Women’s Ministry Retreat Reflection
I was asked to prepare a reflection on the Women’s Ministry Retreat which was held on January 7 and 8, 2022 at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Chandler. After attending and assisting with some of the retreat preparations, I began to organize my thoughts on how to share this experience and what I thought our women took away from our retreat.
A general definition of a spiritual retreat is a time set apart to be in quiet, rest and solitude with God. Retreats remove us from noise and distractions and into a place of spiritual refreshing and renewing. (Wikipedia) The ministry leaders were very hopeful that our women would enjoy such a renewal with each other, meet new friends and find the peace and connection with the Holy Spirit.
The theme for our retreat was: RELAX, REFRESH AND REJOICE! When planning the Retreat, the leaders wanted to provide the women with a restful weekend of connecting with our ministry members, refreshing our spirit, and renewing or initiating a connection with the Holy Spirit. The Bible verse for the weekend was from Ephesians 1:18.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
After many weeks and months of preparations, we arrived at the hotel to begin our spiritual event. As the ladies registered with the retreat committee, each lady was given a special swag bag containing snacks, personal items, spiritual gifts such as a personal journal, devotional and a scroll of a special poem prepared by one of the committee members to provide spiritual inspiration. The poem read as follows:
God, open my eyes
So I may see
And feel your presence
Close to me…
Give me strength
For my stumbling feet
As I battle the crowd
On life’s busy street.
And widen the vision
Of my unseeing eyes
So in passing faces
Not just a stranger,
Unloved and unknown,
But a friend with a heart
That is much like my own…
Give me perception
To make me aware
That scattered profusely
On life’s thoroughfare
Are the best gifts of God
That we daily pass by
As we look at the world
With an unseeing eye.
The activities began on Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. with a buffet dinner. Following the blessing for our meal, Joyce Bailey started our evening session by teaching us a special song.
Throughout Friday evening and Saturday, we gave out many raffle gifts so that each lady did not go home without a prize.
Also, Dana Newberry arranged a Photo Booth so that everyone could have their pictures taken with friends, new and old. It was great fun.
“A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)
Patti Murphy began the evening bible session by reading and explaining why this scripture verse was chosen, Ephesians 1:18 (NIV).
Mary Hrenchir read a passage from the devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, for January 7. The passage was titled, “Intimate with Jesus.” and referenced a few scripture verses as follows:
Have I been so long with you, and yet, hast thou not known me? (paraphrased).
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the father. How can you say, ‘Show me the father’? John 14:9 (NIV)
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke10:18-20 (NIV)
“I am the true vine; and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
You are already clean, because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15: 1-4 (NIV)
Terri Thompson explained the background of Women’s Ministry at PWC starting at the formation of the Women’s Ministry led by Betty Clewell and up to today with Carol Taylor’s Bible Study and described how far we have come with our Bible study and our ability to unpack the scriptures. We have grown as a ministry of studying His Word.
The women were very encouraged as we were able to facetime with Carol Taylor allowing her to be part of our retreat activities, both Friday evening as well as Saturday.
Carol Palmer introduced the song, “He Touched Me”. Following this music, we had an opportunity to sit in quiet and meditate and write out in our own notes on how God has touched us. We also had an opportunity to share our notes with everyone if we were inspired to do so.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:14 (NIV)
We then formed a Prayer Circle and were able to speak out any prayer request or praise report that were in our hearts.
We then took a break and were able to go to our rooms, change into casual attire, and return for more raffle drawings, and mingle either with friends we knew or make new friends.
The evening concluded with an announcement that Cheryl was hosting a prayer time in her room for a couple of hours for anyone in need of prayer. This event was available to anyone. Several women did go to Cheryl’s room for special prayers. What a spiritual time!
Saturday’s festivities began with breakfast at 8:45 a.m. and Cheryl reciting a blessing of our food. We continued with several raffles.
Carol Palmer offered a greeting and introduction for our morning session.
Patti Murphy presented her program about one of the women of the Bible, Elizabeth; introduced the song, “Where Charity and Love Prevail” and announced we would form a circle of prayer. Again, we were extremely fortunate to have the presence of Carol Taylor by facetime. The women were asked and encouraged to lead us in prayer for any individual, special intention or any prayer held deep in our hearts. Following the circle of prayer, we took a brief break and another raffle.
Carol Palmer then presented her program about one of the women in the Bible, Rahab and introduced the song, “Sinner saved by Grace.”
Patti Murphy explained the new Covenant and bow ceremony. Patti placed the wreath on the table and the women presented bows around the wreath.
Carol Palmer asked Laura Micks, Carol Taylor’s daughter, to sit in the middle of the room, with Mom on facetime and a gift presentation was made to Laura on behalf of Carol Taylor. The Women had presented her with a Memory Book of pictures and messages. The ladies again formed a circle of prayer for this presentation.
Pat Stasak asked if someone would read the Devotional passage for January 8 as follows:
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then service; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to give mercy, do it cheerfully”. Romans 12:4-10 (NIV)
Joyce Bailey taught us another song.
We were in the Circle of Prayer for the final prayer and song, “And the People said Amen”.
My summary of what the women took away from our retreat.
We joined together to relax, refresh, and rejoice with our sisters of Faith. We had many opportunities to share with one another each day and the women were letting go of their fears to speak out. The Holy Spirit was with us and as the scripture says above, we each have our own unique gifts and we were sharing those gifts with each other and honoring our Lord. How special is that! The women were blessed and renewed.