Your Invitation to the Retreat (Registration Now Open!)

Today the Velvet Ashes Team is thrilled to announce that registration for our 2017 Retreat is now open!

Consider this your invitation:


Our prayer is that this is not our invitation to you, but God’s. More than anything else, the Velvet Ashes Retreat is about you encountering the presence of God and hearing his gentle whisper, his unique message for you. Every aspect of this Retreat is created with that intention.

It’s about retreating from the demands of your life (just like Jesus did), so you can have a day to rest and renew with the Father. If you’ve been a part of our Retreats in the past, then you’ve likely been looking forward to this all year. It’s the highlight of the year for our community.

This year’s theme is “Receive – An Invitation to God’s Presence.” We’ll be digging in I King 19, a powerful passage about how Elijah experienced the presence of God. We’re excited to share what this year’s Retreat includes:

A Retreat Guide to walk you step by step through your Retreat experience. It also serves as your own Retreat journal. Available to print or use digitally.
Video Series led by spiritual director, Jayna Gallagher. These videos will guide you throughout your Retreat time.
Testimony Videos from women whose stories of God moving in their lives will inspire you in your own story.
Prayer & Pilates Videos to engage your body in Christ-centered exercise and renewal.
Music to use during your Retreat and to download and keep.
Art to print and hang in your home as a reminder of your Retreat experience.
The Velvet Ashes Book of Prayers – a downloadable book to guide you into practicing the daily office or fixed hour prayer.

During the Retreat weekend, you’ll have opportunity to process and share with our community and to join the Velvet Ashes Team for a Live Chat conversation.


Here are some answers to questions you might have:

How does an online Retreat work?

We’ll open the Retreat site a few days early so that you’ll have time to print off your Retreat Guide and download videos (or audio files!) if you don’t want to stream the videos. Then choose any day April 27-30 to experience the Retreat. By registering for the Retreat, you’ll be able to login at any time during those days.

How can I do a group Retreat?

Glad you asked! Gather a group of women in your area and experience the Retreat together. Sign up to be a Retreat host and receive our handy Host Guide. We’ve got it all planned for you, so you don’t have to stress. You’ll get to join a private Retreat Host Facebook group where we’ll share ideas, answer questions and pray for each other. You’ll have the flexibility to do an overnight, full day, half day or two hour gathering. The Host Guide will show you how to have a Retreat that provides both solitude and community.

How do I find a group Retreat?

Check out our Community Map to find women in your area. Reach out in the comments and see if anyone is planning a Retreat near you! Be sure to add yourself to the Map so others can find you.

“Who is it for? I’m not a woman serving overseas, but this sounds like something I need!”

You are welcome! While the Retreat is crafted especially for women who are serving overseas or who have returned from life overseas, so much of the Retreat content is universal to all women. All are invited to take a day to retreat and experience God’s presence.

How long should I plan?

Overnight – Ideally, we’d love for everyone to get away for a night and a full day. Find a hotel or guesthouse where you can retreat. We know that won’t be possible for everyone. But do try. Use the VA Retreat as an invitation to care for your soul in a way that you normally wouldn’t allow yourself. Because chances are, you need it.

Full day – The Retreat is designed as a full day experience from morning to evening. This will give you space to relax, go slowly and enjoy.

Half day – A half-day will allow you to participate and take in the Retreat. And you will be blessed. So if a half-day is what you can manage, do it. You won’t be able to fit everything in, but it will still be a special and renewing time.

But I have small children!

Then you are definitely in need of this Retreat. Can we gently nudge you to ask for help so you can have this time? Ask your husband to be on kid duty. Swap babysitting with another mom. Entrust a local friend. Maybe you stay close enough to nurse the baby who won’t take a bottle. Maybe you retreat to your bedroom and lock the door. Whatever it looks like, this can happen for you too. You just need to ask for help.

How much does it cost?

In the past we offered the Retreat on a donation basis. This year payment is required for the simple reason that this Retreat needs to be sustainable so we can keep offering it to you. We’ve kept the cost very minimal for you.

$10 Early Bird Special
$15 Beginning April 1

We have a limited number of Retreat Scholarships available if the cost would prevent you from participating (We don’t want that to happen!). You can request a scholarship here.

If you’d like to help make the Retreat possible for others, you can give to the Retreat Scholarship Fund, or gift a Retreat to a specific person (they will be emailed their own code to use at checkout).

My internet is so slooooow and/or expensive! What do I do?

We’ve made the materials downloadable so that you don’t have to stream them. If videos are too difficult for you to download, we have everything available in audio files. Because we love all you ladies in the bush of Africa!

What if I can’t do it April 27-30?

Part of what makes the Velvet Ashes Retreat so special is that we’re doing it together all across the world. So if you can’t do it April 27-30, you’ll miss out on that dynamic. But we know not everyone will be able to participate then (and it’s still absolutely worth it to do it later), so we will have the Retreat available after May 4th for $25.

If everything is downloadable, can I share the materials with others?

If downloading is difficult/expensive in your area, you are welcome to have one person download and share the materials with others via flash drives or other means. However, each person still needs to register and pay for the Retreat. Again, we want to be able to continue offering this retreat for you and payment for the Retreat makes this possible. When each person registers they receive the preparation and follow up emails as well as access to the community interaction that happens on the Retreat site.

What other questions do you have? Feel free to ask in the comments below or send us an email.

Questions for you!

It’s our turn to ask you some questions.

How can our Prayer Team be praying for you?

What’s going on in your life right now? We want to lift you in prayer both as you prepare for the Retreat and during your Retreat. Please let us know how we can pray for you in the comments below. Or check out our Prayer Wall where you can post a prayer request or submit a request by email. Let us cover you in prayer!

Are you ready to RECEIVE?

What about this Retreat are you most looking forward to?

What has God been inviting you to?

Register for the 2017 Retreat here.


This is the Grove, where we gather each week to share on the theme of the week.  We invite you to link up your blog posts and share with us in the comments on the theme of “Invitations.”


  1. Cecily March 10, 2017

    Do you have ideas for sharing the retreat with our Connection Groups? Presently I am facilitating a group, and our connection has been wonderful. Last week we started what may become a weekly tradition which we are calling, “Sundays Together.” Since most of us are struggling with our church on the field, we encourage one another to “do” church however we usually do, but then to meet up on Facebook at a designated time on Sunday to share songs, praise & prayer requests, to pray for one another, to share scriptures and encouragements. Last week, our first time, was fabulous! So why not something like this for the retreat—a way to connect and process together at some point in the weekend. Of course, we could just make it a part of our “Sunday Together”. But I just thought I would throw this out there for your ideas.

  2. Kate March 10, 2017

    Last time there was a ‘ Live Conversation with the Velvet Ashes Leadership Team’ slot where you can follow along along with others, will this be happening again because last time i missed it and it would be great to know this in advance.

  3. Tina March 10, 2017

    So excited!! Last year I was only able to dedicate a half day to the retreat and I promised myself I’d pull away and dedicate more time this year. However, I will be traveling during the retreat date. Can I still purchase it early and have access to the materials after the actual retreat date? Or, do I need to wait and pay the $25 in May? Thanks for putting this together. It is a big blessing to this M-momma!

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