Oct 26, 2013

Saskatchewan Women's Retreat Celebrates Courageous Women

 "I Heard Her Voice: Courageous Women of the Bible" was the theme of the fall women's retreat sponsored by Saskatchewan Women in Mission, October 18 &19. The Timberlodge at the Shekinah Retreat Centre, Waldheim, was our location and was as beautiful as always.  Sixty-six women attended. The retreat began on Friday with much conversation over supper, then door prizes and an opportunity for everyone to get acquainted.

Elsie Goerzen, Director of MCC BC's End Abuse Program, was our guest speaker. In her first session, Elsie led a discussion about Hagar's courage and Hagar's naming of Abraham's God as "the One who sees me." Hagar obeyed and trusted in God even when the future seemed very dark, whether it was going back to Sarai or going into the desert. We agreed with Elsie that Hagar truly was the hero of the story.

In the second session, Lois Siemens dramatized the story of the bent-over woman in Luke 13:10-17. Elsie noted Jesus' call to the woman, his touch and his elevation of her status to a full member of the covenant. Elsie explained the woman's courage in allowing herself to be seen by Jesus and everyone in the synagogue, in her participation in her own healing by standing straight, and even in her praising God in front of a male audience.

Val Wiebe, Langham, was our song leader for the joyful singing we did before each session. She had written two songs as responses to the stories of Hagar and the bent-over woman and these she performed for us as well. There were requests from the women that she repeat "Hagar's Lament" at our closing session.

Additional aspects of the retreat included Saturday morning stretches, opportunities to walk outdoors, art and crafts displayed by Gwen Fehr, Hedie Borne, Barb Janzen and Lavonne Dyck to view and purchase. Nola Scofield was present to give massages for $10 and Dory Issac was present with Ten Thousand Villages items for sale.

On Saturday afternoon, Colette Baker (Lutheran pastor from Lanigan) explained laughter yoga to the women and led a series of breathing and laughing exercises. This was something different and before we knew it, the fake laughter was real. It was good exercise either way!

Our time together ended with reflections by Lois Siemens: Courage as hindsight that remembers and celebrates courageous actions in the past, as insight into where courageous actions are needed today, and as foresight  when we move forward in obedience, trust in God, and the support of others.
Braiding three strands of ribbon into bookmarks symbolized that courage.

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