The first evening of our retreat weekend, we found ourselves immersed in the sounds of drums all around us. At first, it was just a simple drum to represent our own beating hearts. Little by little, the drumming evolved organically into a more complex drumming that was both beautiful and enchanting. It had been a few years since First UU had a women's retreat, and for some it had already been too long.
Participants attended this retreat for various reasons: Some needed a break from the busyness of life, some wanted to get to know more women in our community, others had always attended the retreats of UUWomen or of Women Together in the past. But no matter the reason, the others on the planning team (Lynda Gilgun, Pat Schmidt, Marla English, and Mary Byrne Hoffmann) crafted a weekend that invited participants into deeper reflection, and spiritual growth as well as rest and renewal.Retreats offer the opportunity to create community and to explore our spirituality in ways that are not always possible at church. During the weekend, I was moved by the willingness of women to try new rituals and to engage indifferent activities around the camp. Mary Byrne Hoffmann started our gathering by inviting us all into the bigger story we all carry within. And I witnessed, throughout the weekend, women opening up to one another, sharing part of their stories, being vulnerable sometimes. There was also time to have fun and, aboveall, to just be
What I'll continue to carry with me from the weekend, is the gift I received of bearing witness to how the participants took care of each other. I'm sure friendships and connections were strengthened, that some felt seen, others felt heard, and many others affirmed. We offered each other company, joy, reflection, and space. No human gathering is ever perfect, but when I reflect about the weekend we spent in Camp Stevens, these words I found in the book "Sacred Circles" remain true:
"When sisters gather and thewind/ breath/ spirit blows and seeds are scattered, nurturing happens even when we are unaware."- Margee
I'm grateful for the work of the planning team, the help of our Connections Coordinator Jenner Daelyn, and the offerings of our presenters (Gail Edwards, Mary Byrne Hoffmann, Pat Schmidt, Sharon Goodlove, Rev. Andrea Travers, and Rev. Kathleen Owens) for making the weekend possible. My hope is that the seeds planted and watered during our time together, will continue to grow, and bloom, and enrich our lives.
Posted on Wed, April 10, 2019
by Ame Stanko