Nov 26, 2012

The 2012 Sask Women in Mission Retreat

The annual fall women’s retreat sponsored by Sask Women in Mission was held on October 19 & 20, in the Timberlodge at the beautiful Shekinah Retreat Centre.

The retreat began on Friday evening with a fall-themed banquet. Following that great meal, we played a get-acquainted game where we placed ourselves on an imaginary line in answer to such questions as: Do you prefer dogs or cats as a pet? Would you rather watch a movie or read a book? and Would you rather watch curling or hockey?  It was a humorous way to get us moving before settling down to listen to the speaker. 

Our guest speaker was Dora Dueck, historian, editor and writer from Winnipeg. The intertwined stories of Jesus’ healing of the two women who interrupted his journey, (Mark  5:21-43) formed the basis for Dora’s presentations.  Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30 are God's call for us to rest and to be renewed: "Come to me and I will give you rest... Take my yoke and learn from me." 

For her first presentation, Dora explained what the needs of the bleeding women were and asked us to consider what our needs are. Her answer to the question, “What does the REST to which Christ calls us look like?” was that rest sees the big picture, listens, forgives, has done the most difficult thing, and believes that I am loved deeply by God. We sang, "Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art; I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.... For by thy transforming power thou hast made me whole." 

Friday evening ended with a discussion of Dora’s prize-winning novel, This Hidden Thing. Book club enthusiasts enjoyed the discussion and everyone was glad when the author herself read several selections from her book. 

Saturday morning began with stretching exercises led by Marian Hooge Jones. She made them fun with scarves and sing-along choruses. Through out the day, women could browse and buy from some craft tables and from Ten Thousand Villages. The crafters were Dora Wiebe from Glenbush with pieced blankets, some made of fun fur, Barbara Schmidt, Waldheim, who works with wool, and Lois Siemens from Superb with her calligraphy and prairie photos.  Nola Scofield, doing massages, replaced the pedicurist who was unable to be present. Her fifteen minute “back rubs” were a soothing delight for $10.00.

Barbara Schmidt with her felted and knitted items from angora wool. 

Calligraphy artist and photographer, Lois Siemens, with her cards and bookmarks.

In her second presentation, Dora invited us to consider what new or ongoing work and what challenges are before us. She continued to illustrate Christ's call to rest and renewal with personal stories. RENEWAL in Christ, she said, travels lightly, is not afraid of change, takes time (and space), usually grows out of dissatisfaction or crises and finds energy in the larger vision (and mystery) of God’s work in the world.  

Our final session on Saturday afternoon was given to prayers, lighting candles and offering each other bread and juice in a service of holy communion. 

Approximately fifty women attended, which was a disappointing number for us. A local woman had planned to attend only on Friday evening, but after hearing Dora she  rearranged her Saturday schedule and came back for the day. Her comments, plus other evaluations, indicated that those fifty women had had an inspiring time. One women appreciated the juxtaposition of rest and wrestling, another the reminder that she is God’s beloved daughter, that will be her mantra. 
And so we praise God for another wonderful women’s retreat. 

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