Women Find Joy at UCC Retreat

November 21, 2016 | Tamara Michalenko Terry

The annual fall Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) Christian Women’s and Young Women’s Retreat provides a wonderful opportunity for women of all faiths to gather together with similar goals of fellowship and encouragement.

In today’s fast-paced world, Camp MiVoden in Hayden Lake, Idaho, provides a beautiful respite to those dealing with deadlines, carpools and family needs. It’s easy to get lost in life if one doesn’t take a break every once in a while to realign priorities.

Following a simple schedule, this retreat offers a keynote speaker, a variety of music and breakout sessions, and an array of topics from health to Bible study, parenting tips and divorce support.

Brenda Duerksen, the keynote speaker for this year’s retreat, shared her story and encouraged others to embrace their story. Her husband, Dick, shared lessons he learned in photography as well as tips for understanding the men in our lives.

This year’s attendees enjoyed a special breakout: water aerobics. The class was suggested by attendees, and Patricia Benjamin definitely delivered. She teaches classes at the Spokane Valley, Wash., YMCA and started a tradition many talked about continuing.

Merlene Olmsted taught a stretching class. She teaches SAIL (Stay Active and Independent for Life) classes in Airway Heights, Wash. One attendee enjoyed it so much she wants to see about teaching similar classes in her area.

The breakouts with Patty Marsh (Finding Joy), Katie Miner (Sweeter Than Honey), Marilyn Salmon (The Battle Plan) and Hope Vasquez (Staying Connected) gave attendees something to think about. Vasquez also provided special music for the weekend.

Natalie Patzer organized the praise time with beautiful hymns and praise songs led by her, Heather Benado and Kristi Browning, with Bruce Christensen on guitar and Olivia Schrock on piano. Teen Lorelei Harbour played her guitar for some songs as well.

Rhonda Backman provided breakouts for the teen girls. Sheryl Janke cut lots of paper for attendees to make beautiful cards. More than 90 cards were created during the Saturday evening activities.

Another special activity available Saturday evening for 70 of the attendees was a mini spa treatment. Those chosen enjoyed a paraffin hand dip and 10-minute neck massage. Generous women shared their spot with other women so they could enjoy the experience. Margie Wilfley has organized this activity for several years now with the help of a magnificent team of dedicated women who simply want to provide a wonderful experience for the attendees.

One special treat through the years is how many families have utilized this retreat for a mother/daughter reunion. It is wonderful to see their joy in attending the meetings as well as just being together.

A lot of prayers are said while planning this women’s retreat, and retreat planners are always amazed at how God blesses in so many ways. Currently, the UCC women’s ministries offers two retreats: a one-day spring retreat at the Upper Columbia Conference office in Spokane and the fall retreat at Camp MiVoden.

For more information on UCC Women’s Retreat, visit www.uccsda.org/women.