Parish Retreat Weekend – Sept 8th – Sept 10th
Camp Mikell – Toccoa Georgia
Greetings Parish Members,
I want to thank you all very much for taking a weekend off from your activities, your to-do lists, or whatever you could be doing in order to spend a weekend together as a parish. This retreat is designed for our parish to re-invigorate the congregation, help parishioners to connect faith in their daily life or live out their discipleship purpose as a parish. Enjoy a weekend full of spirituality and fellowship with other Annunciation parishioners and clergy. Camp Mikell is a wonderful place to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and experience God with the beloved community. The weekend includes old favorites such as s’mores, hiking, rocking on the porch, ice cream, music, and the beautiful scenery the rustic setting Camp Mikell has to offer. Our priests, Paul and Gretchen will offer an adult program during the weekend on what it means to GO M.A.D. (Making a difference, Walking on water) as we enjoy fellowship, laughter, prayer and worshiping together during the weekend and closing on Sunday with Holy Eucharist.
Camp Mikell Conference Center is located outside of Atlanta in Toccoa Georgia. ECA members who attend the parish retreat will experience an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy God’s creation and each other. Meals are served cafeteria style in the dining hall and accommodations are available in different areas of the camp’s grounds. I hope many of us will be able to make it and enjoy all that God has to offer to us as we gather together at Camp Mikell.
Our Weekend Theme:
Go MAD (Make A Difference) Walking on Water– Our retreat on this weekend will help us explore how we as God’s children should leave our well-defined, secure comfort zones and get out of the boat so we can experience the miracle of walking on the water.
The first session will be about how we can find ways to get out of the boat in the area of our own personal comfort zones and learn to trust others as well as let others get to know them. We will use a passage from Matthew’s gospel as our bait so to speak
Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33
Second session: will challenge us to walk on the water by reaching out past our social comfort zones and make a difference in the lives of others. What ways do we hinder our own ministry to others? What do we choose not to do because of commitment or fear? What are ways we can choose to walk on water? Evangelism, Leadership, Outreach, Worship. During this session we will break out into groups and share our experiences of walking on water or why we don’t.
Third session: focuses on ways to experience the miracle of developing a deeper spiritual relationship with God through prayer, Bible reading and meditation. Our own Episcopal Book of Common prayer is a wealth of prayers we can pray, they are already written for us, daily devotions with morning noon and evening prayer. Bible reading is only for Baptists, or is it? Mediation is not about humming, it is about reflecting on what God is calling us to do and finding ways to hear God speak to us.