Winter Retreat2019-09-07T14:46:51-06:00

Start a new tradition!

Christmas season is special, but it is even more special to celebrate at White Sulphur Springs with a community of like-minded believers. It is beautiful here year-round but there is a wondrous beauty during the Christmas season.The quietness of the snow on the mountains, a table laden with good food, a warm hearth, the beauty of Heritage House illuminated in celebration of the season, life-changing connections with family and loved ones… Please come and experience for yourself why so many have made Winter Retreat part of their family’s holiday tradition.

 Some special events at Winter Retreat include:

 Winter Retreat is like no other time of year at the WSS. You are able to experience traditions and special events that only occur during Winter Retreat.

  • Christmas Eve festival
  • Christmas Communion Service
  • Manger Service with live Nativity
  • Caroling in the Cove

  • Skiing at local slopes
  • New Year’s Eve Communion Service
  • New Year’s Eve Celebration
  • Family Hours, Skit and Talent Shows
  • Ice Skating on the Pond
  • Candy-Making Classes

Join the Family of God at White Sulphur Springs during Christmas for memories and traditions that last a lifetime. Be blessed and refreshed this Christmas season during one of our three Winter Retreat sessions. Pricing information: Adults- Meals and Lodging $84/night 1-2 nights, $73/nights 3-4 nights, Teens (13-19) $42/night meals and lodging, Youth (5-12) $30/night meals and lodging, 0-4 yrs free, Conference fee varies by length of stay. Dates for 2019 Winter Retreat are as follows:

Winter Retreat #1- 22-26 Dec

Chaplain Erik Gramling

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Bio –

Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Erik J. Gramling was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on 8 August 1969 into the home of a Navy Reservist. Following graduation from Westmont Hilltop High School in Johnstown, PA (1987), he considered enlisting in the Navy. Pushed towards higher education by his father, he tried for acceptance to the Naval Academy and then for a NROTC scholarship to Penn State. When neither was offered to him, he decided upon a major and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice. Having come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ shortly before his senior year of high school, he was heavily involved with a Christian Fellowship during his college days and shortly after graduation felt the Lord leading him to attend seminary.

During his time in seminary, he discerned a clear call from the Lord to pastoral ministry. Four years later he graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, Pennsylvania where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in May 1996. He had begun to pastor a church plant shortly before this in December 1995 and succeeded in obtaining his ordination in 1999 with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (C&MA). Five years later, after a clear call and even clearer providential leading from the Lord, he felt permission to leave his church and the C&MA endorsed him for Active Duty to serve as an Army Chaplain. Needless to say, his Navy-hearted father was surprised but proud! He began his career as an Army Chaplain on 6 January 2004. He is strongly committed to glorifying God and his Savior Jesus Christ through this current expression of his call to ministry via the U.S. Army Chaplaincy. He is married (1991) to the former Michelle Kagarise. They have three children, Gary 21 (Penn State Student), Aleah 19 (Penn State Student) and Marcus 16.


“Great Characters of the Christmas Story”

What makes a great story? Is it not the great characters acting out a compelling story line whose plot captures our heart? Do we not identify with the Hero and Heroine? But can you have a story without a conflict? Thus, does not a powerful story demand there be a powerful villain? And for others to see and hear this story, does it not take a masterful author, director and producer to put it all together? Join your WSS family this 22-26 December as we look anew at The Greatest Story Ever Told; a REAL story, about REAL people, in REAL trouble, in need of a REAL Savior, sent as a gift from a REAL God! We’ll provide the popcorn!

Winter Retreat #2- 26-30 Dec

Dr. Dan Hart

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About Dan

Dan grew up as a US Navy brat and first visited White Sulphur Springs in 1983 when his father was stationed at the Pentagon. Years later he joined OCF while a cadet at West Point and after graduating in 1997, brought his wife Joanna to the Springs a few months into their marriage.  After serving in the Infantry for 15 years, he went to medical school at the Uniformed Services University and is finishing up his final year of psychiatry residency at Walter Reed.  He and Joanna have ten children many of whom view WSS as a home away from home.  The Harts currently live in the outskirts of Frederick, MD.


The Knowable God

The coming of Jesus was God’s forever proclamation that He can be and desires to be known.  As we draw closer to God during the Christmas to New Year interlude, we will be challenged and encouraged in our pursuit of a more complete knowledge of who God is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Avoiding blanket prescriptions for godly living, we will have a chance to prayerfully consider how to deepen our understanding of and love for the knowable God.

Winter Retreat #3- 30 Dec – 2 Jan

Dr Michael Sprague

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About Michael

Dr. Michael Sprague is the Louisiana State Chaplain with the Capitol Commission and President of Grace Adventures ( He serves as a “non-political” friend to people in the halls of leadership. He loves to help people get to know the Jesus of the Scriptures. Michael has been featured on such programs as Fox and Friends, Fox Business Risk and Reward, Moody Radio and Christianity Today. Michael holds a Business degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Divinity degree from Capital Bible Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Church in Covington, Louisiana for 11 years, and formerly served for 15 years at Forcey Bible Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he helped launch the Touch Global Crisis Response Ministry for the E.F.C.A. that is now multiplying compassion ministry around the world. Michael does life with his wonderful wife Donna and resides in Mandeville, Louisiana. They have one son, Jonathan who is married to Patricia, and two beloved grandchildren.


“Is there hope for America, your family and you?”

Our hope is not in technology, money, politicians or even in religion. Hope has a name and it’s Jesus Christ. Let’s journey with the person and teaching of Jesus to start the New Year with zest, purpose, courage, refreshment and hope. Indeed, “the glory of God is a man(woman) fully alive.”

A Typical Day at Winter Retreat

  • 0830: Breakfast
  • 0950-1215: Teen-Children Program/Children’s Story hour (age 3-Grade 3)
  • 1000-1100: Fireside Talk with the speaker
  • 1115-1215: Adult Discussion with speaker
  • 1230: Lunch
  • Afternoon: Free time (various activities are offered depending on the day)
  • 1730: Dinner
  • 1900-1930: Family hour—Pettijohn Room
  • 1930-2030: Teen-Children Program/Fireside Talk with the speaker
  • 2030: Snacks & Fellowship in Dining Room
  • 2200: Quiet in Heritage House

Note: Arrival night dinner is at 1800. Guests are asked NOT to overlap between sessions.

“It’s clear that God is at work here. It’s a place where we can focus with attention to our spiritual lives. It almost doesn’t matter what the speaker/topic is, God still has something to say to us.”