The C.S. Lewis Retreat is a three day retreat designed to engage mind, spirit, and imagination in the tradition of C.S. Lewis. Registrants are drawn from many walks of life and include scholars, artists, clergy, campus ministers, lay readers, and writers.
Whether you are a new reader of C.S. Lewis or someone who has read his works for many years, you are welcome at the Retreat!
The C.S. Lewis Retreat as a Joint Program of the C.S. Lewis Foundation and C.S. Lewis College
The C.S. Lewis Retreat has a special role within the spectrum of the Foundation’s and College’s events. In the warm, informal setting of Camp Allen, The C.S. Lewis Retreat offers a haven of intellectual, artistic, and spiritual fellowship that is rooted in the mission of the Foundation and the educational goals of C.S.L. College. The C.S. Lewis Foundation launched the retreats in 2001. C.S. Lewis College has long been part of the events (since 2010) by sponsoring the Academic Roundtables and Great Books sessions, becoming a full co-host in 2019.
Whether our attendees come with a bent toward writing, reading (study/scholarship), or growing in Christian devotion, this time together is specifically designed to nourish and equip each attendee to fulfill their calling. From our plenary sessions to prayer and worship services to workshops and hosted groups to Bag End Café, a warm welcome and the spirit of hospitality abound. No small wonder that it is a vital gathering much anticipated and cherished by attendees and staff alike.
The C.S. Lewis Foundation’s Retreats in the Southwest had their origin at a one day conference held at the Texas Military Institute in San Antonio in June 2001. It was over that weekend that an Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese suggested we should convene an annual retreat at the Camp Allen Conference and Retreat Center in Navasota, Texas.
In 2003, the C.S. Lewis Southwest Regional Retreat launched at Camp Allen on the theme “Discovering Reality with C.S. Lewis.”
The Retreat was successful, and in subsequent years, we were encouraged to regularly convene the Retreat at Camp Allen.
2004: “Wrestling with Culture: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Spiritual Mentors”
2005: “Aslan on the Move: Narnia Revisited”
2006: “Growing Up with C.S. Lewis (and Staying Young with Jack!)”
2007: “Seas, Islands, and Solid Ground: Navigating the False Infinites with C.S. Lewis”
2008: “Redeeming the Time: Overcoming “Screwtape” in our Everyday Lives”
In 2009, we launched the Writers Workshop as an addition to the Southwest Regional Retreat. Since artistic expression inspired by the Holy Spirit is an essential element of the Foundation’s mission, incorporating a second part of the event for writers was a natural progression.
2009: Retreat: The Company We Keep: Creativity & Community with C.S. Lewis & the Inklings
Workshop: More Than A Hobby: Letting Community Take Your Creativity to a New Level
2010: Retreat: The Weight of Glory: Reflections on Longing & Belonging
Workshop: Writing Past the Watchful Dragons
2011: Retreat: Fling Wide the Gates: C.S. Lewis & the Pursuit of Joy
Workshop: On Stories: Imagination to Incarnation
Beginning in 2012, responding to feedback from our registrants, The C.S. Lewis Retreat fully integrated the separate Retreat and Writers Workshop elements into a single program featuring two tracks (a Readers of Lewis track and a Writers track).
2012: Choosing Heaven: Eternity in the Here & Now
2015: Of This & Other Worlds: C.S. Lewis & the Call of Deep Heaven
2019: The Joyful Journey: Lewis, Tolkien, & the Creative Power of Friendship. With C.S. Lewis College incorporated in the state of California and growing as a nonprofit organization, the College became official co-host of the Retreats. The College has long had a presence in the programming (particularly since 2010) and sponsored the various Great Books Seminars and Faculty Forum Academic Roundtables.
2021: Feeding on the Truth: C.S. Lewis & the Psalms.
- Plenary Lectures
- Breakout Group Sessions
- C.S. Lewis College Academic Roundtables
- Great Books Sessions
- Lewis 101 Sessions
- Invocation / Devotionals
- Performing Arts
- Writers Track
- Bag End Café
- Sprinkling writing groups
- Speaker book signings
- Film and documentary showings
In the Company of Friends
- Shared meals
- Interactive breakout sessions
- Free time with other “Mere Christians” who value faith, reason, and imagination