Women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

“The mission of the Women of the Diocese of the Rio Grande is to connect and support all women in their diverse ministries. We do this by offering opportunities to gather for studying, re-creating, and celebrating who we are as women of Faith, Hope and Love.”

Monday, November 11, 2013

Abide in Me Retreat

The 2nd Annual Women's Retreat at the Bosque Center, "Abide in Me", was attended by 3 dozen women from across the Diocese and even a guest from California! We came from Carlsbad and Roswell, from Silver City and Farmington, from Taos and Albuquerque to gather in the lovely, peaceful setting of the Bosque Center for a time of reflection and fellowship. A case of supplies for Operation Soldier Smiles was collected through the generosity of those who came.
The event started on Friday evening with a time of introductions and sharing. The Rev. Pat Green from St. Mark's was our keynote speaker for the retreat. On Friday she asked us to consider what the word "Abide" means. We shared synonyms for the word that ranged from 'stay' and 'wait' to 'endure' and 'relationship'.
Pat noted that in modern parlance, the word translated "Abide" in the KJV could likely be written as "plugged-in", "wired", or "connected" in the sense of a power strip or other electronics. The vital connection to the vine is necessary for us to live and grow, just as a phone or i-pad will eventually quit working if not recharged regularly. Pat reminded us that we are each uniquely gifted to be our own special part of the Body so we can use our gifts for the church. However, it is essential that we stay connected to the Vine.
On Saturday, we shared our gifts and current ministries. This was an amazing experience of seeing the diversity of gifts and ministries present in those gathered. Morning Prayer was a fitting conclusion to the blessing of this heart-felt sharing.
After worship, Pat continued her keynote talk by asking us what Fruit Jesus might be talking about in John 14-15. She had us consider what exactly 'fruit' is. We realized that fruit is many things and comes in many kinds. Some fruit may produce seed that doesn't germinate immediately, too. It may lay fallow for awhile. Other fruit may never ripen because it doesn't remain attached to the Vine. Ultimately, the fruit we are called to bear is the Fruit of Love-to "love one another as I have loved you."
All our ways of Abiding in the Vine, therefore in Christ, are ways of loving one another and bearing fruit. These are things like obedience, prayer, study, service, fellowship, thanksgiving, listening, practicing our call, acceptance and by expecting God to act. The Retreat offered a time to stepping out of the day-to-day in order to be refreshed and reconnected to the Living Vine.
During the retreat we had a chance to try different Prayer Experiences as ways of Abiding. Sue Ellen Rael presented a session on Icons and how they are a prayer aid. Shirin McArthur taught a group the first steps of Embodied Prayer. Elaine Wilson offered an overview of using the Book of Common Prayer more fully. Quiet time after lunch afforded participants the chance to enjoy the Bosque Center, visit, and to pause to vision where our personal Abiding might take us in the next months and years. These thoughts became our offering for the Eucharist which ended the day and retreat.
This holy time apart with one another and Christ is an experience we'll treasure and meditate on in the days and weeks to come. Next year's Bosque Retreat is already booked at the Center for the weekend of November 14-15.