A Letter From Lydia

A Letter From Lydia

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

and out you stepped onto new ground,…

awaken your spirit to adventure;

hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk.

– For a New Beginning, by John O’Donohue


Dear Kirkridge community,


As I stepped into Turning Point on my first day, I could feel the stories and history that echoed in these walls. I was entering hallowed ground where for eighty years communities have gathered in search of belonging, transformation, and a fire for justice. In my mailbox, I found letters from dear friends and new friends welcoming me home to this place. Tucked inside were bits of poetry and prayer. I was home.


It is a great gift to be the new director of Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center. I am so grateful to the board and staff for their encouragement to let dreams grow another season in this place. And I am so thankful for Jean Richardson’s welcome and wisdom as I transition into this work. Her spirit and work will continue to linger on this land for many years to come.


I bring along with me my partner Erinn and our two kids Isaac (9) and Cedar (6). I look forward to you getting to know each of them. In their own unique ways, they are each falling in love with this land and they look forward to being part of the hospitality that continues to welcome you to this mountain. Saying yes to Kirkridge was a full family decision with a clear yes from each of us. And it also brought layers of grief as our roots in Detroit were deep and beloved.


These first days have been busy- full of zoom meetings, buildings to understand, and systems to explore. Yet this time also brings with it an intentionality towards slowness. The sacred work of taking time to listen and learn about the beautiful gifts that are here. These last few months, dreams have kept me awake long into the night imagining the ways this land could be alive with community from near and far. And there will be time to share those dreams and begin the work, but for now…I listen.

Listen to the stories of folks who have been saved by this place and who return again and again. Listen for the dreams that have already been bubbling here. Listen to the land who holds memory and longing.


I am looking forward to sharing more of my story and learning yours.


The hummingbird visits my window each morning and the turkey vultures circle the vibrant green treescape on this mountain. The stones are humming and the mycelium below our feet are spreading the good news. There is work to be done. We are listening and getting ready.

With gratitude for the gift that each of you are to this place,



Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

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