In Memoriam of our Leader, Friend, and Partner in Ministry…

Friends and family of Spirit In The Desert Retreat Center,

It is with tremendous sadness we share the news that the Reverend Richard E. Andersen, Spirit In The Desert’s Executive Director, passed away on Sunday, June 2, surrounded by friends and family. Richard suffered an acute medical episode several days previous to June 2, and never regained consciousness.

Richard joined Spirit in the fall of 2015 following a national search. He brought an amazing set of experiences and skills to the role including pastoral roles with three Lutheran congregations, his work with the ARC retreat community in Minnesota, management experience with several successful restaurants, and multiple roles leading development and philanthropic efforts. All these skills and experiences were packaged in an individual with boundless energy, unbridled enthusiasm, tremendous gifts for spiritual leadership, and with a passion to be a friend to all.  He was to put it simply, the embodiment of the perfect person for the role. Under his leadership, we successfully magnified the mission of Spirit in the Desert to be a holy place where people experience hospitality and renew their calling in the world. He will be sorely missed.

We are blessed with a leadership team and committed staff who are able to continue retreat operations without disruption. We are thankful for their perseverance during this trying and sad time. Richard’s service to the retreat center that so captivated and energized him over the past three years, is now a legacy of hope for Spirit’s future. 

In faithful service, 

The Board of Directors
Spirit In The Desert Retreat Center

Celebration of Life Services in Loving Memory of Richard Andersen: 

ARIZONA: June 21, 2019 at 3:00 pm ~ Ascension Lutheran Church ~ 7100 N Mockingbird Lane ~ Paradise Valley

MINNESOTA: August 3, 2019 at 11:00 am ~ Central Lutheran Church ~ 333 S 12th Street ~ Minneapolis

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Spirit in the Desert … a Place for All People

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“Healing of Memories”

Have a Closer Look at Spirit in the Desert

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Learn More About Us

Spirit in the Desert is a peaceful retreat center set among the striking Sonoran desert landscape. View our well-equipped facility and learn about our mission and vision for the future.

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Worship with Us

The Spirit in the Desert offers more than space for retreats … come and enjoy our Guided Meditations, listen to the Touchpoints and learn more about our weekly Worship Sessions.

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Plan Your Stay

Whether you come for the day, are planning a personal retreat, or considering an overnight stay, here’s the information you’ll need to plan your next visit.

Take a Tour of Spirit in the Desert

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We Are Blessed by Our Community

We are forever thankful to our local business partners
and to those in our local community who give of their time.

Read Daily Devotions

Pastor Steve Holm

Steve Holm, a retired pastor living in Tempe, provides daily meditations for Spirit’s website. Steve served at Desert Cross Lutheran Church, Tempe, for 22 years. In the past he has provided meditations for Advent and Lenten illustrated devotional booklets. Now, we’re thankful that he’s providing these short devotions for visitors to the website.

… Read today’s and past devotions

Worship With Us

jim hanson

Every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., Spirit in the Desert provides a mid-week oasis of meditation and Holy Communion for anyone on the campus of Spirit in the Desert and for people in the surrounding community. Each week a short homily — or Touchpoint —  based on a Biblical story, is presented by Spirit in the Desert Faith Mentor, Jim Hanson.

… Learn more about “Touchpoints”

Virtual Bookstore

The Virtual Book Store is a resource for people on retreat, as well as for others from the local community — a book pantry of nourishing food for spirit and soul!  Every month, we will suggest some “books and a few items” that retreat leaders, friends of Spirit in the Desert, etc., have suggested.

… Check out our favorite titles

Show Your Support

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Your financial support is crucial to Spirit in the Desert’s future.  Each year over 4,000 guests and local community residents find renewal, reconciliation, healing and transformation through the ministry of Spirit in the Desert.  We depend on the generosity of individuals and groups and value every gift, regardless of size, all of which are tax-deductible.

… There are many ways to give

What Our Retreat Participants Say About Their Experience

My wife and I were guests at Spirit along with our family reunion. We want to express our compliments to the facility and our gratitude to the staff who were wonderful. All could not have been more pleasant, friendly, fun and at time, peaceful! It was the very best family Christmas ever.

I am so very appreciative of every thing that was done by the staff at Spirit to make our workshop session the best it could be. It was so apparent that “small miracles” were happening as the morning unfolded and, once again, I’m reminded that we are here to work God’s plan and not our own agenda. For all that Spirit did to make those miracles happen, I am grateful!

To all the Spirit Staff … front desk, housekeeping, kitchen, yard, program planning—however you define your role, you are all truly God’s servants in your ministry to all visitors … The Spirit of our God roams these buildings and landscape—you are blessed to work here and we are blessed when we come.

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