(KERRVILLE, TEXAS) — The H. E. Butt Foundation has named The Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts senior director and scholar-in-residence and Steven D. Purcell as director of Laity Lodge, a Christian ecumenical retreat center located in the Texas Hill Country-one of the only retreat facilities in the nation that integrates theology and scripture with a strong emphasis on artistic expression and emotional health as avenues for spiritual renewal.

An enthusiastic Foundation president, Howard E. Butt, Jr., President of the H. E. Butt Foundation, commented, “What exceptionally solid, dynamic, and creative leadership we now have on board at Laity Lodge.  This is a great answer to prayer.”

Originally from Southern California, Roberts, who is a pastor, author, internationally read blogger, and public speaker, will primarily oversee community outreach efforts for the retreat center, working to build new partnerships among area pastors, congregations, and Christian leaders across the country.  His work will focus on teaching, writing, and expanding communications to promote the mission of Laity Lodge by encouraging people to live out their faith in their daily lives.

Since 1991, Roberts has been the senior pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in Irvine, California.  In addition, he has taught classes in New Testament for Fuller Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary and has served on the staff of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California, as Pastor of Education.  Roberts holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts degree in the Study of Religion from Harvard University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Harvard.  He has written several books including No Holds Barred: Wrestling with God in Prayer (WaterBrook, 2005), and the most recent, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Crossway, 2007).  Roberts is also a columnist for Worship Leader magazine and an avid blogger-his site www.markdroberts.com serves as an additional vehicle for daily reflections and spiritual outreach for thousands of readers.

Purcell will take a primary role in the programming, recruiting, and facilitation of retreats at Laity Lodge.  He formerly served as one of the managing directors of Schloss Mittersill, an internationally renowned Christian retreat and conference center in Austria where he founded their arts conference in 1998.  A native of Texas, Purcell has a master of Christian studies degree from Regent College in Vancouver, BC, and a bachelor of arts degree from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.  He is the author of Even Among These Rocks (mixing personal reflection with art, literature, music) and brings to Laity Lodge extensive experience in recruiting speakers from all over the world and promoting retreats as well as involvement in the arts.  

About Laity Lodge

Located on 1,900 acres in the Texas Hill Country at the headwaters of the Frio River, Laity Lodge is a Christian non-denominational adult retreat center dedicated to the quest to know Christ and what that means in the ordinary secular relationships of our lives.  It is a place where people are free to explore choices leading to growth in creativity, effectiveness, and servant leadership.  The retreats, offered throughout the year to individuals and congregations, are based on a variety of disciplines and are often led by noted speakers, artists, and musicians.   Unique to Laity Lodge is its focus on spiritual renewal through the arts and music-the on-site Cody Center is a studio offering an artist-in-residence for selected retreats to assist guests in exploring and expressing their creative talents.   Attendees are invited to participate in as many or as few of the scheduled activities and sessions that are offered, allowing plenty of time for solitude and individual recreational activities such as canoeing, hiking, crafts, swimming, tennis, or simply alone time spent in the inspiring and picturesque natural setting.  Owned and operated by the H. E. Butt Foundation, Laity Lodge has been presenting adult retreats since 1961.  

For more information on Laity Lodge, phone 830-792-1210 or visit www.laitylodge.org

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