Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church

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Special Announcements From HIEC

A Retreat Love Story

There was a time when I attended church at Holy Innocents' on Sunday mornings. I remember that time and it was good.  I sat in my seat.  Listened to the sermon.  Took communion.  And then headed home humming the closing hymn just as mom did in my childhood. I was a member of Holy Innocents' through my pledge and my Sunday attendance, and I was even in the pictorial directory.

I was a “member in good standing” as the church says.

And then there was the time when I was driving home, humming the closing hymn and I thought, "This isn't right. I want more." That conversation with myself led to a radical change in my life and I am not being overdramatic with that statement.

What I realized was missing for me was everything that happens between the 9:00 service one Sunday and the 9:00 service the next Sunday. I knew I had to meet others beyond the pew in front of me and the pew behind me (you know...arm's reach during the Peace). I needed to graduate from simply reading the bulletin to participating.

AND THAT, my friends, is why I am asking you to come to the parish retreat.

Attending a retreat was a legitimate game changer. At the retreat I met other parishioners relaxed and witty in jeans and sweatshirts holding coffee in the morning and wine in the evening.  I sat by a fireplace and had “get to know you” conversations. An inspirational speaker, good food and laughter added to the beauty of that weekend.

The long-term outcome of my decision to attend the retreat? One word: Connection.  I became deeply connected to a community that I once knew only on Sunday mornings. My connection to God also deepened through increased listening and learning.

In hindsight, it was like Dorothy, wearing her ruby slippers, wanting to go home and simply being told, “You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself." 

Since that retreat, I’ve said yes to vestry and search committee opportunities, worked on outreach projects, taught Sunday School, sat vigil on Maundy Thursday, taken floral arranging lessons, started a women’s group, and now am in a 4-year EFM class. And, without fail, I attend the parish retreat every year no matter what.

So, if you want to flip the switch from having a church to having a church home, the key is the parish retreat. We’ll laugh and learn and share and reflect and pray and enjoy beverages together indoor or out based on the mountain weather that weekend.

I want you there so that I can high-five you for deciding to connect and you can look back years from now and say, “Yes. That was when it all changed for me.”

PS: A word of caution. You might wind up senior warden one day, but it’s so very worth it. Sign up today ;)

Elaine Morgan