Freedom in Christ Retreat

Testimony by Laura

Let me say from the very start that as I continue in my faith journey, I am finding out that with God there is always more!  I love the fact that we are created in His image and the goal is to be more and more like Jesus.  God’s desire for us is to experience His love and His healing so that we can be made whole.  Freedom in Christ was the start of my experience of becoming healed and whole.

I have been following Christ for 27 years.  During this time, as a Church Administrator, I have heard many people’s stories; including their heartache.  God placed a desire in me to care for people and pray for them.

I had no idea what to expect from the Freedom in Christ Retreat.  One of the very first activities we did was a “game” and through it I became aware of how much sadness had been affecting me for years because of some overwhelming circumstances in my life.  Many of these situations were created by my own bad choices and sin and many of my circumstances were out of my control because they were created by other people in my life.  Towards the end of the retreat, there is a time of worship, quiet reflection and prayer for participants.

During the reflection time, the Lord showed me a picture of a little girl twirling in a beautiful meadow with a balloon.  It was a beautiful picture, and I believe the Lord spoke to my heart saying that He wanted me to “enjoy’ instead of having a spirit of sadness.  Over the course of the next several years, the Lord gave me laughter and joy despite overwhelmingly sad circumstances.  The start of this joy stems from being a participant of the Freedom in Christ retreat.  My circumstances have changed drastically and I believe the Lord is continuing to teach me joy over and above my circumstances.

After being a participant, I was blessed to be part of the leadership team on several occasions.  The F.I.C. Retreat is led very well.  The team prepares for the retreat months in advance.  Absolutely nothing happens without prayerful consideration.  It is truly a ministry of the Holy Spirit.  I have seen very broken and hurting people come with anxiety, not knowing what to expect, and leave with a testimony of God’s gentleness and faithfulness.

The retreat is held at a retreat center in Franklin, PA affectionately known as the “Castle.”  It is beautiful and restful and most importantly, the presence of God is very apparent in that place.

Each and every time I have led or been a participant at the F.I.C. the Lord has touched me with His healing.  I am a proponent of this retreat!  I highly recommend attending.  It is time and money well spent, and I firmly believe it is for EVERYONE, regardless of where you are on your faith journey.


What the Freedom in Christ Retreat Meant to Me.

Lori Otto

It was a cold winter weekend about ten years ago when, I, along with a couple of other friends decided to drive out and attend the FIC retreat.  At the time, I had already been attending some classes and counseling at the Lazarus Center (TLC) in Ambridge, PA.  My friends thought it would be a good idea to attend.

I was pretty broken at the time.  It was a season of pain for me, both physically and emotionally.  I was grieving the loss of my only mother figure growing up.  I had just given birth to my fourth child, and my best friend distanced herself from me because she herself was grieving the birth of her child with health issues.  On top of that, I was diagnosed with lupus.

The first day at the castle was a little uncomfortable for me.  I had undergone an outpatient procedure the day before and wanted to be lucid during worship so I chose to pass on the pain medicine.  That was short lived.  God met me even while taking my pain medication.

The music was beautiful.  The meeting room was full of people from all walks of life.  The leadership team was warm and inviting.  There was a ton of comfort food and snacks.

As the talks progressed, I noticed that the testimonies became more and more heavy.  I had never attended a retreat where those leading would share such deep wounds and hurts.  Through their transparency, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my soul.

In retrospect, God was gentle and only revealed what I needed to see at the time.  During one of the healing prayer times, a woman whom I did not know laid hands on me and began to pray over me.  She shared that she envisioned a wolf inside of me and prayed against it.  It was truly a divine moment.  (Lupus means wolf in Latin).

My Lord also showed me a picture of many men in my life.  Men who had hurt me emotionally and physically.  Including my biological father who abandoned me.  Lastly, HE revealed to me, my husband.  He told me that I was no longer abandoned but loved and I needed to allow HIM (through my husband) to love me, truly love me.  It was a powerful life-changing beginning for me.

Thereafter, I continued counseling with healing prayer at the Lazarus Center.  While it was not easy and certainly did not happen overnight, the sacrifice was so worth it.  I entered TLC feeling like a broken, dirty doll that nobody wanted and my Lord gently picked me up and loved me and made me new.



Adult Children of the Almighty Class

Connie McCracken facilitating

Small group ministry for those seeking spiritual & emotional healing. Offering individuals a safe place to look at the truth of what was going on in the families they grew up in. Characteristics of healthy & unhealthy families, reactions to past hurts, unmet needs, family roles, & abuse will be covered.

WHEN:   Meeting every week for six weeks.

WHERE: Contact Lazarus Center for more details

GROUP FEES: $10 registration fee $60 group fee

TO REGISTER: Call Connie McCracken at 412-671-2475 or email:

If you would like to pay on-line, please go to: