Earlier this week, I sat down at Panera with the group in charge of Commonway’s women’s ministry. These four women–Gabriele, Cindy, Debbie, and Lisa–have been leading our church’s women’s Bible studies and fellowship groups for the past several months. I’ve been able to join them as part of the planning committee for the upcoming women’s retreat. We’re at the stage in the planning where everything is coming together: the theme, the break-out session descriptions, the food, the activities. In dividing up the remaining responsibilities, I immediately offered to write up this blog post to let everyone know just how great the retreat is going to be.
Here’s what you need to know:
The event will be held on April 8-9 at the John 23rd Retreat Center in Hartford City, Indiana. It’s a beautiful home that has been renovated to include several rooms, including singles, doubles, and dorm-style rooms. The grounds are absolutely lovely with gardens, quiet prayer areas, hammocks, and more.
Your time at the center will include worship and talks on our theme, meals, snacks, fellowship time, creative activities, time for quiet reflection or prayer, and break-out sessions on topics that many women in our church community face.
About that theme: “My Heart, Christ’s Home” is originally a short devotional tract by Robert Boyd Munger about the importance of allowing Jesus to be involved in every part of our lives. Using Munger’s work as a jumping off point, we have created a weekend dedicated to the idea of opening ourselves up to the presence of Christ in everything that we do. The main talks focus on asking who is this man, Jesus, who wants to make our heart his home? We’ll do this by exploring Jesus as our teacher, friend, lover and Lord.
Our homes, in particular, are the focus of the weekend, and everything we do in those homes. Think of everything that your home involves: sleeping, eating, nurturing, loving, cleaning, working, learning, hosting, studying, and more. There will be breakout sessions on several of these topics where you can learn from and talk with other women who care about the same things as you.
Whether your home is an apartment, a dorm, your dream house, a rental duplex, or something else altogether, this retreat will allow you to think about the things that make you who you are when you are in your most intimate environment. Then, we will consider what role Jesus has to play.
As the planning committee has worked together on this event, it has been exciting to see how inclusive the event has become. If you are a woman at Commonway, we want you to join us at the retreat. This is going to work no matter your stage in life. If there’s something that makes you think, “Maybe I wouldn’t fit in at this retreat, because I’m _____________,” I want you to know: you are welcome with us. We want you there.
Commonway is great because of the wide range of experiences we bring when we get together. Without that, we don’t work. At our church and at our retreat, we want the stay at home moms, the working moms, the single moms, the single women, the newlyweds, the women who want kids but don’t have them, the empty nesters, the grandmas, the college students, the healthy women, the women who have felt great loss, the women who face health challenges, the women who are content, the women who are struggling…you’re seeing what I’m saying? We want you to be there!
We have crafted this retreat to be customizable to your interests and needs. You’re going to get to make a lot of decisions about how you want to spend your time at the center, whether that’s participating in every activity, getting some much needed time yourself, socializing with new and old friends, or spending time in contemplative worship and meditation.
If you’re not convinced yet, come to church on Sunday morning to see me face my fear of microphones in order to get on stage and remind you that you can sign up after service at the Connections Table. See you then!
Space is limited for the retreat. Registration is $50, covering the cost of accommodations, meals, snacks, and supplies. The deadline for registration is March 15th. Have questions? Contact Debbie Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org or come to the Connections Table on Sunday morning.