Freestone Retreat Update, May 2018

Don Klose, Freestone Committee

The future of our church’s Freestone Retreat has become a topic of discussion, and the congregation may be asked to decide its fate in the coming months. But many members are not yet familiar with where and what it is, its long history, how it has contributed to the life of the church over the years, and what it has to offer in the future.

Perched on a rustic knoll overlooking Barnett Valley in rural Sonoma County, not far from its namesake, the little town of Freestone, the Retreat is a geodesic dome, set in a 12-acre parcel, 40 feet in diameter, wrapped on the west side by a spacious redwood deck with a breathtaking view. It offers a sacred space for community building, fellowship, solitude and spiritual reconnection with the natural world away from the urban hustle. Never drawing on the church’s general fund, the Retreat came into being in fits and starts, by many church members’ countless gifts of volunteer labor, materials, donations, loans and bequests; it stands now as a testament to their vision, devotion, and tenacity. Thus, the Retreat is truly one of our church’s endowments. While declared “officially” completed in 2005, it always has been and still is a work in progress.

The Freestone Retreat has fallen out of use during the last few years because of deferred maintenance, thus interrupting its long history of playing an active role in the life of the church. It has served as a sacred space for weddings, Board retreats, committee meetings, workshops, such as writing groups, gatherings of friends and families for reunion, fun excursions for youth, and meditative and prayerful getaways for peace and quiet.

The Freestone Retreat is available and useable for daytime gatherings. After further maintenance is completed, the three adjoining bedrooms will be ready for overnight use. Inside the dome, comfortable sofas surrounding the freestanding fireplace invite discussion, and the conference-size tables can host meetings and/or meals prepared in the fully functioning kitchen. The deck outside provides ample space for meetings, places for intimate conversations, or time alone with a book, while providing an unobstructed view of the starry night sky.

The Freestone Committee encourages church members to visit the Retreat and become acquainted, or reacquainted, with Freestone. You will then be in a good position to assess its present value and its potential for the future life of our church. Members of our committee are ready and happy to facilitate your visit – arrival to departure. And please drop by our information table in the Social Hall to chat with us with your questions and concerns. If you are ready to schedule a visit, please contact one of our members, including Bob Moore (510-913-1009), Terry Stokes (510-725-7850), or Don Klose (510-697-5307).