A Spring Retreat offered by Mennonite Women Manitoba
You could have heard a pin drop, as the 45 women who had gathered for this day of retreat, received the stories of women encountering Jesus. We were treated to stories drawn from Scripture, early Christian history and the contemplative tradition, along with stories from more recent history, all presented in simple and profound dramatic form. Our retreat director, Laura Funk, (a local Spiritual Director and founder of Butterfly Journeys) crafted the day to introduce us to the voices of these historic women as well as to practices of prayer that have stood the test of time. Laura also prepared a resource booklet for participant in which she stated, “My hope is that if you sense the need for a change in your own spiritual journey, something here might help you along.” And the booklet provides many such helps; reminders of the practices we tried out, and descriptions of the ones we didn't have time to try.
Our day together truly was a day of retreat as we engaged and selected and experienced a wide array of prayer practices. The prayer stations, created by Laura, included written introductions and explanations to each,(in the provided booklet) that invited us to enter each practice. Women from a wide variety of age groups waded in, sometimes on their own, sometimes with a group of others. Retreaters affirmed that being introduced to new ways of encountering Jesus was refreshing for them. They also affirmed the use of storytelling as a way to ‘hear anew’ the words of Jesus.
This Retreat looked distinctly different from the Sister Care Seminar we had offered in the spring of 2016. Both the ‘returning retreaters’ from 2016 and the new women who ventured into this years retreat encouraged us to keep providing such events.
As the MWMB planning group reflected on this event, it affirmed that allowing the Retreat to go in distinct directions served our hopes of offering differing spaces for women in our community. MWMB will continue to offer Spring Retreats, along with the other initiatives it is pursuing. Next year's event will focus on mental health. Watch for news about it this fall.
Submitted by Kathy Giesbrecht