They came with their luggage, beach chairs, Bibles and Books of Common Prayer and left the Cape May Retreat weekend with a renewal of faith, a rebirth in baptism and an understanding of how water can be a means of death and hurt, but also cleansing, love and life.
Led by The Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas thirty-five women ranging in age from early forties to mid-eighty from the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania learned there are 719 references of water in the Bible. Over a span of three days the women connected with each other in small group discussions, morning Eucharist on the beach and a closing Eucharist Sunday morning at The Episcopal Church of the Advent in downtown Cape May.
Saturday afternoon the group gathered to assemble forty “office supply boxes" for St. Peter’s Church, Medford, N.J. This is a follow-up project for the church who organizes volunteers to distribute the home office supplies to families moving into new homes this fall, families who lost everything in Super Storm Sandy.
When adding together the number of women participating this year and the number of times they attended an ECW retreat over the past nineteen years, you come up with – well, a lot of women sharing their deep faith in community and in the love of God.
This was the first ECW Retreat for eighty-four year old Pat Burke from St. Paul’s, Columbia. “I had a great time. I loved the group interactions and I learned another way to read and contemplate the bible.” Joining the group were women form both the Lutheran and Presbyterian faiths.
The retreat was organized by ECW member Amy Swiernik, St. Edward's, Lancaster. And yes, there was chocolate, shopping and good seafood. “The last evening there were games, refreshments and singing,” said ECW member Cindy Mohr. “And not all the songs were hymns!” commented ECW president, Shirley Wagner. The group agreed…what happens in Cape May, stays in Cape May.
The next retreat is scheduled for September 25-27, 2015 at Cape May – Save the Date!