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.”

Want to Have a Retreat?

Sometimes you want to host a retreat or other event to get the women of the parish together.
Retreat may signify for some a quiet, reflective time, for others it might bring up the picture of a 'staff retreat' at work which often involves more work than relaxation. It can be much more than that, as events by the Women's Ministry of the Diocese prove.

Here are some ideas, from Cindy, that might give you a starting point for a fun event-with a purpose!

Elsewhere on this website are suggestions for locations and speakers. Your own parish priest, deacon, or member of your congregation are also valuable assets when considering who to lead a retreat. Contact Cindy if you have questions about the ideas listed below, or would like her help in implementing them. (She also has a variety of retreat topics that can be adapted to large or small groups, some based on her books.)

Girl's Night Out: This can take many forms, and doesn't even need a speaker. It can be as simple as having a worship service in the church garden or at a park, or in someone's home. You can add time for food and conversation either before or after the worship so everyone can get to know each other better. Keep the food simple so you aren't stuck in the kitchen. Potlucks are always a hit.

Paint the Town: Recently paint nights have become quite popular. Most towns have companies or individuals that lead these. While the fellowship and fun itself is a worship-ful experience, you can add a brief time of Compline, music, or other short worship at the beginning or end to set the tone. This is a great theme for inviting non-churchgoing ladies to attend and get to know some members. 

Artsy Craftsy: Similar to the painting event, this theme can explore other forms of crafts or art projects, which are always so much fun when done as a community. You can start with a theme like 'making angels' or 'potter and clay'. These use a Bible reading as the starting point and then explore the craft. You could get together to make cards for shut-ins, or learn flower arranging, too. 

Tea Time: Many parishes have annual Teas to honor moms, or raise money, or just get together. A tea lends itself to conversation and elegance. It is helpful to have a 'hostess' for each table. Often the hostess is responsible for the decor of the table, and even provides her own tea set. 

The menu can be prepared a day or more in advance by all the hostesses, and is a wonderful time of fellowship in itself. 

Sweet and Savory: This theme can be done in many ways. Add a time of singing seasonal songs, or worship music and you have a lovely time of fellowship and worship. 

  • You can have some talented baker provide a selection of goodies to taste.
  • You can have an afternoon spent trying out new, special recipes for candy, cookies, scones, or other treats. 
  • Everyone can bring a couple dozen cookies or candies or savory treats for exchange. Then everyone goes home with a wonderful selection of new yummy goodies. 
  • Gather to make cookies to share with your food pantry or other outreach. 
Learning about the Labyrinth: If you are fortunate enough to have a labyrinth at your church or at a nearby parish, this can be a very meaningful event and introduce a form of prayer that isn't familiar to everyone. It does work best with small groups, or in conjunction with another activity so the labyrinth isn't crowded and everyone has time to mediate while walking the path. 

Center Yourself: Contemplative prayer instruction is another discipline that lends itself to a learning retreat with time for instruction and participation. 

Day of Prayer: This can take many forms. You can have a half day or a whole day event, with lunch. It could involve: 
  • Times of worship interspersed with teaching
  • Instruction in various forms of prayer and time to experience them (such as the labyrinth and centering prayer above)
  • A focused theme to pray about (domestic violence, homelessness, justice...the list is endless) with speakers who can discuss the issue. 
Window Wonder: Do you have beautiful stained glass windows in your church? Offer an event that provides a bit about the history and symbolism of the windows. Build in a time for quiet reflection amid the beautiful windows. 

Saint John's Bible: For those in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, there is the fabulous opportunity to learn about the Saint John's Bible (the first illuminated Bible since the Middle Ages). Groups can visit St. John's Cathedral to learn about the Bible or volumes can be brought to your parish for an event. 

These are just a few basic ideas. Use your imagination, or check out Pinterest, too. 

Be sure to advertise far enough in advance that ladies can make plans to come. (A month or 6 weeks really isn't too early.) Sometimes you can pull off a simple event with less lead time, but with everyone's busy schedules...it is better to give some lead time. 
Send a postcard (and/or e-invite) to all the women, post something on your bulletin board, and in your parish Sunday announcements. If you want this to be an outreach to women in your city, try to get something in the local paper and/or online calendar. 

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