circle of meditation chairs in a white room
By Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

We’re all looking forward to the return of our retreat groups at GilChrist in the new year, alongside our continuing solo retreat guests!

When we began thinking about re-opening WindHill and hosting groups again 2022, we weren’t certain what the state of the pandemic might be in the coming calendar year. At the time of this writing, COVID-19 is still a significant risk for our region. Rather than cancel our group reservations and restrict WindHill access even further out, we’ve been working with our peers in the retreat center sector and our colleagues at the Fetzer Institute to design practices that will permit safe gatherings again here at GilChrist.

The process of making decisions was not easy, and we spent many hours considering multiple perspectives and options for supporting our values of hospitality, inclusion, and collective care during the most severe public health crisis any of us has ever experienced. Here is a summary of the practices we’ve discerned for 2022:

  • Participants in group retreats must be fully vaccinated. Facilitators and groups will decide among themselves whether to require masks indoors or observe additional mitigation measures together.
  • Vaccination and disclosure of vaccination status is optional for solo guests, and our GilChrist team will continue to practice safety measures in our guest interactions (ex. masking when indoor assistance is needed and leaving a gap between guests in the cabins).
  • WindHill access for solo guests and other visitors is restricted to those who are fully vaccinated, and masks are required for entry.
  • Those who are exempt from vaccination requirements for religious (Title VII) and medical (ADA) reasons can submit documentation of their exemption. Reasonable accommodations for those with approved exemptions include pre-testing and mask requirements. Please contact GilChrist staff for more details.

We're grateful for the patience and understanding of our community as we continue to navigate this very strange time for all of us as individuals and for the GilChrist team as stewards of a space of hospitality and rest. May the winter season bring a sense of peace and healing to all. 


GilChrist retreat center logo with white pine sprig

GilChrist is the public retreat center of the Fetzer Institute. We support the Institute’s mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world by preserving a contemplative environment for healing self, society, and the natural world. We warmly welcome both groups and individuals and people of all faiths and affiliations.