A Time of Refreshing


"This is the message we have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." — I John 3:11

I give thanks for a time of refreshing prior to the meetings of The Council of Bishops and The General Conference.

It is the practice of those of us who are women bishops — retired and active — to gather for a retreat prior to General Conference. It is a quadrenniel time of rest, re-connection, collegiality and mutual blessing.

We met in St. Petersburg, near Tampa, April 16-18, enjoying friendship and laughter as well as receiving strength for challenges we face.

Our worship leader was Jan Richardson, a clergy member of the Florida Conference. As we sat encircled in the lovely worship spaces Jan created, we knew the presence and power of God. The stories in Luke of Mary and of Elizabeth awakened in us new receptivity for the movement of God's spirit. We considered what we need to give up and what we might take on to become more completely women of God.

It was a rich and good time. I share this with you as encouragement for you to find such places and spaces and communities. All of us in ministry need one another. John Wesley reminds us, "There is no such thing as a solitary Christian." We give thanks for life together.

May you be blessed today in connection with someone who, like you, loves Jesus and hopes for the whole world to be drawn back to God through him.

With gratitude for our life together,
Hope Morgan Ward