Update on this year's re|engage Marriage Retreat from the pastor:

I can’t think of a better way to kick off a New Year than with The Ridge Marriage Retreat. It really has become something Shannon and I look forward to every year!

I'll be honest, it's been a bit of a challenge organizing this year’s event. However, I’m excited to use this opportunity to break out of some of the old traditions and try out a few new ideas! I also want you to know that we’re taking all the necessary steps to make sure this is a fun, SAFE and exciting event.

I want to share the details of what you can expect this year.

Safety first:
*We will have access to the large banquet room. This is a tremendous blessing! Due to Covid, they have agreed to allow us the extra space at a discounted rate. This will allow us to spread each couple at a safe distance.
*Unfortunately, we will not sit around tables this year. The room will be set up more like an auditorium (think Brookstone on Sunday mornings). We will sit by couple units during our main gatherings. This is actually better because you can hold hands and snuggle during the sessions!
*Marriott asks that we wear masks at all times while inside the lobby/banquet area.
*We will take temperature checks at the beginning of each day.
*We are not planning to hand things out or pass anything around the room.
*We will try to limit our time in the large room and give more free time to explore the amazing amenities.

Location and Date:
*The Auburn Marriott Resort and Spa at Grand National (3700 Robert Trent Jones Trail, Opelika, AL).
*January 29th – 31st, 2021

Schedule:
*We’ll be operating on Central standard time. The only reason I bring this up is because it always gets me when I travel to Auburn (and my phone changes on its own anyway).
*We’ll begin on Friday evening at 7pm (central) in the main banquet hall.
*Saturday and Sunday schedules will be 10am-12pm.

Study:
*It’s very important to make sure you finish the book so that you’re prepared to discuss the final four sessions. If you don’t do your homework, the discussion time will suffer, and you won’t know what’s going on. Please be prepared.

For those that aren’t staying overnight but still driving in:
*Please park on the right side of The Grand National Resort (as you’re looking at it). The banquet center can be easily accessed from the south side of the property.

Free time:
*The facilities have an amazing spa and golf course. Please call ahead to make a reservation. *Tiger Town and downtown Auburn are very close.
*I recommend keeping groups to less than 10 people on Saturday afternoon for those that want to golf and/or go to the spa (and wearing masks). I’m also going to suggest you take advantage of Saturday evening and have a date night (after all, this is what the weekend is all about). This will not only be great for your marriage but also help limit large group gatherings.

Food:
In order to keep the room rates low, we didn’t add a meal plan to this year’s trip. That means that you’re on your own. But don’t worry! The Grand National has an amazing restaurant and you’re only minutes away from everything Auburn has to offer (and only 5 mins from the nearest Dunkin… I already mapped it).

Zoom:
*We will offer a zoom option for those who are more comfortable at home. We’ll make sure that you have access to the group teaching times. Your group leaders will also be in touch with how to participate in the small group discussion time.
*Please let me know if you plan to join us by zoom for our group gatherings.
*Please let your group leader know if you would rather zoom for the small group discussion times.

When it comes to room cancellations:
*As you may remember, we forged ahead with this year’s Marriage Retreat with the best intentions. Unfortunately, there was no way of knowing (in August) what the New Year would hold. I completely understand if you have reservations about attending.
*The Ridge had to sign a contract with The Grand National and is responsible for the full amount of the rooms. If this is a problem, please let me know.
*Suggestion: If you’re not comfortable attending the large sessions or small group gatherings, I completely understand! Since we’re already obligated for the rooms, why not check-in, take advantage of a weekend away and zoom from the hotel room. That’s completely fine!

Remaining balance for everyone staying overnight:
Everyone has paid their initial deposit ($199). Your remaining balance for the weekend is $125. Please use the PayPal option on our website at your convenience.

Again, I look forward to celebrating the completion of your re|engage journey together. Even in the midst of everything going on, it’s nice to have something to look forward to!

Please let your group leader know if you have any questions.

Blessings,
Jimmy McIlrath