UCC Women’s Retreats Celebrate 20 Years

December 01, 2008 | Kathy Marson

A lot of ministry has happened in 20 years at UCC Christian Women's Retreats, and this 20th anniversary year was no exception. More than 150 women attended this year's retreat at Camp MiVoden, which focused on how to be healthy and prosper. One participant says, "The speaker had the background to help me with exactly what I needed at this time of my life."

The Friday night presentation was given by Shelley Theil, ear, nose and throat surgeon in Pasco, Wash. Theil also held "Ask the Doctor" workshops on Sabbath. Constance Corbett, wife of the Spokane Valley Church pastor, shared a story of transformation from compulsive eating and sugar addiction. Sunday morning, Patty Marsh, UCC community services/Sabbath School and children's ministries director, challenged participants to share the blessings of the weekend and witness to others. Workshops topics included health transformation, healthy relationships, healthy attitudes, body image, aging gracefully, along with legal issues relating to caring for the elderly, power of attorney concerns, and instruction in healthy food preparation. Workshop presenters included Dianne Dempsey, Kimberly Fisher, Valerie Glauser, Carol Waggoner and Gretal Cromwell.

One highlight of the weekend occurred Saturday afternoon when Mable Dunbar, UCC women's ministries director, shared new developments with women's ministry in the conference. Since Cookies Retreat has relocated to College Place, Wash., there is still a great need for women's healing centers in the Spokane area. God answered this prayer and the use of three houses have been donated for the Women's Healing and Empowerment Network (also known as Polly's Place Network). A special offering was taken to assist women who live at these centers and to fund a scholarship for women to be able to attend the retreat.

Also, on Saturday afternoon, the powerful story of Patty Malosh's fight with cancer and domestic abuse was shown through a short documentary. Cookies Retreat was her safety net from a troubled marriage. Before Malosh died she went on camera to share her story with other women so they might receive help before it's too late. The new shelters will be called Patty's Healing Centers in honor of Patty who volunteered for Polly's Place Network. There was also a special testimony and praise service outlining the ministry of the sanctuary service and its relationship to the plan of salvation. Saturday evening's activities included a fashion show, birthday party, story time, movie, crafts, swimming and table tennis.

Women helping women is the purpose of the annual Christian Women's Retreats. We need each other—to laugh, to cry, to share and to carry each other's burdens. This was accomplished during this 20th celebration.