Fellowship of St. John the Divine Retreat in the Prairie Deanery - 11/12/2006Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
It all started on a blistering cold -20c Thursday afternoon in Edmonton Alberta. About 30 young adults from across western Canada arrived to this year’s Orthodox Young Adult Retreat, from as far East as Saskatoon and as far West as Vancouver.
The topic of this year’s retreat was “Is Goodness the Same as Godliness?” The Reverend Father Michael Gillis, Pastor of Holy Nativity Mission in Langley, British Columbia and Dean of the Prairie Deanery, gave five lectures throughout the weekend on this provocative topic.
Father Michael’s talks introduces the idea that morality is not simply a set of rules, that if broken, estrange us from God. Rather, morality is becoming more like who God made us to be. Each person was created to be unique. It is our duty to discover and struggle to become whomever God has made us to be.
Between lectures, the group had free time to explore the (cold) city, and of course pay a visit the infamous West Edmonton Mall!
Friday night was met with the midnight office, which was sung together by candle light. Morning prayers brought in each morning with thanks giving. And on Saturday morning we sang the Akathist to Christ!
Glory to Jesus Christ, we were blessed to share the Divine Liturgy with St. Phillip’s Antiochian Orthodox church on Sunday morning, followed by a wonderful and generous lunch, provided by the women of St. Phillip’s.
This year’s retreat marked the third year of fellowship and relationships for the young adults of this region.
Thank God for another year to develop these relationships, and through the prayers of all the Saints, may this region continue to grow!
By Sarah Gillis