Winter Peace Retreat at St. Mary of Providence Center

February 9-11, 2018 (Friday-Sunday)
Elverson, PA (Chester County)

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Adult Program

Family retreat with separate programs for adults and children, sponsored by The Peace and Justice Committee, Eastern District Conference and Franconia Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.

Adult Program:

  Immigration, Sanctuary, and the Church
with Peter Pedemonti and Tammy Alexander

Peter Pedemonti is the co-founder and Director of New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia, and has been working in social justice movements since 2001. A first generation US citizen, Peter is the son of English and Italian immigrants. Peter moved to Philadephia to live and work with the House of Grace Catholic Worker, a faith-based intentional community that operates a free medical clinic, works for social justice, and has a house of hospitality for immigrants and refugees. Before coming to Philadelphia, he was the Director of Public Education and Outreach for an environmental organization in New York, and active in anti-war activism and solidarity with indigenous communities. When not working, Peter enjoys watching trains and playing with legos with his toddler.

Tammy Alexander is Senior Legislative Associate for Domestic Affairs in the Washington, DC, Office of Mennonite Central Committee. Tammy speaks and writes on U.S. policy related to immigration, the environment and human trafficking, and she meets with congressional offices and Administration officials to convey MCC's perspective on public policy. She has co-chaired the Interfaith Immigration Coalition since 2011. Prior to joining MCC in 2007, Tammy worked as a propulsion engineer on the space shuttle program from 1996-2004. She holds a Master of Arts in International Development from American University and engineering degrees from Purdue University and the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Tammy and Peter will lead us in conversation about US immigration policies and practices and how churches are responding. We will reflect on the Biblical roots of Sanctuary, its history, and then apply it today. As communities of faith, we will explore what Sanctuary looks like today, best practices, and other ways faith communities can stand in solidarity with immigrant communities.
(Read more under Resources below.)

Youth Options:

This year we are not offering a separate program for youth, because many of our congregations now hold winter retreats specifically for high school and junior high youth. However, youth will be welcome to participate in this retreat if they come with other family members. Some mature youth may benefit from participation in the adult program; also, there may be an opportunity for a few youth to help with the child care. Please check with us for details.

Note that we can also work with church youth group leaders to help plan a youth retreat with a peace and justice theme.

Child Care/Children's Activities

We will provide child care and activities for children up to age 12 during the adult sessions. We also appreciate parents or other adults who would like to help out with child care for one or more of the sessions.


St. Mary of Providence Center
227 Isabella Road, Elverson, PA 19520.
( St. Mary of Providence Center is about halfway between Norristown and Lancaster )

Preliminary Schedule

Friday, February 9
7:00 PM Check-in
8:00 PM Opening program for All
Music, sharing of peace stories
9:30 PM Snack*
11:00 PM Bedtime (Quiet)
Saturday, February 10
8:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00-12:00First Session (Adult & Children's programs)
12:00-12:30 PM Lunch
12:30-5:00 PM Free Time** - outdoor and indoor activities available
  - 1:00-5:00 PM Videos / Discussion
5:30-6:00 PM Dinner
7:00-9:00 PMSecond Session (Adult & Children's programs)
9:00 PM Snack*
11:00 PM Bedtime (Quiet)
Sunday, February 11
8:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00-10:30 AM Final Session
10:45 AM Worship Service with Communion
(adults & children)
12:00-12:30 PM Lunch

*Please bring bagged snacks (cookies, pretzels, chips, etc) to share with others during the evenings. You are also encouraged to bring your own mug for snack times or coffee during the program sessions.
**During "Free Time" on Saturday afternoon there will be videos and discussion time (on peace issues) as an alternative to outdoor recreation. (There will not be child care or children's activities on Saturday afternoon. Parents are encouraged to enjoy recreation with their children.)

  • After Sunday lunch you and your family may stay for more recreation or head for home.
  • The following recreational activies are available at St. Mary's of Providence: swimming ($4 per person), and -- weather permitting -- hiking or cross-country skiing.

    Registration Information

    [Printable Registration Form [HTML] or [PDF]

    Please plan to register early; space is limited. Sometimes we have had to turn away families because of the space limitation.

    Most rooms accommodate two people (two single beds with private bath), and one or two additional family members may be accommodated in the same room on the floor if you wish to bring bedding for them. Single adults who wish to room together should send in their registration forms together, otherwise they will be paired with other singles. (Note: There is an additional $30 charge for a single person who requests a private room.)

    Cost to Participants:

    Registration rates (includes 2 nights lodging and 5 meals):
      $175.00 Adult
      $205.00 Adult, private room
      $150.00 College Student
      $ 80.00 Youth (rooming with parents)
      $ 50.00 Children (Ages 3-10)
      Children under 3 are free!
    Commuter registration (no lodging):
      $50.00 Saturday only (includes 2 meals: lunch and supper).
      $70.00 Friday, Saturday, Sunday (includes 3 meals: Saturday lunch and supper; Sunday lunch)

    Mail registration form to:
      Carolynn Boyd, Registrar
      1162 Lucy Drive
      Schwenksville, Pa 19473

    Registration deadline is January 19, 2018*
    [*Availabilty of meals & lodging not guaranteed after Jan. 19th - check with Registrar]

    Any questions? Need more information?
    Call Carolynn Boyd, 610-489-9084, E-mail:

    Financial Information

    Our registration rates are listed on the registration form above, but the actual cost of the retreat is substantially greater than what the participants pay. The difference is made up with funds from the Eastern District and Franconia Conferences. Registration charges cover personal expenses for lodging and meals, but not our program costs such as honorariums, travel, and accommodations for our presenters, publicity, and other miscellaneous expenses.

    Your donations are much appreciated since they allow us to provide scholarships for low-income families or individuals.

    Some financial help is available for those who find it difficult to pay the amount we charge. We want to enable as many people as possible to attend this retreat. (Contact Carolynn Boyd, 610-489-9084.)

    Special needs: If you have dietary restrictions or require other special accommodations (e.g., diabetic, or vegetarian, or difficulty climbing stairs, etc.) please include information about your needs.


    Resources:    Immmigration, Sanctuary, and the Church

    New Sanctuary Movement and the US Political Context

    New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia is an interfaith, multicultural immigrant-led organization working to build community across faith, ethnicity, and class in our work to end injustices against immigrants regardless of immigration status, express radical welcome for all, and ensure that values of dignity, justice, and hospitality are lived out in practice and upheld in policy.

    Grounded in our faith values and the tradition of Sanctuary that goes back thousands of years, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia acts on the belief that all people are brothers and sisters and must be treated with deep honor and respect. We work together to transform our communities into a place where all people are safe, respected, and welcomed; where economic, spiritual, and emotional wholeness are realized; and where borders and divisions disappear as we build a community welcoming to everyone.

    New Sanctuary Movement is working to respond to the extremist anti-immigrant and racist policies which the Trump Administration has targeted against immigrant communities. The Executive Orders on immigration implement a white nationalist ideology that include an attempted Muslim ban, hiring 10,000 new ICE agents, restricting funding to sanctuary cities, building a wall on the southern US border, greatly expanding the guidelines of who can be deported, and greatly expanding those who can be sent through expedited deportation. In September 2017, another executive order was issued to end DACA, a brutal blow to 800,000 young people and their families; and ICE raids in several "sanctuary cities," including Philadelphia, abducted almost 500 people.

    During this dark time, communities of faith have a calling and responsibility to respond with deep love, radical inclusion and bold action. Sanctuary is an action that is grounded in our sacred texts and has seen many different forms over the course of thousands of years.

    Follow New Sanctuary Movement on Facebook or on twitter: @nsmphilly.

    Immigrant Sanctuary - Resources and Toolkits

    Immigration - Video and Group Study Resources

    For more information about the Peace and Justice Committee, see

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    Last Updated: 1/29/18
    Created: June 26, 2017