Pathways Through Gethsemane
The Power of Prayer in Our Lives

Women of Georgia 51st Annual Retreat
October 8 – 10, 2004 - Norman Park, Georgia

Also be sure to see: PART 2 - Saturday P.M.

Stories written and submitted by Chris Klimshuk, Lawrenceville First Christian Church, official Retreat Reporter

CLICK ON PHOTOS TO SEE LARGER VIEW


Thursday PM And Friday AM set up:

Welcome to the CWF Retreat 2004! You'll notice that the photos start on Thursday, but the preps for the retreat began before last year's retreat ended! To say there's a lot involved in getting something like this going is such an understatement! There are so many different areas that have to come and work together! What you'll be seeing through out these reports is just a small amount of the whole picture. Know this, nothing is ever done by any one person to make something like this happen.

As for this end of retreat reporting, I must acknowledge my partners in crime Connie Thompson, who is hopefully going to keep me with in the realm of social acceptability as well as add some of the reports from her point of view, and Vanessa Hickman and Julie Lee who offered behind the camera talents as well. Thanks to Bill at Norman Park, and Matt at home! A big thanks to all the folks who didn't clobber me for taking their pictures too! To all of those of you who thought the word "Press" on my hat was a command, I know who you are! I'll be making sure you feature prominently in next years photo journal if they let me keep my job, so to speak...! In case you can't tell, I'm smiling!
 

Some of the Lawrenceville First "Rock N Banner Babes" prepare the banner and the "Horda" (the rock)!

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Close up of the "glitch in the road" Sign says in Greek, Slow - Men Working.
Chris K. poses with the Horda. For the record, this was one of those things that wasn't accomplished by any one person alone. The " Rock N Banner Babes" were a group of women and men from age 80+ years all the way down to 6 years old all working together toward a single goal! CWF2004/106_0665.JPG
105_0526.JPG When our Christian community comes together, it's amazing just what can be done. There are no small contributions. Our church families are like a quilt and any one part missing makes that quilt less beautiful and less effective. Everyone, even down to every tiniest little stitch - ( Rebecca - age 6! )  makes all the difference in the world!

Friday Night:

Ok so here we are at dinner. Ah yes! No one goes hungry at retreat! 106_0674.JPG

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CWF2004/106_0676.JPG Vanessa Hickman, Sylvia Hamlin and Jo Miller... of Eagles Landing are members of the clean plate club today!
106_0677.JPG Trees all over the main campus are dotted with meditation opportunities and inspirations. Further opportunities to be blessed by the messages we received!
Ann Haines visits with friends. Do you have any idea just how hard it is to get a shot of her being STILL? CWF2004/106_0678.JPG
Then again, though it's good that a rolling stone gathers no moss, it's even better that a Christian in motion gathers no dust! Won't find any dust any where near Ann! And personally, we could all shake off a few spiritual cobwebs of our own if you think about it. What worries me is that in some churches, cobwebs and dust may be all that's holding them together! Not so at CWF RETREAT!
CWF2004/106_0680.JPG Adei sees the stage in full regalia for the first time! Blessings to you Adei! We love you!
The stage all ready to go! 107_0719.jpg
Gathering for our first evening's session... CWF2004/106_0684.JPG
106_0685.jpg while Ann leads us in singing praises and ...
106_0686.jpg general ice breaking hilarity. By the way, the only reason this reporter couldn't get a clear picture of the verse " bump another rump, bump a rump next to ya..." yadda, yadda...is because too many folks were doing what Ann told them to! You have no idea just how many blurry pictures I had to delete!

Our evening's message began with Adei explaining Relationship, Revelation and Prayer. Amazing just how much of all of this was loaded into Gen. 1:1 - 3! Who'd a thunk!

Ever thought about what the word "inspire" means? Well, breathing in or into is inspiration. God inspired us into being, breathed us and all of creation into life. Is that neat or what?
Adei went on to explain "The Trinity Of Spiritual Maturity".
"Relationship: The way we are being connected."

One of the comments she made that was such a beautiful way of describing this was, " The Spirit of God was draped across the deep transforming it into awakening power." Still gives me chills!
"Revelation: God revealing his character as being nurturing through creation."  To me, ( that means this is a "Chris thing" inserted here...) and some may disagree , which is certainly fine, this makes me think of the feminine side of God. The woman is responsible for giving birth or in a way, life. God, in the form of all creation, is giving life continually. A spirit is genderless so I would think if God made man and woman in His own image, there would be a feminine component to His spirit. We use the masculine to describe God only because we have no word that would be appropriately gender free and respectful enough to use in reference to God. You might say, "Well if God isn't a man, why wasn't Jesus a woman" To which I would say because at the time, in a male dominated society, He wouldn't have made it to adulthood the very first time He answered God's call "to be about His Father's business " in the synagogue. And why "Father" ...because in a patriarchal society, a woman wouldn't be held in the same reverence or respect as would a man. Just my opinion and food for thought, I guess.

So back to the final aspect of the message...
"Prayer - How we are relating to that which is divine. Prayer is designed to keep us humble and God glorified!  The first prayer was when God pronounced the light as good! Prayer nurtures something to go to completion.Prayer is the first voice that gave us purpose and blessing."  In a story, Adei related about an injured mother hawk, and all of the different forest creatures who pitched in to help her heal and keep her children safe, she went on to explain that it took a community of diversity to come together to "heal me and sustain my children's future."

If the Christian church is always one generation away from extinction, doesn't this apply to us now? It takes a community to heal the church and secure the future of her children! That community would be us!
Adei went on to explain that sometimes it takes a lot more courage to receive than it does to give. I can certainly agree as receiving is not one of my strongest ministries, and I truly do believe it is a ministry. She told us that we must allow the ministry of receiving, otherwise we could deprive someone else of fulfilling their ministry.  She also reminded us of our responsibility and our power as women. "There is something powerful about the hands of a woman," she said, " For they touch every generation....
When you have done all you can... just be and let God..."


Saturday A.M.

107_0711.JPGOf course there was Breakfast! Told ya. No one goes hungry at retreat unless they want to and even then you have 50 mothering women trying to feed you anyway!

107_0724.jpgGOOD Morning All
107_0718.jpgAnn Haines opens with morning worship music to help us shake off the sleep still clinging to those of us who have no concept of what a proper bed time is. I have my hand raised BTW!
107_0720.JPG107_0722.JPGWorshipers praise in beautiful harmonies focusing our hearts toward Heaven and the messages we are opening our hearts to receive today .

107_0723.jpgSue Wood opens with our AM announcements.

107_0726.jpg107_0741.jpgBarbara Powell shared our litany of Thanksgiving and after a beautiful hymn expressing our calling, "Here I Am Lord", Jane Osborn led the CWF prayer and on we went in to the presentation of the Christmas Child shoeboxes, offering from blessing boxes and pop top collections for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

107_0740.jpgWhat a lovely experience it was to see the generosity of the Christian Churches of Georgia represented - Over $9,000 in Blessing Box offerings!

107_0742.jpgAdei was as always, in rare form as is her very spiritual nature!

There was so much to learn today, but such a pleasurable way to go about it. Adei related to us in terms of cooking. Which is personally effective with me as my husband, Matt, has to constantly explain mega bites, gigabytes and what ever in terms of cupcakes so I can understand just how much power some computer thingie has.

She began by relating to us that God is constantly at work creating us. Day to day we are not who we were, nor whom we are going to be. It is a gentle and continuous process of creation.

Adei shared, "Folding and enfolding are art forms",

Cool! Like a hug can be an art form too,

"that require a lighter touch. Tenderness, care and thoughtfulness. It is gentle and not traumatic to the ingredients. So it is with God. His enfolding is gentle and continuous. We are the living witness to the Genesis standing in the presence of the revelation of God. God's divine thought was transformed into action and creation was ignited! "

It was "IGNITED!" That is just so cool! Ok sorry. I just get really excited about some stuff.

Something else Adei said that hit home with me was, "The most critical thing we can do as women of God is to harness and take charge of our thought life." See, I told you this is cool! Thought is really a powerful conduit if you think about it. It has the power to lead us toward good or bad. It's the seed that we foster to become reality. What a responsibility. Remember this from Sunday School? 'Be careful little mind what you think'... song cue there for those who do remember.

I loved the next part when she said that prayer wasn’t an activity as much as an identity; an opportunity, not an obligation. Prayer is who we are!

We are human beings, not human doings! Being is what we are created to "be". We are prayer!

"Prayer," She told up, " is the first voice that spoke and gave us presence - the first blessing. We were created. Completed. We are a prayer being spoken every day! All we have to do is stand in the presence of what has already been created.

Prayer requires a slower cadence. Every time we open our mouths, God is speaking through us" ( Chris thing here...but that's a choice He offers us and imagine the magnitude of the responsibility we have to God as His children. Wow! Just a little overwhelming, ya think? Still kind of simple, though. We have to love God with all our hearts, minds etc. I dunno, but loving can be a pretty simple thing to do. I think the part that's so overwhelming is that, once we love Him, the responsibility becomes an honor.)

She continued, "If God constantly talks to us, being with us, and we constantly tune out, how boring it must be for God. He wants to have his children in communication with Him! He loves us! How can God keep talking to us as spiritual adults if we choose to remain as spiritual children? In conscious prayer, our faith has to be constantly expanding. Words of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracle working ( James ). We must transform ourselves to the renewal of our minds ; our thoughts!

Every time you feel inspired, or move your body, or grieve over loss, breathe and release... Always , that's God praying for me!"

I like that Adei. I like knowing that God is praying for me...focusing on me. I like knowing that He's always there for me. I like knowing He is responsible for every breath and every heart beat. I like being a prayer. God is good all the time! All the time, God is good!


Saturday Afternoon:

107_0753.jpgGood Afternoon... Adei say's everything we hear, "good morning", or "good afternoon" or when we get a hug or see a sunset or a beautiful flower or whatever good and wonderful gift, that's God praying for us! I really like that!

107_0744.JPGA quick catch during assembly of the triple threat, "The Three Connies!" At least two of them can be very scary, sweet, but scary!

At this point, Barbara Powell's daughter and son in law, Lee and Scott Britt, sent a beautifully done photo montage ( set to the perfect musical background ) of the Spring Conference. It was really nicely done! They profiled the interaction and activity oh, and they were sure to also mention that , of course, there was FOOD!

These folks are such professionals in this area! I've seen their work before and if any one has need of this type of service for weddings, funerals, and anything related to living in between, these are definitely THE folks to see! I'm sure that Barbara would be happy to get you in touch with them. Wouldn't that be cool for the next Youth retreat? Two cents again. Can't help it!

107_0746.JPG107_0747.JPGChoir workshop: Ann pauses for a funny story. I made a mental note that in periods of crisis, it seems like Ann magnetically attracts more people who may possibly be missing their calling to be a village idiot than most people do. Now that's an interesting gift! Could also explain why I like her so much... hey, wait a minute. hmmm?

Choir actually practices!

107_0749.JPGA relaxing break by the pool!

Pam Mikovitz protesting having her picture taken. Since I have no problem resorting to threats...in the name of the Lord or the retreat for that matter...

107_0752.JPGShe stopped protesting AND started smiling! Gosh she has great dental work, doesn't she?! By the way Pam, I just do the job I have no control where these pics wind up! ( subliminal message coming through... think Sue Wood...think Sue Wood! )

107_0764.jpgChanging of the guards. Mantels are handed from this years officers to the next. Carry on ladies and may God bless all the works of your hands to His honor and glory!


Continue on to PART 2 - Saturday P.M.

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