November 25, 2016
Dear Common Ground Friends and Community Members,
Common Ground has been using the Holy Spirit Retreat Center for over twelve years for all of our residential meditation retreats. Over these years, we have developed a close and mutually supportive relationship with the Franciscan Sisters who run the retreat center. We have known for several years about their plan to retire and sell the property, and in August of this year the Sisters put the center on the market for $1,100,000.
Needless to say, the sale of this property will mark a significant change for our center. Many of us in the Common Ground Community have a deep connection with Holy Spirit Retreat Center, the Sisters, the land, the lake, and our shared experience practicing there. There is likely to be some real sadness if it no longer is available for our retreats. Fortunately, there is a chance that whomever purchases the property will continue to offer it to other groups. Exactly how this unfolds is unknown, but the Sisters are asking the buyers to honor those groups, such as Common Ground, who have scheduled retreats through 2018.
Formal residential retreat practice has been and will continue to be an important aspect of how we practice together. The Common Ground Board of Directors has met to discuss this change and to begin to consider other options in case Holy Spirit becomes no longer available. There is a strong consensus from the Board of Directors to not consider a purchase of the Holy Spirit retreat property. The major consideration is the community energy and effort, costs, and staffing that would be required to operate Holy Spirit. The purchase of Holy Spirit Retreat Center would require substantial fundraising and a mortgage. Owning a retreat property with this amount of infrastructure would necessitate operating it as a business. This mode of operation is quite different from how Common Ground has been able to operate thus far, relying exclusively on a “Freely Giving and Freely Receiving” ethic. The Board deeply values this approach and sees it as central to all that we do.
Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Common Ground Board