Ingredients for a Women’s Weekend
Inspired by one of our conferences for women, Sue Cunliffe explains how Alverstoke Evangelical Church organised their own retreat for the women in their fellowship. She wants to inspire other churches to consider it.
I attended FIEC’s Thrive conference for women in ministry with another lady from our church back in 2015.
We thoroughly enjoyed having time away from our usual responsibilities and taking the opportunity to hear challenging Bible talks and to share and swap ideas with others. On our journey home we wondered how we might share some of our experience with the ladies in our own church.
The seed of an idea was sown.
A year later we went for a weekend away with 27 ladies from Alverstoke Evangelical Church to the Greenhouse Christian Centre in Poole.
Our speaker was Alison Risbridger from Above Bar Church in Southampton, she helped us think about ‘Our Identity in Christ’ based on Colossians.
The ladies enjoyed their time away so much that we agreed to run another such event in 2017. We went to the same venue as we had felt so welcomed by the team there. This time we had Sian Baker from Lansdowne Baptist Church in Bournemouth as our speaker as we took ‘Time Out’ and looked at how busyness affects us and just what God’s purpose is for the way we live our lives.
How we did it
The ingredients of the weekend worked for our group:
We chose to have our meals provided (and the clearing and washing up done!), some excellent Bible teaching, times of worship as well as time to relax on the Saturday afternoon with walks to the beach, craft activities and the centre’s own swimming pool.
We picked the summer months for our time away as it was nice to have the longer evenings but we were also tied by when our chosen venue had vacancies. We avoided the school holidays so it wouldn’t clash with people’s family plans.
One person had responsibility for collecting the money (£130 all in). She collected an initial deposit and there was the opportunity to pay by monthly instalments for those who preferred that.
Our church paid for the speaker’s accommodation and expenses and we found it beneficial that she stayed with us and was part of the whole weekend – it meant she was available to talk and pray with anyone.
If you did something similar, you might like to think about organising something for the dads and children who stay behind – perhaps some sort of activity for the Saturday.
For me, the greatest encouragement from the weekend was seeing how all the different age groups mixed and chatted together, getting to know one another better.
If you would like to know more about what is involved in running an event like this then please feel free to drop FIEC a message and they’ll pass it on to me.