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Fellowship of St. John the Divine Retreat in the Pacific Northwest Deanery - 03/05/2006

Liberty Lake, Washington

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The first weekend of March 2006 marked the beginning of something big; the very first retreat for the Young Adults of the Pacific Northwest Deanery! Up until now there has been little communication between the young orthodox of this expansive deanery. The retreat was held at Liberty Lake in Washington on March 3-5, 2006 and had about 20 participants.  The retreat started on Friday night, with the first talk by Reader Matthew Gallatin who spoke on “Finding God’s Will in Your Life”.  After evening prayers, participants played games and got to know one another.  On Saturday, they heard two more talks from the keynote speaker Reader Matthew Gallatin and then Maria Whelton led most of the group on a hike before the last session.

Each session led the group through the discussion of God's will, and how each of us interacts with it. Reader Matthew, author of “Searching for God in a Land of Shallow Wells” stressed that God's will is not something that we must try to find, but rather God's will is already present in our hearts. God wants us to become closer to Him and through that process we become closer to everyone else. God's will in our lives is nothing more then simple 'oneness' with God.  Reader Matthews told us that the main way that we approach this oneness is by participating in the sacramental life of the church.  The church helps lead us toward a relationship and knowledge of God and others. 

Finally, after Reader Matthew finished his talks, everyone piled into cars and explored the beautiful city of Spokane. They arrived back to the camp just in time for dinner, which was followed by a prayerful reader's vespers led by Reader Matthew and Reader Gregory Edwards. Then they finished the night off with a camp fire and lots of heart felt singing!

On Sunday Morning they joined Christ the Savior Church in Spokane, for the praying of Matins and Liturgy.  Then the parish shared their Cheesefare Sunday Brunch with the group.

From the service they all drove home, filled with encouragement and excitement for next year!  Thank God for all of the beautiful young orthodox in this deanery!  God was truly generous to give us this opportunity to know one another.

By Sarah Gillis

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