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Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church Women | November Newsletter

3 crosses on a hill

If you’ve never attended a BELCW Retreat, please take a few moments to read what I have to share with you.

Reading Peggy’s article about retreat in last month’s newsletter brought back many fond memories of my first few retreats. She did a great job outlining the history of this wonderful activity for the women of Bethlehem and friends of Bethlehem.

The one year I didn’t go to retreat was in 2002 when Marv and I went on a trip to Maui. By then, Joni and Peggy had mentioned they wanted to step down after ten years of planning this event. Knowing how much retreat meant to me, I agreed by phone from Maui to help coordinate future retreats with Liisa Whitman. And I was really excited!!

I think Liisa and I coordinated retreat for a total of ten years as well, and it was an amazing experience to be involved in. The reason I look forward to retreat each year and treasure the experience so much, is exactly the reason Peggy outlined in her article; the bringing together of women to form stronger relationships.

The weekend is planned with many activities that open up opportunities for getting to know the women at retreat in a way that just wouldn’t happen without this experience. Sessions for bible study, games, shared meals and our precious “free time,” give us plenty of ways to get to know each other on a more personal level. It goes beyond the level of greeting and chatting at church on Sunday or at a board meeting. I have formed amazing relationships with the women of Bethlehem solely because of retreat.

I remember my first retreat, when like most of us, I was excited and nervous wondering how I was going to fit into the mix of all of this. There had been a few retreats prior to this, and I remember thinking it was some sort of “club” that the women of Bethlehem had formed. Boy, was I wrong!! I remember several conversations with several women that weekend where we really got to know each other. Not just about our roles at church, but about our faith and how it works in our everyday lives. Our history, dreams and wishes for our families.

I left that weekend knowing this was not a club at all, but a group of wonderful, welcoming Christian women who truly loved and respected each other. They also wanted to form deeper relationship with not just each other, but with our Lord. I had been given a true gift in this experience and I get to relive it each spring! The friendships I have formed at retreat have greatly enriched my life, helped strengthen my faith, and given me a support system that is unmatched by anything I have ever known.

So when you think about the upcoming Women’s Retreat 2017, make it a priority for you. The date is set. The time to plan for it is now!! Get the time off work, make plans for your family’s needs while you’ll be gone, get the babysitter, (husband or grandparents), and get the dog sitter! This is time for you that you really do need to refresh and renew. To uplift your spirit, strengthen your faith, build closer relationships with the women of Bethlehem and bring you closer to God in ways that will amaze you.

If the next retreat is your first time or your 25th time, I promise you will come feeling welcomed and leave feeling refreshed, loved and deeper in your faith journey.

Can’t wait to see you there!!

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