Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Women’s Retreat at Almont Retreat Center

[Contributed by Rev. Jennifer Tafel, Lansing MI]

November 2009

A new idea for retreats at Almont was presented to the Michigan Association by B.J. Neuenfeldt: women’s, men’s and family gatherings (“like we used to do when our adult children were young”).  There was unanimous support for the idea and the plans began.  We all received flyers advertising the women’s retreat right away!

The first retreat was a Women’s Retreat: Bring your friends for fun (NO religious or spiritual theme!).  We came to Almont with no exceptions…well, maybe to have some fun.  It was a time to gather with friends at a place we love and want to show off to our dear friends.

Being one of the first arrivals was exciting because I could see the smiling faces and board games gathering in Pfister Lounge (the living room of the main building at Almont).  As night began to fall the laughter began to rise.  I think the most difficult thing for some of Almonters was being at a gathering with NO AGENDA!  What were we to do?  The majority of us were teachers and leaders (of some variety) and we had to let it go and let in the Holy Spirit to guide the fun. 

We broke out board games: Scrabble and Apples to Apples.  These were high-energy games (mostly because of the people playing them).  After lighting a cozy fire in the fireplace the real excitement began as bees starting pouring forth from the chimney (from the wood we were told later).  It was a fun evening with games, laughter and good friends.  We went to bed looking forward to great times the next day.

We ate breakfast and several people decided to go for a walk around the lake on the property. It was a beautiful autumn day and we enjoyed each others’ company for the walk.  The real fun began when a rousing round of the Barbie Game broke out before lunch.  It was to be played “light-hearted” since that is what these women tell their children and beaus as they are introduced to the game.  Well, I broke that rule because it brought up a lot of internal stuff as I was raised by a self-proclaimed feminist.  My apologies to all.  I think I will take the suggestion of one of the people there and make a spiritual-journey game for Barbie. 

We enjoyed lunch and then ended the time there by watching “The Shift” by Wayne Dyer.  The movie is about making the shift from “the afternoon of our lives to the evening of our lives.  What was true in the morning does not apply to the evening.”  Then we all packed up and headed home…after agreeing that we need to do this again some time!

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