From Friday February 9th through to Sunday the 11th February 2024, 50 young people gathered from across the province of Ontario in Ottawa at Ottawa Reformed Presbyterian Church for the annual Winterlude Youth Retreat. The weekend was full of fellowship, conversation, and encouragement and made for memories that will last for a lifetime. Many of the congregants of the Ottawa RP Church warmly opened their homes to provide a place for us to stay overnight. Their kind hospitality, mixed with the opportunity to spend time in smaller groups fostered a time of quiet fellowship and rest in the midst of busy days.

The Winterlude Youth Retreat gets its name from the long-standing annual winter festival that is held in the heart of the city. The closure of the main attraction, the Rideau Canal, due to warm weather caused a slight change in the way the weekend has been run in years gone by. Yet, thanks to the creativity of the committee, we were still able to experience good fun with a scavenger hunt across downtown Ottawa. We explored the area with a list of unique items in hand that we were instructed to find and then take a picture of every member of your group standing around it. Examples of such items included, “Mad Radish”, “Member of Security personnel” and “Beaver Tails”, which as you can easily imagine, made for lots of fun and laughter. Additionally, the abundance of national treats such as maple taffy on the snow and Beaver Tails, and the many booths set up along Sparks Street provided more entertainment. And any disappointment from being unable to skate on the famous canal was met with the chance to go for a skate on the smooth Rink of Dreams, located at City Hall.    

Reverend Scott Wilkinson from New Creation RPC in Kitchener, Ontario delivered three powerful messages over the weekend on the gifts that God has given to us from the theme verse of James 1:17. Identifying three main gifts as the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Church, he brought us an exposition of the power and blessing those things hold in our life. In addition to this, the story of his testimony and time spent in God’s Word in small group discussions challenged us all to remember the power of our God. 

A whole-hearted thanks to the many people who helped make this weekend possible, especially Mr. Spencer Clafton who provided delicious food for us all along with all the other volunteers who made this event so enjoyable for all those who participated. Can’t wait to see you all next year, Lord-willing, for Winterlude 2025! 

Our thanks to Elyssa Foster for writing this article. Elyssa is 16 years old, in her last year of high school and attends Ottawa RPC along with her family.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email