr. Debbie Bronkema, creates a comfortable and safe space for participants to – in a sense – let their life speak. As Debbie says, “There are stories in us that are too hard to tell straight on,” and the writing prompts allow for participants to come to truths through the side door. As Debbie has led these retreats she has found participants’ stories transform relationships with each other and with God.
Rev. Dr. Debra J. K. Bronkema has been Pastor of Pleasantville Presbyterian Church in Pleasantville, New York since Easter Sunday 2007. She earned her Doctorate of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary in 2011, with an emphasis in Creative Writing as a Spiritual Practice, and leads programs and retreats on this topic throughout the country. In September of 2022, through the faithful innovation group Cyclical Publishing, Debbie published Writing Toward Wholeness: Exploring Creativity and Spirituality. The story of healing and transformation of a group of 12 participants is followed by a workbook section that gives readers guidance and space to go on a similar journey.
Prior to their move to Pleasantville, Debbie and her husband John were Co-Executive Directors of Cedarkirk Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center in Lithia, Florida. Debbie grew up in Michigan and was a CPA when she heard a call to ministry. Debbie and John have 4 children, Cali, Dylan, Logan and Caleb.
In 2018 Debbie published her first novel, Finding Manna, the story of a young woman searching for the life that is hers to live. In December of 2020 Debbie published a collection of devotions entitled Midweek Meditations. Most recently, Debbie has been Pastor for the new worshiping community connect.faith, an online ministry where creativity, spirituality, and justice meet.
Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors is senior pastor of the historic Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Illinois. Since arriving at Second Baptist, Dr. Nabors has sought to continue leading the church in its historical role as a trumpeter for Christ and as a social justice advocate in Evanston and Metro Chicago. A regarded speaker, preacher and lecturer, he has been invited to address universities, seminaries, high schools, community organizations, churches, religious conventions and symposiums throughout the United States.
Dr. Nabors teaches at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and has taught at Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Ashland Theological Seminary, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Marygrove College.
Since 2019, Dr. Nabors has been part of the Steering Committee for Evanston Reparations, the first municipal reparations program in the United States, allocating 10 million dollars to Black Evanstonians to repair historical damages due to racism. He has received over 100 community, church and ministry awards for leadership and service in New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois. He is currently in his third term as president of the Evanston-North Shore Branch of the NAACP.
Rev. Dr. Michael Woolf works at the intersection of ministry and academia. The foundations of his ministry and passion include preaching, mediation, organizing for justice, and equipping people of faith with the resources they need to discover their purpose.
He holds a Doctor of Theology (ThD) degree from Harvard Divinity School, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville with a BA in Religious Studies, and a Master of Divinity degree. Michael is an ordained American Baptist Churches USA pastor currently serving as the Senior Minister at Lake Street Church of Evanston in Evanston, IL, a progressive congregation with a commitment to social justice and interfaith dialogue.
He has served as the Editor-in-Chief of Cult/ure: The Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School and the Director of Publishing at the Journal of Inter-Religious Studies. His work has been published at the Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies, Glossolalia, and Cult/ure. He has also written for several popular publications.
Endless Field (Biophilia Records Artists) is a collaborative instrumental guitar and bass duo featuring guitarist Jesse Lewis and bassist Ike Sturm. They play original songs filled with intricate finger-style lines, improvisation and ambient textures. Drawing on inspiration from nature, the duo seeks to bring music to outdoor spaces, encouraging audiences to explore their own frontiers.
Endless Field has toured in Italy, Norway and across the U.S., performing at Lincoln Center, the United Nations, and live on NPR’s Echoes Radio. They have collaborated with jazz luminaries such as Theo Bleckmann, Ingrid Jensen and Donny McCaslin.
Endless Field released their newest album, ‘Alive in the Wilderness,’ in the summer of 2020 on Biophilia Records. The album was recorded live in the Utah wilderness using a solar battery-powered mobile recording studio. National Geographic photographers and videographers documented their epic adventure and all album proceeds are being donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Find their work here: www.endlessfieldband.com
Tabreeca Woodside is a Jazz Singer and native New Yorker.
She earned a degree in Jazz Composition from Five Towns College and studied Music Education at Berklee College of Music. From 2003 to 2018 she has worked as a Worship Pastor and operated in ministerial leadership in Massachusetts and Georgia.
In 2019, she returned to New York to fulfill her passion of jazz and spirituality. She now performs solo and with various artists. She has joined the team at connect.faith as a facilitator and looks forward to exploring more ways to express her love for God and people.
Captain Barney Waterbury left Memphis, TN, on his bicycle, pulling all of his belongings in a trailer that he built: guitar, congas, and a bucket full of hope. He landed in St. Petersburg, FL, bought a sailboat, and sailed the Caribbean until funds ran dry.
Upon returning to St. Pete., he started playing music full time under the names Aiko-Aiko and Bohemian Swingers. Finally, Urban Gypsies was formed in 1997.
He is a natural storyteller and it shows in his music, which falls into categories like tribal, disco, gypsy, and bluegrass, to name a few. Barney likes to say that 25 years of writing songs in different genres has set his musical soul on fire. Learn more about his life and music at www.urbangypsiesofflorida.com.
The full conference schedule will be posted soon!
This event is structured so you can participate in as many of the programs as you’d like. During the registration process you’ll have the option to register for the full experience, or select any one or more of the three options individually.
< If you need help registering, click THIS LINK for step-by-step instructions.>
Full Conference | $340
2.3.23 to 2.7.23
Includes all three programs
Lodging: Friday – Monday nights
Meals: Friday dinner – Tuesday lunch
Restorative Justice | $180
2.3.23 to 2.5.23
Lodging: Friday – Saturday nights
Meals: Friday dinner – Sunday lunch
Concert Among the Cedars | $25
Meals: Sunday dinner
Writing Toward Wholeness | $105
2.5.23 to 2.7.23
Check In: Sunday 8pm
Lodging: Sunday & Monday night
Meals: Monday lunch – Tuesday Breakfast
*For those leaving after the concert, or attending the concert only, lodging for that evening is not included in the concert registration. During registration, you may add lodging for Sunday night and breakfast Monday morning. (If you are staying for the full conference, that night’s lodging and breakfast are included with your registration.)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cedarkirk is a 170-acre wooded camp and conference center located less than one hour from Tampa, FL. Under a covenant partnership with two Presbyteries, the conference center is a ministry of hospitality to any not-for-profit entity. For 50 years, the center has provided “a place apart” for all to grow, connect, and feed the soul.
You are welcome to visit our accommodations page to get a general idea of our lodging facilities. All rooms will be private occupancy for individuals or couples with a shared bath.
We are approximately 25 minutes east of I-75 and 25 minutes south of I-4, for those who want to drive. For those traveling by plane, a shuttle service to/from Tampa International Airport will be provided upon request. Cedarkirk provides round trip shuttle service at a cost of $40 per person.
We are a camp and conference center that provides plenty of outdoor space to enjoy God’s creation. There are trails and a prayer labyrinth to walk, hammocks and rocking chairs to relax in, a river to enjoy, and we will open our zip line to any daring folks to enjoy. As part of the RENEW retreat, there will also be stations set aside for reflection through visual arts, music, prayer, and small group conversation. We want you to renew your soul and body as we together reflect on how to find renewal for our communities and our world.
Participants who choose to extend their stay in the area will find February is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the Gulf Coast beaches, Tampa’s aquarium or zoo, or any of the numerous theme parks – from Busch Gardens in Tampa to the Disney and Universal parks in Orlando. There are also many museums, including the Salvador Dali Museum and the Florida Holocaust Museum. If you decide to stay in Sarasota, Clearwater, Tampa, or Orlando, there are many concert halls and arenas with events around the conference dates.
Cedarkirk meals are typically a single entree with sides and a salad bar (at lunch and dinner). We ask that you communicate any dietary needs ahead of time so that we can prepare alternatives for you. We accommodate vegetarian and gluten-free diets, as well as most food allergies. However, we suggest calling Cedarkirk to discuss options if you have multiple restrictions such as vegan or vegetarian combined with gluten-free.
Most of our buildings are accessible to people with limited mobility owing to their ground-level access or ramps. Due to Florida’s flat terrain, the outdoors is highly accessible as well. A golf cart can be arranged for those that have a need. Lodging with wheel chair accessibility is limited, so please let us know in advance if you’d like accessible lodging.
We want you to be comfortable during your stay. We suggest you check the forecast before you leave because Florida’s weather in February can be almost anything: from lows in the 30s to highs in the 80s and days full of sunshine or rain, we can’t really give you an exact picture! Whether in worship or sitting around the campfire, casual and comfortable clothing is just fine. Bring a pair of walking shoes if you want to go for walks, and a pair of river shoes if you think you might join us for a canoe trip.
We strongly recommend you check the forecast as you pack since Florida winters consist of warm weather with cold fronts that can last for a day or a week. It occasionally gets below freezing, but average temperatures in February range from lows in the 40s to highs in the 80s. Rain is fairly unusual for February, but we do get occasional storms as cold fronts move in. Overall, it should be sunny and comfortable (at least for those of you traveling from further north).
While the community spread of COVID in this area remains at a low level, we are still taking precautions to keep all guests safe. We recommend that all participants be fully vaccinated against COVID. Cedarkirk reserves the right to take additional precautions should the pandemic spike again (asking guests to wear masks, practice physical distancing, etc.).
Cedarkirk has good cell phone coverage across its property. There is WiFi in the lodge where dining will be held. Most participants will be housed in buildings that are not equipped with WiFi, though our dining area is open 24 hours a day for those who may need WiFi.
We understand you may have unique circumstances that the standard information does not cover. If you have any questions, please email Mark Orendorf at email@example.com, or call him at 813-685-4224 x4.