By Dennis Morgan
For Elgin’s Cheryl Veik, work may not really seem like work any more.
Since January, she has spent quite a bit of time where Christian love, peace and tranquility exist in abundance. No, her commute isn’t more than 20 minutes from her home to her office. Yes, it’s not uncommon to see bald eagles in the air, or deer blocking the roadway. Her office is at the Tintern Retreat Center located south of Oakdale.
An artist by trade, having done air brush and detail painting for Connie Baker in Neligh, Veik said last week she wasn’t really looking for a new career challenge when first approached, then she had second thoughts and decided to take the Tintern Board of Directors up on their offer.
“Three months ago, I wasn’t looking for a job when somebody mentioned it. I kind of liked where I was at. Then I woke up one night and decided what will it hurt to look at it. Things then fell into place.”
Her duties at Tintern include handling all bookings for religious retreats and such events as family reunions. Other tasks she is responsible for are bookkeeping, keeping the facility clean as well as being there to greet groups when they arrive to address any questions or needs which they may have.
During the summer time, groups are there all week. “It’s pretty hard to book in the summer time” she said. “We’d like more groups in the fall and winter months, but the roads are more challenging then.”
“When I first came out here, it literally hit me in the face, peace was so prominent here,” she said Wednesday afternoon in her office located just steps away from the chapel. “There’s a different feeling, more pronounced felling when you are here.”
That’s particularly so after groups leave. “After a retreat, there’s such a feeling of peacefulness. You can feel it,” she said.
Tintern has been used as a place for spiritual retreats for many years since its founding in back in the 1980s.
“Coming up the driveway, it’s like my day is going to begin here. I hear turkeys in the ravine, bald eagles flying over head. Some days you have to stop in the driveway to let the deer cross,” she said. “God is present in every aspect of this place. My days are usually pretty good.”
The presence of a loving God was noted not long ago when a youth group left a sign which said, “Quiet – Jesus is here waiting for you.”
Used for religious retreats, Veik reflected for a moment while standing in the chapel, about how many prayers have been said in the building. It was noted that here, in the chapel and surrounding rooms, heads have bowed, eyes have closed and so many have prayed, thankful for blessings; prayed for deliverance from the ups and downs which come with life.
Soon, she said, there will be a retreat for fourth through sixth graders, centered around “The Blessed Virgin Mary.”
She said Tintern feels like home in another way, a more physical way. Cheryl (Schrad) grew up west of Petersburg, right along the edge of the Sandhills, the Beaver River was right in her front yard. “It reminds me of where I grew up,” she said.
As many know, Tintern Retreat is a non-profit corporation governed by a 12-member board of directors. Elginites Terry Reicks and Bill Camp serve on the board, Camp is the treasurer. President is Mel Schaecher of Battle Creek.
“If I have any questions, most board members are just a call or text away,” she said. Mrs. Veik also noted that her husband Pat has been very supportive and she has some grandsons coming up to be able to help with the summer mowing.
Tintern Retreat is one of Antelope County’s hidden treasures, a piece of Heaven here on Earth
By Dennis Morgan