Pastor: "Brad Hansen, a retired religion prof from Luther College, one of the founders of the Grace Institute, a wise and practiced man of prayer, had a presentation at most of the retreats. I would have been fine if Brad had been the sole presenter at every retreat. He is solid, empathetic, and speaks not as one who has arrived, but as a fellow pilgrim on a long journey." Read full post here.
Pastor: "I came seeking, thirsting, for a deeper relationship with God and I can't name it or clarify my experience, but recently it occurred to me that I am at peace, satisfied, whole, and 'Being' is good rather that 'Doing,' knowing God's presence and God at work in my life."
Lay woman: "I will always be grateful for this opportunity--the time with excellent faculty and staff; excellent facilities; expert guidance for formation in covenant groups; the welcome, encouragement; laughter and relationships. It will continue to light the way for a long time to come. Thank you to all of you for the care and commitment you give to creating a truly renewing experience." Pastor: "It has been such a wonderful experience for me. I love the people in my covenant group and in the larger group and feel so grateful to be with other folks who love the hunger for this life with God. I have had the opportunity to practice here much of what I had only read about. It is so good to be in a place where I can practice (including making mistakes) the spiritual disciplines I would like to do more regularly and faithfully. I loved learning to listen better and to lead these practices." Lay man: "I've been wandering in a spiritual desert for several years. Grace Institute's academic, worship, fellowship, and covenant group components have served as an oasis and a re-equipping station. I expect the tools, insight, and discipline that I've received will assist me in running a stronger race." Church worker: "The Grace Institute for Spiritual Formation gave substance to what has been on my heart for years. The Spirit spoke through folks to encourage me to grow in prayer and spiritual formation. We have been so blessed through the discipline of quarterly gatherings: the speakers and worship and especially the covenant group. I now see a spiritual director on a regular basis. I love experiencing and bringing back new learning to my church. The benefits to me personally and professionally are profound." Lay woman: "This whole experience has been a blessing! Thank you so much for all your hard work and planning. Each session was educational and life-giving. This final session I fell behind in my reading; otherwise I liked all the readings. I will so miss my covenant group. What a lovely gift from God these people are!! I pray that as a lay person that my church and pastors/staff will be open to some new things learned in these two years. Thank you and thank God!! Lay man: "The program has been very rewarding and enlightening for me. I am very encouraged to pursue more study, prayer, and spiritual direction. Also I am interested in proposing some of the ideas obtained here in my church." "Grace Institute was a rich experience for me. You exposed me to new forms of prayer, a new spirituality (new to me!) that I can use as a model. The covenant group was a place to be vulnerable and a safe place to be me. I appreciated each person in the group. I will miss the chance to retreat quarterly, but will intentionally seek out new ways of growing in my walk with God. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. The readings have already led me to new material and reading of certain authors. Church worker: "The program has taken me from ignorance about spiritual formation to excitement, exposure, and planning for the future personally and in/for the church. 'This is not the end but the way.'