Category: Retreat Info

Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

By admin in Retreat Info on March 4, 2021

You’ve seen the show. You might even be aware that it is planning to end soon. If you aren’t inclined to answer this question with an affirmative and resounding “I do!” you’ll want to sit in on this Bible Study.

And if you can’t say with confidence, “I’m far wealthier than a millionaire!” then you’ll want to sit in on this Bible Study.

We will explore God’s Word together to find out what he thinks of wealth and what kind of wealth he gives us. You will leave with far more wealth than you came to the retreat with.

Pastor Joel Petermann

Pastor Joel Petermann

By admin in Retreat Info on March 2, 2021

Pastor Joel Petermann currently serves Zion Lutheran Church, Torrance, CA which is on the south side of Los Angeles.

He is married to Jane and has three children. His oldest daughter, Magdalena, lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin and minister of music for the new Hope Lutheran Church and Kenosha Lutheran Academy there.

His second oldest, Sophia, lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin and works as a Branding Designer for 3Tree Marketing. His youngest, son Ethan, just completed his junior year at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota and is home working for the time being.

Pastor Petermann is originally from Appleton, Wisconsin and his wife grew up on a farm in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Pastor Petermann graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI in 1986. His first call into the ministry was to be Assistant to the Dean and instructor at Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

After serving there for three years, he was called in 1989 to develop a new mission congregation in Rochester, MN. He spent seven years in Rochester serving a congregation now known as Christ Our Rock Lutheran Church in Rochester. In 1996 he was called to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Amherst, NH. He spent 16 years serving this congregation in New England.

While serving St. Paul he was also elected as the president of the North Atlantic District of the WELS and served in that position from 2004-2012. In 2012 he was called to be President of Michigan Lutheran Seminary, a preparatory school (high school level) of the WELS in Saginaw, MI. He served there until 2018 when he was called to be pastor of Zion.

Pastor Petermann loves to exercise, ride his bike, play guitar, do woodworking, work on his cars, fish, sing and other hobbies. He is a Packer fan, Patriots fan and, who knows, he may become a Rams or Chargers fan. He loves to share Jesus.

Joel V. Petermann

Zion Lutheran Church
1001 W. 223 St Torrance CA 90502
310-427-2007 (cell)
310-320-1771 (office)

Presenter: Ryan Kolander

By admin in Retreat Info on February 28, 2021

Ryan Kolander


Since 2016, Ryan Kolander has served as pastor at Palabra de Vida in Southwest Detroit’s diverse and beautiful neighborhood.

Before that, he assisted in bilingual, multicultural missions and congregations in Mexico, Virginia, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. God has given him a wonderful wife, Dr. Sarah, whose intelligence and focus keep him grounded.

Together, they have two girls, Ella (2 years) and Nora (6 months). He is passionate about being with people and getting to know them. He also loves being with his family, learning, leading, doing archaeological trips, playing basketball, and playing piano.


BRIEF STUDY DESCRIPTION: “Never Alone: Jesus is with me?”

Matthew’s religion had been formal. Like most Jews in his day, Matthew grew up learning that if he did the right things, and got all the certificates, and was a good person, he would be “good with God.”

But then he grew up. He had to make tough decisions and maybe even loosen God’s commands to fit his need to make money and friends.

As the years went by, in the thick of his career as a tax collector, cheating people out of their money, he likely realized how far he’d fallen from what God actually demanded in his Law. 

Then he met Jesus. Maybe rather, Jesus met him. And everything changed. What did Matthew, who grew up religious and fell away, see in Jesus that drew him in? Many in our world have grown up with some semblance of religion and religious certification.

Our grandparents maybe even told us, “If you’re in the Church, if you have your requirements, if you’re a good person, God loves you.” But you’re really not a good person, not even close.

What is it about Jesus that draws you to him? Let’s walk alongside Matthew and see Jesus through that lens. He fulfills our religious requirements and brings about an entirely different thing

Join Our Retreat

Join Our Retreat

By admin in Retreat Info on November 11, 2020

Along with the fantastic facilities at our location, we’re pleased to offer you the same low rates and great values for the Retreat this year. Bring your friends and enjoy the fun together – the more, the merrier!

In order to secure choice group cabins, early registrants will be given preference. We will make every effort to honor special requests, but cannot make any guarantees. To lock in on the best deal and your choice of cabin, it’s fastest to register and pay online! Your reservation will not be final until your payment is received in full.

We have a few premium locations for an extra fee, first-come, first-served:

There are eleven individual cabins with private bathrooms suitable for a married couple or small family; each contains a double bed and adequate room for two or three children on air mattresses (bring your own).

The premium fee is $60 in addition to your registration fee.

A very limited number of single rooms with either shared or private bathroom is available and may be arranged as availability permits:

Shared bathroom, single rooms are $30 extra; private bathroom, single rooms are $45 extra.

If you wish to be placed on a waiting list for these other premium spaces, please indicate on your registration. You will not be charged the premium fee until you are confirmed to have one of these spaces assigned to you.

If you have already registered and would like to use PayPal, please do so right away!

WELS Labor Day Retreat
About Us

About Us

By admin in Retreat Info on November 11, 2020

The Labor Day Retreat began in 1972 with a group of about 70 people from Faith Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

They met together for the weekend at Camp Half-Moon in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  There was one session of Bible study for adults with 2 separate classes for the children, an indoor church service overlooking the lake, an evening hymn sing for everyone, Sunday afternoon recreation, and potluck meals.  In 1973 the group decided to open it up to its closest two WELS sister congregations (in Connecticut and New York).

At some point a campfire with a sing-a-long and s’mores was added.  In the early years square dancing was held one of the evenings under the expert guidance of a couple from Faith.  A women’s craft time has been held on Sunday afternoons.

Sports activities including ball games and hikes have provided more active recreation for adults and children.  Swimming and boating have been enjoyed for years too.

Fast forward to today.  Camps have changed several times over the years with the current camp being Camp Danbee in Hinsdale, Massachusetts. Over the summer, before we arrive, the location is a girl’s summer camp which is quite a nice place to have the description: camp. Please check out our pictures.

Western Massachusetts has remained the location of all of the camps due to its central location.  Now attendees come from all the New England states, New York, some of the mid-Atlantic states, the Midwest, and Canada.  Bible study is still a central part of the retreat.  Children still have their own Bible study times too.  Church services still overlook the lake.  The evening hymn sing remains, as does the Sunday afternoon recreation time.

Meals are now prepared in the camp kitchen by a volunteer group made up of camp attendees and served buffet style.  The campfire is still a favorite.  The sports activities still go on with friendly competition between friends who might only see each other once a year at the retreat.

One of the biggest change started a few years ago when we added bilingual classes and worship and fellowship with the addition of the Spanish-speaking group from Sure Foundation Lutheran Church in New York City.

The Berkshires have wonderful weather with the elevation makes it a bit cooler. We have plenty of indoor spaces, but we are blessed to be able to enjoy the outdoors so much of the time.

People who are new to the camp quickly become regulars. Regular retreat attendees don’t see the retreat as one last weekend getaway in the mountains before the fall schedule and school begin again.  It is so much more.

WELS is very spread out in the Northeast.  One or two churches per state.  More than an hour’s drive between your church and your closest sister church.  The retreat brings people from all of these churches together and helps us realize that we are part of a much bigger group of people.  But the retreat brings us face to face with people who have the same faith.

We can hang out together, comfort each other, encourage each other, teach each other, learn from each other, laugh and cry together.  Not just for a couple of hours.  For a whole weekend.  We can pick up longtime friendships right where we left off the previous year, plus we can make new friends too.  We can study the Bible in depth and worship together–growing in our faith together.

My mom once referred to the retreat as a “mountaintop experience”.  Yes, we’re in the Berkshire Mountains.  But she meant so much more than that.  The disciples had their “mountaintop experience” with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Time spent alone with Him as a group to learn more about Him and grow closer to Him.  The Labor Day Retreat provides us  with the same thing, thanks to many years of God’s grace and blessing.

Jan Rodrigue
Member at King of Kings Lutheran Church, Clifton Park, NY

Packing list

By admin in Retreat Info on November 7, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: It can be cool at night in the Berkshires. Please be sure to bring blankets, bedding and clothes for cool weather. We’ve had temperatures down to low 50’s high 40’s, of course there has been weather that has had temperature highs as well, so it’s best to prepare for both extremes (layers!). Check the weather report here before you go!



Just bring what you would normally bring for a weekend at camp – this is a great way to relish the last weekend of summer!

  • Your friends!  
  • Sheets, pillows, blankets, comforter or sleeping bags for single beds 
  • Towels and washcloths 
  • Personal items and toiletries, soap, shampoo 
  • Bibles, pen or pencils 
  • Life jacket, any water safety materials 
  • Swimwear, beach shoes 
  • Cameras and recharging stations 
  • Flashlights 
  • Insect repellent, sunscreen 
  • Rain gear, or an umbrella for shade 
  • Recreational items you enjoy: baseball gloves and bats, balls, tennis rackets, hiking boots, sketchpad, binoculars, cameras, reading, board games, crafts, etc. 
  • Lawn chairs or seat cushions
  • Feel free to bring any snacks you enjoy