Frequently Asked Questions


What is the format for a Great Banquet weekend Retreat?
The weekend consists of a series of talks given by clergy and fellow Christians. The talks focus on faith issues and personal testimony. Guests meet in small groups to discuss the talks and summarize key points. Communion is served daily. The team running the weekend and guests live as a self-contained Christian community, away from commitments, distractions and responsibilities we all face in the outside world.

What makes the weekend special?
Ask someone who has attended a banquet! It is hard to put into words as to how inspiring the experience can be! When Christians have the opportunity to spend 3 days concentrating on their faith and personal relationship with God, many truly wonderful things can happen. From seekers who are new to their faith, to Pastors, everyone seems to be moved by the experience. The best advice we can give is to ask someone who has attended the banquet. The description provided above (in response to the format question) might not seem dynamic, but the weekend certainly is dynamic.

Where will I sleep and take showers?
Accommodations are provided at Park Ridge Presbyterian Church, located in Park Ridge, IL. We turn several rooms into sleeping areas, using Aerobed mattresses for bedding (they are comfortable - really!). The church has showers that we use during the weekend.

What should I bring to the weekend?
Your sponsor will have more information on what to bring. In general, though, pack casual comfortable clothing, layers are often the best choice. You will also need to bring your Pillow, twin size sheets & blankets and or sleeping bag, towel, toiletries (ie: toothbrush, shaving items, deodorant, shampoo, etc.), Flip-Flops or shower shoes, a Coverup or Bathrobe, and any medication you need to take during the weekend in a prescription container with your name on it. Bringing a Bible is not necessary, but many guests do so to mark passages discussed in the talks.

I don't have much background reading the Bible or engaging in church activities. Is this for me?
Definitely. Please don't feel shy or intimidated at all. The weekend is not a formal educational experience, but instead an opportunity to focus on your faith and personal relationship with God.

What if my family needs me during the weekend? Will someone check in on them while I'm away?
A sponsor is assigned to every guest (typically, it is the person who has introduced you to the banquet) who helps transport you to and from the weekend activities and makes sure any needs that your family faces while you are away are met. We hope this will free you from any worries you have concerning your family so you can focus exclusively on your faith and personal relationship with God.

Can I sleep at home?
No. Everyone, the team running the events and guests spend the entire weekend together as a Christian community, isolated from the outside world. This includes sleeping at the church. However, if you require special sleeping arrangements, please let us know. We will likely be able to accommodate your needs.

I am on a special diet, or need to take medication. Can I still attend the weekend?
Most likely - we haven't turned anyone away yet! The Guest Registration Form has sections for you to indicate any food allergies, special diet or medication needs. Please provide this information and we'll contact you to make sure we understand your needs and can accommodate them during the weekend.

I have additional questions. Whom can I talk to? Can I talk to someone who has recently attended a weekend?
Please review the Board Members page to see if you recognize any of the names. If you know someone on the Board feel free to contact them. If not, you can send us an email using the Contact Form and we'll get back in touch with you.

Is the Greater Chicago Great Banquet Community under the guidance of any particular church or denomination?
No, The Great Banquet is a non-denominational movement which is governed by an ecumenical board. All Great Banquet Communities are hosted by churches that provide facilities for the community. So while Greater Chicago Great Banquet Community events are held at Park Ridge Presbyterian Church, we are not a Presbyterian-only group.

I'm not a Presbyterian, nor do I attend Park Ridge Presbyterian Church. Is this for me?
If you are a Christian, no matter what flavor, then The Great Banquet is for you! The Great Banquet is a non-denominational movement. In fact, a particular focus of the movement is to draw Christians from a variety of backgrounds and faith experiences together so we can learn and grow from each other.

It must cost more than $25 per guest to host a weekend. How can you afford to hold them?
The Greater Chicago Great Banquet community relies on donations from members (individuals who have attended past banquets) and religious organizations. The weekend has a profound impact on many guests, who then support the community to share the blessings they received with other Christians.