And They Danced ... at the Women’s Retreat

By CAROLINE PARIS

When Brenda Keys and Betty Hilliard began planning the first FPC women’s retreat in more than five years, their goal was to gather a group of 60 intergenerational women to relax and have fun in a great location, learn from each other, celebrate new and old friendships and share their love for the Lord.

Interested in helping plan next year’s retreat? Choose from a variety of committees that match your interests and talents! Contact Wendy Duncan, 478-4723.

Did they succeed? Well, here are some of the reviews: “Easy going, laid back, no pressure, time for fellowship, great for all ages.” “Lori was an inspiring leader. I loved the gathering together to study, pray, and have fun.” “Fellowship, intergenerational experience, and time to be with and meet new women.” “Sharing our faith, being with other women, and a schedule that was a great combination of structured and free time.”

An icy welcome!

The day the retreat began, a winter ice storm struck. Yet almost every participant was able to arrive on Friday in time for dinner. A few drove down the next day. In all, 59 women of all ages attended the retreat — including four sets of mothers and daughters.

Pinehurst was a fantastic location: close to Greensboro, wonderful accommodations, super dining and experience in handling retreats with ease and professionalism. Pinehurst also happens to have a first-class spa! That was a favorite destination during Saturday’s free time.

Shall we dance?

The theme of the retreat made more than a few attendees a bit nervous. Were we going to dance the entire weekend? The program, led with humor, energy and grace by Lori Carter, focused on God’s love for each of us, and how our relationship with Him is like a dance. We enjoyed three large group sessions led by Lori, followed by small group discussions of 10 women. And, yes, Lori had us up  and dancing.

Mark your calendars!

Betty has already booked Pinehurst for January 24-26, 2014. There will be room for 80 women. Watch for information later this year.

Why attend next year? Perhaps Pam Duncan sums it up best in her email to Betty: “I cannot remember returning from a weekend feeling more uplifted, encouraged and motivated than I have felt today. Thank you so much to all of you responsible for a remarkable event: Betty, Brenda, Lori, and Lee, every meal companion and especially Helen and the members of our small group for the caring and prayers we shared. ‘I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you.’ Philippians 1:3.”

Tabitha MinistryWomen’s Retreat attendees gave an offering of $1,084, which went to Tabitha Ministry in Summerfield.

The ministry helps women leaving prison build stable lives. It offers transitional housing, counseling, training in job skills and communication skills, and teaches “how to be women of character so that they will have a strong ethical foundation for making future choices.”

Tonya Pegram, manager of the ministry’s thrift shop, Tabitha’s Closet, accepted the check from members Nancy Coble and Bette Dunker. They and Ellen Peete served as the retreat’s Outreach Committee. Info: www.tabithaministry.com