God's People Unified

by Rachael Green on April 03, 2024

Last fall, women from across the churches in the Blue Ridge Deanery gathered at Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, VA for a three day, two night women’s retreat. From its inception, this women’s retreat was a full deanery effort. It started as an invitation from our dean to brainstorm ways to care for the women in our deanery. Two women, Tori Davis and Zoe Hansen, began to pray and long for ways to build up the women in our deanery. 

Two years later Tori led a team of six women from four churches to envision what a retreat could look like. With encouragement and financial support from our rectors, we were able to give our dreams shape. Tori’s vision for the churches in our deanery to come together on every level of the retreat planning and execution is part of what made it so successful. By pooling our resources, time, and talents, we were able to plan a weekend for our women that would not have been possible by one of our churches alone.

The retreat far exceeded our expectations. We initially prayed that forty to fifty women would come; we had over eighty. Even after asking women in singles to double up we ran out of beds. Women from Incarnation, Richmond generously gave up their rooms and opened up their homes so that we could include more women. It was a beautiful picture of Christ centered hospitality.

When asked about her own experience at the retreat, Tori shared:

“The highlight of the retreat was seeing God's people unified. Seeing the women across churches worship together, laugh together, and gather to discuss the hard and good things in life was a beautiful picture of what the body of Christ is to look like. In addition, it was a gift to see the women in their own respective church groups caring for one another. There were many times that the church groups would congregate to discuss the session topic or something hard that one of them was dealing with at home. It was so encouraging to see these women rally around one another to speak truth and love.”

Our time together led up to the Sunday morning Eucharist service. It was a beautiful picture of the unity in Christ that Tori described. The weekend was a great example of what it can look like for churches in a deanery to gather together and encourage one another as we grow in Christlikeness. The Spirit was at work in women’s hearts through our times of teaching and fellowship, but I most clearly saw the Spirit at work as we gathered together as the body of Christ in worship. As we all left “to do the work our heavenly Father has given us to do,” I was further encouraged knowing that Church of the Resurrection in Charlottesville, is not on mission alone. I am thankful for our sister churches, and encouraged that in partnership together we bring the hope of the Gospel to those who are lost across the Blue Ridge.

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