Sorrento Centre – Planning the Impossible?

Sorrento Centre
By on May 1, 2021

Question: How do you plan for gatherings at a time when the global pandemic has severely restricted almost all events?

Answer: Very carefully, very prudently and with one eye firmly fixed on the ever-changing public health and WorkSafeBC rules.

At the Sorrento Centre, we are preparing for a summer season that we hope will include some old favourites, as well as engaging new events. It’s not just in-person gatherings. At the Sorrento Centre, our on-line events are growing in numbers and variety.

Check out our website at for in-person and online events throughout 2021 and into 2022 and so much more about the life and work of our beloved Centre.

Our signature “Five Weeks of Summer” from July 11 to Aug. 13 includes everything from the 21st year of our popular hiking program to a wonderful new course on birding and the Holy Spirit. A dynamic new offering in 2021 is a Celtic harp course with Jeff Stockton, and we will welcome, once again, Celtic spirituality with Lorie Martin and Katherine Murray.

Get all the details about “Five Weeks”: weeks

Last year, we launched our virtual community hub with smart technology – the first of its kind in the Shuswap – and we have already hosted dozens of on-line courses and events. Upcoming events include an incredible four-part symposium on homefulness and home-making, along with JourneyDance as well as mindfulness sessions.

Our upcoming on-line courses:

In all of our on-line and in-person events, we seek to live deeply into our mission to be a “gathering place for all.” We are a retreat and conference centre in the Shuswap region (roughly in the northwest corner of the Diocese of Kootenay, close to Salmon Arm). We were founded by Anglicans in 1963 as a lay ministry training centre and have evolved over the years.

In 2019, the year before the pandemic, we welcomed 3,488 guests who stayed for a week or more on our 24-acre main campus and 8-acre natural farm. We also welcomed thou- sands more day visitors. They came for spiritual retreats, musical events (everything from banjos to ukuleles to swing music) and activities that engaged body, mind and spirit. Our Centre is a major hub in western Canada for the fibre and fabric arts, including quilting.

In 2020, as COVID gripped our province and the world, we were only able to open for five months, with strict limits on the number of guests. We welcomed 798 guests. Our detailed pandemic plan, inspected and approved by WorkSafeBC, helped ensure there was not a single health incident. Our 2020 plan is continually updated and will provide the foundation for future events, once we are able to re-open.

For a video snapshot of 2020 go online to:

For 2021, we are offering on-line and in-person events. We partner with a variety of groups to offer bicycle touring, fabric arts, writers’ sessions and spiritual retreats.

The Sorrento Centre is closely engaged with St Mary’s Anglican / United Church in Sorrento – just across the highway from our main campus. Last year, we safely hosted two worship gatherings, and we host the on-line worship for St Mary’s.

In 2020, we created a strong bond with Wild Church BC, a fresh expression of our relationship with the Creator and Creation. We are hosting monthly outdoor worship with Wild Church.

In September 2020, we launched our Winter Youth Leadership Development program – an eight-month winter residential program for young adults that seeks to build community, support spiritual and personal growth and encourage leadership. The second cohort of WYLD will be welcomed in September of 2021.

Want to experience the life and times of the Sorrento Centre? Check out almost three dozen short and longer videos in our on-line showcase:


  • Michael Shapcott

    The Rev’d Michael Shapcott was ordained a Deacon on the Feast Day of Nicholas Ferrar and serves as Executive Director of the Sorrento Centre Anglican Church of Canada.

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