At our fall retreat in September at Chautauqua, ECW got a head start on “working together to deepen relationships” as Bishop Sean said in his presentation at the joint Convention with the Diocese of Western New York. The ECW Board sent invitations to the retreat to New York’s southern tier churches. To our delight, eight women, lay and clergy, responded and attended our event.
Barbara Sheakey, assisted by Sharon Kestler, presented a program about women’s role in American Indian spirituality and gave us a first person view of Native American customs and beliefs from Alaska, the Midwest, Canada and Mexico, illustrated by many artifacts that turned the living room of the Episcopal Cottage into a virtual museum. Luncheon was also inspired by Native American food. At the end of the day, Barbara ushered us through making a Hopi Indian “prayer stick.”
One woman from the Diocese of Western New York asked if she could sign up ahead for next year’s retreat. That was what we were hoping for – a renewed enthusiasm in learning, loving and living with God, which is what our guests brought to our retreat.
Diane Pyle is secretary of the Episcopal Church Women of DioNWPA.