Warmth was evident all around at the annual B.C. Women’s Ministry retreat. Held from Oct. 16 to 18, 2015, at Camp Squeah, there was warmth in the fire and fireplace decorations that adorned the lodge and warmth in the fellowship among participants.
Continuing with last year’s retreat theme of “Spiritual gifts,” this year’s theme was taken from II Timothy 1:1-14, focussing on “Do not neglect your gift” and “Fan into flame the gift of God within you.” April Yamasaki, pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford and the author of several books, was the keynote speaker for the second year in a row.
Yamasaki talked about igniting the “God-given spark within us” in sessions on Oct. 17 and 18. “Our specific gifts may be quite different from Timothy’s, but we, too, have received gifts from God,” she said. “Whatever spark we have inside us, whatever gifts God has given us, we can learn from Timothy’s experience and Paul’s encouragement.”
Throughout the weekend, gifts of creativity were encouraged and displayed. Many women enjoyed doing something they had not done since childhood: colouring pictures specifically created for adults as a relaxing tool. Workshops included such creative ventures as vegetable and fruit garnishing, music, art and digital photography. A talent show offered quilting, music, drama and a first aid demonstration.
A used book sale, silent auction, live auction and gift basket draw all helped raise nearly $1,640 for Mennonite women’s ministries in B.C. and Canada.
Although the women’s ministry in B.C. is no longer organized as it was in past years when B.C. Women in Mission was in operation, the annual women’s retreat remains popular with all generations. Even with the terms of four women on the committee ending, three more came forward to volunteer to plan next year’s retreat.