What is the cost of coming to the lodge?
Our goal is to reach out to pastors/spouses and to provide them a cost free time of rest and renewal. SImply put - there is no cost to the couple while at the lodge. All costs are paid for through donations to the Stillwater Ministry. There may be incidental costs that cannot be provided (ie personal fishing licenses, meals outside of the lodge, etc) but the goal is to provide a cost free time of rest. In particular, we love to reach out to small churches and their pastors who have limited resources.
I am not sure of your purpose, how do I know that this will meet our needs?
Sometimes things are best understood by defining what they are not. We are not a ministry that concentrates on providing free vacations. This ministry is about health, regaining health, and returning back to your ministry so that you can perform in a healthier and more effective manner.
During your application, we will discuss ‘your’ goals and needs. We will be able to offer a lot more clarification at that time. Please feel free to ask anything!
You note “meeting” regularly with the host. What does this entail and what is its purpose?
We, as well as many similar ministries, have found that in order to start down the road to quiet, reflection, processing and health, that meeting with someone neutral greatly aides in the process. Someone who is confidential, understands your needs and concerns, and has probably never even heard of your church or ministry. Not knowing those people or issues that may be ‘blighting your life’ is often just what is needed to talk out loud and work through things. This ‘meeting’ is very informal. It is not like at 10am everyone goes to a room to get their head shrinked. Instead, as life happens during your stay, a lot of informal time happens, and that is when sharing and talking things out have their best success.
As you may have already read, it is not our desire to ‘fix’ you. But it is our desire to help you slow down, reflect, begin to listen to God anew, and spend long periods of time with your spouse. In addition, the opportunity to meet others in your same ministry field, to share challenges in a safe open way – all help one to become even healthier for their ministry.
It is apparent that this ministry cannot take everyone. How does one get qualified or accepted?
Lodge stays- We vet our applicants through phone interviews based upon several different things:
a) Stage of life
b) Type and stage of ministry
c) Age – so as to match similar age group couples.
d) Expressed goals during their stay
Creekside Cabin stays- This is a more involved process. Due to the high interest and limited availability of the cabin, the ministry does a more involved vetting process than the one it performs for the lodge. This may include phone interviews, talking with your elders, congregation or senior officers. It may involve review of your sabbatical proposal and goals. It may also include a family interview. (NOTE: as of June 1, 2018 - the cabin is completely booked through the next 16 months. We will post when it becomes available)
How do we begin the application process?
Contact us via email to the link provided on the website and we will get you started.
How do I know what dates are available?
Please contact us via email to inquire. We do not post a calendar of availability.
Do you offer only one couple stays in the lodge?
The ministry plan for the lodge involves two couples for the specific reason of sharing life, ministry issues, and connecting with someone who is “in the trenches” with you. Therefore we try to schedule similarly minded and similar career stage couples to enhance your stay. On occassion, we do offer one couple stays. However, as life often happens, we quite frequently do have just one couple or family here at a time. So…its not really a rule…just a desire.
Do you take families at the lodge?
Yes, families can stay at the lodge. We do want to emphasize that we do not have room for exceptionally large famiies. In the case with families, it works out well for the adults to utilize their own private kitchen for most of many specialized requests that children require, and then main meals can still be coordinated with the hosts. Also, when scheduling families, we do not schedule another pastoral couple here. SInce we are focusing on quiet, rest and reflection, we think it best to just have the one family here at a time. During the family stay, we will want you to not just be busy with family and activities, rather we will encourage you to use this time here to really slow down and take time with God. How that is done, we are well aware that it is very family dependent.
We would like to invite friends of ours to stay with us at the lodge, is there an option for this?
Visitors are not recommended for the lodge stay and are not part of the ministry goals. It could occur that two ministry couples from different ministries know each other and a joint stay can be arranged. However we have found that inviting friends dilutes the experience of serious quiet and reflection.
What is your minimal length of stay at the lodge?
Stays are scheduled to maximize time away from ministry. Therefore the most common stays are Monday through the following Saturday – or 12-13 days. For small churches, this allows the pastor to only miss one Sunday. We do not offer 2-3 days stays that may reflect something along the lines of a bed and breakfast weekend away. We also do not offer single night stays for those who may be passing through the area.
What supplies or items would we need for our stay at the lodge?
You will only need your own personal care and clothing items. All bedding, towels, etc will be provided. If you desire specialty foods due to your food preferences, you have your own kitchen and refrigerator in which to store and prepare those items.
What funding options are there for sabbaticals and stays at Creekside Cabin?
Please follow this link to The Lilly Foundation – (www.cpx.cts.edu/renewal) - who offer pastoral grants for sabbatical and rest stays.
You may also be interested in contacting your ministerial association.
How do I do my laundry?
The lodge offers a stackable washer and dryer on the floor with the suites. One can do their personal laundry as needed.
Creekside cabin has a full washer/dryer utility room for the guests.
Do you have any resources for small churches that may need pulpit filling during our stay?
The ministry has connected with several retired or part time pastors who may be able to fill your pulpit needs. Please ask about this when applying. You can be confident that the speaker will not address controversial issues or denominational differences.
How are Activities planned or arranged?
Many of the activities require notice for planning. Some of the activities are also very season or weather dependent. Please let us know which activities interest you before you visit. When families are involved, then, of course, age and safety concerns must be addressed.
There are certain inherent risks with some of the options for Activities. How is this handled?
Every person staying at the lodge or cabin is required to sign a liability release. It will be provided to you before coming, and must be agreed to in order to stay with us. There are also some underlying expectations that we have about your attitude toward this subject. If you believe you should just sue someone to “maintain your rights,” then this is not the place for you. Just one suit – could destroy this ministry. Therefore you are to understand your risks, accept your own responsibility for your actions, and understand that this is a free ministry – and a gift to you.
So please keep it in mind that this is a free gift to you. No money is exchanged to pay for your stay and thus possibly grant you certain rights and/or protections. We are not a commercial or business operation, we are not a counseling facility, nor are we licensed for it.
Farm chores are noted in Activities. What does this include?
Depending on the season, there are normal hay operation chores that are done frequently. Examples include moving irrigation, cutting hay, baling hay, stacking and selling hay, and field management.
We do a lot of brush clearing with chainsaws, wood cutting and splitting, weed wacking, moving rocks with equipment, and some days…just picking rocks out of the fields.
We also do a lot of maintenance and repairs of the farm equipment and surrounding farm buildings.
We would like to participate in some of the outdoor based activities. What do we need to bring with us?
Rafting- here you will need bathing suits, sun wear, and personal items. Life jackets, rafting equipment and a guide are provided.
Fishing – the lodge does have some extra waders and fly rods. All fishing is fly fishing and is strictly catch and release. The lodge has a small jet boat and a drift boat for accessing local waters. You will need to provide your own license which can be obtained through the internet.
Shooting- we have a small trap range that most enjoy. If you own your own shotgun and equipment, feel free to bring them. We will lock it in the gun safe when not in use. We do have several other 12 gauge guns for use.
Archery - we have an archery range and crossbow for those who wish to try their hand and of course you can bring our own equipment.
What costs would we occur during the longer sabbatical stays at Creekside Cabin?
The cabin is supplied with initial consumables. When these run out, you will need to replace them. Also, upon checkout, you will be required to leave similar amounts for the next guest. Due to the inability for us to control heat or cooling – we have found that guests can ‘go crazy’ with the electricity and heat. Therefore a monthly stipend of $200 will need to be given to the ministry to cover this expense. This can be provided through your donating sources or by the couple.
We also require a type of renter’s insurance that is offered through our State Farm agent. Since we have found through experience – that some people do not hold to the value of treating the property with respect – we have had to implement mandatory insurance to cover potential damage. In example – gross stains on the carpet, Crayola writing on wood walls that cannot be fixed, smoke damage, backing into garages, etc. A typical policy is about $100.00.
What are our responsibilities for checking out when we leave Creekside Cabin?
We will do a walk through with you during check out. We will be reviewing the property for damage, cleanliness and consumables.
You are expected to leave the property in the same condition as existed during check in.
What supplies or items would we need for our stay at Creekside Cabin?
You will want the right clothing and personal items for the season that you are here. You of course will need your own car and personal items for activities that you might enjoy. The cabin is completely outfitted with all cookware, bedding, towels, furniture, etc.
Creekside Cabin is not recommended for small children or handicap– what concerns should we have?
Since this cabin was built quite a while ago, there are many items that may not meet current code. In example, the spiral staircase is very steep and narrow. The ballisters in it are too far apart for child safety. In addition, the large deck areas do not have child proof railings. Electrical plugs are not child protected. There is a fairly short and steep walk to the creek and children may quickly want to go explore it alone. The shop and equipment sheds have many tools and items in them that are not child proof.
So these are just some of the things that make the cabin not a safe place for small children and the use of this property means that the couple will accept responsiblity for knowing these conditions.
We want to have TV and/or Internet while at Creekside Cabin, is there an option for this?
We have purposefully taken out the satellite TV and internet. It is not just a cost issue – it is a value issue. We have repeatedly received feedback that in order for one to slow down and have the time to reflect and heal- that they need to be unplugged. In addition, some may be recovering from addictions like porn, and thus it is for their protection. We have also received spousal feed-back that this unplugging is the best thing that has happened to their marriage.
For internet connection, one can go into Goldendale (4 miles) and use the Public Library, McDonald’s and similar free Wi Fi sites, or come up to the lodge library.
What is the weather like?
Our area offers a true four seasons. We have beautiful and long falls and springs. Winter is fairly short but it can snow anytime from November to February. Some winters we get a few weeks of 0-15 F degree weather. The grass typically starts to turn green in mid-March. The leaves of the oak trees typically have fallen off by mid- November. August is typically hot and we often have a few days that reach 100 F.
What about visitors for Creekside Cabin?
Extended stay visitors (longer than 5 days) are not permitted. There will not be any long term guests allowed. Nor will there will be any extra boarders allowed other than those listed at check in. You will be asked to leave if this is violated.
My spouse is worried that you are located in the country, is it safe?
It is a very safe environment. For ‘bad’ people to access your living area, they have to drive down our driveway, through open fields for about a half of a mile. This really discourages people from coming into the ranch. There is also a very secure locking gate at the entrance. You will be given an access code for it when you arrive. The lodge is locked at night. The cabin is supplied with its own keys.
What healthcare is available for emergencies?
The host is trained in EMT and emergency nursing. First aid supplies are available at the lodge. Klickitat County Hospital is 4 miles away by paved road. They also offer helicopter services to The Dalles, or Portland.
Is smoking, pipe or chewing allowed on the property?
The property is completely smoke and tobacco free. This is due to insurance, as well as potential allergies of following guests.
Are pets allowed at the lodge or cabin?
No pets of any type are allowed on the ranch. This includes reptiles, insects, fish, dogs, cats, or any other living animal. This is due to insurance, as well as the potential for serious allergies of following guests. If you show up with your favorite pet and try to force the issue - you will be asked to leave. Due to allergies and the recent abuse of calling pets 'service animals' so that people can force a company to let them bring their pet, please be aware that service animals, reptiles, fish, etc are also not allowed. As a private facility, we are not obligated to respond to these requests.
Is there anything unique that we should know about the ranch?
Both the lodge and the cabin are on septic sewer systems. They are very fragile and must be carefully maintained. Therefore personal care items for males and females must not be flushed down the toilets. They are to be discarded in the trash. If this rule is ignored by the guests, they may find themselves responsible for the repairs.
The ranch road into the lodge and cabin are subject to weather conditions. During the winter when we get snow and you may be asked to not drive on the roads until they are properly plowed.
The entrance to the ranch has a locked gate on it. This is for everyone’s safety. An access code will be given to you and is changed regularly.
What happens if we damage something during our stay?
You will have the option of several things. You may repair the issue yourself to a similar workmanship like manner with oversight of the host. You may engage your renter’s insurance who will supply a licensed/bonded contractor. Or you may personally pay for the repairs/replacement.
What is meant by “Assistance in Discovery?”
We take the view that all of us – yes – all of us… have a lot of issues in our life that God would like us to deal with. However, ‘what’ issue and ‘when,’ should be left up to God to tell you. Not us. We have learned over the years that often what we want fixed (i.e. our anger since it frequently embarrasses us) may not be what God wants to deal with at that time. God often has a different agenda. It is when we help each other slow down, become still before God, and ask each other honest questions that we get the chance to hear what is on God’s mind. Thus Discovery, is discovering what God has to say to you. Not what we think, should be fixed in you. So we use confidentiality, friendship, prayer and and some occassional coaching in this journey with you.
What do you mean by ‘professional’ services, and what are offered?
Sometimes in our chance to connect with each other, we learn of serious underlying issues that may be threatening your ministry. Concerns like chemical addiction, pornography, marriage upheavals, depression and the like may come to the surface. If so, we have a list of professionals who have been vetted for privacy and appropriate gospel thinking. These professionals have volunteered for free to meet with you. A quick trip (or many) to the larger city maybe just what is needed for your situation. Sometimes the professional comes here to visit you…and when that happens, it is for the chance for them to slow down as well.
How can someone donate to this ministry?
You may send donations with specific notation for “Stillwater Ministry” to the address noted in "Contacts." We are a registered 501(c)3 with the State of Washington and are annually audited for complaince with Christian Charities. You may also donate through National Christian Foundation - where we are a registered charity with their organization.
How are donations used for the ministry?
Donations are used to help offset the daily costs of doing this ministry. These may be used for food for guests, consumables, gas, insurance, electricity, repairs, and similar items.
What types of donations do you accept?
We accept cash, stocks, bonds, in kind gifts, real estate, gifts from trusts or family estates, and capital equipment/furniture relevant to the ministry.
Do you host any Special Events at the ranch?
Conferences- Small to mid-sized group ‘day only’ ministerial conferences may be arranged with adequate notice.
Retreats – We are not really set up for large parties for multiple days. It is possible to do this with utilizing Creekside Cabin as a ‘flop house’ for multiple people – but the chances of it being available are quite rare.
Special Occasion Dinners- We love to do special one-time gourmet lunches/dinners for pastoral events like prayer evenings or ministerial group meetings. Dinners are limited to no more than 12 people and need at least a 2 week notice, and are based upon not having current guests at the lodge.
Weddings- We do not offer public wedding facilities.