May 7, 2009

A Time Apart

On the weekend of February 13-15, seven of us traveled over to one of the two gems in the Ohio Conference Outdoor Ministries program - Pilgrim Hills, located just south of Holmes County in eastern Ohio.

The purpose of this trip was to have a weekend apart - to connect with God, with nature, with each other. It was a great experience for all of us!

Although Carol (my spouse) served on the Outdoor Ministries Board for a term and I've been on the Ohio Conference Board for two terms, it was the first time I'd been to Pilgrim Hills. What a lovely place! Located in the Ohio Amish country, it is beautiful and rustic and a good place to set yourself apart for a weekend.

We stayed at Prettyman Lodge, a fairly new building at Pilgrim Hills, a perfect retreat setting for 10 or less adults. Prettyman Lodge is located close to the entrance of Pilgrim Hills and is a good mile from the other buildings. It was a great place for us to sleep and do our spiritual exercises. We took our meals at the dining hall, and even though there were only the seven of us at the camp that weekend, the dining staff treated us with great food and great service.

Lynn Labs and I had decided to use some of Rob Bell's NOOMA videos - short, 10 minute vignettes about various subjects. We also had put together our own retreat book with about 25 stories, poems, and thought provokers for our weekend together.

We had 30 minute sessions after each meal (five sessions in all) and then quiet time for reflection. Some stayed in the main gathering room, some went to their own rooms for privacy, some took walks on the trails near Prettyman Lodge. At the end of the weekend, we knew that we had been in God's presence and we returned to Troy with some new found peace and tranquility.

Our next retreat is scheduled for Halloween weekend! We hope you might think about becoming part of this special ministry of First UCC.