MROP 2019: Frequently Asked Questions


Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Important—Participants should check in between 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm.


Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3:00 pm
It is extremely important that you stay for the entirety of the program so that you are able to give yourself to—and reap the benefits of—the full experience of reflections and continued self-development that the MROP offers.


Buffalo Gap Retreat
229 Cool Creek Road
Capon Bridge, WV 26711
Phone: 202-422-7540 or 703-328-1840


Click here for driving directions to Buffalo Gap.

The nearest airport is Dulles International which is located approximately 90 minutes from Buffalo Gap Retreat.  In order to participate in the entire event, your arrival time must be before 12:00 noon on Wednesday October 2, 2019 and your departure time after 6:00 pm on Sunday October 6, 2019. We will arrange transportation for you to and from the MROP. If you are driving by car, cell phone coverage is very poor as you approach Capon Bridge. Be sure to print out directions from the Buffalo Gap web site.


The MROP is, in part, a wilderness experience. There are a variety of accommodations available at the Buffalo Gap Retreat initiation site. These include 8 cabins holding 4-10 men, and 3 campsites where you can set up your own tent and access showers and toilet facilities. All accommodations are rustic, but have electric, heating, water, showers, and toilets. You can explore the cabins and the camp sites at Buffalo Gap Retreat on their web site. Please indicate your accommodation preference (cabins or camping) on the Travel Information form. We will assign accommodation by preference on a first come first served basis. Unless traveling from overseas, participants are expected to provide their own sleeping bag, pillow and personal linens (washcloth, towel, sheets, etc.). You may also decide to pack an inflatable mattress for yourself or someone else.


Buffalo Gap Retreat is on the Shenandoah River in the mountains of West Virginia near Capon Bridge, 30 minutes west of Winchester, Virginia. Early October weather at Buffalo Gap Retreat typically averages high 60s in the day and mid to low 40s at night, but can get into the low 50s in the day and high 30s at night. Plan accordingly. You will need a jacket, long pants, and perhaps a sweatshirt or heavy sweater.


You will be given a window of approximately 12 hours for a solo experience (Saturday early-morning to Saturday early-evening), during which time, you will be asked to fast (unless medical conditions preclude it).


The total fee is $500.00 which will help to cover the cost of the core MROP expenses. If you register BEFORE June 30, 2019, you will get an early registration discount of $50.

A deposit of $50 is required with your registration, with the balance by September 30, 2019. The deposit will be returned if you are not accepted, but is non-refundable upon acceptance.  Limited scholarship funding covering up to one-half of the total cost is available. You can request a scholarship online. Contact Ken Bevan if you have questions about scholarships (410-292-6890 or

You can make your deposit online using secure PayPal credit card processing or by check made out to DC MALEs in the amount of $50 and sent to DC MALEs, 7069 Saddle Drive, Sikesville MD 21784.


You will be asked to fill out an Application Form, a Confidential Health Questionnaire, a Medical Emergency Contact Form, and a Participant Release Agreement, and a Payment/Transportation Form. The MALEs leadership team will notify men whose applications are accepted and will provide additional information to prepare for the MROP event.


Our weaver will be Joel Blunk from Richmond, Virginia. Joel has extensive experience working with men through MALES (Men as Learners and Elders) and now as weaver and wisdom elder for the related international men's organization, Illuman. Joel is co-pastoral director of Richmond Hill, an ecumenical residential community in the heart of Richmond, VA, dedicated to prayer, hospitality, racial reconciliation and spiritual development. Joel developed Men4Directions for Oasis Ministries and the Crossings, a young men's rites of passage, in central Pennsylvania. A musician, storyteller, and leader of rites of passage and nature-based experientials intended to nurture wholeness and authenticity, Joel is committed to helping others find that place where their "deep gladness and world's deep hunger meet." 

Fr. Tom Newton is a ritual elder for Illuman and the Pastor of Christ Our Light in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Fr. Tom has a Master of Divinity degree from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, NY and a Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University. Fr. Tom was previously the Vicar for Human Services of the Diocese of Camden.  Tom now serves the Diocese of Camden as the Consultant for Priests’ Health and Wellness, a member of the Priest Personnel Board, a member of the College of Consultors, a member of the Presbyteral Council, president of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities, a member of the Diocesan Housing Services Corporation Board of Trustees, and a member of the Board of Trustees for St. John of God Community Services.

Our initiator will be Belden Lane from Missouri. Belden C. Lane is Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, a Presbyterian minister who has taught on a Jesuit, Catholic faculty for 30 years. In addition to being an avid backpacker and storyteller, he has served as an MROP Weaver with MALES and is connected with the Mankind Project in St. Louis. His books include The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality (Oxford, 1998), Landscapes of the Sacred (Johns Hopkins, 2001), Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality (Oxford, 2011), and Backpacking with Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice

Contact Ken Bevan at 410-292-6890 or