New Seasons and Office Changes

“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 leadershipAnnie 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.

<

26 comments

  1. Corrine Benson says:

    Thank you, Shelly, for your guidance in setting up our ‘Class of 1967’ retreats. We so enjoyed the one 5 years ago and expect the one in Sept to be great, too. Your flexibility and attention to details is much appreciated. Best wishes on your coming adventures!

  2. Katie Stevenson says:

    Shelly,
    You have been a joy to work with over the years. So hospitable and welcoming. I will miss your smiling face at our staff retreats. Excited for your next adventure ~ enjoy!
    Katie Stevenson

  3. Amy Porthan says:

    Bless you Shelly! It’s been a pleasure!

  4. Dear Shelly,

    You will be greatly missed!

    You are a gracious, kind, loving, and gifted person who made me feel so welcome during every event we planned at Mt. Olivet. You have the unique blend of being a warm and friendly teddy bear kind of person on one side and an efficient, hardworking, and tireless advocate on the other.

    God bless you with joyful expectation as you enter into this new season in your life.

    Fondly, Denise

  5. Jeremy Bork says:

    I want to be Shelly when I grow up! What an absolute blessing and delight to overlap with you for the time we did. Witnessing your unconditional kindness and care for guests inspires me to live in my role and in the world with greater empathy, presence, and joy. Thank you. Alright, now go retreat yourself!

  6. Sue Peterson says:

    Dear Shelly, I am sad/happy that you are retiring. Sad because you’ve been a wonderful, warm and welcoming presence at the Retreat Center !! And glad for you to have time now, well deserved, to do as you wish !!! Thank you for being so helpful to all of us who’ve been to retreats over the last many years. You will be missed. love Sue Peterson

  7. Karen L. Johnson says:

    Shelly, your inspirational presence @ MOCRC will continue in seasons of our lives, a conduit of gratitude permeating thoughts for strength and purpose serving others, a source in reflection of great appreciation. Those in your new journey will share in your gifts, recipents of God’s blessings. Thankyou! Karen Johnson

  8. Wanda Walker says:

    Shelly,
    You were there when I brought my first group of clients and you were there during my last visit with my widows group! You have been a big part of my growth and my love for retreats. I wish you all the best in the next part of your journey in life.

  9. Nncy Youngdahl says:

    It was a pleasure to work with you for a number of years at the Retreat Center. Thank you for pleasant memories and your faithful service. Blessings in the next stage of your life.

  10. Nancy Youngdahl says:

    We began working at the Retreat Center at about the same time and it was a pleasure to work with you. Thank you for good memories and for faithful service.

  11. Mary S. Carlsen says:

    Ah, Shelly – so long ago we worked together on retreats for social work students at St. Olaf…while also enjoying the sidelines at soccer games.Your unfailing graciousness and can-do attitude made every retreat a success. Perhaps you’d send me your personal email in case we invite you to speak in one of our classes again! Wishing you helath and rest in your retirement – well done, faithful servant!

  12. pngklssplc says:

    On behalf of our PNG/KLS/SPLC Reunion, THANK YOU, Shelly for your gracious hosting of this group of third culture kids, most from Lutheran Mission families who served in Papua New Guinea from the 1950’s to 1980’s. Mount Olivet has been the perfect retreat center and atmosphere for our groups of 45-80 people who sort of fill up your space. And it’s your patience, guidance, flexibility and kindness that we have so appreciated! You have been a joy to work with, along with your excellent staff. Enjoy retirement to the fullest, it is well-deserved!

  13. Pastor Lose says:

    You have been such a gift to the Mount Olivet Retreat Center, Shelly. Your gracious hospitality, patience, and transparent faith have been sources of encouragement to so many. Thank you, thank you! And blessings on this new and next chapter of life!

  14. Sue Larsen says:

    Shelly, you’ve always been such a positive light at the desk whenever I’ve attended a session. I’m sometimes discombobulated with computer sign-ups or missing a payment or some other calamity has befallen me and you have, in that beautiful generous way of yours, gotten me back on track. I just love seeing you at the door when I arrive. I’ll miss you! You’ve earned a nice rest!

  15. Monica Hammersten says:

    Beautiful Shelly!! You have more energy and love and exuberance in your little pinky than most is us have all together! Every year we would come loudly and messily in with all our special needs kids, and even though you had an inkling we would make a mess of the buffet and empty the hot tub of it’s water, you welcomed us like Kings and Queens. Ditto hundreds of Junior high kids, dozens of women every January and bus loads every Wednesday during the summer. We all thought that surely you must live there 🥰

    Thank you for sharing your love and joy, your welcome and acceptance, and your flexibility. Mostly tho, I’m going to miss your great faith and how you pour out God’s love on everyone who walks through the doors.

    With much gratitude, great love and respect ❤️

  16. Janice Schneicer says:

    Shelly, You have made the conference and retreat center a home for me. You were always there to listen and help. Of course, the biggest and most joyful help you gave us was helping me plan our wedding in 2001. That turned out to be a perfect day. Over the many years we’ve shared sad and happy times and your smile melted away the trying times of the world and gave me a peaceful and restful time of retreat. . You made retreat very special starting with the smiling face on the bus. I especially liked the times when you could participate in the day retreat with your stories and inspiration. You lived a loving, caring, kind, sincere,and humble life and you gave me wonderful hugs. I am thrilled for you to be starting a more “family” and “Shelly” time. For me, retirement is great and I hope Mom and Dad stay well and you can spend a lot of time with them and your husband and children. A cabin sounds like a great place to go to rest and refresh too.. Nature is the best. God’s blessings to you all. I love you. Jan

  17. Katy Michaletz says:

    Wishing you all the best, Shelly! Our groups were always well taken care of by you and the staff at the Retreat Center. You set a high standard of hospitality – and I appreciated your attention to the details. Happy retirement!

  18. Gail Johnson says:

    Sweet Shelly,

    Thank you for your ministry! You have always been so wonderful and flexible as changes and the realities of ministry impacted arrangements.

    Blessings on this new chapter of life and service. May you see the blessings and joys in each day.

    Gail Johnson,
    MN Conference of the United Methodist Church

  19. Deanne Nelson says:

    Shelly, thank you for your love and care for the Retreat center and all who worshiped, stayed, walked the paths or came for respite. You are warm and welcoming and made sure each participant feel special. I am blessed to know you and work with you all these years! Enjoy your time with your family!! It’s much deserved!

  20. Geoff Arenson says:

    Shelly –

    You have seen so many of our youth attend their 7th grade retreat, leadership retreats and then see them as they come back as counselors – thank you for being part of that great Mount Olivet Ministry over all these years. What I am most grateful for is what so many have said in these comments. Often you were the first friendly face I would see at the Retreat Center when I would come in and get our keys. Your positivity, kindness and consistency are gifts. I will miss our talks about golf and the way in which you would always genuinely want to hear about camp and how the summer went. Thank you for being such a great colleague & friend, talk to you soon! -geoff

  21. Judy Christians says:

    Enjoy your retirement! Enjoyed working with you to set up events in the past.

  22. Michelle Greene says:

    Shelly,
    All of us at Lutheran Campus Ministry thank you for your service and for the kindness and flexibility you showed us in all of our visits. I will miss working with you and wish you the best in your next chapter.

  23. Rich Vigen says:

    Hi Shelly,
    Best Wishes on your upcoming retirement. We will miss your wonderful smile and kindness when going to the retreat center. Stay safe and healthy.
    Sincerely,
    Sandy and Rich Vigen

  24. Jeanette Audrey Parks says:

    Shelly,

    You have been a bright and smiling face greeting us when we come. I will miss your personal touch.

    Enjoy this next time of your life!

  25. Nancy S Nash says:

    Dear Shelly,
    It has been so fun and a privilege to work alongside of you the past 22 years. You always greeted people with grace, kindness and a smile and honestly cared about them having an excellent retreat. I wish you all the best in retirement!

  26. Dianne for Cross Winds United Methodist Church Women says:

    Shelly, it has been a pleasure working with you before, during and after our women’s retreats. Working with you, I knew everything would be taken care of and go smooth. I will miss working with you. Wishing you much happiness and good health during your retirement.

Leave a Reply

Want to see new posts right away?

Sign up here to get our inspiring posts delivered directly to your inbox.