“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Retreat Centers understand and appreciate the rhythms and seasons of life. Our work ebbs and flows as the seasons change and the land calls for differing kinds of care. Just last week we burned our prairie—an event that occurs every three years for the sake of supporting new growth and creating a healthier habitat for birds, butterflies, and land animals. And in a few weeks when the ground is ready, our spring volunteers will be planting flowers and mulching trails for our summer guests to enjoy.
We also are entering a new season in our office, and like so many changes, we feel both celebration and mourning. Shelly Steinhoff, our Director of Guest Engagement, is retiring from her role at Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center. Her last day in the office will be Mother’s Day, May 8. Shelly has served our guests for twenty-two years, welcoming them with warmth, hospitality, and joy. Her caring presence, high responsiveness to guests’ needs, and coordination of retreat details have been immeasurable gifts.
Shelly came to us after working in her family business for many years. She received a Master’s Degree in human development from St. Mary’s University, enabling her to blend perspectives from science, faith, and business. She served on multiple non-profit boards over the years, including the International Association of Conference Center Administrators (IACCA), where she trained other Conference & Retreat Center leaders.
Hospitality is not easy work. It requires flexibility, creativity, and availability to guests and staff alike. It calls for coordination of details related to guest accommodations, meeting spaces, agendas, and more. In this work, Shelly has exuded a true servant’s heart—a phrase that I rarely use but in this case is apropos. She has modeled teamwork and taken on tasks outside her normal responsibilities. Ask her sometime about her on-call experiences in facilities or her willingness to do the dishes in the kitchen and make beds in our hotel-style rooms.
As she heads into a new season in her own life, Shelly expects to enjoy more golf, boating, fishing, travel, time with her parents, husband, and adult children, and extended periods at their cabin up north. We celebrate with her these new opportunities and trust that they will bring her joy. While she has requested an uneventful farewell, we know many lives have been enriched by Shelly’s care. So please share notes of appreciation for her below in the comments section.
Finally, we are pleased to introduce Annie Langseth, our new Director of Guest Engagement & Outreach. Annie has been with us for the past five months, working part-time at the Retreat Center and Mount Olivet Homes. Now she is with us full-time at the Retreat Center, and we have already been enriched by her creativity, welcoming presence, and kindness. She comes to us from Garrison, ND, where she previously served as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church. In addition to the work of pastoring—spiritual care, teaching, preaching, and group leadership—Annie has experience with event planning and administration in real estate. She looks forward to meeting you online, on the phone, and in person and supporting you as you schedule your retreats, prepare to facilitate them, and attend our programs.
Thank you for joining us in welcoming Annie and celebrating Shelly. We hope you are finding moments, if not longer, to retreat where you are in whatever season of life you find yourself.