History and Vision
Laity Lodge hosted its first retreat in June 1961 under the direction of Howard Butt, Jr. His vision was to gather intimate groups of people—pastors and laymen, men and women—from all walks of life at retreats combining spiritual renewal and physical rest. The program would be designed to equip the “laity” to rediscover the high calling of the gospel in the varied details and occupations which comprise daily life and work.
Over the coming decades, the vision continued to grow and focus. Deep relationships were formed both with retreat attendees and speakers who returned each year convinced, as Howard was, of the need to “retreat to go forward.” And in its own way, the canyon itself was playing an important, shaping role; inviting guests to seek a posture of presence–to quiet themselves, to begin to inhabit the moment at hand. “All moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”† It is, increasingly, a profound and needed message.
Today, Laity Lodge represents one of several programs comprising Foundations for Laity Renewal, led by Howard’s son-in-law, David Rogers (other programs include the Foundation Free Camps, Laity Lodge Youth Camp, Laity Lodge Youth Camp Alumni, Laity Lodge Family Camp, The High Calling of Our Daily Work). The FLR core purpose is to serve God by creating opportunities for people to encounter God for the transformation of daily life, work, and our world.
† Frederick Buechner, Now and Then