On Zoom – Registration is required to keep the space safe. The Zoom link will be sent to those who register and participant numbers will be limited to keep the scale of the event relational. Full group presentations and discussions will be held as Zoom meetings. (Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and a worship gathering at 2 p.m.)
AND In Person – Friends are encouraged to attend together! Have someone you can meet for dinner on Friday and Zoom with in a living room? A sister you want to call to talk with between sessions? Want to have a small group presence at Ashland Presbyterian Church on Saturday? If none of these work for you, don’t worry, we can create break-out rooms online too! Pastor Kerra will lead the discussions from her home on Friday evening and from the church on Saturday.
DONATIONS WELCOME: Though we will miss our usual overnight at Richmond Hill… This year, sleep on your favorite pillow. Eat your favorite foods. And make a donation relevant to experiencing this retreat together. A suggested donation to the church and/or to Hanover Safe Place (a domestic abuse shelter) of $20.20, would show support for the spirituality and safety of women in a year that has been hard on both. (Online donation to the church here, or Hanover Safe Place, 629A N Washington Hwy, Ashland, VA 23005)
BACKGROUND: Four years ago, the Ash Grove Women’s retreat fell on the weekend after the 2016 election. Of course, plans had been made well in advance about subject material and what we could do to celebrate the spirituality and friendship of women like we had before and have done since. But at that retreat, the mood shifted, conversations went deep, and the desire to be present with each other felt the good kind of weighty. It met a need.
THIS YEAR: There may be many of us who will have that need again, for a time of women’s space post-election, no matter the outcome, a time to laugh and cry, to create and reflect, to pray, and to come into deep conversation with our sisters. So, this year we come together as a community, and we will gather around a theme that comes from a line in Pastor Kerra’s favorite benediction:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
So you will live deeply, and from the heart.
FROM PASTOR KERRA: I can’t believe I’ve been praying FOR discomfort for years, and now the level of discomfort upon us is dreadful – but not necessarily despairing. The discomfort that God blesses us with is the kind that leads to hope, and transformation, and a whole-hearted existence. This is our time to live into our afflictions with gusto! To allow the discomfort to really change us for the better.
In 2016, one of our first activities together was a reflection on the advice we might have gleaned from our grandmothers for that moment in time. In 2020, we will shift that focus and begin with a reflection on the kind of deep heartfelt lives we hope to pass on to our grandchildren – the generations who will come after us and tend the seeds of change that we are planting today.
AN OLD FRIEND will help us lean into the challenges of discomfort as we recall the life of Julian of Norwich with the Rev. Dr. Sandi Goehring. Julian was an anchoress who lived alone (with her cat), through a significant outbreak of the black plague. Perhaps observing the challenges of her life might help us reflect on our own.
An EXTRA Offering: For those who register for the retreat, in the week before and the week after event, Pastor Kerra will send out a sign-up for time slots for anyone who would like to have their own personal time of spiritual reflection with her – a mini-spiritual direction session.