Pilgrimages & Retreats

with Pastor Linda


Contemplation: Paying Attention

October 4-6, 2024
Catholic Conference Center
Hickory, NC
Space is Limited

“Contemplation is the highest expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual life…It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.”

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Contemplation is a spiritual discipline that will be taught and explored in a variety of ways this weekend, beginning with scripture and tradition. Thomas Merton’s greatest gift to us through his writings, is his insight on contemplative living in a world filled with chaos and distraction. He wrote extensively on this subject.

On Saturday, we will learn more about contemplative photography which is a practice for seeing and photographing the world in fresh ways, to reveal richness and beauty that is normally hidden from view. The camera is a tool; the goal is the process, not the product. This is a visual meditative practice. All skill levels are encouraged to attend. We will use the camera in our cell phones. (This is not a photography class.)

Led by Linda Zastovnik & Julie Westhofen

Julie Westhofen has practiced contemplative photography for over ten years. Her first experience was a surprise when she noticed the amazing patterns on a bird’s wings at the Carolina Raptor Center through the lens of her camera. She encourages other spiritual seekers to explore new ways of relating to God, to stretch outside of our usual habits of reading and prayer.

Photo by Terry Wilson

Becoming Who We Are

April 25-27, 2025
St. Francis Springs Retreat Center
Stoneville, NC

I Believe. Lord, Help My Unbelief.

October 3-5, 2025
St. Francis Springs Retreat Center
Stoneville, NC

Why go on retreat? 

Because Jesus did. Jesus would go out to a mountainside alone to pray. But you won’t be alone. You will be with a small group of us who have taken a class or two through Wakening Ministry. We will spend time together-in person-learning more about this wild faith. And then we will spend some time alone, just as Jesus did. 

We will dig into some stories (biblical and current) of lives that have been changed by an encounter with God. What happened and do these encounters still happen today? A life of faith begins with a glimpse of the light of Christ. We will share our own stories and make new ones. Come to the mountains. Let’s rediscover who we are; what has changed and what remains. 

For those who fly into the area, we will pick you up and bring you to us (and return). No charge but lots of great conversation. Share your flight details and we will handle the rest. For those coming from out of state, plan to stay an extra night if you can. Pastor Linda would love to spend some extra time with you.

Never been on a retreat and you would like to know more? Just ask.


Faith: Losing Control

St. Francis Springs Retreat Center
Stoneville, NC

March 8-10, 2024

Faith: Finding the Light

Summer Retreat 2022
Montreat Conference Center
Montreat, NC

August 19-21, 2022

Hope: Living the Light

Spring Retreat 2023
St. Francis Springs Prayer Center
Stoneville, NC

March 31 – April 2, 2023 

Love: Being the Light

Fall Retreat 2023
Montreat Conference Center
Montreat, NC

November 10-12, 2023


Holy Land

Due to the current war in Gaza our planned pilgrimage to Israel has been postponed. Register your interest and you will be notified about future plans.  


Plans in process.

2019 Holy Land Pilgrimage
Mount Arbel, Israel


Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus
Holy Land and Jordan
March 2023
March 2019
February 2018
February 2016

Walk in the Footsteps of Paul
Greece & Turkey
October 2023

Garden of Gethsemane

I felt I was all alone even though I was in the midst of a crowd. I knew a few but most all were strangers from around the world. There was a stillness within me—a silence. And then deep within my heart: “Here. He was here.” Was he? Had Jesus actually been near the very place I was standing? My heart seemed to think so. My mind could convince me that it was unlikely. But on a pilgrimage—the heart is in charge.

Follow your heart. Come, and walk in the footsteps of Jesus with me.

Communion at the Sea of Galilee

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