DOMSE Fall Retreat 2021
Under the leadership of His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS, the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast held its Fall Retreat from October 15 to October 17 2021.
BY KH. DESTINIE WINN (ALL SAINTS CHURCH, RALEIGH, NC)
PHOTOS BY KH. DESTINIE WINN & ELIZABETH BACLIG
When word spread about the Fall Retreat for DOMSE, I was thrilled! At first, I didn’t know what to expect, since we are relatively new to the Diocese, and this was my first time attending a retreat in person. We loaded up our car and headed out for the 8-hour drive to Franklin, Tennessee. I was told ahead of time just how beautiful the drive from North Carolina is, but seeing it in person, I was blown away! As we drove through the winding roads of the Smoky Mountains, I was in awe of how majestic the tree covered mountains are with their wispy low-hanging clouds. Then, as we neared the end of our drive, through the rolling hills of Franklin, we made a sharp turn down into a lush green valley and quickly discovered the oasis at the bottom which is St Ignatius Orthodox Church. If you’ve not visited this parish, be sure to add it to your bucket list! It’s a beautiful glimpse of heaven on earth. Walking into the temple took my breath away!
Little by little, Clergy, laity, families, and individuals trickled into the registration room to receive their name tags. Joyous reunions, hugs, smiles, and laughter filled the room. The energy was palpable. I saw kids running around making new friends, including my own. Truly the Spirit of the Lord was with us, offering us a chance at spiritual renewal. We checked our small children into the childcare and geared up for a wonderful weekend
To begin the retreat, His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS spoke to us and rejoiced at the opportunity to meet together in person again after a long period of time apart. Through his guidance, the focus of the retreat was on healing, and the Scripture for the retreat was Jeremiah 30:17: “‘I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord.”
We received nourishment for both our souls and body. We were not only nourished with the most scrumptious food (yum), but also with lectures from professionals and clergy on the healing powers that the Church offers us. Important topics were discussed surrounding humility, repentance, addiction, relationships and being intentional. Each topic had both a spiritual and practical application in our lives, especially in light of the past year and a half. After each lecture, there was time set aside for Q&A which allowed us to dive even deeper into these topics. In addition to these lectures, we were given the opportunity to attend break-out sessions. These sessions were offered as a smaller group and gave a more intimate opportunity to learn more about the Theology of Icons, A Practical Introduction to Byzantine Chant, Choir, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Sacred Arts in Sunday School, Prison Ministry, and Young Adults Fellowship. As if that wasn’t enough to nourish us, we were able to participate in regular Liturgical life as well, Vespers every evening and the Divine Liturgy on Saturday and Sunday morning.
As Saturday came to a close, we attended Vespers, ate supper together, and had one final opportunity to gather in our fellowship groups: Antiochian Men, Antiochian Women, Teen Soyo and YAF (Young Adult Fellowship). And when we drove away, I felt such a sense of peace and joy. I am thankful for all the hard-working men and women who labored to put this lovely weekend together for us and that allowed the Holy Spirit to do His work in our hearts.