Connecting and Reflecting at Rosario Beach

Envision sitting on a beach around an orange and red, crackling campfire on a Sabbath evening. Grandmothers, parents and children are bundled against the cool twilight air. Kids dip their hands into frigid buckets of water to play with the crabs and eels they have found in the tidepools. Men are chanting, kum- kum- kum-bi-yah in deep bass voices. The ladies are singing, Someone's praying, my Lord, kum-bi-yah, accompanied by the stirring waves. It is easy to understand why worshippers from the Wenatchee Church return to the Walla Walla College Marine Station at Rosario Beach for their annual retreat the first weekend in May every year. They are seeking that special spiritual blessing that is found with the right combination of nature, worship and fellowship.

Being one of those people who is better at making a joyful noise rather than singing beautifully, I sit and listen while my 2-year-old drops rocks into a hole in a piece of driftwood. My child is happy. I am at peace and after being part of the church family for only a year, I feel connected. The faces around me are familiar and I know some of their talents and pains.

Ardella Edwards is sitting on the outer borders of the circle, but she is the one who makes sure we are well-fed for the weekend. Jackie Stonas is sitting quietly, cuddling her three girls, but she is the one who wrote the words to our theme song titled, "Our Daily Bread." Wendy Witas is leaning against a large piece of driftwood with her hands resting on top of her guitar, but she and her husband, Mark, are the ones who are leading our song service.

Mike Aufderhar, Wenatchee Church pastor, is hunched over his Bible with his reading glasses in hand, but there is a hush as he asks us to notice how common things can remind us of our connection to God and to recognize what tools we can use to share that connection with others.

Intermingled with people of tremendous aptitudes are those of us who are hurting, those of us who are ashamed of our mistakes, and those of us who don't agree with individuals sitting next to us. I marvel at these people's ability to accept each other and to sit around the same campfire to worship our Creator.

After experiencing such a profound spiritual blessing, we are more connected to Christ and are better able to reflect His character.

August 01, 2007 / Perspective