At the end of April 2023, our Advocacy team, trained advocates, and Pastor Matt Magee, of Oak Grove Church – Cedar Rapids, facilitated a weekend retreat for post-abortive women in search of spiritual healing.  

Abortion Recovery, people talking, counseling

What is the Take Courage retreat? 

Take Courage is Bridgehaven’s weekend retreat program that offers space and healing to anyone who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of abortion. With the help of a specially designed curriculum, trained advocates, and Linn County pastoral staff members, we have created a safe, peaceful environment to help people find their voice and transform the pain of the past into love and hope. 

In his own words, Pastor Matt Magee shares why this retreat is important, his thoughts on the Rachel’s Vineyard curriculum, and the outcomes witnessed. 

Why is the Take Courage retreat important? 

Take Courage is valuable to any post-abortive woman or man, as many carry their layered scars alone for decades  

The healing value for many begins as they prayerfully consider what is involved in saying “yes” to a Take Courage weekend. For many, their “yes” begins with a conversation with a spouse or another loved one, already employing the courage needed to answer, “Lord, I want to see,” as they describe their desire and reason for wanting to take a weekend away for prayer and healing. It takes incredible courage to attend a weekend with several others one has never met. This is invaluable trust! 

Our Curriculum 

The Take Courage curriculum helps Scripture come off the page for participants and leaders alike. It is an aid to the work of the Holy Spirit, an expression of love, never seeking to replace the Spirit’s leading, but serving those who come alongside of participants by saying with their life, “[We praise our] God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”i 

Learn more about the curriculum  

What are the outcomes of the retreat? 

Like many wonderful works of the Lord, it is impossible to know the myriad of ways Take Courage impacts those who attend, their families, or other friendships. Everyone who lives with the layered pain of past choices also realizes how one decision affects many others—negatively…and now, positively. God uses Take Courage for good and his glory as participants, now friends, leave with a renewed relationship with the Lord, and a firm resolve to have life-changing conversations with loved ones., Their newfound confidence in Christ allows their life story—now renewed by God’s grace—to serve others who are hurting with the comfort they have now personally received in Christ. 


A Final Note from our Director of Client Advocacy 

“We are so incredibly grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to walk with those who participated in our Take Courage Retreat the weekend of April 28-30. This retreat is an opportunity to gently walk with the Lord through deep heart work, as well as honor those children who were lost through abortion. God’s Word is the foundation for processing through each step of the retreat, and his truth, mercy, forgiveness, healing, and love are spoken and shared in each part of this experience. We are so thankful for every person who prayed for the retreat. We truly appreciate your support, encouragement, and prayers!”