Center for Prayer & Renewal (CP&R)

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Center for Prayer & Renewal (CP&R)

Center for Prayer & Renewal (CP&R) is the official prayer ministry of the NOW District. They are responsible for, among other things, an annual retreat each January, writing weekly prayers for the NOW Facebook page, and offering support at conferences and conventions.

A Brief History of Center for Prayer & Renewal

Adapted from info by Rev. Richard (Pete) Peterson The purpose of forming the Center for Prayer & Renewal was:

  • Emphasize the importance of private prayer centered around the Holy Scriptures
  • Emphasize the ministry of prayer in congregations across our Northwest District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
  • Conduct retreats to guide and enable individual Professional Church Workers (pastors, DCEs, parochial school teachers, etc.), and lay people within congregations across the District
To accomplish this, since its inception, CP&R has:
  • Held an annual 48-hour retreat at Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center, in Cannon Beach, Oregon on the last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of January
  • Conducted one 48-hour Autumn retreat in the greater Portland, Oregon area
  • Conducted one 48-hour CP&R retreat in Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Conducted an abbreviated version of the retreat for the Board of Directors of the Northwest District in Portland
  • Conducted a 48-hour retreat on Long Beach Peninsula, Washington, for the District office support staff
Leaders “borrowed” the form of their retreat from the Texas District and have been conducting that style since 2004.
The concept of a Prayer Ministry within the NOW District originated with Rev. Richard Kiessling and Johnny Driesner at Concordia University being moved upon by the Holy Spirit to begin an intentional ministry to the students which would aim at building up the spiritual life (spiritual formation) of the students. That original intention never really got off the ground. Then, the team members thought of doing a ministry with the pastors of the greater Portland/Vancouver area. That was interrupted by them learning that the Texas District already had an annual Spiritual Formation through Prayer Retreat. So, they contacted them. Rev. Steve Stutz, on the Texas District Spiritual Life Committee, came and conducted a 48-hour Spiritual Formation through Prayer Retreat with several of the Northwest District leaders, which included Kiessling, Paul Linnemann, and Pete Peterson at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center in Cannon Beach, Oregon. In the fall of 2005, Kiessling and Peterson attended the Spiritual Formation through Prayer Retreat in the Texas District.
The original CP&R team included Kiessling, Linnemann, Peterson, and Norm Metzler.
This team conducted several retreats (one each January) and called it Phase One, later to be renamed Emmaus (Spiritual Formation through Prayer and the Word). Those who had gone through the Phase One requested a follow-up retreat which had less structure and more individual opportunity to develop their own goals. This Phase Two was called Koinonia. For a while, a third phase was added, but leaders concluded quickly that two retreats, running simultaneously at the same facility, were sufficient.
The Emmaus retreat gives people an opportunity to write their own brief spiritual autobiography, explore solitude, and learn about and practice Lectio Divina as a group. Koinonia has expanded to include such topics as Praying in Color. Outside individuals have been invited to come and share with both Emmaus and Koinonia on specific ideas: The Role and Importance of Spiritual Directors (Art Umbach), Practicing the Presence of God (Dust Kunkel), and Sculptor Spirit (Dr. Leo Sanchez). Each participant is invited to choose a prayer partner to share with and pray with during the retreat – and hopefully following the retreat.

The current members of CP&R’s leadership team are: Rev. Terry Merrill, Rev. Bruce Rumsch, Rev. Dallas Dubke, Shirley Bentsen, Pam Bridgehouse, and Ruth Ann Shimoi. These folks meet over Zoom several times throughout the year to discuss the many projects they lead. If you would like more info or to get involved, please email