Dr. Suzanne Begin
Personalized Affiliation: Interspiritual
Spiritual Spheres: Interfaith, Interspiritual
Category: Retreat Center
Profile: Vision ARC Retreat Community (ARC) envisions a transformed world in which all people embrace and cultivate the spiritual nature of life through healthy, loving relationships with self, others, planet earth, and the Divine. Mission The mission of ARC is to serve individuals and groups seeking time apart for rest and spiritual renewal. ARC embraces people in their full diversity: including all faith traditions and spiritual beliefs. Founded in the spirit of Christian ecumenism, ARC is an interspiritual retreat community. It is nurtured on sacred land, promoting environmental sustainability, and exemplifying a just and inclusive world where every voice is valued and respected. History ARC Retreat Community was born almost 50 years ago from a visionary action that was ahead of its time. In 1972 founder Ruth Halvorson honored her spiritual vision. With the help and support of her family and many individuals, together they developed an organization that has enabled thousands of people to find rest and spiritual renewal through radical hospitality. ARC has been guided and sustained by many surprising happenings that have been described as “God events,” ARC continues to be a place for visioning so that the journey inward – nurturing one’s spirit – inspires the journey outward – nourishing the world in the quest for harmony, peace, and justice. The ARC land is located within the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe and the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ peoples. Over thirty years ago, sweat lodges were developed by indigenous people on ARC and continue to this day. ARC offers this land acknowledgement in order to affirm indigenous sovereignty, history, and experiences and is honored to be in contemporary relationships with indigenous communities. ARC’s Symbol: The White Pine, Tree of Peace White Pines are deeply rooted in the sacred ground that is ARC. To the Anishinaabe, original caretakers of this land, pine trees represent wisdom and harmony with nature. The White Pine symbol enables us to visualize ARC’s groundedness in its history, while its branches and needles demonstrate the expansiveness and vitality that is available to all who come to ARC. The spiritual significance of trees has been important in many human cultures. To the Iroquois people, the white pine symbolized the Great Peace that united their separate nations. The “tree of life” that connects all forms of creation is deeply rooted in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures, and it was under the Bodhi tree that Buddha achieved enlightenment. Many people who come to ARC comment on the sacred presence they feel as they walk through the white pines on the land. The ARC Way: Action, Reflection, Celebration The trunks of many trees grow in spirals, as do the needles of the White Pine. ARC (Action, Reflection, Celebration) can also be understood in these spirals. Actions radiate our present understanding of Divine presence. Reflections draw us back into ever deeper understandings of that presence. And the life we live in and through this process, whatever its challenges or rewards, becomes our authentic Celebration of the Divine in human life. The Journey Inward (Reflection) The practice of ARC is to welcome everyone, offer hospitality, and provide a safe, quiet place apart for rest, solitude, and renewal. ARC’s rural, 91-acres of woods, streams, and paths calm and nurture the soul. ARC staff help plan and facilitate retreat experiences for individuals and groups and invite guests to discover the healing and restoration that can be found through rest, silence and listening. Thousands of individuals have recounted profound experiences of transformation. ARC has been referred to by many as a spiritual home, a place of refuge. ARC is a place of solitude where we can become mindful of our inner resources and become mindful of the Divine both within and around us. ARC encourages the Journey Inward by: • Providing stillness through silence, meditation, worship, centering prayer, contemplation, and other stillness practices. • Enabling ritual based on cultural and spiritual traditions including the sweat lodge, retreats, walking the labyrinth, daily worship, and creating sacred spaces supported by ritual and cyclic practices. • Offering generative and relational practices, such as prayer, tonglen, Lectio Divina, deep listening, dialogue, storytelling, journaling, and creative practices such as writing, visual art, music, dance, and singing. • Providing wellness practices, including nutritious meals, massage, spiritual guidance, yoga, and spending time in nature. The Journey Outward (Action) ARC is committed to helping heal the threats to our planet, and is dedicated to ensuring environmental, racial, and socioeconomic justice. All beings are interconnected and the suffering of one affects us all. Reflection enables participants to return to their daily lives strengthened and inspired to act for the well-being of others out of compassion and with a sense of purpose. We become instruments of the Divine working through us. ARC encourages the Journey Outward by: • Offering workshops relevant to the issues of our time, including racial and economic justice, gender identity, environmental sustainability, public health crises, and recovery from addictions. • Working with other social movements, groups, and organizations for a resilient, sustainable, and equitable economy. • Providing seminars and teaching opportunities on topics such as specific spiritual practices; the craft of writing; how to create artistic media such as fabric dyeing, wood carving, weaving, or quilting; and healing practices to recover from trauma. • Deepening the connections between the local and the global through workshops and events that connect to our local, regional, and global community. • Continually re-evaluating the mission, vision, and ideals of ARC. Walking the Path (Celebration) An ARC experience helps connect with the fundamental joys of life and opens an awareness of the beauty of the earth. We celebrate our opportunities to live in unity with all beings, and feel our connection to the spiritual sources of renewal and vision. The path to self-awareness and spiritual attunement can be demanding. ARC provides the crucible of community for this effort. ARC encourages Walking the Path through: • Regular gatherings of support and celebration, in person and digitally, for laughter, encouragement, and to acknowledge our interconnectedness. • Retreats designed specifically to come together in celebration, such as a New Year’s Eve retreat, gatherings to mark the beginning of a new liturgical year, or a solstice gathering to rejoice in the change of seasons. • The daily practice and spirit of ARC manifests in unexpected ways. Those who are familiar with ARC can take solace in knowing each day someone is practicing loving-kindness meditation, or praying for humanity, or completing a ritual to bless the earth. For more information about ARC please visit our website; www.ARCretreat.org or contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-689-3540. Approved by the Board 11/14/20. This is a living document, reviewed and updated at least annually by the Board.