Frequently Asked Questions

Who Comes to Koinonia?

Learn about Groups / Individuals / Guests.


Information on using Koinonia.


Koinonia food availability.


Events, field trips, recreation.


The Territory: hiking, fishing, boating, campfires, etc.


Arrival / Departure

Who Comes to Koinonia? [back to top]

Q. Wondering if Koinonia would be a good fit for your business, agency, wedding, church, family or group?

A. Consider some of the groups who have come to Koinonia for their event. Many groups and organizations have returned time and again because Koinonia offers the right combination of affordability, facilities, quality food, activities, and natural grounds settings.

To honor our guest groups’ confidentiality, we can’t give you a list of names but we can give some categories and retreat topics.


  • United Methodist
  • Baptist
  • Lutheran
  • Convent
  • Catholic
  • Episcopal
  • Berean
  • Presbyterian
  • Independent Bible
  • Friends
  • Community
  • Free Church
  • Unitarian
  • Korean
  • Chinese
  • UCC


  • Extension Services Educators
  • ISD Administrators
  • ISD Faculty
  • Small - Medium Sized College Faculties
  • State College Dormitory Advisors
  • Private College Dormitory Advisors
  • Catholic High School Youth
  • Catholic High Schools Faculty
  • Peer Councilor Training
  • Seminary Faculty

Community Groups

  • Cancer Center Staff
  • Housing-Affordable
  • Housing-Transitional
  • Inner City Youth
  • Children of Substance Abusers
  • Children Who Have Been Physically/Sexually Abused
  • Diversity Training
  • Clown Camp
  • Victim-Offender Mediation Training
  • Substance Abuse Training
  • 12-Step Groups
  • Retired Persons Job Recruiters
  • Alzheimer’s Support
  • Non-Profit Board Training
  • Alternative Energy
  • Human Services Workers Associations
  • State of Minnesota Regulatory and Services Agencies
  • Prison Ministry
  • Sexual Abuse Survivors
  • Grandparents Camp
  • Retreat Center Directors

Event Categories

  • Weddings
  • Family Reunions
  • Church Family Retreats
  • Confirmation Retreats
  • Staff Training
  • Teacher Training
  • Non-Profit Board Training
  • Ecumenical Clergy Gatherings
  • Church Staff Planning Meetings
  • Ordination Candidates Interview & Selection
  • Men's Spirituality Retreats
  • Women's Spirituality Retreats
  • Substance Abuse Prevention
  • Foreign Language Choirs
  • Community Mental Health
  • Faculty Training
  • Diversity Training
  • Inner-City at Risk Youth
  • Crafts - Knitting, Scrapbooks, Quilting, etc.
  • Bible Studies
  • Alpha Groups
  • Silent Retreats
  • Choir Camps

Facilities [back to top]

Q. How many groups will share our lodge?

A. Koinonia only houses a second group in a lodge if the first group requests we do so to decrease their costs in the event their group numbers do not meet the "minimums". It is our policy to provide exclusive use of the lodge and all of its amenities.

Q. Do I need to bring a sleeping bag and towel?

A. No, a linen packet that includes a top and bottom fitted sheet, pillow case, wash cloth, and towel are included with all overnight accommodations. You may choose to bring a towel for use at the lake in season.

Q. Should I strip the bed before I leave?

A. No. we ask that you remove only what you put on the bed before you leave. When you arrive at Koinonia there will be a mattress cover on the bed. Place the fitted sheet provided for you over the mattress cover. Place the articles from the linen packet into the pillow case and leave the case in the hall outside of your room.

Q. Is Koinonia handicapped accessible?

A. Koinonia is partially accessible.

Two baths and toilets are accessible in Sumac Lodge. Sumac is on one level.

Retreat house has an ADA-compliant bath that is shared by two single-person bedrooms, each having a private door into the bathroom.

Our Woodhaven Lodge has an ADA compliant room and bath with an exterior and interior entrance. This room is available individually or with the rest of the lodge.

There is an accessible restroom by the Dining Room in the Carlson Commons.

Reserved parking is located by the west entrance to Sumac and serves guests in both Sumac and Retreat House. Additional parking can be arranged by the host on duty.

Q. How do we reserve a time to use the Chapel?

A. The Chapel may be reserved at the time you make your pre-retreat arrangements or by asking the Host on duty to schedule use. The Chapel is used exclusively for worship and meditation. Meetings are never scheduled in the chapel.

Q. How late can we be in the Conference Center?

A. As late as you like! The host on duty will "check in" with you to let you know what time they will be leaving for the evening. Your group leader will have keys for the lodge that you are staying in and the Commons / Conference Center for 24-hour access.

Q. Does it cost extra to use a meeting room outside of our assigned lodge?

A. For groups renting two or more lodges, additional meeting spaces are available at no charge. Groups renting only one lodge may arrange for a meeting space in addition to the one in their lodge at half price.

Q. If I need something, whom do I talk to during our stay?

A. While you are at Koinonia there will be a host on duty from 7:30 a.m. until evening. The host may be found in the Book Store or in the Dining Room.

Q. Is firewood provided?

A. Yes, all of the wood stoves and fire places are stocked with wood as is the Sauna and the two campfire pits. Wax fire starters and matches are provided. Please do not use newspapers to start fires in the fireplaces. If you use up all the stocked wood, inform the host on duty and we will arrange to replenish your supply.

Q. Can I come out for just the day?

A. Yes. Day Use Fees are $16.00 per-person per-day and include use of the grounds and common spaces, dining room beverage privileges, lunch, and a snack. Please contact us to make arrangements for your visit.

Q. We have some group members who can just come for the day. Is that okay?

A. Yes. It is common for groups to have members who want to participate but can’t stay over.

Q. Are you licensed by the State?

A. Yes, our retreat center is regulated by the State. We meet all Minnesota Department of Health, Wright County Building, and Minnesota State Fire Marshal codes. Our life jackets and boats are inspected by the Wright County Sheriff's Department.

Q. Are there life guards at the beach?

A. All beach activities are "at your own risk". We can provide Certified Life Guards for your group with advance notice. All children under the age of twelve must be accompanied and supervised by a person 16 years of age or older.

Q. How do we get access to the boats and what are your policies or procedures?

A. Watercraft without motors are provided free of charge for use by our guests. You must be at least 18 years of age to sign out a water craft. At least one person in the canoe must be 16 years of age. No more than three persons per canoe. All watercraft users must wear Koinonia-provided life jackets.

Each canoe and each paddle boat must be checked out from the host in the Book Store. Each watercraft has a designated storage location, and must be returned to that location, locked up, the key returned, and the boat signed in with the host after use. We request this procedure be followed by each user and that users not "transfer" possession to a person who has not signed out the craft.

We have a pontoon boat that is available for rent. Please pre arrange pontoon rental with a Koinonia staff person. Users must have experience with this type of craft to rent it.

If a watercraft is damaged, Koinonia will pass the cost of repairs on to the user.

Koinonia reserves the right to limit or prohibit the use of watercraft.

Q. Can I bring my boat to Koinonia?

A. Yes you can, but dock space is very limited and you may have to tie up to the shore. We do not have launching facilities so you will have to put in at the public boat ramp on the west side of Twin Lake. Go west on 80th Street one mile past the Koinonia entrance one to NW Quinn Ave. Turn south (left) and go one mile. Look for the sign (a left turn) to the DNR-maintained boat launch. Once you are on Twin Lake, cross to the east side, go north to the channel, and once through the channel, Koinonia’s property is on the left (north) side of Lake Sylvia. Look for the brown boat house on the swimming beach.

Q. Do you have air-conditioned rooms?

A. Yes. Retreat House rooms with private baths also are air-conditioned. In Sumac, rooms #31 and #41 are air-conditioned. The community / meeting rooms in each lodge, the Library, Chapel, the 150-seat capacity Conference Room, and the Dining Room are also air-conditioned.

Q. What don't you allow at Koinonia?

A. We do not allow firearms, drugs, alcoholic beverages, and pets. The only exceptions granted to these firm prohibitions are for "helping animals" such as guide dogs and physician-prescribed companion animals.

Food [back to top]

Q. What’s the food like?

A. Koinonia is famous for the quality of the food served in our beautiful, glass-walled, vaulted-ceiling, 110-seat Dining Room.

Special menus can be arranged for in advance if your group has exclusive use of the facility.

We serve every meal buffet style.

Q. What about special diets?

A. We are happy to try and meet your special dietary needs. Vegan, vegetarian, and ethnic favorites may be served if our kitchen staff has sufficient notice.

Medical diets can be tricky but we will do our best. Discuss special dietary needs in advance with our staff.

Q. How many can be seated in the dining room?

A. The Dining Room seats 110 and we’ve been known to squeeze in another 20. In warmer weather many guests enjoy eating on the huge deck adjacent to the dining room which overlooks the ponds and lake.

Q. Can your cooks help us with special celebrations?

A. With notice, our cooks can prepare celebratory cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions.

Q. Can we bring our own food?

A. No. All food must be prepared in our licensed kitchen by our certified staff. Koinonia does not have cooking facilities for public use. This is a guest safety issue and no exceptions are made.

Programs [back to top]

Q. Do you sponsor special events or retreats?

A. The only events Koinonia sponsors are three family events for the members and guests of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. All other programs are sponsored by the groups who come here.

Q. Are there off-site field trips we could take to enhance our program?

A. Yes, we have a number of off-site field trips to recommend. Among them are the Earthways Farm which features demonstrations of late 1800’s farming methods and turn-of-the-century crafts and has a great petting zoo. Also, Minnesota Pioneer Park holds several theme "fairs" throughout the year and gives tours of its collection of historic buildings.

For groups seeking adventure, half- and full-day ropes courses at a location just fifteen minutes away.

Golfers have their choice of four very nice courses within a short drive.

Q. Besides the beach, what else to you have for recreation?

A. We have ping pong, billiards, foosball, softball equipment, a sand volleyball court, soccer balls, a basketball hoop in the lower parking lot, a practice range for golfers (bring your own clubs and balls), swing-set and slide, birding, miles of trails.

Q. What supplies do you have we can borrow / use in our program?

A. At no additional charge Koinonia furnishes in each lodge meeting room, and the Carlson Commons meeting rooms, a color monitor with VCR, flip-chart easels with paper, and an overhead projector. An LCD projector that is connected to a VCR / DVD player is available in the Carlson Commons meeting room. The projector can be connected to your laptop computer.

Q. Do your have Internet connections and Cable TV?

A. There is a wireless Internet connection in the Carlson Commons and Conference Room. There are no Cable TV connections at Koinonia.

Grounds [back to top]

Q. How much land do you have?

A. 120 acres.

Q. What is the property like? What about hiking trails and wildlife?

A. Koinonia is situated on gently rolling hills with 3/10ths of a mile of wooded shoreline on Lake Sylvia—one of the clearest lakes in central Minnesota. A trail along the lake leads one to "Listening Point" where a clearing surrounded by birch and hardwood trees creates a quiet, calm, and private place for meditation and conversation. There is a fire pit amphitheatre on Listening Point for your evening enjoyment.

On the meadow beyond the upper parking lot is located a large meditation labyrinth based on the tiled floor of the Cathedral in Chartres, France. Bordering the upper meadow is a row of large pine tress within which is the "Cathedral Pines" walking trail (you will know why it’s called that when you walk it). That trail leads one to the "Wilderness Forty" which is forty acres of untouched land containing extensive walking trails.

It is common to see red fox, deer, loons, ducks, geese, bald eagles, wild flowers and more in our retreat center where no dogs or hunting are allowed. Two Koinonia Board members who are avid birders say Koinonia is one of the best birding sites in central Minnesota.

Q. Are your trails open in all seasons?

A. Although they are not groomed in the winter the trails are open all season for hiking, walking, and cross-country skiing.

Q. Can we have a campfire by the pond or beach?

A. Campfires by the beach and the pond are popular and possible by advance arrangement. Sometimes it can be handled at the last minute, but planning ahead is best. Many groups like to have their snack at the campfire. Koinonia can even provide everything you need for S’mores: roasting forks, Hershey bars, graham crackers and marshmallows.

Q. What is the capacity of the sauna?

A. The sauna will hold about 10-15 people.

Q. How’s the fishing?

A. Great!!! Chapel Bay is where we are located, and it is perhaps the best crappie and bass location on the lake. It’s where the locals come to catch ’em.

Q. Can I bring my own boat?

A. Yes you can, but dock space is very limited and you may have to tie up to the shore. We do not have launching facilities so you will have to put in at the public boat ramp on the west side of Twin Lake. Go west on 80th Street one mile past the Koinonia entrance one to NW Quinn Ave. Turn south (left) and go one mile. Look for the sign ( a left turn) to the DNR maintained boat launch. Once you are on Twin Lake, cross to the east side, go north to the channel, and once through the channel Koinonia’s property is on the left (north) side of Lake Sylvia. Look for the brown boat house on the swimming beach.

Arrival / Departure [back to top]

Q. With whom do we check-in when our group arrives?

A. The host in the Book Store.

Q. With whom do we settle our bill at the end of our stay?

A. Review your group numbers with the host in the Book Store before you leave. An invoice will be mailed to you.