Our Retreat Center

Our retreat center is located at the James Meeks family farm just outside bucolic Clinton, Michigan. Jim Meeks grew up on a farm in North Adams, Michigan, and later settled his family on this farm near Clinton. He grew and sold fruits and vegetables at a stand on Michigan Avenue on the farm and at Detroit's Eastern Market. He also worked at a factory, and his wife Leona was a teacher, both saving money for decades so that their four children and ten grandchildren could go to college.

Jim is still locally renowned for his generosity to neighbors in need. His daughter recalls how he would deliberately bruise produce and tell folks, “Thanks for helping me out, as Leona will be up all night making preserves with these if you don’t take them.” They regularly put together “care packages” of fruits, vegetables, maple syrup, honey, popcorn, jams and jellies in a box or bag for family and friends to take home. Jim would very often make one on the spot for someone who stopped in the market and seemed to be very cautious about how much they were spending. He gave away apples or peaches with the line, “You just have to try this new variety!”

Jim and Leona taught children and grandchildren a lot about orchards, planting seedlings, and owning your own company. Their farm house was always in a state of clutter—full of baking projects, arts and crafts, science experiments, and busy grandchildren. They shared their love of nature through walks in the woods to see spring flowers, planting pine tree seedlings every spring, tapping maple trees and making syrup, going to cider mills with their apples to make cider, and making s'mores at the outside firepit by the pond. Jim built a pavilion overlooking their pond as a family gathering spot, equipped with fireplace, kitchen, bathroom, and sided with eight translucent garage doors that could be closed for inclement weather but opened to the beauty and breezes when desired.

Leona and Jim are no longer with us, but their granddaughter and her husband have opened the Irish Creek Equestrian Center at the farm, bringing a new generation and new enterprise to this cherished spot. The pavilion serves as a delightful spot to gather, unplug, reflect, and enjoy the company of others on a search for meaning and purpose in our lives.


Directions to Meeks Farm

Irish Creek

Left: pavilion   Top: pond   Above: Irish Creek