The Presbyterian Women at Blacksburg Presbyterian have been holding a mid-winter retreat, or Winterlude, for 20 years! In fact, the retreat scheduled at Camp Alta Mons for Feb. 22 and 23 is the 20th or 21st retreat in those years! If you are a woman connected to BPC and you have never taken part, it is time you tried it out! And if you have gone before, and just haven’t quite made up your mind this year, we hope you will decide to join us!
Why has Winterlude been so successful for so many years? As a woman who’s attended almost all of those 20 years, here is my list of what makes it great:
1. It is a “retreat” after all. There is nothing like a chance to get away from the usual routine and responsibilities.
2. What better place is there to connect with BPC women of all ages, and share our experiences and things we care about?
3. Alta Mons is beautiful, even in the winter. From the wild turkeys that have been seen strutting by the pond, to the early daffodils which glowed in the otherwise gray woods last February, to the lacy ice framing the edges of the creek while the water rushes below, to the heart-pumping, leg-stretching hike to 45-foot styles falls, Alta Mons offers a chance to connect with nature.
4. The leader each year is a delightful person with good insights and passions to share. This year, Pam Snyder, from Staunton, VA, is our program leader. You can read about her on the BPC webpage. But here are some tidbits not on that page: Pam is the handbell choir director at Second Pres. in Staunton; she is a Certified Disaster Preparedness Trainer; she has traveled to India, Mexico and the Caribbean with various exchanges and mission teams; she has 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, and she’s been a human resources professional for 25+ years! We found her because Janet Rakes has been friends with her since they met at a Synod Summer Gathering 15 years ago.
5. The specifically chosen focus of each retreat enables you to ponder your spiritual life, with the help of other strong faithful women, and consider how it applies in your day-to-day living when you’re not at retreat. Here is Pam’s statement about this year’s theme: We are called to share God’s love with the world, by being God’s hands in the world. We answer God’s call to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)
During our time together we will explore what the Bible has to say about God’s love and compassion and how grace pushes us to serve the least, the last and the lost of our world. We will look at old passages through new eyes and relate them to current events. The goal is to seek a deeper understanding of God’s call to love as He loves.
6. If you pay close attention, you might sneak a turn in one of the rockers by the warm fire in the fireplace of the meeting room.
7. If you need some rest or quiet, or even sleep, there is built-in free time for just that purpose. If you want to really relax, we have an awesome massage therapist on hand to provide massages for those who wish.
Remember to sign up by Sunday, Feb. 3, (that is just a few days from now) as Alta Mons needs to know how many to prepare for. If you want to bring a friend or two, please feel welcome to do so! Click the link below for more details.