About Us

Chestnut Retreat Center (a.k.a., Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded by Turkish American Muslims living in the area. Chestnut Retreat Center (CRC) was founded upon the ideals and principles of the Hizmet Movement.

Our Mission

CRC’s mission is to serve the community through:

•Offering a space for spiritual development, education, reading, meditation, and prayer.
•Organizing dialogue events where people of different faiths, cultures and backgrounds can interact with each other.
•Helping the needy in collaboration with local aid agencies.


CRC attempts to provide an environment where guests can relax both mentally and spiritually away from the busy tempo and chaos of daily life during their stay. In addition to offering the opportunity to advance in the realm of spiritualism and knowledge, it has also strived to provide a remarkable retreat with its natural wonders, picnic spots, trails, recreational sites, a playground, and a peaceful atmosphere in the Poconos for 24 years. Now let’s take a closer look at our center.
  • History


    CRC was established in 1993 by American Turkish Muslims living in the area. Between its establishment and 1999, for about six years, it primarily functioned as a kids summer camp where children would learn different kinds of subjects such as science, math as well as religion. In 1999, it transitioned from a periodically used summer camp to a dynamic retreat center. It has been issuing reservations to its visitors since then.
  • Buildings


    There are two main buildings and eight guesthouses at CRC. Areas used for education, conferences, masjid, dining, and lectures are located in the two buildings which host joint programs as well.
  • Guest Houses

    Guest Houses

    Our visitors stay in the guesthouses designed to accommodate a family or about two or three people in each room.
  • Guest Houses

    Guest Houses

  • Education


    CRC arranges weekend and summer schools for children. The curriculum of these summer schools include not only math, physical and spiritual sciences, and ethics, but also fine arts and sports.
  • Guest Houses

    Guest Houses

  • Guest House Kitchenette

    Guest House Kitchenette

    Also, each guest house has a kitchenette for visitors to make beverages and heat their food.
  • Dining Hall

    Dining Hall

    CRC has a large commercial kitchen as well as a dining room where visitors have their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Kitchen


    We serve three meals a day from the rich Turkish cuisine.
  • Conference Hall

    Conference Hall

    During the Covid-19 outbreak, this hall was renovated for post-pandemic programs. Moreover, seminars and lectures on diverse topics are occasionally arranged in the conference hall.
  • Study Circle

    Study Circle

    Gulen, who resides in the center, shares his vast knowledge in Islamic sciences with his students and visitors. Similarly, in the student-centered lectures, students with a theology background share the presentations they prepared in advance.

    Depending on his health condition, Gulen also gives weekly sermons on Fridays and Sundays in this hall. These sermons that are delivered in Turkish can be found with English subtitles on

    Youtube Link
  • Daily Life

    Daily Life

    At CRC, the day starts with a light breakfast and continues with education. The most important educational activity at CRC is the study circle in which lessons focus on Islamic Sciences such as teachings or sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Qur’anic commentary, and Islamic Jurisprudence.
  • Prayer


    Furthermore, due to the important value of praying in Islam, 45-minute prayer sessions are held at CRC. During these sessions, everyone prays individually by reading either the Qur’an or books compiled of Islamic scholars’ prayers. Gathering for prayers underlies the idea that congregational prayers will be accepted more quickly by God.

    Gulen, expresses his opinion on related subjects if the situation arises. In addition to Islamic sciences, books on various social sciences such as psychology, sociology, and philosophy are also summarized and presented by students.

    A short film:
  • Multipurpose Room

    Multipurpose Room

    There is also an additional room with a modest-sized library in the main building where guests can have reading and study sessions.
  • Multipurpose Hall

    Multipurpose Hall

    There are two large halls at CRC. On occasions like Thanksgiving or Ramadan, there is a multipurpose hall to host holiday events, small panels, and meetings.
  • Sport


    For those who are interested in sports, we have a basketball court and a large field where games such as soccer can be played.
  • Playground


    Last but not least, children, too, can spend time in the playground specifically designed for them.
  • Picnic Areas

    Picnic Areas

    There are picnic areas and trails for visitors at CRC to immerse themselves in nature. They can also rest on benches and in closed spaces around the lake and the small river for meditative purposes.
  • Chestnut Retreat Center

    Chestnut Retreat Center

    As CRC, we strive diligently to advance these environments and programs in which individuals can rest not only physically but also mentally and spiritually.

Study Circle

One of the daily activities that are held at the Chestnut Retreat Center is the daily morning study sessions. Fethullah Gulen conducts these traditional type of Islamic teaching, going through classical texts of Islamic jurisprudence, Hadith, exegetical texts and theology with his students. Gulen has been teaching over 50 years.

Fethullah Gulen wants to continue to familiarize his students with the tradition of Islam as well sharing what he has studied over the course of his life. For students, this offers a unique way to study their religion, rarely found elsewhere.
Most of the texts are read in Arabic whilst Fethullah Gulen offers his explanations in Turkish. Whilst students read in Arabic, they interact by asking questions and making comments in Turkish. Students prepare for these texts and present whilst sitting on the ground, whilst visitors watch from seated chairs. The texts are often projected on a large screen for visitors to follow.

In the circle, in addition to these, some other books on Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, and Science have been summarized and discussed by the students.