Peter Ilgenfritz is one of the most skilled and able retreat leaders I’ve ever experienced. He conveys an easy sense of joy, peace, humility and confidence that creates a special and unique environment for spiritual exploration. His true interest and delight in each person makes you feel like you have a confidant and fellow sojourner. Peter navigates group dynamics with an authentic finesse and wisdom that nurtures a welcoming and hospitable gathering ripe for growth and friendship enabling and encouraging the sharing from everyone’s sacred stories. (Rev. AbbyLynn Haskell, pastor and retreat coordinator for Broad Reach Ministries)
Coaching with Peter provides all I hoped it would. Peter gives me grounding, perspective, hope and a reality check. He opens up a wider view to see things from new perspectives and helps me pay attention to myself and moving my life forward! (Don, Coaching Client)
Peter is the kind of person that is easy to have a conversation with. He is open and loving in all interactions and is deeply interested in the work he is doing. He strives to support people he interacts with and is a strong conversationalist. He honestly learns and leads with an open heart and mind.
Through working with Peter at a PRIDE camp for high schoolers I witnessed his capabilities working with young people. He is an avid proponent of equality and understanding among all people, regardless of age. Through sailing he is able to build connections and strength in individuals in any stage of life. This he does with grace and love. Peter is an especially strong listener and questions purposefully to find greater clarity for our paths in life. (Sally Tinkham, co-sailing instructor, Camp Pride, Pilgrim Lodge, ME)
I really credit Peter and his masterful work in helping us to give voice to fears and hopes and feeling our togetherness. Too for reminding us we love being here. I think people smile even two weeks later. (John Engles, Moderator, United Church of Gainsville)
Eugene Peterson in The Message tells us the story of Jesus sleeping in a boat when the disciples become afraid when a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat. Jesus is woken up, and he tells the wind “to pipe down and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Settle down!’ The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: ‘Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?’” (Mark 4:35-41)
I can relate with the disciples’ fear. I am a coward when it comes to waves crashing on the side of a boat – because I can’t swim! What was I thinking when I accepted an invitation to attend a weekend sailing retreat sponsored by Broad Reach Ministries, you ask? Well, I was on sabbatical, plus the retreat title – Navigating Through Change – compelled me to set-aside my fear. It was a personal quest to discern troubled waters while literally sailing the ocean.
Sailing became the metaphor as our skilled retreat leader, The Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz, coalesced our group and made us feel comfortable, despite our fears. Through a series of guided conversations, insights emerged during our time at sea. Without being forced, individual epiphanies surprised each of us. This wasn’t a weekend joyride in a sailboat – although the vistas and sailing were joy-filled. My epiphany emerged not by an academic exercise or emotional experience, but rather through a visual encounter of the Holy as we sailed toward an island.
The ocean was far from glass – our vessel rolled up and down with the water as we navigated toward the distant land. The guided conversation about vocation, change, and navigating challenges in ministry made me see what was plainly in front of me – while the waters rocked our sailboat up and down as the ocean waters moved, the land remained steady in the horizon as we approached. The land never moved. We moved closer through the waters of the deep as we approached land. I simply needed to ride the waves, so to speak, endure the ups and downs of the waters, for surely the steady discernment I sought did not sway, but rather came into fuller view, rock solid and unmovable.
Rev. Ilgenfritz is more than a purveyor of casual conversation that one typically has while on retreat. Rather, his authentic, reflective approach, pastoral presence, and leadership style invite you into the presence of the Holy. Fellow cowards fear not – I survived the weekend (feeling comfortable enough not to wear a lifejacket), and I even navigated the sailboat on my own! My faith was deepened and enriched on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, with joy-filled thanks to Peter Ilgenfritz for the glorious adventure.
(Rev. Darren L. Morgan, Glenburn, Maine)