AB Women's Ministries hosted its first-ever intergenerational retreat, "A Time to Serve: Deepening Relationships," at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin, July 26-29, 2014.
July 26-29 found women from all generations, from all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico, gathering at the Green Lake Conference Center for the first-ever intergenerational retreat sponsored by American Baptist Women's Ministries.
Friendships were renewed or begun.
Some mother-daughter pairs attended.
The whole weekend was about "deepening relationships."
Worship was a significant portion of the weekend, of course.
Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, the Metropolitan Bishop of Tbilisi of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, brings greetings.
Executive Director Virginia Holmstrom stands with Ala Kataradze, pastor of Peace Cathedral (Baptist Church), Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Ala is also Bishop Malkhaz's wife.
Lining up by birthday as a get-to-know-you game, as well as a way to randomly divide up into small groups for conversation.
Conversation was key to this weekend. We divided into pairs and small groups repeatedly throughout the weekend to give people a chance to get to know one another better. Questions included fun as well as more serious topics.
AB Women's Ministries President Patti Stratton leads the organization's annual meeting during Saturday evening's worship service.
Midwest Geographic Coordinator Nola Crooks was our tech person for the retreat.
Alia Abboud, director of Development and Partner Relations, Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (ABCUSA's Baptist partner in Lebanon), brings greetings and thanksgiving for AB Women's Ministries Women and Girls Mission Fund grant to help support a woman student at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary.
"Round Robin" table conversations also deepened relationships.
Grandmother-granddaughter pair Peggy and Rachel provided a dramatic interpretation of the theme during Sunday morning worship.
Grandmother-granddaughter pair Patricia and Aly also provided leadership through the weekend.
Executive Director Virginia Holmstrom and American Baptist Global Consultant Lauran Bethell (who joined us often during the weekend) renew their own friendship.
The annual gathering of AB Women's Ministries national board alumni is always a favorite event.
Evening recreation opportunities included a "Pajama Party," with games organized by National Leadership Team of AB GIRLS members Grace and Mary (convenor). In this picture, a small group work on creating a toilet paper bridal gown for a competition.
Each team presented it's bridal fashion design to the judges.
In another game, participants were invited to tell embarrassing stories and judges determined (by applause-o-meter) which story was most embarrassing.
...And then there was dancing...
But still, everything always came back to worship as our foremost way of being in relationship with one another.
Rev. Betty-Rae Hopkins provides sign language interpretation of the worship songs.
Our guest Bible study leader for the weekend was Rev. Yana J.C. Pagan. She led participants through the theme Scripture for the weekend, Ephesians 4:12-14, in very deep and meaningful ways.
And more intergenerational conversation ensued.
Yana had groups work together to complete puzzles at their tables, to demonstrate how important each person is to our shared experience together.
One evening's worship featured our multicultural relationships celebrated through communion. Here three young women help lay the table for communion in the early part of the service. (The table covering is from Burma/Myanmar.)
Rev. Florence Li (ABHMS staff and retreat participant with her daughter, Krystal) read the evening Scripture in a language of China. The same Scripture was also read in Spanish and English.
Here we receive special music from two young women from Puerto Rico.
Another "fan favorite" for after-hours fun is the hymn sing led by Joyce Camp.
Participants had the opportunity to sign up for workshops on several topics, such as the one pictured here on intergenerational worship.
Our final worship service included a foot-washing ceremony, in which participants were invited to wash one another's feet to symbolize our love, care, and service to one another in Christ's name.
Our final worship closed with a full-strength rendition of "It Is Well with My Soul."