March 23-25, 2012

Rev. Bruce BarkhauerSpeaker: Rev. Bruce A. Barkhauer
Our speaker was the Rev. Bruce A. Barkhauer, who was called last year as the first “Minister for Faith and Giving for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).”

For 25 years, Rev. Barkhauer has led congregations in Ohio and Indiana. Now, he shares his experience across the life of the whole church. His energy, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit enhance gifts in both business and ministry. He brings a biblically based understanding about stewardship combined with theological integrity. He weds them to the current trends and best practices related to spirituality.

In his workshops and writings, Rev. Barkhauer also talks about the multiple understandings about stewardship in the biblical witness as they touch the whole life of a person of faith.

The 2012 Retreat of the Georgia Region of Disciples Men was held March 23-25 at Christmount, in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The setting was beautiful, the presentations were inspirational, and the fellowship was wonderful.

Mike RuckerThe group gathered after dinner on Friday and was led in music by Mike Rucker, from Liberty Christian Church in Newnan. Mike’s musical gifts were a blessing to everyone during the retreat. Not only is he an excellent singer and songwriter, but he is an outstanding guitarist, as well. The current Layman of the Year, Archie Jenkins, from Guyton Christian Church, presented the evening devotional. Our keynote speaker, the Rev. Bruce A. Barkhauer, presented his first session on “Living an Abundant Life.” Bruce is the Minister for Faith and Giving for the Christian Church (DOC). His four presentations were the highlight of the retreat and they provided the spiritual depth that helped to make this gathering special. After the first session, everyone moved to the fireplace for the annual ice cream social. After the ice cream, Rev. James Shelton, Pastor–Counselor for the Regional Men’s Commission, led the evening vespers. Sharing with old friends and making new ones filled the rest of the evening.

Jil TrowerSaturday morning began with a treat from our special guest, Jil Trower. Jil is an accomplished singer who shared her talents with us on Saturday and Sunday. Her music was an inspiration to all who heard

her. Men’s Commission member, Jimmy Walker, provided the morning devotional. Rev. Barkhauer gave his second presentation before the annual business session of the group. The afternoon was free for rest and recreation before we gathered again for another session with Jil, Mike and Rev. Barkhauer. After hot chocolate and “Chalice” cookies, Rev. Shelton led us again in our evening vespers. More social time followed.

Sunday morning brought us more music from Jil and Mike and Rev. Barkhauer’s final presentation. I cannot begin to tell you how much I learned from Bruce’s sessions and how much he made me think about God’s abundance, both spiritual and financial, and how to appreciate it, use it, and share it. Rev. David Grandgeorge led the group in our Sunday morning Bible study from the lectionary. Interim Co-Regional Minister, Rev. Bob Frank-Plumlee, gave the communion meditation and presided at the Lord’s Table. After communion, the group formed a friendship circle to give thanks for the experiences shared at retreat and for the fellowship that was shared.

I would like to encourage all of the men who have never been fortunate enough to attend a Men’s Retreat to make plans to do so in the near future. It is an experience that you should not miss and will never forget.

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