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by Rev. Heather Fosburgh, Assoc. Conference Minister
It was wonderful to gather again for the Southern Regional Women’s Retreat in mid-October at the beautiful Camp Weed in Live Oak, Florida. 62 women from the Florida, Southern, South Central, and Southeast Conferences gathered for the first time in three years for a relaxing time of learning, crafts, exploring, worship, and community. “God of Mystery-Spirit of Hope” was the theme that guided our worship, reflection, and learnings together.
The Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister of Wider Church Ministers and Co-Executive of Global Ministries and Operations of the UCC, was the Keynote speaker. Rev. Dr. Thompson shared with us areas of mission the UCC is working alongside, especially around the troubles refugees are facing in our world, and challenged us with ways that we can support this ministry. The Rev. Vonshelle Beneby invited us to look at who is not at our tables in our churches and challenged us to examine the obstacles we create in our churches due to our prejudices. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers also shared their ministry and work towards safer and more equitable working conditions for farm workers.
The weekend was full of learning but also opportunities to play, meet new friends, and reconnect with old ones. The Planning Committee (the wonderful women in pink) did a wonderful job planning this year’s gathering, and thank you to the Florida Conference for hosting. The Southeast Conference will be hosting the next gathering in 2024, and if you would like to help craft our time together, please reach out to Heather.