This past weekend was my first ” Christa Sistas” Women’s Retreat for my parish. Over 80 of the women in my parish, including our rector and our ELCA Priest Associate spent a weekend at Beckwith Camp And Conference Center in lovely Fairhope, Alabama.
Our theme this year was _Transitions Transform_ Since I served on the programming committee for the retreat , I had much insight into what we were doing. Yet God surprised me anyway.
The weather was perfect and the food was delicious. While any time at Beckwith is a wonderful time, this weekend shall hold a special place in my heart.
For instance, I did not know how powerful the group affirmations were going to be for me. What we did was this:
Each small group went around in a circle and said something affirming to the woman on her right. As we did so, we tied a bit of colored ribbon around her wrist. After we completed that step, we all offered a short prayer— giving thanks for one part of the retreat that ” spoke” to us the most”. We each walked away with a piece of a ribbon tied to our wrist to remind us of the bonds we share with our small group. After all groups finished with their affirmations we all gathered at the altar for With God’s Help Litany, written by Ms Ellen Crawford and sang Surely the Presence
For me, that was my Moment Closest to Christ for my first St Christopher’s Women’s Retreat. Today’s culture encourages everyone but especially women to compete with each other. I felt blessed to be among a big group of women who focused on building community by building each other up rather than tearing each other apart. This weekend, I got to know better those whom I already know at church as well as met strangers who became friends.
Life is full of transitions and transitions are hard. But Christians are blessed with knowing that God loves humanity so much that God sent Jesus– God Incarnate to show us how to be the best humans we can be. Additionally, Christ’s Church is a community with whom we muddle through life’s transitions.
In the Name of the Triune God,