About 30 women gathered at Epiphany Church in Socorro on March 5 for the Mysterious Lent retreat. Attendees came from Farmington and Gallup, as well as Socorro, Alamogordo and Albuquerque. This is the fourth year that the Women of the Diocese ministry has hosted a Lent retreat. In a change from past retreats, the leader this year was the Rev. Canon Carole McGowan. The ladies of Epiphany Church offered a warm welcome, punctuated by delicious food and gracious hospitality.
After Cindy Davis welcomed everyone, Carole introduced herself as Canon for Formation in the Diocese and Dean of the School of Ministry. She shared a quote by John Locke, before delving into the idea that books in general, and mystery novels in particular can have theological components, whether or not the author overtly puts them there.
Attendees shared their favorite authors as a way of getting to know each other a little bit. While nearly all those present were avid readers, the favorite genres were quite varied. Throughout the day, Carole interspersed her presentation with time for small groups to discuss the theology found in the Louise Penny novel, A Trick of the Light.
Before the first discussion, Carole handed out a list of some theological themes that are found in literature. These included the obvious ones like grace and forgiveness, as well as others like greed, anger, and love. Carole challenged each group to identify a couple of theological themes in A Trick of the Light. These were shared and participants were given quiet time to consider how one of the themes applied to their life. After a delicious soup and salad lunch, further discussion and quiet time enriched those at the retreat. The day ended with An Order of Worship for the Evening, and all were on their way home by 3:00 pm.
Feedback from this event was positive, with the request to have future book-based events. Retreats and other events, like the upcoming Spirited Summer Weekend in Farmington (June 10-11) and the Puzzle Pieces Bosque Center Gathering (November 18-19), are wonderful ways to get to know other women from across the diocese, and to explore new locations in the diocese. For this reason, the Women’s Council is exploring the idea of next year’s Lent retreat being a weekend in the Big Bend area of the Diocese.
If you have ideas for event themes or speakers, please contact Cindy Davis, Coordinator of Women’s Ministries for the Diocese.