Retreating to the Shore
Holy Trinity, Wildwood
For centuries, a key part of the Christian life was about finding time for retreats to care for one’s
spiritual growth and focus. These moments help people find time to get away from the routine of their regular lives, be rejuvenated, and discover the ways that God was calling and leading them. But in our increasingly busy world, time has become more strained and difficult to manage, and the opportunities for retreat can be limited. But did you know one New Jersey Synod congregation is trying to aid people in this effort?
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wildwood has occupied a spot on the Jersey Shore for over a century. Before the expansion of tourism and other buildings, the sanctuary doors would open on to the beach, and even with the growth in the area, the congregation sits several blocks from the boardwalk and ocean. In the mid 80s, an opportunity arose for the congregation to purchase a small motel from a family across the street that could also extend their parking lot. This motel is now the Luther Inn, a retreat house and ministry of Holy Trinity.
Open from June to October 1st, the Luther Inn offers 14 rooms with 4 beds each for groups to use, as well as facilities to cook meals. There are large groups gathering spots to hang out, as well as the church’s worship space for prayer, devotions, and worship. The beach is a short walk down the street along with a lively boardwalk. But most importantly, the Luther Inn provides people the opportunity to get away from their normal patterns of life, and find a place for relaxation, prayer, and spiritual discernment. Pastor Fred Becker, whose previous call was working with outdoor camps, agrees. “This space gives people and congregations, whether a youth group or any other group, the chance to enjoy a beautiful setting and get away from it all,” he says. What is also amazing is that this space also helps to support those who are homeless and in need. Family Promise of Cape May County uses the facility for two weeks in April and late October, providing much-needed shelter for families who are struggling.
The people of Holy Trinity see the Luther Inn as a ministry of hospitality that helps people grow closer to God. There are hopes for expansion of this ministry, as property near the church comes
available, and the congregation is always seeking ways to improve and build upon this ministry. No matter what, this space will be provided so that, in the midst of busy lives, God’s presence and call can be felt in people’s lives. Or as they say at the Luther Inn: The Spirit is calling, the surf is breaking, the sun is shining, the boardwalk is bustling. Pray. Play. Relax.
The Luther Inn is open from April to October. The rate for staying there is $100 per room per night from June to August, and $80 per room per night in April, May, September, and October. To get in touch with the Luther Inn about a possible stay, contact them at 609-522-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.