Kingsfold Retreat Centre celebrates 40 years
by Katie Pearn
When Janet Ball, co-founder of Kingsfold Retreat and Renewal Centre took the stage for its 40th anniversary celebration, she was welcomed with a heartfelt standing ovation and many tears of gratitude. Milestones give us a chance to pause, reflect and celebrate, and this was no exception. For without the vision, perseverance, discipleship and most importantly, complete dependence on God that Janet and her late husband Bob faithfully displayed, Kingsfold would not be what it is today.
Once the enthusiastic applause quieted and people resumed their seats, Janet shared her side of the Kingsfold story. A story of God using many ordinary people in extraordinary ways. A story of how God faithfully prepared the way and sowed the seeds of Kingsfold long before the 160 acres overlooking the Ghost River Valley and the Rocky Mountains was ever discovered by the Balls.
Bob, a pastor with a desire to care for and create spaces of respite for those he was leading, and Janet, a mother of 5, in whom God had been cultivating the gift of hospitality, were opposites in many ways, but a complementary team.
In a step of great faith, when God gave Bob the vision for Kingsfold, the Balls used the proceeds from the sale of their home in Calgary as the seed money for the retreat centre. Once the land was purchased, the Balls and their children moved into a garage on the property and trusted that God would provide. And provide He did. With dozens of volunteers offering their humble gifts of time, resources and talent to build infrastructure, facilities, create trails, and much more. Janet humorously likened the journey to a very long pregnancy. A fitting description, since anyone who visits Kingsfold is treated like family.
“When you come here, you’re welcomed into our family,” says Director Frank Little. “This is a home away from home for people to be able to receive healing, renewal and to carve out time and place to seek God.”
The main lodge is even fashioned after a large home, accommodating up to 30 guests. There is also a conference room, a little library with 2000 books to browse, and sunshine, garden and loft rooms in which to cozy up and enjoy. Additionally, there are two prayer walks, two chapels and many other sacred spaces for guests to explore.
This culture of contemplative living and hospitality first modeled by the Balls, continues to be embodied by its nine staff today. It is woven into every part of Kingsfold life from the family-style home-cooked meals to the breathtaking views of God’s creation.
Janet gives all glory to God for what Kingsfold has become. As she finished her address to her extended “family” at their reunion of sorts, she described Kingsfold as a mosaic. An amalgamation of tiles that are different shapes, colours and sizes, but together make something beautiful.
For more information about Kingsfold’s retreats or to book an individual or group retreat, visit www.kingsfoldretreat.com