From supper time on Friday October 12 thru lunch on Sunday October 14, 32 women from all over the Joseph Priestly District met at the St Raphaela (Retreat) Center in Haverford, PA. The theme was “A Weekend to Change Your Life”, based on the book of the same name by Joan Anderson. On Sunday morning, all agreed that this was the best retreat ever.
The basic question at the bottom of each exercise and work session was “How can I bring balance to my life?” The work sessions included song, meditations, analysis of the various aspects of a human life, considering out what specific qualities or behaviors prevent us from attaining a healthy, balanced life, and what qualities or behaviors help us attain our goals. Sessions worked by means of discussion, meditation, presentation of women in our lives who had inspired us, a silent meditative walk around the heavily wooded grounds of the retreat center, a drumming circle with some ad hoc dancing.
There was much sharing of experiences and “life lessons” among the women who ranged in age from about 30 to 80.
Throughout the weekend a silent auction was held for the benefit of the Continental UU Women & Religion. We raised $335 from the sale of items brought by the participants.
We also “raised” a lot of new friendships across JPD congregational lines, or remembered at which JPD conference or workshop some of us had met one another previously.
Saturday evening brought a serious drumming and chanting and dancing party, the fancily (and fancifully) garbed participants enjoying snacks and wine and a fabulous cake celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Women and Religion movement within the UUA.
Sunday morning’s work session was closed with a worship service led by Heather Gehron-Rice, newly graduated with a Master's of Divinity, of Lancaster.
Next year’s retreat, “The Goddess and/in Nature”, will be led by Sarah Campbell, herbalist and Wiccan (www.herbsfromthelabyrinth.com), at Murray Grove Retreat Center (Lanoka Harbor, NJ) on October 17-19, 2008.
If you are interested in learning more about the JPD Women & Religion group or about the retreat, please communicate with Anne Slater or Randa Todd.