Refresh and Renew was the theme for St. Laurence’s Women's Retreat an annual event for the women of the Coquitlam Anglican Parish. The retreat, now in its sixth year, was held at the Loon Lake Lodge and Retreat Centre in Maple Ridge.
The 26 women who gathered over the April 15th weekend were a mix of all ages from the parish including several who invited a mother or a sister. “The weekend has become a staple for the St. Laurence community of women”, said Sharon Taylor, part of the organizing team. “It creates an opportunity for those who are new to the parish, and even those who have attended for many years, to really connect with their peers. We often don’t get that chance when attending meetings or sharing a coffee after worship.”
The organizing team, coordinated by Erin Barr, was a group of six women who led a wide variety of activities including a meditation walk, a movie, a craft, a workshop and games. "Profound thanks to the organizing group for a wonderful weekend. It was a very meaningful weekend and a lot of fun… I am definitely coming next year," remarked participant Allison Walker. “I really appreciated having the opportunity to attend and to connect with so many wonderful women,” added Torie Martin, another participant. “It was a very rejuvenating weekend for me and I consciously tried to implement today some of the ideas that were discussed."
The weekend provided an opportunity to sing, pray and worship together, with time for sharing through several theme discussions. Not to be outdone, the men of St. Laurence also took the opportunity to meet at a parishioner's home on the Saturday night for dinner and socializing.
In the last six years over 50 different participants have had the chance to attend the retreat. The location at Loon Lake is less than an hour’s drive from the parish of St. Laurence, yet the isolated setting is quite removed from city life. Next year's women’s retreat has already been booked as the annual event continues to thrive.