Mission & Vision
Acknowledgment of the Land
Five Oaks acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe people and acknowledge their stewardship of this land throughout the ages. We seek a new relationship with the Original Peoples of this land, one based in honour and deep respect.
Who We Are
Five Oaks is an Education and Retreat Centre affiliated with The United Church of Canada.
To be an affirming, vibrant, and inclusive community where people of all backgrounds and traditions can gather on the land to live, work, learn, pray, play, heal and act for justice.
To offer renewing and transformative individual, group, and community experiences through meaningful reflection, deep connection, and joyful expression
Five Oaks is committed to deepening its relationships with historical partners, while also building relationships with new communities. In doing so, Five Oaks will exemplify the following five core values:
Radical Hospitality — Five Oaks is committed to ensuring every guest feels welcome, safe, and supported and that every group has a safe space for reflection. Five Oaks welcomes all those seeking to develop personally or spiritually, from whatever tradition.
Embracing Difference — Five Oaks celebrates the rich variety of cultures, personal and spiritual journeys, and paths which together create a stronger society.
Environmental Stewardship — The land is sacred and nature is a gateway to transformation of self, spirit, and relationships. Five Oaks accepts its responsibility to protect creation.
Right Relations — Five Oaks commits to understanding colonialism in all its forms, examining its historical legacy, learning the stories of the land and of displaced and exploited peoples and, from this knowledge, walking paths toward right relationship.
Social Justice — Five Oaks commits to examining ongoing social and racial injustice, to actively seeking opportunities to right historical wrongs, and to being a catalyst for societal transformation.
Five Oaks’ values serve as internal guidelines, informing decision-making at all levels of the organization. They also inform which partners Five Oaks will seek to build relationships with in the future. Five Oaks is more than a space—it is a community, united in values and diverse in traditions, cultures, spiritualities, and faiths.
Five Oaks is a unique, intercultural centre offering safe space for educational and spiritual retreat. From one-off workshops to week-long residential experiences, Five Oaks programs are built around five core principles:
● Promoting social justice, equity, and respect for human rights
● Caring for the earth—from a deep respect for land, air, water, and all living creatures
● Curating space for personal and spiritual growth, respecting a diversity of experiences
● Enabling meaningful dialogue for change—both within and between people groups
● Society is stronger together as people reflect, work, play, and learn side by side
A Sacred Space
Five Oaks sits at the confluence of two waterways—a sacred place in Indigenous traditions; for others, a ’thin place’ where the physical and spiritual are closely and deeply experienced. Today, Five Oaks offers transformational experiences at the confluence of renewal and action: ‘come apart’ for restful and reflective retreat; leave with tools and inspiration for life.
The rich, long-standing Carolinian forests on whose land Five Oaks is situated is teeming with life. Forests and land thrive through the symbiotic diversity of their many parts. Today, Five Oaks deliberately celebrates the rich diversity of human experience. All are welcomed to learn and to thrive here—within their own culture and spiritual practices, or by sharing in others’ experiences.
Five Oaks is blessed by refreshing winds and rains that traverse the Great Lakes region. These constantly renewing climate patterns bring life and nourishment to all in their path. Today, the Centre actively promotes a healing climate of change by naming and addressing historical wrongs between peoples and cultures, and by seeking new ways to live and work together for peace.
Partners for a Better Future
Five Oaks Centre is a safe space to rest and renew your spirit, to reignite and nurture your passion for good, and to re-equip and strengthen your capacity to improve your corner of the world. All bring gifts to this place from their own humanity and lived experience. Whether you are offering programs or participating in programs, you are a valued partner at Five Oaks
Five Oaks Strategic Plan
Approved By: Five Oaks’ Board Members
In September 2020, Five Oaks launched its strategic planning process. Strategic planning is an inclusive and intentional process for setting an organization’s overarching direction, and a process for articulating the organization’s desired impact. The purpose of this process was to revisit Five Oaks’ Vision and Mission, to determine appropriate areas of focus, and to develop a high-level roadmap for how the organization will evolve over the next several years. To inform the development of the strategic plan, a study was conducted including both primary and secondary research. This study uncovered key trends in the market for education and retreat centres, and identified potential opportunities for Five Oaks to deepen its impact, while simultaneously serving new audiences.
An important element of this process was to gather the perspectives of members and non-members alike. The strategic planning process provided the opportunity to engage with both stakeholders who know Five Oaks well—Board, staff, members, partners, and clients—as well as others whom Five Oaks will aim to serve in the future. Five Oaks is grateful to the more than 60 contributors who offered their time, input, and expertise to this project and whose perspectives have been invaluable in shaping the strategic plan that follows. A special acknowledgement goes to the strategic planning steering committee—Rev. Peter Wall, Rev. Pegi Ridout, Ms. Ausma Malik, Mr. Robert Stapleford and Ms. Karen Efron—without whom this initiative would not have been possible.
Please find a copy of the full report by clicking on the image.
Apr 17, 2017
Prepared By: Five Oaks’ Member Working Group
This document was prepared by the Five Oaks’ Member Working Group (MWG), which officially formed and mandate agreed upon at Five Oaks’ Annual General Meeting, June 29, 2016. After a strong membership response to the Board’s announced impending closure of Five Oaks, the Board put forth an alternative of providing time for the MWG to explore options and develop a future Business Plan for Five Oaks.
In the succeeding time, MWG worked tirelessly to seek out a new vision, and way forward for Five Oaks. Please find a copy of the full report by clicking on the image.