In a world full of uncertainty where stress and anxiety levels seem to climb higher and higher every day, north metro residents who wish to deepen their spirituality may find a hidden gem. 

Christos Center for Spiritual Formation has been located off Holly Drive in Lino Lakes since 1990, but many people pass by on Birch Street, completely unaware it is there. The 51-acre site consists of a perfect blend of woods, wetlands and wildlife. Robin Fraser, Tending the Holy coordinator, described the property as a “little sanctuary” where visitors will find places to walk, sit and even get lost in a labyrinth. 

“It’s a place where people can come and be outside and not worry about everything else that is going on,” said LaDonna Olson, spiritual director and director of administrative services. “It is open and available to anyone who wants a quiet place to get away and connect with nature.” 

Joann Nesser founded the concept of Christos back in 1978. After attending silent retreats led by Catholic nuns and spiritual directors, she thought contemplative spirituality was missing a piece in her own Lutheran traditions and suggested a similar retreat for women at her church. 

By 1985, a core group of women expanded to an ecumenical community of almost 50 men and women, and the group formed into a nonprofit ministry. 

The Lino Lakes location celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018. Christos Centers are also located Fargo and Chicago. Christos Center is well known for Tending the Holy, a two-year program that trains individuals to become spiritual directors. 

This year, 40 people have signed up to become spiritual directors, which is more than double the number from last year. Not surprising, online participation has skyrocketed. 

Brian Norsman, pastor of spiritual formation at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, completed the Tending the Holy program in 2018 and has served on the Christos board since this past spring. He believes now, more than ever, people are “hungry for something deeper” in their lives. 

“In this time of uncertainty, fear and anxiety, people are turning inwardly more in their lives. The pandemic has forced people to slow down,” Norsman explained. “We live in a society where we are living so fast, and being able to take that pause and be still, be silent and listen, that’s important. People are looking for something deeper in their soul.” 

New this year, Christos Center has launched Tending the Call, which is a continuing education opportunity for spiritual leaders and directors.

Christos Center also offers various events, workshops and retreats, and rents out space to different groups. To learn more about Christos Center or see a calendar of events, visit


Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or

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