The Zephyr Experience

July 3-8, 2016

Looking for a weeklong escape to a quiet setting to reconnect with God? The Zephyr Experience conference provides you and your family with that time to grow in faith and community. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada on a half-mile of Lake Tahoe shoreline, Zephyr Point is one of the most beautiful retreat centers in the world.

The Zephyr Experience conference supports theological learning, spiritual growth and deepening Christianity in our everyday lives through classes in: Bible, Church & Society, and Spirituality. Interactive and fun programs are provided for children and youth of all ages. Join us for a stimulating and enriching experience surrounded by the unparalleled splendor of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras.

Adults may choose two sessions from our five classes:

    • First Period
    • Second Period
    • Children and Youth
See the daily schedule of events.

Description of Courses:

(View a PDF of the brochure: BrochureRegistration Form)

Bible Classes:

Vulnerability, Courage, and Power: The Biblical View of Personhood

by Gregory Anderson Love (First Period)

Hope in the Midst of Catastrophe: A Contemporary Reading of The Book of Job

by John McEntyre (Second Period)

Who is more powerful, John Wayne, or Jesus, and why? Why does popular doctor in social work and speaker Brene Brown say that the “courage to be vulnerable” is the source of true power, and does the Bible agree, or disagree? This course looks at how shame is different for men and women, and how the courage to be vulnerable is the source one’s power. Going beyond psychology, it then asks about Jesus’ and Paul’s views of shame, vulnerability, and trye power. Using the New Testament, we will see that they both agree, and disagree, with Brown and popular psychology.Books I will draw from:

Brene Brown:

  • Men, Women, and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough
  • The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

W.H. Vanstone:

  • The Risk of Love

R.R. Reno:

  • Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Christian Cure of the Soul

Udo Schnelle: 

  • The Human Condition: Anthropology in the Teachings of Jesus, Paul, and John

The Rev. Gregory Anderson Love, Ph. D., is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Prior to teaching seminarians, Dr. Love taught college students at St. Olaf College. Also a Presbyterian pastor, Dr. Love brings together the best of contemporary Christian theology with the issues of Christians in the pews.

Everyone knows Job loses his family, friends, money, property, and even his health. His story appears to be one of unrelenting grief and loss, yet it also points to the much less obvious reality of hope in the face of disaster. How is this hope convincing and how does it pertain to our lives as individuals, church members, and citizens? We’ll do close readings of Stephen Mitchell’s translation of The Book of Job, a version which makes present the living sense of the ancient text. I’ll provide introductory remarks to each class to direct our reading and discussion. I’ll invite brief written responses which may be shared with the class and be available outside class for conversation.

Rev. John McEntyre, PhD (GTU), MDiv (Princeton Theological Seminary), B.A. (Stanford). Previously served St Mary’s College in Extended Education, Great Books, and Religious Studies before serving churches in the Santa Barbara and San Francisco presbyteries. Likes to paint, make music, and be in the wilderness. Favorite theologians: Karl Barth and Robert McAfee Brown. Favorite poets: Issa and Dante. Favorite novelists: Faulkner and Tolkien. Favorite bumper sticker: “Not all who wander are lost.”

Church and Society:

Neighbors and Strangers: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

by Aimee Moiso (First Period)

Let’s Talk About Sex

by Lisa Fullam (Second Period)

In the last century, Christian churches found great hope in the ecumenical movement and the desire to bridge the divisions in the body of Christ. More recently, though, Christians in the United States saw the movement wane, chasms widen, churches shrink and religious pluralism and interfaith engagement come to the fore. What’s next for our relationships with other Christians, other religions, and the growing number of “nones” who don’t care much about religion at all?

Rev. Aimee Moiso is a PhD student in Homiletics and Liturgics at Vanderbilt University, and is the chair of the PCUSA General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. An ordained Presbyterian minister, she received her MDiv at San Francisco Theological Seminary and a master’s in ecumenical studies from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Geneva, Switzerland.  She was previously Director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Ministries at Santa Clara University.

How are our sexual lives making us better people? Better partners? Better Christians? The revival of Christian virtue ethics reminds us that the core questions of morality are not about particular acts, but about the kind of character we cultivate in ourselves and for our communities. Looked at this way, questions about sexual ethics are no longer centered on the nature of the act, but on whether the values we espouse lead us to flourishing lives and more faithful discipleship of Jesus.

In this class we will begin with an overview of the method of virtue ethics in general and a look at sex and sexuality in a virtue framework, then we will address particular issues of sexual morality. Topics will be chosen by the class on the first day, but may include: married and unmarried sex; homosexuality and gay marriage; talking to teens about sex; marriage and divorce; “Roots: Augustine on Marriage and Friendship in Marriage”; fantasy, pornography and erotica; Internet sex; sexual harassment and violence; sex and spirituality/mysticism/prayer; or other topics if the class so chooses. The overall aim is for participants to begin to articulate a mature and affirmative ethics of sexuality for the 21st century.

Lisa Fullam D.V.M., Th.D. teaches moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Research interests include Virtue Ethics, medical and sexual ethics, the intersection of ethics and spirituality, and Ignatian spirituality. Essays include: Toward a Virtue Ethics of Marriage: Augustine and Aquinas on Friendship in Marriage; Teresa of Avila’s Liberative Humility; Sex in 3-D. A Telos for a Virtue Ethics of Sexuality; Ethics in Spiritual Guidance; Bioethics and Public Policy (with William R. O’Neill, S.J.); Why Ordination Matters: A Reflection from Jamaica; and Juana, SJ: The History (and Future?) of Women in the Society of Jesus. Readings: Moral Theology #17, Ethics and Spirituality, 2014 and Moral Theology #16. Virtue Ethics, 2011, both co-edited with Charles E. Curran. Her previous book, The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic was published in 2009.

Spirituality Classes:

Christ Our Companion

by Marilyn McEntyre (First Period)

Christian Mysticism

by John Mabry (Second Period)

The prepositions in St. Patrick’s ancient litany, Christ be with me, within me, behind me, before me… offer us avenues of reflection on how we may recognize and dwell in divine presence.  In our time together we’ll reflect on the dimensions of that relationship—what it means for Christ to be in, behind, above, around, beneath us, speaking in quiet, in danger, in mouth of friend and stranger.   

Marilyn has taught college students and adults for over 30 years, and is currently a fellow of the Gaede Institute at Westmont College and an adjunct professor of medical humanities at UC Berkeley.  She leads retreats and workshops for churches and writers’ groups, including a 5-day workshop, “Writing as a Spiritual Practice,” at Zephyr Point. Her most recent books include A Faithful Farewell; What’s in a Phrase; Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies; Patient Poets: Illness from Inside Out; and Reading like a Serpent: What the Scarlet A is About.

When people hear the word “mysticism” they often think of arcane secrets and occult knowledge, but true mysticism isn’t sinister or even a secret. Mysticism is at the heart of an authentic Christian life—not only can anyone be a mystic, but in fact all Christians are called to be mystics. Through lecture, experiential practice, and sharing from our own lives in small groups, we will “de-mystify” mysticism, providing a user-friendly introduction for beginners. Along the way we will explore the classic three-fold mystical journey—Purgation, Illumination, and Union—and hear the stories of many Christian mystics (such as Julian of Norwich, John of the Cross, and many others).

A United Church of Christ minister, John R. Mabry pastors Grace North Church in Berkeley, CA and teaches spiritual guidance, pastoral ministry, world religions, and comparative theology at various Bay Area schools including Santa Clara University and the Chaplaincy Institute.  He is the author of several books on spirituality and interfaith ministry, including Growing Into God: A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Mysticism; Noticing the Divine: An Introduction to Interfaith Spiritual Guidance; and Faith Styles: Ways People Believe, among many others. He lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and two dogs.

Children and Youth Classes:

Fun and Adventure in Day Camp

Leaders: Zephyr Point Summer Day Camp Staff

(Ages 5-9; special exceptions may be possible upon request)

This summer we are offering a new, fantastic camp experience for your children! They will have fun and adventure within the grounds of this special piece of God’s creation known as Zephyr Point. Activities include: swimming, canoeing, archery, nature hikes, group games, arts and crafts, fun skits, singing, and worship.

Safety is a priority. Supervision and direction will be provided by caring, college-age role models. Lifeguards certified by the American Red Cross will be on duty at all times kids are in the water, and additional CPT and First Aid certified staff will be on site.

The day camp will officially run from 9 am to 4 pm. As parents wish, kids may leave the day camp at any time during the day and rejoin their parents. Costs for the camp are included in the Zephyr Experience children’s fee.

Children ages 5-9 MUST register for Zephyr Point Day Camp. For information and a registration form, call our program office at 775-588-6759 x 107 or e-mail Completed registration forms for Day Camp must be submitted by June 26th. Day Camp fees are covered by Zephyr Experience registration fees.

Dissolving the Divide (Ages 10-13)

led by Nicole Trotter

In middle school, we begin to notice who we are as compared to others. We will explore together that awareness in day-to-day interactions. We will name how we judge others and ourselves and most importantly how we can turn the negative into a positive in order to celebrate and embrace our differences. We will role play, hold a mask workshop, play games, write creatively, sing contemporary music, and discover together what it means to model Jesus ministry in love and acceptance for those who are different from ourselves.

Nicole Trotter has spent the past 11 years in parish settings as a Christian Education Director at two Marin churches, most recently as Director of Youth Ministry. As a former actor she uses much of what she learned in that creative role in her ministry. As the mother of a 16 and 19 year old, she first handedly appreciates watching pre-teens and teenagers come into their own.

Stereotypes, Expectations, and Taboos of Religion and Society (Ages 14-17)

led by Hannah Nolan and Natalie Taylor

This year we will explore the stereotypes, expectations, and taboos of religion and society. We will focus our conversations on the Christian faith. We will dive into what lies behind people’s assumptions and the judgments they pass. We will incorporate multi-media into the program, including movies and text. We are excited to lead the group this year and look forward to seeing everyone at Zephyr in 2015!

Hannah Nolan and Natalie Taylor have been coming to Zephyr Experience together for 17 years. Both are college students and active members of their churches, including Deacon, Elder, and youth group participant. Hannah attends the University of Oregon in Eugene. Natalie lives and works in Novato, CA and attends College of Marin.

Daily Schedule: Monday-Thursday

7:30 Morning Light
7:45 Breakfast
8:45 – 10:15 First Period
10:15 Break
10:30 – Noon Second Period
12:15 Lunch
1:00 – 6:00 Freetime
6:00 Dinner
7:15 – 8:15 Worship

Morning Light: Begin the day with meditation, movement, and prayer by the lake.

Afternoon Free Time: The afternoons are free to explore, swim at the lake or hang out at the beach, bike or hike in the splendor of the surrounding Tahoe area. Organized Crafts & Activities will be available and One Hour Overviews of the Sessions will be presented by our leaders.

Evening Program: Worship services Monday & Wednesday, Sunset Sing on Tuesday, and Variety Show on Thursday. All ages are invited to participate in our variety show with songs, skits, or special talents.

Communion: Friday before lunch, there will be a communion service to complete our week’s experience.

Room and Board Per Person*

(View a PDF of the brochure here.)
(View a PDF of the registration form here.)
~Tahoe Center~ After 5/15
Ages 18 and Up $TBD $TBD
Ages 3-17 $TBD $TBD
~Commuters~ After 5/15
Ages 18 and Up $TBD $TBD
Ages 3-17 $TBD $TBD


Some additional details…

  • Includes Sunday dinner through Friday lunch
  • * $15 per person dietary fee for vegetarian or vegan options
  • Non-refundable deposit due with registration: $130 per adult; $35 per child/youth
  • Balance due 30 days before event start date
  • Cancellation Policy: all fees are non-refundable after June 6, 2015
  • [Travel/Trip Cancellation Insurance is available for cancellations that take place after the final due date. Since we cannot refund after June 6, 2015, with insurance you can still be covered if last minute illness or mishaps arise. It needs to be purchased within 14 days of deposit. For details call Travel Guard 1-800-826-4919 or for web info:]
  • Your registration before March 24, 2014 will greatly assist us in the planning of your accommodations.
  • Children ages 5-9 MUST register for Zephyr Point Day Camp. For information and a registration form, call our Camp Zephyr registrar at 775-588-6759 x 106 or e-mail Completed registration forms can be submitted upon arrival at Zephyr Point. Day Camp fees are covered by Zephyr Experience registration fees.
  • If you would like to make a donation to Zephyr Point or contribute to the general scholarship fund to help enable others to enjoy a Zephyr Point experience, please click here to open our online donor application.