The St. Iakovos Retreat Center was a long time vision and goal, not only of the Hierarchs, but of many dedicated parishioners of Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago; encompassing the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. The search began in the early 2000’s to find a property, which would become the home for Metropolis ministries, as well as for the successful youth camping program, Fanari. After a long search, members of the Retreat Center Board discovered a beautiful 138 – acre property located in the quaint town of Kansaville, Wisconsin, nestled between Kenosha and Racine. Not only was the setting perfect, but also conveniently located just a little over an hour north of Chicago, IL and a half hour South of Milwaukee, making it a central location for the churches of the Metropolis of Chicago.
Since the original purchase in 2006, much effort has been placed into building this home, which had been so longed for. In May of 2013, ground was broken for the first phase of building, which included a 26 room main lodge featuring individual style accommodations and two cottages featuring communal style accommodations. With the completion of this phase of building, the total capacity of the facility increased from just over 20 (twenty) individuals to over 200 (two hundred) individuals. In addition to the lodging accommodations the facility also includes a variety of indoor meeting and gathering rooms, over two miles of trails for walking, a campfire pit, an outdoor pool, and various outdoor activities such as basketball, tennis, grass volleyball, soccer, Octoball and softball.
Future plans for the St. Iakovos Retreat Center include the continued development of the permanent activity area which will feature softball, sand volleyball, soccer, basketball, cornhole, bocce ball, and a large playground for children. In addition to the activity area improvements are being made to Friendship lake in hopes to be able to offer boating by the summer of 2017. Due diligence was paid by having a study of the Lake done so as to ensure its safety, and after good reports plans for new aluminum docks as well as boats and a boat house have already been drawn up. However, most importantly our greatest dream, and the master plan, will not be complete until a full Byzantine style Church is erected on the property. The Church location has been identified over a decade, and it will sit in the center of the property just across from the Tomaras Lodge.