Winter Peace Retreat at Spruce Lake

Restorative Justice

February 13-15, 2009 (Friday-Sunday)
Canadensis, PA (in the Poconos)

8.5"x11" poster (pdf)

Adult Program

Youth Program

Childrens Program




Other Info.


Contact Us

Family retreat with separate programs for adults, youth, and children, sponsored by The Peace and Justice Committee, Eastern District Conference and Franconia Mennonite Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.

Adult Program:

Restoring Justice:
Creating Peace Between Victims & Offenders

with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz

This retreat will explore alternatives to traditional criminal justice practices and a criminal justice system that too often abuses both crime victims and people accused of crimes

Restoring Justice: Creating Peace Between Victims & Offenders

This year's adult program will include conversation with victims of crime, offenders, and people involved in various restorative justice ministries as well as biblical reflection -- in a variety of presentation styles -- lecture, pannel discussion, role-play, small and large group sessions.

Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, directs the Office on Crime and Justice of the Mennonite Central Committee based at Akron. She is a nationally-recognized consultant and trainer for restorative justice programs that have a victim-offender mediation component.

Restorative justice originated in Mennonite communities in Canada and the United States in the 1970s and has become a worldwide phenomenon. Unlike the traditional criminal justice system, which focuses on punishing offenders, restorative justice is concerned with crime victims' needs and offender responsibilities.

Amstutz, a 1981 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), has worked in the victim-offender mediation and restorative justice fields

since 1984, when she got involved in the first US-based program in Elkhart, Ind. She worked closely with Howard Zehr, now professor of sociology and restorative justice at (EMU), in the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), that Zehr directed.

With Howard Zehr, she co-authored a restorative justice curriculum for the state of Pennsylvania entitled "Victim Offender Conferencing in Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System." She has helped start VORP programs across the United States and trains volunteers for these programs.

Jim Amstutz, co-pastor of Akron Mennonite Church, will will be co-leader with Lorraine for our Sunday morning program.

Youth Program:

Understanding Jesus' Activism:
Can Youth Change the World?

with L. Mark Reiff

Understanding Jesus' Activism: Can Youth Change the World?

The youth program will have 3 components: Biblical foundation in Jesus and the Gospels; discussion of examples of young people doing reforms; and discussion of practical ways to be part of reform - recognizing societal evil and engaging it.

L. Mark Reiff currently serves as Youth Pastor at Doylestown Mennonite Church. Additionally, he is a Masters in Divinity student at Palmer Theological Seminary and interns with Evangelicals for Social Action based in Wynnewood, PA, working specifically with Word and Deed Network, which resources and consults churches interested in Holistic Ministy.

Mark is also a member of the FMC/EDC Peace and Justice Committee and enjoys pondering how the North American Church can engage the world's physical and spiritual brokenness.

Child Care/Children's Activities

We will provide child care and activities for children up to age 12 during the adult sessions. We also appreciate parents or other adults who would like to help out with one or more of the children's sessions.


Spruce Lake Retreat Center, RR#1, Box 605, Canadensis, PA 18325. (570) 595-7505.
Spruce Lake Retreat is located 2.5 miles north of Canadensis on PA Rt. 447, in the Pocono Mountains.

Preliminary Schedule

Friday, February 13
7:00 PM Check-in
8:00 PM Opening program for All
Music, sharing of peace stories -- with time for people to tell about peace and justice programs in their local churches, and a "restorative justice" group activity
9:30 PM Snack*
11:00 PM Bedtime (Quiet)
Saturday, February 14
8:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00-12:00First Adult Session:
Introduction to restorative justice / biblical reflection
9:00-10:30FirstYouth Session
12:00-12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 PM Free Time**
3:30-5:00 PM Second Adult Session (youth are welcome):
Panel discussion with crime victims and offenders.
  • Raymond Drayton (Liberty Ministries)
  • Lisa Connelly (Prison Probation Management Services)
  • Donna (Re-Entry Program)
5:00-6:00 PM Dinner
6:45 PM Third Adult Session: Restorative Justice ministries, with
7:00 PM Second Youth Session
9:15 PM Snack*
11:00 PM Bedtime (Quiet)
Sunday, February 15
8:00-8:30 AM Breakfast
9:00-10:30 AM Final Adult Session:
Public policy issues related to restorative justice
9:00-10:30 AM Final Youth Session
10:45 AM Worship Service with Communion
(adults,youth, & children)
12:15-12:45 PM Lunch

*Please bring bagged snacks (cookies, pretzels, chips, etc) to share with others during the evenings. You are also encouraged to bring your own mug for snack times or coffee during the program sessions.
**During "Free Time" on Saturday afternoon there will be videos and discussion time (on peace issues) as an alternative to outdoor recreation.

  • After Sunday lunch you and your family may stay for more recreation or head for home.
  • Weather permitting, the following winter recreational activies are available at Spruce Lake: cross-country skiing with ski rental, tubing, and ice-skating (bring your own skates).

    Registration Information

    [Printable Registration Form]

    Please plan to register early; space is limited. Sometimes we have had to turn away families because of the space limitation.

    Most rooms accomodate up to four people (a double bed and a bunk bed with private bath), and one or two additional family members may be accomodated in the same room on the floor if you wish to bring sleeping bags for them. Single adults who wish to room together should send in their registration forms together, otherwise they will be paired with other singles if space is limited.

    Cost to Participants:

    $135.00 Adults
    $45.00 Children (Ages 6-12)
    $65.00 Youth (Ages 13-18)
    Children under 6 are free!

    --------------------- Registration Form ------------------------------

    City, State___________________________________ZIP____________
    Child's Name              Age                        Sex
    ____Adults @ 135.00 each    __________
    ____Children @ $45.00 each  __________  
    ____Youth @ $65.00 each     __________  
           (Additional donation __________ )      
                 Amount Enclosed___________
         Amount Due at Check-in _____________________
    [It is possible for adults to register for only the Saturday 
    program; cost is $35, including lunch and supper. Check with
    us for additional details.]
    Make checks payable to:
                       Eastern District Conference
    Mail this registration form to:
         Becky Felton
         942 Camp Trail Road
         Quakertown, PA 18951 
    Registration deadline is January 20, 2009
    Any questions? Need more information? Call Becky Felton, 215-536-7935, E-mail: or Robert Walden, 610-861-0653, E-mail:

    Financial Information

    Our registration rates are listed on the registration form above, but the actual cost of the retreat is substantially greater than what the participants pay. The difference is made up with funds from the Eastern District / Franconia Peace and Justice budget. Registration charges cover personal expenses for lodging and meals, but not our program costs such as honorariums, travel, and accomodations for our presenters, publicity, and other miscellaneous expenses.

    Your donations are much appreciated since they allow us to provide scholarships for low-income families or individuals.

    Some financial help is available for those who find it difficult to pay the amount we charge. We want to enable as many people as possible to attend this retreat. (Contact Bob Walden, 610-861-0653.)

    Special needs: If you have dietary restrictions or require other special accomodations (e.g., diabetic, or vegitarian, or difficulty climbing stairs, etc.) please include information about your needs.

    Camp Policies

    • Public areas and recreation areas are to be vacated by 11:00 PM. All areas are to be quiet after this time.
    • We strongly object to smoking. Under no circumstances is anyone permitted to smoke in any rooms of any building.
    • Pets are not permitted.
    • Guests are requested to leave their shirts on while at camp.
    • Use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted.
    • Motorized recreational vehicles (minibikes, snowmobiles, etc.) must be registered at the camp office before using them on the grounds.
    • Electrical appliances, such as electric fry pans, are not permitted.
    • Radios, tape players, etc. are permitted only in rooms designated for your group and only with the volume low. They are not permitted in public areas or outside.


    • Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice, by Howard Zehr. (3rd edition: 2005 paperback, 280 pages) $15.99.
      Crime victims have many needs, most of which our criminal justice system ignores. In fact, the justice system often actually increases the injury. Offenders are less ignored by this system, but their real needs for accountability, for closure, for healing are also left unaddressed.
      Such failures are not accidental but are inherent in the very definitions and assumptions which govern our thinking about crime and justice in the West. That is, they lie in the lens of "paradigm" with which we view crime and justice.
      This way of viewing and responding to crime, however, is not the only way. In fact, it has not been the dominant lens for most of the Western history, and certainly is not the biblical view.
      Changing Lenses examines our assumptions about crime and justice, which it terms a "retributive" lens or paradigm. It then looks at historical, biblical, and practical alternatives. This book proposes a "restorative" model which is more consistent with experience, with the past, and with the biblical tradition. This model is based on the needs of victims and offenders, on past way of responding to crime, on recent experiments, and on biblical principles.
    • Prison Fellowship International Restorative Justice resource page.
    • MCC Office on Justice and Peacebuilding
      Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Director, Office on Crime and Justice
    • Friends (Quaker) resources on restorative justice.
    • Pennsylvania Prison Society on restorative justice. Also includes links to current Pennsylvania legislation related to criminal justice.
    • The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding
      Series of books, edited by Howard Zehr, on Restorative Justice, Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding, Dialogue, Negotiation, Circle Processes, and related topics.

    Pennsylvania Jails and Prisons

    Victim Offender Mediation Association (VOMA) resources

    • Videos on restorative justice (primarily victim-offender mediation)
    • Books on restorative justice

    Other Resources on Prisons, Criminal Justice, and Restorative Justice

  • For more information about the Peace and Justice Committee, see

  • Contact webmaster:

    Last Updated: 2/16/09
    Created: March 8, 2008