Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Holden Village Community

Room with view of garden

A sense of peace and tranquility permeates Holden Village, making it an ideal retreat center.  The physical environment, being surrounded by the Cascade mountains and streams provides an peaceful setting. The calm of this place is exemplified by mule deer that roam the village, seemly fearless of two legged creatures as they graze on bits of clover and flowers.

The community of Holden also adds vitally to the village. Dozens of staff work year round to maintain the expansive facility, along with countless volunteers.  Many of the staff are in there 20s, in transition between college and career. There is also a great wealth of retirees donating valuable vocational skills to the village.  

From an energy perspective, Holden is a self sustaining community that generates electricity from nearby Railroad Creek.  In the winter it burns about 100 cords of wood (for those of you not familiar with cords, that's a whole big bunch of wood).  It has a vegetable garden, but relies considerably on produce from nearby farms.

View of Holden from nearby mountain
Fresh bread is baked throughout the year.  There is an emphasis is on eating low on the food chain i.e. not much meat in the menu.  I didn't find this bothersome in the least, as the meals were always nutritious and tasty.  Bread and cereal is available 24/7. 

While it is a peaceful environment, there is also a fun and exciting side to the Holden community.  I discovered that "holy hilarity" was more than just a catch phrase, it was integrated into the life and worship of the village.
 Following is additional information on Holden's mission and values:


The mission of Holden Village, a Lutheran ministry, is to welcome all people into the wilderness to be called, equipped and sent by God as we share rhythms of

■ Word and Sacrament
■ work, recreation and study
■ intercession and healing.

Core Values

Flower by guest chalet

We are grounded and united in daily Gospel-centered worship.


We interpret Word, sacrament, and daily life through the Lutheran theology of the cross.


We offer lavish hospitality to all.

Mule deer at Holden

We believe that God calls all persons to love and serve God and neighbor.


We celebrate the unity and diversity of all God’s children.


We offer ourselves to one another in mutual forgiveness, conversation and respect.

Garbology headquarters


We trust God’s mercy as we pray and work for justice and peace.


We celebrate and seek to serve creation’s well being through faithful patterns of daily living.


We express gratitude to God for extravagant gifts of creativity, imagination and ingenuity in all who volunteer.

Double rainbow over village

We value critical thinking, provocative discussion, and the integration of learning and experience.


We embrace God’s gift of sabbath by offering refreshment to those who are weary.

Mule deer... look at those eyes!


We commit to be grateful stewards of the surprising gift of Holden Village and its place in the wilderness.


We believe that the Holden community includes all who care for Holden through their labor, gifts and prayers.


We love that holy hilarity returns us to the joy and freedom of the Gospel, which alone overcomes all our lapses of mission, strategies, goals, garbology, dishteam, work, and relationships.

Fall harvest moon over Dumbbell Mountain

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