Faith Journeys

The E-vite read: “You are invited to a FREE fall weekend retreat, ‘Faith Journeys,’ at Inspiration Point, September 23-25, 2022, with other Lutheran Brethren Pastors’ Wives from the Central Region! This has been an event provided by the Central Region Women’s Ministries, graciously provided by our churches, in recognition that our pastors’ wives desire to be refreshed by the Word, and by support from other women in ministry.” (This was a step of faith for God to provide, since we no longer had a Central Region Women’s Ministries Board to plan or raise the funding for this!)

Over the next few weeks, responses flowed in. “Thank you for the invite! Looking forward to it! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity...”

Then a small committee of four began to plan, some currently active pastors’ wives. (God provided a willing group—could we accomplish this, though miles apart?)

Next, letters were sent to Lutheran Brethren churches and old contact lists, asking them for financial support to make this retreat possible for the pastors’ wives in our Region. (This, too, would be God’s provision, since many churches in our Region are small.)

Over the next few months, checks arrived from individuals and churches, including checks that had been sent to the synod headquarters designated for the Central Region Women’s Ministries! (God was providing!)

At the same time, a committee of Seminary faculty wives was planning the yearly SWEET (Seminary Women Equipping Encouraging and Training) Retreat. This retreat was originally begun in 2003, and continues to be funded by National WMCLB, as one of the yearly projects supported by CLB women.

Both planning committees had intentionally scheduled our retreats the same weekend at Inspiration Point, doing some planning together, so that each retreat could complement the other.

Then the weekend arrived! Inspiration Point’s Twin Oaks Lodge was the perfect place for these two groups! Thirty voices combined in joint worship sessions in the immense log gathering room, led by Michele Foss, Michelle Hexum, and Kris Larsen, and framed by the picturesque view of God’s fall creation through the windows surrounding them.

Each group had separate sessions, but there were also numerous times to interact with each other, including a Question and Answer time for current pastors’ wives to share ideas, tips, and experiences with those preparing for future ministry.

Casey Baardson spoke to the Seminary women during their Friday and Saturday sessions. Meanwhile, the pastors’ wives gathered around a series of interactive Bible studies facilitated by Betsy Mortenson, naturally leading to authentic discussion and sharing. Saturday night after the SWEET retreat had concluded, Casey spoke to the pastors’ wives from Psalm 90. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” Since many ministry women leave their homes, and move throughout ministry callings, what a blessing it is to see him as our home, our refuge, our true dwelling.

Campfire, s’mores, naps, books, zipline, crafts, teaching, prayer together—each woman had various needs met, thanks to the generous provision of God (how could we doubt?) through his people, his Church; and all hopefully returned with renewed energy to serve his Body in disciple making.

Cheryl Olsen is the Faith & Fellowship correspondent for Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.


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