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A Precious Time for Ministry Wives

When life seems so busy, a 48-hour retreat might seem like a luxury you can’t afford. But Emily Fenning explains why our latest conference for women was just what she needed.

A Precious Time for Ministry Wives primary image

In the days leading up to the Ministry Wives’ Retreat I was honestly wondering if it was going to be worth the effort. I had around 200 miles to travel to Holland House in Worcestershire and had many things to sort to make life work for the rest of my family while I was away.

But I’m so glad I went!

It was such a treat to spend some days away and I can say it was totally worth the effort involved to be there. Here are a few things I appreciated about our time away.

A Change of Scene

At Holland House we enjoyed fantastic meals, home-made cakes, comfy beds and beautiful gardens. It felt like a real treat to be there. I really appreciated a few days away from the normal busyness to recharge and reflect.

Women at the Ministry Wives Retreat

My husband Tom and I have had a busy 15 months since moving to Beccles; and being away gave me some time to think and reflect.

A Chance to Talk

I am so thankful to God for the many precious conversations I had during our time away – on the car journey, during meals and coffee breaks, and during small group discussions.

It was a joy to hear of how God is at work in FIEC churches around our nation. I loved chatting with ministry wives who have lots more wisdom and experience than I do. I was blessed by their honesty about some of the challenges of life, including spiritual dryness, grief, disappointments and family concerns.

Women chatting at the retreat

I came away feeling reassured that I’m not alone in how I sometimes feel; and inspired and challenged by the example of others.

A Chance to Learn

On the first evening, Pastoral Ministries Director Johnny Prime took us to John 6v5-6 and helped us to see that God tests us to teach us that he is the Lord who provides. It was so helpful to be reminded that when our faith is tested by life’s challenges, we can be sure that the Lord Jesus knows what he is doing and desires to teach us that he is totally trustworthy.

I was struck by the way this fitted in very well with what we then looked at over the next few days.

Sian Baker from Lansdowne Baptist Church in Bournemouth taught us from God’s word as we looked at three different Bible characters (Moses, Hannah and Anna) and how they each encountered God.

One of the main meetings

Sian helpfully lifted our eyes from the characters in the story to God himself and how he so graciously revealed himself and dealt with each person. Sian spoke from the perspective of a ministry wife herself and so could wisely and insightfully apply God’s word to our lives.

A Chance to Reflect

On Friday morning we had an hour on our own to reflect on what God had been teaching us through his word and to pray. I really appreciated this rare chance to sit on a bench in the sunshine, in a beautiful and peaceful garden with my Bible, a notebook and a cup of tea!

I’m very thankful to the FIEC Women’s Ministry Team for providing this opportunity for refreshment and encouragement.

If you are reading this as a ministry wife then do make the most of the chance to join us next year – it is a treat not to be missed. And if you are someone who could enable or encourage a ministry wife to attend then go for it – it will no doubt by a blessing to her, but also in turn to her family and church.

FIEC has provisionally booked Holland House for the 2019 Ministry Wives Retreat for 15 to 17 May. Click ‘Receive our newsletters’ at the top of the website to be kept up-to-date.

Emily Fenning photo
Emily Fenning

Emily is married to Tom who is the Pastor at Beccles Baptist Church in Suffolk. They have three boys who make life a lot of fun. She enjoys serving alongside Tom, cooking, coffee shops and trips to the beach.